THE COST OF RENTING: If you're moving to the suburbs of San Francisco or Honolulu and expect to rent an apartment when you get there, be prepared for a big case of sticker shock. The consulting firm Runzheimer International, which tracks living expenses in cities around the world, found that a three-room, one-bedroom apartment in a suburban community of San Francisco rented for $1,092 a month, while in suburban Honolulu, the cost was $1,010. Those rents were the highest Runzheimer found in its study, and they compare with the national average of $540. At the low end of the areas Runzheimer checked was the Dubuque, Iowa area, where an apartment went for $405.

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WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE BUDGET SURPLUS: There's plenty of debate in Washington over what to do with a projected $2.9 trillion in federal budget surpluses over the next decade, but corporate executives also have ideas of their own. In a survey by the Financial Executives Institute and Duke University, 43 percent of the 321 chief financial officers queried said the money should go toward reducing the $5.54 trillion public debt. Thirty-seven percent said the surplus should be used to lower taxes, and 27 percent said the money should be used to shore up Social Security. Many of the CFOs believed the money should be used for more than one purpose, so those figures add up to more than 100 percent.

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TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR FINANCES: Better Homes and Gardens Family Money magazine has a list of suggestions for people wanting to increase their financial worth. Among them: Be systematic about investing _ have a set amount automatically deducted from your paycheck and put into investments. Start learning about investing, either by reading or by hiring a financial adviser or lining up a stock broker. Cut your debts and watch your credit card use. Stay in a job longer, and in so doing, increase the pension you'll get. Fund your 401(k) account to the maximum allowed, and look into Individual Retirement Accounts. And, the magazine says, invest more, and do it now.