Grow Your Portfolio the Intelligent Way

Make Every Day ‘Giving Tuesday’

By Jim Woods

You know about “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” which this year set records for consumer buying. But did you know that yesterday was “Giving Tuesday?” That’s right, a day dedicated to remembering that charitable contributions are both a gift to others and a huge psychic present to yourself. 

Indeed, Giving Tuesday ushers in what’s come to be known as the giving season, and it is called the giving season for good reason. You see, it’s estimated that about 30% of annual donations occur between Thanksgiving and the start of the new year, with the majority of those gifts being sent in the final three days of the year.

This year, I’m proud to say that I have donated more to charity than any other year in my life, and part of the reason why I have been able to do so is due to the success of my newsletter advisory services. You see, the more money you make for your subscribers, the more subscriptions you sell and the more renewals you get.

So, by helping you by providing great investing information, I am rewarded by you with more subscription revenue and more personal income. And the more personal income I have, the more I am able to donate to the charities of my choice.

Now, in addition to the increased amount of money I am able to donate to the charities of my choice, more personal income and more investment success also mean more “units of choice.”

I’ve written about the concepts of “units of choice” before in this publication, because it’s a great way to look at the role of money in our lives. You see, the more capital we have, the more things we can do with that capital. More importantly, we can do more with the limited time that we all have.

This year, I spent a lot of my “units of choice” doing things that matter to me and donating to the charities that matter to me. For example, this year, I donated one of my horses to a charity that provides assistance to children with disabilities. Witnessing the interaction between a well-trained horse and an excited child who gets to ride that horse for the first time leaves an indelibly loving impression on one’s soul. 

I also spent some time at charity events for my favorite veterans’ organization, Friends of Freedom. This group was started by my friend and fellow Renaissance Man David Haddad, who has been a guest on my podcast. Under David’s expert stewardship, Friends of Freedom has delivered over 750,000 cigars for troops to enjoy in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Your editor playing in the annual Friends of Freedom charity poker event.

Friends of Freedom also helps veterans by assisting them with rent, utilities, car repairs, the transition to civilian life and more. If you’ve looking for a charity to support with veterans in mind, then choose Friends of Freedom.

Another charity event that I attended last year was sponsored by the iconic heavy metal band Metallica. I was there for the band’s epic 40th anniversary takeover of its home city of San Francisco, where the performers played two incredible sold-out shows at the 18,000-seat Chase Center.

Your editor, alongside Eagle Financial Publisher Roger Michalski, rocking out and doing a charity beach clean-up in San Francisco.

I also had the privilege of doing an early morning beach clean-up alongside hundreds of other Metallica fans, including my Eagle Financial Publications colleague Roger Michalski, who is arguably one of the band’s biggest fans.

This event was sponsored by Metallica’s charity, All Within My Hands, which helps raise money for a cross-section of national and local charities. Importantly, every penny of the donations received by All Within My Hands goes directly to the organization’s charity partners.

I must say that it felt great to be out in the very chilly San Francisco morning air, doing good and helping clean up the city’s beautiful beach. No, I didn’t get anything out of this other than a sense of accomplishment, and the warm and fuzzy feelings one gets knowing one is doing something good for his fellow humans (oh, there was that cool t-shirt they gave us, too, but I digress).

So, this year, if you’ve found yourself doing well, making good investment decisions and/or feeling otherwise healthy and wealthy, why not take some of your units of choice and aim that at the charity of your choice? And whether you choose to donate a little time, a little money or, like me, a little time and a little money, I guarantee it will make you feel good.

Finally, remember that we only get so many trips around the Sun before our time here expires. So, within those beautiful trips, why would you want to be anything but kind to your fellow travelers?

Happy holidays, and may we always live our lives in the name of the very best within us!


ETF Talk: Invest in Small-Cap U.S. Stocks with This Fund

iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:IJR) tracks a market-cap-weighted index of primarily small-cap U.S. stocks. The S&P Committee selects 600 stocks representing about 3% of the publicly available market.

The index measures the performance of the small-capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market, as determined by S&P Dow Jones Indices (SPDJI). The fund generally will invest at least 80% of its assets in the component securities of its index and in investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the component securities of its index and may invest up to 20% of its assets in certain futures, options and swap contracts, cash and cash equivalents.

IJR has $68 billion in assets under management and an average spread of 0.01%. It is currently trading around $101 a share, giving it a 1.70% dividend yield. Its expense ratio is 0.06%, meaning it is relatively inexpensive to hold in relation to other exchange-traded funds.


Why choose IJR? Exposure to U.S. small cap stocks is its primary benefit. The fund also has low cost attached to it and is tax efficient. It also makes for a good core of a portfolio to seek long-term growth.

However, as with any opportunity, potential investors should conduct their own due diligence in deciding whether or not this fund fits their own individual investing needs and portfolio goals.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.


Wednesdays Mean Wisdom

Wednesdays are all about wisdom, and that’s particularly true at my podcast and lifestyle website, Way of the Renaissance Man.

This week’s insight was inspired by the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

It’s been 59 years since President Kennedy’s assassination, but his memory remains alive in the heart of America. 

In this slice of presidential wisdom, Kennedy offers up a thought on gratitude, and the importance of acting on that sublime feeling. 

To listen to this JFK-inspired insight, check out this week’s Wednesday Wisdom at Way of the Renaissance Man


In case you missed it…

What A Wonderful World 

I was recently at a gathering of musician friends, and one of them asked me what my favorite song was. After a brief pause, I replied with a title that surprised my fellow artists. 

“‘What A Wonderful World,’ by Louis Armstrong,” I answered.

After digesting the surprised looks in the room, I went on to tell everyone why this was my favorite song. You see, this song’s lyrics and melody reflect what I call the “benevolent universe” premise. 

The idea here, in essence, is that despite the peril, pain and struggle of life, the achievement of one’s values in this world is possible. Moreover, success, happiness and a deep sense of fulfillment can be attained — if you have a concentrated mind and a grateful heart willing to fight for it.

Let’s look at the lyrics here of “What A Wonderful World” in detail, and I’ll show you what I mean. 

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The opening verse tells us that nature (e.g., the trees and roses that bloom), are proper subjects of human enjoyment, and that they are there for us to appreciate and admire. That realization right there makes this a wonderful world. 

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

In the second verse, we are reminded that bright days and dark nights, i.e., good times and bad times, are a natural part of the human condition, and thus both should be celebrated.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin’, “How do you do?”
They’re really sayin’, “I love you”

The lyrics in the bridge are perhaps my favorite, as friendship, human connection and love for your fellow sapiens is one of the most important values one can act to gain and/or keep.  

I hear babies cryin’, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah!

In the last verse, we get life viewed with an optimistic tone and sense of wonder about the future, a future that will be better for our children, and presumably better because of things we’ve done. Notice there is no bitterness here about missed opportunity. Rather, there’s a happiness that this benevolent universe will continue to thrive for all mankind.

Finally, and this is very important, there is the “Oh yeah!” at the end of the song, sung so brilliantly by Armstrong. This simple phrase serves as an effusive-yet-subtle affirmation of existence that delivers that message better than just about any line I’ve heard in any song.

It is for these reasons that I call “What A Wonderful World” my favorite song. And it’s a song particularly appropriate for this Thanksgiving week, because when you view the world as wonderful, you become thankful for it. And, as William Blake once mused, “The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”

Now, it’s your turn. What is your favorite song, and why? I’d love to find out, so send me an email and let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Charity Like A Dog 

“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”

— Jack London 

The great novelist’s two most famous works, “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” demonstrate that he knew quite a lot about dogs. But in the quote here, London shows that he also knew the real meaning of charity.  

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

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