The C-suite finance spot is a sweet place to be, according to Treasury & Risk's annual survey of 50 Fortune 500 CFOs conducted by research firm Equilar. In 2010, CFOs scored a respectable median salary raise of nearly 5% but thanks to a booming stock market and moderate expectations, they saw the value of their equity compensation increase about 37%, writes contributing editor Anne Field.

Small wonder CFOs are feeling more optimistic: 48% say the economy will improve over the next six months, up from 30% six months ago, according to Grant Thornton's latest national CFO survey. And 39% say they intend to increase head count, up from 28%. But inflation could mar this rosy picture: 50% say their companies plan to raise prices over the next six months. That dovetails with a survey of middle-market CFOs by Bank of America Merrill Lynch that reveals their biggest worry is no longer healthcare costs but energy prices, with 68% rating oil prices as the potential pain point for the U.S. economy.

Anxiety about healthcare reform still afflicts respondents in T&R's annual retirement survey that overall shows a positive outlook returning to the retirement and 401(k) orbit as well. Senior contributing editor Russ Banham confirms that in his story on the benefits of 401(k) tiered investment strategies.

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