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
  •  Record Year:  The S&P 500 Index ended 2017 at 2,673.61 (0.62% below its all-time high set on 12/18/17).  The index registered 62 all-time highs in 2017, the second most behind the 77 record new highs posted in 1995.  Of the 500 stocks in the index, 377 were positive for 2017, with 182 of them up over 25%.  (Sources: Bloomberg, S&P Dow Jones Indices)
  • Santa Claus Rally:  Since 1928, the S&P 500 Index has posted an average gain of 1.7% during the last five trading days of the year and the first two trading days of the New Year.  History shows that when the index posts a negative return over these seven days, performance tends to be weak in the months ahead (down 1.2%, on average, three months after a negative return during the Santa Claus rally period).  For what it’s worth, the S&P 500 posted a 1.06% gain for the most recent Santa Claus Rally, slightly below the historical average but still positive.  (Sources: Oppenheimer, USA Today)
  • Conversation Taboos:  The most uncomfortable subject to discuss is personal finances, which bested death, politics, and religion in a national survey of 1,000 adults between ages 25 and 75.  Women in particular find it difficult to discuss personal finances with others (50% of women vs. 38% of men).  (Sources: Wells Fargo, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, “Breaking Money Silence”)
  • From “The Motor City” to “The Valley of the Sun”:  In 1950, Detroit was the 5th largest city in the U.S. with 1.9 million residents.  It has shrunk to the 23rd largest city with 673,000 residents.  Phoenix was the 99th largest city in 1950 with 107,000 residents and has grown to the 5th largest city with 1.6 million residents.  (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Why Do Hackers Hack?  Cyberattacks caused $450 billion of damages to the global economy (larger than the economies of Norway or the UAE).  Motives behind cyberattacks include Ransom (41%), Competition (26%), Politics (26%), Cyberwar (24%), and Angry User (20%).  (Source: Radware)
Thought for the Month


Sometimes, magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.

Raymond Joseph Teller (aka. Teller from “Penn & Teller”), American magician/illusionist, (1948-)


 T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids, & Money Survey provides interesting insights into the role of personal finance in family decisions and children’s perception of money.  While many agree an allowance is an important early step to teach children the value of money and link work (i.e. chores) to a monetary reward, the decision on dollar amount depends solely on your family’s personal budget (not necessarily what their friends receive).  Children should also learn other valuable lessons including the role of saving, spending, and sharing for charity.  MoneyConfidentKids.com provides free online games for kids and resources for parents and educators.

Chart for the Month


As mentioned above, the S&P 500 enjoyed a record year in 2017.  This chart shows that 25% of the 500-stock index’s returns came from just five technology stocks: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook.  Surprisingly, the best-performing stock of 2017 in this index was Align Technology, the maker of Invisalign, the clear teeth-straightener and traditional dental braces alternative.  Looking back a decade to 2007’s S&P 500 returns, both Amazon and Apple were top 5 performing stocks, with two now ubiquitous products, the Apple iPhone and Amazon Kindle e-reader, being released that year.



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.