Life is about more than just money; check out these articles on everyday living and leisure.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the concept of driverless cars – a new technology where computers will replace humans behind the wheel. Although the development of these autonomous vehicles will be gradually at first, the driverless car may become viable about ten or more years down the road.
A driverless world will undoubtedly bring about some exciting social changes – and the transition towards this technology could have implications for investors. A 2016 article from the CFA Institute provides us with a hypothetical preview of this not-so-distant world.
As the demand for driverless cars increases, cities and communities will be able to reuse or develop areas that are currently devoted to parking. A self-driving car will deliver you to your destination and then park itself in a compact high-rise parking facility, where the car will recharge itself (since it will also be electric). When you are ready to leave, you will be able to summon your car to pick you up at the door and take you home.
People living in urban areas might not need to own a vehicle; instead, you could subscribe to a car service that will drive you anywhere. In a city environment, this simple change would lead to a huge reduction in traffic, since many of the cars currently on the road are hunting for a rare parking space. Traffic flows will be faster and less congested, making city life more pleasant; and cities would be more spread out, since fewer people would dread the commute on uncrowded highways.
Additionally, you would no longer be stuck behind the wheel during your commute; instead, you could use that time for productivity or relaxation. Your car could become a mobile office that drives itself around town while you answer emails or make a conference call. If you take a road trip, you would be free to catch up on your TV shows, read or take in the scenery.
In the future, the driverless car would become the chauffeur to school or to kids’ activities while parents have more time to live their own lives. Older people would no longer have to give up the keys to the car when they reach a certain age; instead, they could travel where they pleased without endangering others.
Of course, a driverless society would also eliminate serious road hazards – drunk driving, people texting behind the wheel, people falling asleep – preventing about 30,000 highway deaths every year. Since driverless cars are more precise, a 4-lane highway could be transformed into a 5- or 6-lane road by making the lanes narrower and using the curb space. Driverless cars might move more quickly, with the potential to safely travel at speeds of up to 100 mph. These shifts would nearly eliminate traffic jams, making transportation quicker and more convenient.
Of course, the advent of the driverless car is not entirely rosy from an economic standpoint. Millions of driving jobs would be eliminated. Car insurance companies would suffer, since there would be little need for coverage in a world of nearly zero accidents. Car manufacturers would have to shift their value proposition from a thrilling drive to more robust in-car entertainment systems.
Are you ready for that world?
Special thanks to Bob Veres for his commentary
For years, life expectancy in the U.S. has been among the longest in the world – a natural byproduct of the fact that the U.S. is wealthier than most other nations. Indeed, a recent report from the medical journal The Lancet projects that by 2030, women in the U.S. will live an average of 83.3 years (up from 81.2 today), and men will live an average of 79.5 years (up from 76.5 today).
The report analyzed data on mortality and longevity patterns from 35 industrialized nations (both high-income and emerging nations). The projected increases in American longevity are definitely encouraging; however, perhaps the most interesting aspect of this study is seeing how the rest of the world is catching and even surpassing American seniors in terms of life expectancy.
South Korean women are projected to live to an average age of 90 years in 2030, and women in Spain, Portugal, Slovenia and Switzerland will see average lifespans above 87. South Korea, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark and Switzerland will all see their male citizens survive for more than 80 years on average. In Mexico and the Czech Republic, the lifespans of both men and women will be at levels comparable to the U.S. by 2030.
Why is the U.S. not progressing as fast as other countries? The researchers who generated this report have pointed to the high obesity rates in the U.S. The average American consumes a diet that is less healthy than people from the countries that top the list of global life expectancy.
The U.S. healthcare system also plays a role in longevity outcomes. Although the U.S. spends more of its total GDP on healthcare than any other nation, the quality of care received tends to be top-heavy – meaning that richer Americans can afford much better care than their less-wealthy counterparts.
Millennial Americans – people born between 1982 and 1999 – now represent a larger portion of the U.S. population than Baby Boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964). New research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies demonstrates that Millennials are saving their money at a higher rate than their Baby Boomer counterparts.
Nearly 75% of Millennials are saving for retirement at an earlier age than any previous generation. Half of their generation is putting away 6% of their income or more – a statistic that makes Millennials the best cohort of savers since the Great Depression – despite carrying unprecedented levels of student loan debt. Those who participate in their workplace retirement plans are saving even more (7% per year on average).
That being said, Millennials are not doing an equally good job of investing. The research suggests that many younger Americans are skeptical of or confused by the topic of investing, and tend to keep their savings in cash. That is problematic, since low interest rates essentially drop their return on investment to 0 percent.
In the Transamerica survey, 25% of Millennial respondents said they weren’t sure how their retirement savings were invested. When they were prompted to check, they were more likely to report higher allocations to bonds, money market funds and other low-return investments than their Baby Boomer or Generation X counterparts.
There are a variety of prescriptions for the problem of being under-invested, which is much more easily corrected than bad savings habits. Millennials need to be educated about investing – a subject that is rarely taught in high school or college. The key to guiding Millennials towards financial independence is helping them to become more comfortable with risk.
While everyone knows that the markets will go down from time to time, young people will be more likely to invest if they understand that the markets have always recovered and beaten their previous highs.
Wishing you and your family
a wonderful holiday season
and a prosperous new year!
From left to right: Jessica Barton, Jan Brown, Logan Curti, Danielle Lynch and Kay Anderson
Five members of our CAS family participated in the third annual Run for the Way 5K on Saturday morning at North Collier Regional Park in Naples.
At 7:30 a.m., our group of walkers lined up for the 5K. Each of the participants – Jessica Barton, Jan Brown, Logan Curti, Danielle Lynch and Kay Anderson – completed the course in about 56 minutes.
Jessica, who has run several 5K races this year, organized our team and sparked our interest in the Run for the Way.
“It was by far the most fun race of the year…I’m so glad some of my CAS family joined in,” said Jessica. “They say running is not a team sport because you are only in competition with yourself. But we made it a team sport.”
The Run for the Way was Logan’s first 5K.
“We didn’t break any world records for speed, but it was fun to get some exercise and spend an enjoyable morning with the team,” said Logan. “Plus we were supporting a great cause!”
The 5K run and walk benefitted United Way of Collier County, which encompasses more than 30 local community agencies and hundreds of human services programs. These organizations serve more than 100,000 people in Collier County.
After the race, our CAS team went to Sun N Fun Lagoon to cool off and enjoy the rest of the morning under the Florida sun.
Our journey of 4,000 miles began with a single step.
At the beginning of April, 15 members of our CAS family made a ten-week commitment to enhance their personal wellness. In the spirit of the Blue Zones Project’s concept of moai walking groups, our Naples office formed two teams – “FUNDamentals” and “Let’s Get Fiscal”. Each team walked together once per week for 20-30 minutes.
During the ten-week period, our walking groups took more than nine million steps, which is approximately 4,000 miles. To put our strides into context, the distance we covered is the equivalent of walking from Naples to Denver – and then walking back.
Danielle Lynch, the captain of team FUNDamentals, led the way with almost one million steps. In addition to increasing her own level of physical activity, she continuously challenged her team to get more steps – through motivational emails, verbal encouragement and competitions on the FitBit app.
“This ten-week challenge was very inspiring to me, to get moving on losing some weight,” Danielle said. “Walking weekly really helped me get back on track for exercising.”
Jessica Barton, the captain of Let’s Get Fiscal, focused on “motivating our team by example” – which was exemplified through her participation in several 5k races. She also utilized the FitBit app to offer positive encouragement and motivation for her teammates.
“Over the 10 weeks, the general morale of the office was very high,” Jessica said. “The healthy competition contributed to a more positive workplace.”
Danielle said she experienced noticeable benefits to her physical health, but added that her favorite aspect of the walking group was developing personal relationships with her teammates.
“It was great getting to have some quality time with a few people in the office to chit-chat about their lives, getting to really know someone outside of work,” Danielle said. “And we enjoyed a few laughs along the way!”
“I always learned something new about several of my co-workers on each of our walks,” Jessica added.
Logan Curti, a member of team FUNDamentals, joined the CAS family shortly before we started the walking groups. He said the experience played an important role in helping him adjust to his new job.
“Having the opportunity to connect with my new co-workers on a personal level – and establish those connections right away – was invaluable to me,” Logan said.
Although our walking groups have already logged nine million steps, our collective journey towards lifelong wellness is just beginning.
Team FUNDamentals – Danielle, Logan, Kim, Jill, Theresa, Jasen, Josh
Team Let’s Get Fiscal – Susan H, Denise, Susan B, Rosey, Jessica, Kay
Not pictured: Jason, Kathy