POCKETBOOK: Week ending Aug.11, 2018


  • Minimum Wage

A minimum wage of 15 bucks an hour seems like a reasonable income base. It does, after all, translate to $600 a week provided one is working a 40-hr week and over $30,000 a year.

Whether or not you’re a fan of that hourly rate, you might be surprised to learn how few people really do make minimum wage in the U.S. these days.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ,(BLS), in 2017 over 80 million or 53.3 percent of workers ages 16 and over were paid an hourly rate. Of them, 2.3 percent, or 1.8 million folks, were paid the currently federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour or less.

I bet you thought there were more.


  • Market Quick Glance

Another week of mostly ups and a few downs. But who is counting?

Below are the weekly and 1-year index performance results for the four major indices—DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and the Russell 2000— including the dates each reached new highs. Data if according to CNBC.com and based on prices at the close of business on Friday, Aug.17, 2018.

DJIA 3.84% YTD up from previous week’s return of 2.40%.

  • 1 yr Rtn 18.02% way up the previous week’s 15.88 %

Most recent DJIA all-time high was reached on January 26, 2018 of 26,616.71. The previous high was reached January 18, 2018 was 26,153.42.


-S&P 500 6.60% YTD up from last week’s 5.97%

  • 1 yr Rtn 16.06% up from last week’s 17.29%

The S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on January 26, 2018 of 2,872.87. The previous high was reached on January 19, 2018 of 2810.33.


-NASDAQ 13.22% YTD down from last week’s 13.55%

  • 1yr Rtn 25.63% down from last week’s 26.09%

Nasdaq reached a new 52-week high on July 25, 2081 of 7,933.32. The previous high was reached on July 17, 2018 of 7,867.15.


-Russell 2000 10.25% YTD up from last week’s 9.85%

  • 1yr Rtn 24.58% up from last week’s 22.90%

The Russell 2000 reached a new 52-week high on July 10, 2018 of 1,708.56. The previous high was reached on June 20, 2018 of 1,708.1.


-Mutual funds

Equity funds lost a little ground last week, as, at the close of business on Thursday, August 16, 2018 the average total return for funds that fall under the U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading was 6.71%. That’s down a bit from the previous week’s figure of 6.97%, according to Lipper.

Small-Cap Growth Funds continue to lead the performance way. They, btw, fall under the broad U.S. Diversified Equity Funds heading.

Looking at other headings,  under the Sector Fund heading— it includes health, bio-tech, commodities, precious metals and other fund types— the average return was 1.39%.

World Equity Funds, on the other hand, had an average return that was underwater, -4.64%; Mixed Asset Funds, 0.91%; Domestic Long-Term funds, -0.16%; and World Income Funds -4.43%.

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.


  • Funerals: Beyond First-Class

 For those with plenty of money to spend —and I mean plenty—and who wish to send their loved ones off in super style, Bloomberg has reported that the rich and powerful and now spending tens of thousands of dollars burying their loved ones.

From a recent 8/18/18 Bloomberg piece comes this: “They are choosing to be laid to rest in $60,000 gold-plated coffins and ferried by horse-draw funeral carriage or Rolls-Royces hearses. Some are even flying friends and relatives to exotic locals for destination funerals.”


Yes, really.




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