Welcome to Viewpoints, a monthly bulletin from PDS Planning to our valued clients and friends. Our goal with each issue of Viewpoints is to provide you with a wide variety of perspectives on life and wealth. Feel free to share with others.
Economic and Investment News Bits
- Dow Milestones: As of the December 19th close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index has posted 70 record-high closes, a new annual record in its 121-year history. Roughly one of every four trading days thus far in 2017 has been a record-high close for the index. The 30-stock index is up more than 5,000 points this year for its biggest annual-points gain ever. (Source: CNBC).
- “We Deliver For You”…mail, not profits: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) last earned a profit in fiscal year 2006. Since then, the USPS has lost money for 11 consecutive years, including a $2.7 billion loss for the most recent year. That equates to a daily loss of $7.4 million. Additionally, the Postal Service was unable to make any of the payments due to the federal government to pre-fund pension and health benefits for postal retirees. (Source: USPS)
- The two largest money managers (BlackRock and Vanguard) manage $10.7 trillion, or almost as much as the GDP of China, the world’s second-largest economy. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
- Long-term GDP Downward Trend: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of the U.S. economy. From 1950 through 1973, the U.S. economy grew by +4.2% per year. From 1974 through 2000, the U.S. economy grew by +3.2% per year. From 2001 through 2016, the U.S. economy has grown by +1.8% per year. (Source: U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis)
- Organ Transplants: Over 125,000 Americans are on a national waiting list hoping to receive a life-saving organ donation (with a new person added every 10 minutes). Nearly 70% of prospective organ recipients have been on the list for over 1 year. On average, 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. You can register to be a donor at registerme.org. (Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network)
Thought for the Month
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Andy Williams (1927-2012), American singer
Bonus Tidbit: George Wyle (1916-2003), a co-songwriter of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, also co- wrote the theme song for “Gilligan’s Island” and was the musical director for both “The Flip Wilson Show” and the “John Denver and the Muppets” Christmas special.
“The World’s Billionaires”: Forbes’ list features a “Real Time” update that accounts for stock price changes after the hard-copy annual list is published. Since the publishing of the list earlier this year, Jeff Bezos (Amazon) has overtaken Bill Gates (Microsoft) as the “World’s Richest Person” with a current net worth of $99.1 billion due to Amazon stock increasing by 60% this year and adding $33.8 billion to his wealth.
Even more impressive is the generational wealth maintained by the Walton family. The seven heirs to Wal-Mart co-founders Sam and Bud Walton have a current net worth of $173.3 billion. The combined Walton family wealth is “only” a few billion shy of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet…combined.
Chart for the Month
Despite being introduced nearly 9 years ago, Bitcoin has recently been the subject of a media frenzy due to its massive price appreciation. This graphic was produced in late-November 2017 when Bitcoin crossed the $10,000 barrier. Just 3 weeks later, it reached an all-time high of over $19,000. Last December (just 1 year ago), Bitcoin was valued at under $1,000.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are extremely complex and potentially revolutionary financial tools. Only time will tell if the volatile price of Bitcoin will maintain its current upward trajectory or if it is the next financial bubble.
We are reminded of the mania surrounding popular culture fads and found crazyfads.com to be a heart-warming, nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Happy Holidays from PDS Planning!
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment, strategy, or product or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter, will be suitable for your individual situation, or prove successful. This material is distributed by PDS Planning, Inc. and is for information purposes only. Although information has been obtained from and is based upon sources PDS Planning believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. It is provided with the understanding that no fiduciary relationship exists because of this report. Opinions expressed in this report are not necessarily the opinions of PDS Planning and are subject to change without notice. PDS Planning assumes no liability for the interpretation or use of this report. Consultation with a qualified investment advisor is recommended prior to executing any investment strategy. No portion of this publication should be construed as legal or accounting advice. If you are a client of PDS Planning, please remember to contact PDS Planning, Inc., in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives. All rights reserved.