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.

  • Schwab Lowering Expense Ratios – Schwab, following the actions from Vanguard and SPDR, decreased the expense ratio for five of their bond ETFs from 0.05% to 0.04%. This 1 basis point decrease results in investors saving a collective $1.3 million across the five funds. (Source: Financial Times)
    • The expense ratio is a percentage based on the total cost to run a fund, divided by the total assets under management. Though the expense is paid by investors, it isn’t deducted directly from the account. Instead, it’s automatically deducted from your returns. The fund’s expense ratio is accounted for in the stated Net Asset Value [NAV]. If the expense ratio of an S&P 500 index fund is 1%, the investor earns the index return, minus 1% for the year.
  • Holiday spending – Retail sales increased 8.5% year over year, according to a report from MasterCard. In store sales were up just over 8% while e-commerce sales were up 11%. MasterCard measures the holiday period as November 1 thru December 24. (Source: New York Times)
  • Bitcoin in 2021 – Cryptocurrency as a whole jumped back into the spotlight in 2021, but none greater than bitcoin. Though the asset returned nearly 60% from start to finish, it was not without massive moments of volatility. From January through March, we saw the value increase 103%, quickly followed by a -35.5% loss in the month of May alone. (Source: Data provided by TradingView)
  • S&P 500 Top 10 – The S&P 500 is a market cap weighted index. The largest company accounts for the largest holding in the index. As of December 31, 2021, the top 10 stocks in the S&P 500 Index make up 30.5% of the entire index (Source: JPMorgan guide to the Markets)

Thought of the Month

The new year means new resolutions for many. Whether or not you participate in ‘new years resolutions’, setting goals for yourself can be monumental for personal growth. Over the holidays, my wife and I sat down to watch the Marvel film, “Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings“. While the movie itself was extremely entertaining, at the end I walked away thinking about one specific line.

When the good guys are preparing to fight the bad guys, there’s a scene with one of the main characters helping other’s prepare. She’s explaining how she always quits to start something new just when she starts getting good. How she wishes she knew exactly what she wanted to do so she could do it and get really good. The woman working with her is silent for most of this until she tells her, “if you aim at nothing, you hit nothing.”

“If you aim at nothing, you hit nothing”

It’s too easy to wander through life aimless when there’s nothing to shoot for, no target. If you’ve set goals for this year already, great! If not, no problem either. There’s no time like the present. The goals don’t need to be life-altering, year long journey’s. It could simply be to wake up without snoozing for a week. But setting a goal, aiming for anything, at least gives you something to hit.

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.