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
  • Ups and Downs:  The S&P 500 stock index and Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate bond index have not both finished a calendar year with negative total returns in the last 40 years.  As of 12/12/18, the S&P 500 is up +3.24% and the Barclays Aggregate is down -1.79%.  (Source: The Balance)
  • Growth at an Unreasonable Pace?:  U.S. large cap growth stocks have outperformed value stocks for 20 consecutive months, outpacing the 10 consecutive months of growth dominance during the technology bubble.  (Source: Bloomberg and GSAM)
  • Plastic Money:  U.S. consumer credit card debt peaked at $1.02 trillion in May 2008 before declining to $832 billion in April 2011 after the effects of the global financial crisis.  However, credit card debt has increased to a new record $1.04 trillion as of the most recent August 2018 data.  (Source: Federal Reserve)
  • Longest Recession Followed by Longest Expansion?:  Since the most recent recession ended in June 2009 (which lasted 18 months and was the longest recession since World War II), the U.S. economy has been expanding for 114 months, the 2nd longest time between recessions since 1950.  If the current expansion lasts until May 2019, it will become the longest expansionary cycle, breaking the previous record set from 1991 to 2001.  (Source: National Bureau of Economic Research)
  • Gig Economy Minimum Wage:  Becoming the first U.S. city to do so, New York City established a minimum wage for drivers of app-based car services such as Uber and Lyft.  Regulators say it will result in drivers earning $17.22 per hour and should increase annual earnings by $10,000 per driver.  Costs for riders are expected to increase.  (Source: CBS News)
Thought for the Month


“We are a nation of communities…a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

– President George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1924-2018)

Commentary – Finding Meaning in Life

What makes life meaningful?  Pew Research Center conducted two surveys to determine what makes people’s lives fulfilling and satisfying, from careers, faith, and family, to hobbies, pets, travel, music, and being outdoors.  Respondents across all demographics and socioeconomic groups were most likely to mention spending time with family as a key source of meaning and fulfillment.  Additionally, those with higher educations and incomes are more likely to mention friendship, good health, stability, and travel.   Younger people tend to find more meaning in learning and education than do older people.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (on top of our already busy “normal” lives), we remind you to take time to reflect on all of life’s gifts.  During this season of giving, be sure to let those people you appreciate know how much happiness they bring to you.  Wishing you peace, joy, love, friendship, and good health this holiday season and always.

Chart for the Month – Shop Early, Shop Often

“Christmas Creep” seems to happen earlier and earlier with each passing year, as holiday music and merchandise are displayed well before what was once the traditional start of the holiday shopping season: Black Friday.  As the above chart shows, over 1/3 of consumers begin their shopping before Halloween.  Late-November remains the most popular shopping period as consumers take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.  Nearly half of consumers are still shopping up until the last minute in late-December.  For those not worried about belated gifts, a few shoppers admit to finishing up in January.



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.