Category Archives: Trends

When the Index Beats the Algorithms

You might wonder why there wasn’t more media coverage of one of the most interesting bets ever made in the investment world.  We’re not talking about betting on a company; this bet was made between Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffet and a hedge fund called Protégé Partners, on whether a basket of hedge funds managed by algorithms and super investors would beat a simple S&P 500 index fund over a period of 10 years—which happened to include the Great Recession and one of the longest bull markets in history.  Each side put about $320,000 in 2007, with the proceeds—including all gains—going to charity.

Continue reading When the Index Beats the Algorithms

Kindle

Population in Decline

You’ve probably read some alarming statistics about the world becoming overpopulated, unable to feed itself, and meanwhile using up all the fresh water and energy that is available.  If you found these reports disturbing, and believe that humans are multiplying like jackrabbits, then here’s some good news: it appears that the human birthrate is actually trending downward on a global scale.  Demographers employed by the United Nations have estimated that there will be 140.89 million births in 2018—61,000 fewer than in 2017, and reversing (albeit by a sliver) a longstanding increase in global population.  The demographers project that birthrates will continue to fall through 2050, after which the variables make it impossible to make an accurate prediction.

Continue reading Population in Decline

Kindle

Personal Robots

The robotics revolution, so far confined to factories and the cute little device that roams your house sucking up dirt, is about to hit closer to home.  In Japan, so-called “carerobos” are now helping workers look after the elderly in assisted living facilities.  In one facility, a large-eyed humanoid named Pepper leads the residents in song, while a robotic baby harp seal named Part responds to touch and sound, turning to and nuzzling patients who stroke or talk to it.  Aibo, a robo-dog originally intended for the retail market, is being repurposed as a pet for the elderly.  Pepper also helps monitor the corridors at night, and even leads exercise classes.  A survey found that using robots encouraged over a third of the residents to become more active and autonomous.

Will robots get even more personal?  A survey of 12,000 people of mixed ages worldwide found that up to 27 percent of 18-34-year-olds would be comfortable swapping out a human romantic relationship for a romantic—and sexual—relationship with a robot.  Men were three times more likely than women to form such relationships.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 

Sources:

Japan is embracing nursing-care robots

Around 5,000 nursing-care homes across the country are testing robots. AT SHINTOMI nursing home in Tokyo, men and women sit in a circle following exercise instructions before singing along to a famous children’s song, “Yuyake Koyake” (“The Glowing Sunset”).

Would you date a robot? More than a quarter of millennials say they would replace a human lover with a DROID

A new report suggests that over a quarter of 18-34 year-olds will feel it’s normal to form friendships and even romantic relationships with robots in the future. A new report has looked people’s attitudes to the future of technology. Of 12,000 interviewed, over a quarter of 18-34 year olds said they’d date a robot.

Kindle

Gender differences—In Retirement

 

You may have read that women are far more likely to face poverty in retirement than their male counterparts—but you may not realize just how big the disparity is.  In fact, women are 80% more likely to fall into poverty toward the end of their lives, compared to men, according to a 2016 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.

Continue reading Gender differences—In Retirement

Kindle

False Positive?

We’ve all heard about as much as we can take about the U.S. Fed’s multi-part QE program, and similar stimulus programs instituted by the European Central Bank.  What they mostly have in common is the purchase of government and certain mortgage-backed bonds on the world markets, which has the effect of holding down bond rates and, therefore, borrowing rates.

Continue reading False Positive?

Kindle

Making that Impression

When you meet people, at work, in interviews, at parties, there is a lot of judging going on, and the good or bad impression you make usually isn’t based on the words you say.  A recent article in Forbes magazine suggests that you’re most often evaluated on your unconscious behaviors, the things you probably never think about.

Continue reading Making that Impression

Kindle

Formula for life

If you’re looking for a quick list of ways to improve your physical and mental health, you could do worse than follow a list compiled by Bala Afshar, author of The Pursuit of Social Business Excellence, who works as “chief digital evangelist” for the Salesforce CRM organization.

Continue reading Formula for life

Kindle