USE OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS TO INCREASE AHEAD OF BOOMERSRegistered investment advisors intend to ratchet up their use of alternative investments such as hedge funds, real estate, commodities and currencies in the next five years, according to a national survey released by Rydex AdvisorBenchmarking.

The study revealed that advisors still have some work to do to prepare for the large number of Baby Boomers moving toward retirement, but that half of advisors are developing tools and resources to assess clients' retirement readiness and identifying areas where they need additional support.

PENSION PLANS REACH FULL FUNDING

For the first time since 2000, the assets of defined-benefit pension plans offered by Fortune 100 companies exceeded plan liabilities, according to research estimates from consulting concern Towers Perrin. The research showed that defined-benefit plans were 102.4 percent funded at year-end 2006, up from the 91.6 percent level at the end of 2005. According to Towers, the improved funding picture reflects favorable investment returns in 2006, as well as an increase in interest rates and a high rate of contributions by plan sponsors.

NURSING HOME CARE AVERAGES $206 PER DAY

With more Americans concerned about health care and long-term-care planning, a study conducted by MetLife's Mature Market Institute showed that the national average daily rate for a private room in a nursing home was $206, or $75,190 on an annual basis.

According to the study, Shreveport, La., had the lowest rate at $111 per day, and Alaska had the highest, with a rate of $578 per diem.

With respect to home health aide rates, the national average hourly rate is $19. Shreveport again featured the lowest hourly wage at $12, and Rochester, Minn., was the highest at $29.

The complete survey is available at www.metlife.com.

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