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
- 0% Investment “Return”: For the first time since 2011, the “real” rate earned on a 10-year Treasury Note (i.e. 10-year Treasury yield minus inflation) is 0%. From 2007 to 2017, only 2 full calendar years ended with 0% or negative “real” rates of return. (Source: First Trust)
- Employer Retirement Plans: In 1975, defined contribution plans (i.e. 401k, 403b) outnumbered defined benefit plans (i.e. pension) 2-to-1. Today, defined contribution plans outnumber defined benefit plans 14-to-1, a seven-fold increase. Saving for your own retirement now that employers are less likely to provide traditional pensions (not to mention the uncertainty surrounding Social Security) has never been more important. (Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office)
- Instant Gratification: 48% of women and 42% of men begin taking their monthly Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 (the earliest age possible). Just 4% of women and just 2% of men delay taking their Social Security retirement benefits until age 70 or later. (Source: Social Security Administration).
- Demographic Shift: By the year 2035, the projected number of American seniors aged 65+ (78.0 million) will exceed the number of American children under the age of 18 (76.4 million) for the first time in US history. (Source: US Census Bureau)
- Lady Liberty: The U.S. Postal Service was assessed a $3.5 million copyright infringement fine. The Lady Liberty Forever stamp used from 2010 to 2014 featured a picture of the statue outside the “New York New York” hotel in Las Vegas rather than the Statue of Liberty in New York. The postal service made $70 million profit from the 3 billion infringing stamps printed. (Source: CNBC)
Thought for the Month
“Don’t imagine the worst. If you imagine the worst and it happens, you’ve lived it twice.”
Michael J. Fox, actor and activist for Parkinson’s disease research (1961-)
Aside: As a child in the mid-80s, I would wear clip-on ties to look like my idol, Alex P. Keaton. Like most people, I love the “Back to the Future” movies also and imagined travelling in a DeLorean time machine like Marty McFly. This 10-minute interview from “CBS Sunday Morning” shows the impact Michael J. Fox continues to have in the midst of fighting a terrible disease. Where his fictional characters once inspired me, the man himself is now the true inspiration.
Commentary – Amazon Prime Day 2018
Despite early website glitches, Prime Day 2018 set a new sales record for Amazon. Consumers purchased more than 100 million products during the 36-hour event, surpassing their totals for Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and 2017’s Prime Day. More members signed up for Prime memberships on July 16th than on any previous day in Amazon’s history. There are now over 100 million Prime members, nearly double the number from 2016 and 20 million more than last year.
I refrained from making any significant purchases but perused the numerous deals. My favorite item was a 40,320 piece Disney puzzle that was discounted 50% to a mere $299.99 (retail price $599.99). When assembled, the puzzle measures 22 feet by 6 feet and weighs 44 pounds, earning the Guinness World Record for the largest commercially-available puzzle in the world, in both number of pieces and size of the finished puzzle.
Chart for the Month – What Americans Pawn When They Need Cash
An estimated 30 million Americans use pawn shops every year. PawnGuru conducted an analysis to determine which items are most commonly pawned. While you may be excited now about that new phone, tablet, computer, or TV you purchased on Prime Day, electronics account for 30% of all items pawned. The most valuable item people regularly pawn is a diamond ring, with an average offer of $446. No word on what a partially-completed Guinness World Record-sized puzzle fetches.
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.