Do you know what the leading cause of premature death is in the United States? Chances are you don’t, finds a recent survey by Partnership for Prevention, a public health advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

Unlike employees in the traditional work world, many small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs don’t enjoy the luxury of participating in a pension plan. That means there isn’t anyone, other than themselves, who will be responsible for their retirement beyond what, if anything, they may receive from the Canada Pension Plan.

Speed wins in the New Economy, but the windows of opportunity are forever shrinking; partnership deals — which range from handshakes to contracts — today are inked in a few days, not months. Even giants move fast. In May 1999 Hewlett-Packard, Qwest Communications, and SAP formed an application service provider alliance in just 60 days.

Great as its marketing weight will prove to be, the Impulse Economy is not just about bigger sales for niche products. It is also about purchaser convenience. If I can buy tickets for Friday’s showing of the new Quentin Tarantino film right after reading the review in Monday’s paper, rather than trying to remember four days later what I had read about it, I get more bang for my consumer buck.