If you’re looking for low-wage work, Wal-Mart is the place to apply. Why? For one, it’s the largest employer across America with over 1.5 million employees. And two, it’s the largest employer in nearly half of our nation’s 50 states—actually 22 states out of our 50.
Guess that helps to explain why so many people across our nation are financially challenged: low wage jobs don’t translate into financial security.
While that’s the way it is today, low-wage jobs from mega-corporations such as Wal-Mart haven’t always been in vogue.
Once upon a time working for big companies was in and came with substantial salaries and attractive benefits. Even for those without a high-school diploma or a college degree.
According to MyBudget360.com, looking back to the mid-1950s, when America was building cars, car parts and the fuel that made them run, the biggest employers were GM, Chrysler, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Amoco, Goodyear and Firestone.
It was good-paying jobs at companies like those, and those in other industries, that created a growing and prosperous middle-class.
Now that’s all changed. As the middle-class dwindles and the numbers of low-wage jobs have increased along with stagnant wages , workers struggle to pay their bills and get ahead.
That said, this holiday season is projected to be a big one for retailers. Like Wal-Mart.
Market Quick Glance
Last week was a short week with pretty good results.
But before going there, Vanguard is telling its investors not to expect more than a 4 to 6 percent annual return from the stock market going forward for the next five years.
“It’s unreasonable to expect rates of returns, which exceeded our own bullish forecast from 2010, to continue,” said Joe Davis, Vanguard’s chief economist.
Makes sense to me.
Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for four major indices— including the dates each reached new highs—according to CNBC.com based on prices at the close of business on Friday, November 24, 2017.
–DJIA +19.20% YTD up from last week’s 18.19%.
- 1 yr Rtn +23.45% down from last week’s 23.56%
Another new high for the DJIA of 23,617.8 was reached on November 21, 2017.
The previous high of 23,602.12 was reached on November 7, 2017. On March 1, the Dow stood at 21,169.11.
-S&P 500 +16.24% YTD up from last week’s 15.19%.
- 1yr Rtn +18.04% up from last week’s +17.91%
The S&P 500 reached another new high on November 24, 2017 of 2,604.21.
Its previous high of 2,597.02 was reached on November 7, 2017. On March 1, 2017, that index stood at 2,400.98.
-NASDAQ +27.98% YTD up from last week’s +26.00%.
- 1yr Rtn +28.04% up from last week’s 27.16%
The Nasdaq reached a new all-time high of 6,890.02 on November 24, 2017.
Its previous high of 6,806.67 was reached on November 16, 2017. On April 5, 2017 the index closed at 5,936.39.
-Russell 2000 +11.94%YTD up from last week’s +10.00%
1yr Rtn +13.19% down from last week’s +14.00%
The Russell 2000 reached a new all-time high of 1,524.18 on November 22, 2017.
Its previous high of 1,514.94 was reached on October 5, 2017. On March 1, 2017 this index stood at 1,414,82.
Last week provided a solid move upward in the year-to-date average cumulative total reinvested return for equity funds. Under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading, the average fund was +15.55% at the close of business on Wednesday, November 22, 2017, according to Lipper. That’s up from the previous week’s return of +14.34%.
Leaving equity fund types aside, here are the year-to-date cumulative total reinvested returns for various fixed-income funds:
- The average Ultra-Short Obligation Fund, + 11.28%.
- Short/Intermediate Govt. & Treasury Funds, +1.67%
- Short /Intermediate Investment Grade Funds, +2.95%
- General Domestic Taxable Fixed-Income Funds, +4.81%
- And World Income Funds up7.19%.
Looking at the entire fixed-income group the average year-to-date return was +4.48% through11/22/17.
Visit www.allaboutfunds.com for more information about how various equity and fixed-income funds have rewarded investors over the short-and long-term, based upon Lipper data. Short-term meaning weekly and monthly performance returns; longer-term includes quarterly, year-to-date, 1-yr, 2-yr, 3-yr and 5-yr returns.
Forget cybershopping. Be fiscally wise. Use cash.
I was at J.Jill the other day purchasing myself a few holiday items. (The first person on my gift list is me, isn’t it you on yours?)
When it came time to pay my most excellent sales woman asked if I wanted to open a J.Jill credit card. She said that doing so would save me an additional 10% on my purchases that day and come with a bunch of other savings opportunities in the future. I declined. The last thing I need is another credit card. So I paid in cash.
Yes, cash. It’s still accepted at retailers you know, but apparently is a bit of an oddity.
After I handed her the required cash, she commented that usually most people pay with credit cards but that the majority of those she had waited on this day were paying in cash.
I smiled and thought to myself about the benefits of paying with cash: No worries about somebody stealing my credit card number or hacking my bank accounts, retailers don’t have to pay any fees to credit card companies for using the cards, and best of all I don’t overspend.
And then there are the health benefits: Paying with cash gets you out of the house, moving and socializing.
Cash: Looks like a win-win for everyone.