• THE ARTIFICIAL ‘STIMULUS’ IS “DOING PLENTY TO BOOST THE STOCK MARKET, but not so much for the American economy in general… If we were truly in a ‘recovery,’ we should see it in people’s incomes, home sales, holiday sales, and quality jobs being filled by recent graduates.” Percentage increases above the last few dismal years make headlines but, relative to real productivity in previous years, it’s still dismal. Adjusted for inflation, a full-time worker “earns less than his analog did in 1987… Household income is still down from 2007 levels… New home sales are still the slowest in five decades… The percentage of young adults in the work force is as low as the 1970s, with nearly half of recent college grads working in jobs that don’t require a degree.” Despite the massive money printing and federal borrowing to a quite-possibly unsustainable level, even the Dow Jones stock average is only roughly at the same level it was in 2000, after adjustment for inflation. So ‘caution’ in presuming the economic rebound is ‘real’ and stay vigilant. [FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE REPORT – Feb 14]
  • ALSO BE AWARE THAT “80% OF ACTIVELY-MANAGED INVESTMENT FUNDS UNDERPERFORM SIMPLE INDEX FUNDS, net of management fees over 10 to 15-year periods… and 401(K) fees cost investors up to six-figure difference in lifetime earnings… a crushingly expensive mistake.” The reason is compounding interest impact on the typical 1.25% incremental fee, with substantial dollar effect after only a few years, based on charts from Vanguard. DCG can help guide you to top-performing Index Fund managers for thorough analysis of personal investment strategy. [THE ATLANTIC.COM – Feb 15, 14]
  • 3-D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY IS BECOMING MAINSTREAM, with desktop printers costing as little as $300 now capable of “building three-dimensional objects by spray materials in successive layers through special nozzles.” Products range from small stuff (toys, tools, bongs, plastic guns, etc) to medical devices (hip & jawbone replacements, gene chips, stem cell controls & electronic circuits, even sonogram sculptures) to the “entire interior & exterior for a hybrid auto in development to reach 200MPG.” One big unresolved issue is that “many desktop 3-D printers produce emissions from certain plastics linked to health issues ranging from asthma to strokes.” But 3-D printing is here to stay, and expanding. [DISCOVER – Mar 14]
  • “STRATEGY AND POLICY GO HAND IN HAND; Policy is not only among the most powerful tools a company can use to propel its culture and employee behavior in new directions, but can also contribute significantly to the effective implementation of strategy.” A knowledgeable Advisor and/or well-functioning Board of Advisors is often the critical component for development of effective strategy – along with monitoring risks, planning succession, and other forward-looking activities. DCG have decades of experience in helping businesses get to the next level; we can help you. [McKINSEY QUARTERLY – Feb 14]
  • MAYO CLINIC SCIENTISTS RECENTLY DISCOVERED ‘BRAINSPOTS’ IN OVER 60% OF MIDDLE-AGED PEOPLE. Based on analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs) and history, this consistently correlated to “stroke, dementia and cognitive impairment… This condition (Leukoaraiosis, stemming from poor blood flow in the brain) has been found in at least 40% and as high as 95% of otherwise apparently healthy adults over age 50…with increased risk of nearly seven times for ‘falls’… Currently, there is no reliable treatment but, not surprisingly, lifestyle and dietary interventions have proven most effective in managing ‘executive functions’ such as memory processing, decision-making, and priority-setting, as well as more basic functions like motor coordination, balance and maintaining a normal gait.” [LIFE EXTENSION – Mar 14]
  • “AMERICA IS THE ONLY INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRY THAT SENDS POLITICAL APPOINTEES AS AMBASSADORS… often a grave insult to competent foreign service officers… as well as signal to the host country that the U.S. doesn’t take it seriously.” Currently, over 50% of Ambassadorship appointments are “major donors or bundlers to President Obama’s 2012 campaign,” including Embassy representatives who’ve never been to the country, don’t speak the language, and a soap opera producer headed to a country where “anti-Semitism is on the rise and they’re cracking down on dissent.” [THE WEEK – Feb 28, 14]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “The lure of social network and technology” appears to be drawing kids from team sports. The most popular – basketball, soccer, baseball, football – have dropped by over 4% since 2008, according to Wall St. Journal.

            For an awesome montage of our world’s evolution in 2 minutes: http://marcbrecy.perso.neuf.fr/history.html