Cleaning out the briefcase


Unlike 99 percent of Tickers, this is being written two weeks before you read it. About to embark on a 10-day trip to South America in mid-February, I cleaned out the old briefcase and present today a column of hopefully helpful old articles, notes, quotes, scribbles, etc., relating to our workplaces.

A yellowed copy of a Nation's Business (April, l990) article, "Retired -- And Back At Work" says, "Retired executives are being coaxed back into the work force as consultants and short-term troubleshooters for companies large and small. These arrangements have pluses for both sides: retirees return to work without pressures of career building, and companies they join gain instant, priceless experience. The trend will grow. One recruiter says, "There are real bargains out there for smaller companies in search of seasoned help." To obtain a back copy of the issue, write Nation's Business, l6l5 H St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20062 or phone 202-463-5877.

DUSTY FILES: A dog-eared note in my "Inflation" folder says, "If you retire today with an annual income at $50,000, you will need $133,000 a year, 25 years from now, just to maintain your present standard of living -- provided inflation only creeps ahead at 4 percent a year. After 25 years of four percent inflation, the dollar is worth only 38 cents." . . . A related note from the folder, "Investment Speeches: 1988" reads, "Retirees should not turn their backs on Wall Street despite the 508-point crash which drove the Dow Jones average down to l,763 on Oct. 19, 1987. Get this: if you had invested $1,000 in the S&P; 500-stock average 40 years ago, you would now have $88,000 vs. that same dollar in U.S. government bonds would now be worth only $5,300 including the bonds' interest." For today's Dow Jones level, see "Market Watch" below.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Several readers, remembering I said this once on radio or TV, asked me to print "26 Payments Pay Off," a clipping someone sent me from an ancient U.S.A. Today issue: )) "Here's the idea behind the biweekly mortgage: instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, make half a payment every two weeks. That totals 26 payments a year, the equivalent of 13 monthly payments rather than 12 -- and that's the magic.

"All of the 'extra payment' is applied to the principal, accelerating the payoff. So a 30-year loan is reduced to about 20 years. That sharply cuts the interest you pay during the life of the loan. For example, on a $100,000, 30-year loan at l0 percent, you'd pay interest of $215,314 using monthly payments. With a biweekly schedule, you'd cut the interest to $137,679 -- a savings of $77,635."

BRIEFCASE BITS: From a crumpled "Depression Shopping List: 1932-l934": New Pontiac coupe, $585; Chrysler sedan, $995; used l929 Ford, $57.50; woman's mink coat $585 (sorry about that, fellows); wool dress, $l.95; leather shoes, $l.69; man's overcoat, $ll; man's wool suit, $l0.50; silk tie, 55 cents (we sold them 2 for $1 on Gutman's Dollar Day); shoes $3.85; double bed sheets, 67 cents; linen tablecloth, $l; electric coffee percolator, $l.39; vacuum cleaner, $l8.75; gas stove, $24; 3-piece bedroom set, $49.95; grand piano, $395; dental filling, $1; cigarettes, l5 cents (!); auto tire, $6.20; sirloin steak (a pound), 29 cents; milk (a quart), l0 cents; eggs (a dozen), 29 cents; bananas, 7 cents; six-room house, Detroit $2,800; 60-day tour of Europe $495. . . Friday, the housing industry is our topic on "Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser," with guest Lynne Hyman, director, First Boston Corp. and panelists Mary Farrell, Robert Stovall and Mr. Ticker.

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