AI, diversity, economy, entrepreneurship, new economy, risk management

Diversity Matters… Especially In Business

Even before the economic crisis wrought by the Coronavirus, the economy is changing at a rapid pace. Companies in many sectors that have been pillars of the economy have fallen on hard times. Companies that were leaders in industrial America have seen their market cap fall by 2/3rds in the past year. Leaders in retail have closed hundreds of stores and laid off thousands of people. Even technology companies that started off strong in the past 10 years have suffered setbacks in the past year due to corporate governance issues.

As technology advances, the challenge for businesses to stay competitive becomes amplified. In the last 5 years, advances in robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence) have significantly added to the bottom line of companies. That pace of change seems to be accelerating. But even as technology expands its importance, what will human workforce need to look like.

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economy, entrepreneurship, new economy, retirement, risk management

The Work of Nations: 30 Years On…

When I first read “The Work of Nations” by Robert Reich in the mid-1990s I had almost no background in macroeconomics. (1) But in reading it, Reich was able to effectively describe how radically the economic system was changing as a result of Globalization. Reich at the time was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor and a key member of his economic team.

As context, China’s economy in 1991 was $400 billion compared to $6,174 billion for the US. China entered the global trade organizations in 1992. Today China’s economy is $15.6 trillion compared to $23 trillion for the US for 2021. (11)

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AI, economy, entrepreneurship, new economy, retirement

“Morning in America…”

I was driving into work today and a Chevy Volt sped by me. Yesterday a Tesla Model S was parked in front of my office. In Q2 of 2019 Tesla produced over 72,000 cars, including the mass production version Model3. By Q3 of 2021 Tesla had produced 240,000 cars. (1)

Technology is bringing a renaissance to American manufacturing. (2) New industries and new job descriptions are being created, even as “old economy” jobs become antiquated and outsourced to robots. (3)

Technology is allowing people to use their existing assets in order to bring in more income, such as Uber and Lyft (using the car) and AirBnB (using the house). Websites such as Amazon, Ebay, Shopify and Etsy allow people to open their own virtual shops, without the need for brick and mortar retail space. The internet allows more and more people to connect to influencers and decision-makers, allowing people to earn money as consultants and contractors.

I remember when I was in middle school in the 1970’s, times were hard for my parents… I remember thinking as a teenager ‘I want a simple government job where I don’t have to worry about things like pink slips, bankruptcy, or how are we going to afford presents for Christmas.’

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Climate change, environment, ESG, health, new economy, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI, Taxes

Pending Meat Tax Could Change Economic Behavior

In the past year plant-based meat products have made real inroads into many popular restaurant chains. Many plant-based brands have developed models that make them cost competitive and flavor competitive with animal-based meat products.

Animal-based meats have been criticized on several levels. The role that CAFOs (concentrated animal farming operations) play in deforestation, methane release, pollution, and accelerating climate change. In addition, several recent studies have shown that meat products have many negative health consequences, including cancer. (1)

In a recent paper Fitch Solutions Macro Research found that meat could be the target of new consumption taxes, similar to sugar taxes to fight obesity that have proliferated over the past few years.

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Climate change, environment, ESG, new economy, retirement, risk management, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

What Role Do Moral Values Play in Investment Selection?

As a financial advisor, I am constantly approached by mutual fund and ETF wholesalers who are selling their investment vehicles. Yesterday I was approached by a representative who offered a vehicle that invested and looked at company fundamentals in a way that I believe is important. Before we talked, I asked if these were funds that invest based on sustainable or ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria.

He said, “These funds rank very highly based on ESG ratings.” And when I looked at the Morningstar ratings, they did. However, when I dug deeper several red flags jumped out at me. First, nowhere on the fund prospectus do they mention using screening for sustainability or ESG concerns. The second red flag was when I looked at existing holdings… their top holding is one of the largest US oil companies.

This to me is non-negotiable.

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Climate change, economy, entrepreneurship, environment, ESG, life insurance, new economy, protection, retirement, risk management, Socially Responsible Investing, SRI

Embracing the Future: An Interview with Charlotte Markward

I met Charlotte and her Husband Randy years ago at a Green Drinks in Philadelphia. It was before the days of Tesla, widespread solar power and organic food sections at the grocery store. People got together to share a beer and dream about a future that would be more sustainable. Things have changed a great deal in the past few years.

Charlotte is a graphic designer based in Philadelphia. She has agreed to share some of her experiences and insights so that we all might have an easier path to financial security.

Charlotte has been interested in supporting socially responsible investing for many years. I asked her what it means to her. Charlotte said, “For one thing it’s smart. We have a finite amount of resources and we are running out of them. To continue doing things in the old ways is to set yourself up for failure. Green investment is where the growth will be.”

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