April, 2021

S&P 500 Hits 4,000

Monday, March 29, opened with two banks reporting they face losses due to the default of a small U.S. hedge fund. That news, combined with rising yields, higher new cases of COVID-19, and a public warning of new virus variants, started the week off on an unsettled note.1

Despite the shaky start, upbeat economic reports helped spark a rally that was paced by gains in the technology sector. The market also reacted positively on Wednesday, March 31, to the introduction of a $1.9 trillion infrastructure proposal.

Stocks closed out the week on April 1 with an exclamation mark, with the S&P 500 Index closing above 4,000 for the first time.2

Hedge Fund Woes

Last week’s trading opened on news that a U.S.-based investor was forced to unwind positions in multiple Chinese technology companies and American media holdings.

A number of large banks saw their share prices fall early in the week, reflecting concerns about their exposure to the hedge fund losses. Meanwhile, investors grappled with whether this was a one-off event or the opening act for additional hedge fund issues. As the week wore on, it appeared the hedge-fund issues were an isolated event.1


Inflation has emerged as one of the top financial concerns for investors as they size up the economy for the rest of the year.

According to research by Deutsche Bank, Google searches for “inflation” are rising rapidly and recently hit a peak not seen since the tracking began 13 years ago.3

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said that inflation is likely to pick up as the economy recovers from the pandemic, but he believes it will be temporary. Powell has also stated that the central bank plans to keep short-term rates anchored near zero through 2023.4

“Inflation is caused by too much money chasing after too few goods,” according to Milton Friedman, the well-known American economist who won the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.5

How much money is too much money? Remember that lawmakers have enacted six major stimulus bills, totaling about $5.3 trillion to help manage the economic burden on families and businesses during the pandemic.6

One piece of wisdom to keep in mind is that the stock market is a discounting mechanism, meaning it considers all available present and potential future events to determine its closing price. When there’s uncertainty about the economy, the stock market may be more volatile while it searches for answers.7

Record Cash on Hand

Historically following peaks in money market holdings, we've seen very positive stock performance. 

It certainly makes sense that there’s dollars on the sidelines considering the fact that folks probably haven’t spent like they normally would if they weren’t in lockdown and quarantine, and you’re seeing money market account assets at $4.3T at the end of the January. It’s been at this level for the last handful of months.

We peaked back in May of 2020 at $4.8T, so we’ve come down slightly, but really hung in there around $4.3T. This appears to be a positive backdrop for stocks given all of the dollars on the sidelines and no real returns in cash at the moment, the money should find its way into the stock market.

Investing for Impact

Many investors are looking to build a portfolio that reflects their socially responsible values, while giving them the potential for solid returns. That’s where SRI Investing, Impact Investing, and ESG Investing may play a role.

In the past, some investors regarded these investment strategies as too restrictive. But over time, improved evaluative data and competitive returns made these strategies more mainstream. Even though SRI, ESG investing, and Impact Investing share many similarities, they differ in some fundamental ways. Read on to learn more.8

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Investing

ESG Investing stands for environmental, social, and governance investing. The model assesses investments based on specific criteria, such as ethical business practices, environmental conservation, and local community impact. The underlying belief is that good corporate practices may lead to better long-term corporate performance.

The popularity of ESG investing has grown: in the United States alone, there are more than 350 ESG mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available. Just a decade ago, there were only 100 ESG funds.9,10,11,12

SRI (Socially Responsible Investing)

SRI uses criteria from ESG investing to actively eliminate or select investments according to ethical guidelines. SRI investors may use ESG factors to apply negative or positive screens when choosing how to build their portfolio. For example, an investor may wish to allocate a portion of their portfolio to companies that contribute to charitable causes. More than $17 trillion is managed under sustainable and responsible investing principles.11,12,13

Impact Investing

Also known as thematic investing, impact investing differs from the two above. The main goal of impact investing is to secure a positive outcome regardless of profit. For example, an impact investor may use ESG criteria to find and invest in a company dedicated to the development of a cure for cancer no matter the outcome of that investment.12,13

The biggest takeaway? There are plenty of choices to keep your investments aligned with your personal beliefs. Let us know if you’d like to discuss investing with your values.

Hydrate the Healthy Way

With all of the beverage options available, sometimes water can seem just BLAH!  However, water is an essential nutrient because it is necessary for all of the biochemical reactions that take place in our bodies.  Water is required for digestion, absorption, transportation, dissolving nutrients, elimination of waste products and thermoregulation.14 There are so many fun and healthy ways to make your water taste better to encourage yourself to drink more. Listed below are some easy options to spice up your everyday water consumption:

  • Add slices of fresh fruit, such as lemons, limes, or oranges. Not only will these fresh fruits make your water taste better, but you may also enjoy some of the benefits of these citrus powerhouses.
  • Add some sliced cucumber to your water to instantly feel like you're being pampered. Who needs the spa when you have a nice glass of cucumber water sitting at your desk?
  • Try some sugar-free, low-calorie water sweeteners. This is a decent option for those of us who have a sweet tooth and crave soda but are trying to drink more water instead.
  • Mix it up with sparkling water or seltzer if you miss the fizz of soda. Most sparkling waters are calorie-free or low in calories, and they keep you hydrated.

It is commonly recommended to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. This practice is worth it for your overall health, energy levels, and waistline by increasing your metabolism.

What are some of your favorite ways to make water more exciting? Email hello@gtsfinancial.com with your water drinking tips which we will anonymously compile and share in the next newsletter just in time for summer hydration!15

To Lump Sum or Not To Lump Sum

Dollar-cost averaging is breaking up a sum of money into the same amounts and consistently investing them over time. Lump-sum investing is the immediate investment into a security using all available funds. So which approach is best, or is there something entirely different to consider?16,17,18,19

April is Financial Literacy Month

Over the past year, we have faced stock market volatility, economic impact from COVID-19, tax changes, and stimulus checks, just to name a few. With the financial world rapidly evolving, financial literacy is becoming more important than ever. Here are some common tips that may help improve your finances, no matter where you are in life. We've also thrown in a couple of quizzes to test your knowledge - let's see how you do!

1. Emergency Fund!

The foundation of any financial plan is a solid emergency fund with at least 3 to 6 months' worth of expenses saved. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. In a recent article, roughly half of Americans say they live paycheck to paycheck and have no formal savings plan. 

However, once you've started saving, where is the best place to keep the money? We often look at online, high-yield savings accounts as the best place to store your cash. As a reminder, we generally do not recommend investing any funds you'll need within the next several months. 

Did you know GTS Financial has partnered with a company to provide high-yield, FDIC insured accounts if you need a place to park your cash? 

2. Are your financial goals well-defined? 

Once we have an emergency fund established, we need to start creating some financial goals. While "I want to have lots of money" may sound like a great goal, it's just too vague. How much is "lots?" If you don’t know … how will you know when you have it? And will the "lots" of today be enough for tomorrow?

In developing your financial goals, make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. …

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

 If you haven't already taken some time to clearly define your financial goals, don't put it off any longer. Well-defined goals are imperative for creating an effective financial strategy. Do they balance spending and saving?

Did you know GTS Financial is able to help you build a road map with SMART goals?  Let’s chat!

3. Put your money to work.  

Once you've created your "SMART" financial goals, you'll want to start investing to put your money to work. Generally, many experts recommend you target a 15% to 20% savings rate to help keep you on track.

What do you do with the 15% to 20%? Well, that will depend on your situation. However, a typical place to start is using your employer's retirement plan, like a 401(k), to take advantage of any match.

There are a variety of accounts to pick from and investment strategies to choose. This is where having a trusted financial advisor can come in handy. 

Take our short quiz on investments. Click the following link:  What’s Your Investing IQ? | GTS Financial

4. So you've prepared your goals and you believe you are on track for your financial goals. That's wonderful. What now?

You have your emergency fund, created your long-term goals, and have begun saving for them. The next financial move to consider is protecting your assets - for yourself and for future generations. Depending on where you are at in life, having certain insurance coverage in place can help provide some peace of mind and protection for you and your loved ones. 

Once you have proper insurance in place, having an estate plan is the next step to take. We recommend working with an estate planning attorney to draft your documents. This could include a will, health care directive, durable power of attorney, and in some instances, a trust. Once you've completed your estate plan, having your estate planning documents reviewed every five years or after any major life change is an often overlooked area of financial well-being. 

Take our short quiz on estate planning. Click the following link:  What’s Your Estate Planning IQ? | GTS Financial

Did you know that while GTS Financial does not sell insurance or create estate plans, we are able to help advise you and will connect you with people we trust and are respected in their field?

We are here to help guide you through any decision you need to make which involves money. Don't hesitate to reach out!


It is now commonly accepted that the correlation between the practice of gratitude and happiness is no longer a theory or cute idea.  Countless double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have been conducted proving this theory and the scientific proof connecting gratitude and happiness is now accepted among social scientists.

Gratitude changes everything! It actually creates positive emotions that can reverse the impact negative emotions have on us. It can change the perspective on a conversation or the outlook of your day.

There are many ways to express gratitude, and you may also want to get the whole family involved.  We’ve included three great ideas to encourage your practice of gratitude below: 

  • Write a letter -
    • Think of a person who helped you somehow or for whom you are grateful but never expressed your gratitude (could be someone living or who has passed on).
    • Write a letter to this person.
    • Specifically describe how this person’s actions have positively impacted you and why you are grateful.
    • If the person is alive, consider sending the letter. If the person has passed on, this process of moving to a place of deep gratitude will have a lasting impact on you. 
  • Play a game of Pick-Up Sticks -
    • Don’t have Pick-Up Sticks use colored pipe cleaners, roll dice or use a deck of cards assigning each number a category.
    • As you play, share a moment of gratitude as it correlates to the stick color.

Red: Name a person you are grateful for

Orange: Name a place you are grateful for

Green: Name a food you are grateful for

Blue: Name a thing/object you are grateful for

Purple: Anything of your choice  

  • Volunteer together -
    • Feelings of gratitude, compassion, and confidence are cultivated in people of any age when we help others.
    • Helping an elderly neighbor in need with yardwork, preparing meals at a food kitchen, writing letters to service members or making cards for a senior residence are great places to start, but really the list is endless!  
    • We believe in giving back to our community and would love to share our volunteer experiences with you as well. Just ask!

Gratitude is one of our company’s core values because we believe so strongly that it can change one’s experience of life.  We want to help cultivate that and encourage you to live your best life.  

Let us know if you give one of these tips a try!

Footnotes and Sources

1. Fortune.com, March 29, 2021
2. CNBC, April 1, 2021
3. Yahoo.com, March 17, 2021
4. CNBC, March 17, 2021
5. American Enterprise Institute, 2021
6. PGPG.org, March 15, 2021
7. Investopedia.com, 2021
8. Vanguard.com, June 14, 2019
9. Investing in mutual funds is subject to risk and potential loss of principal. There is no assurance or certainty that any investment or strategy will be successful in meeting its objectives. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information about the funds. Contact the fund company directly or your financial professional to obtain a prospectus, which should be read carefully before investing or sending money.
10. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are subject to market and the risks of their underlying securities. Some ETFs may involve international risks, which include differences in financial reporting standards, currency exchange rates, political risk unique to a specific country, foreign taxes and regulations, and the potential for illiquid markets. These factors may result in greater share price volatility. ETFs that focus on a small universe of securities may be subject to more market volatility as well as the specific risks that accompany the sector, region, or group. An ETF’s trading price may be at a premium or discount to the net asset value of the underlying securities.
11. Morningstar.com, April 20, 2020
12. The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, 2020
13. Asset allocation is an approach to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation does not guarantee against investment loss.
14. Kleiner SM. Water: An essential but overlooked nutrient. J Amer Diet Assoc 1999;99:200-6.8
15. Batonrougeclinic.com, August 28, 2019
16. Brennan, M., Li, F., & Torous, W. 2005. "Dollar-Cost Averaging".
17. Review of Finance (509-535). Maggiulli, N. February 25, 2020. "Dollar-Cost Averaging vs. Lump Sum: The Definitive Guide".
18. Retrieved from: Of Dollars and Data website: https://ofdollarsanddata.com/dollar-c...

19. Panyagometh, K., & Zhu, K. X. 2016. "Dollar-Cost Averaging, Asset Allocation, and Lump-Sum Investing". The Journal of Wealth Management (75-89).

Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.

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