• THE POST-MILLENNIAL GENERATION – KIDS BORN AFTER 2000 BEST KNOWN AS ‘GEN Z’ – have grown up during a period of mass disruption, watching parents lose jobs & retirement savings, older siblings achieve college degrees but struggle for jobs to offset student debt, and technology consistently and rapidly displace itself to the point where old systems (business, political, even daily functional) are visibly failing. Recent research focusing on generational attitudes suggests that over three-in-four Gen Zers now believe getting a 4-year college degree “no longer makes economic sense,” and are instead looking to alternative educational programs “from apprenticeships to bootcamps.” Also known as App Generation and iGens, they have expectations of continuous diversity in work since, “accustomed to flitting between apps, they expect that going online will allow teaching themselves anything they want,” after which over 60% say they “plan to start their own businesses or work independently within five years.” Employers who fail to strategically plan for workplace continuity are at risk; let DCG help mitigate it. [TIME – Dec 25, 17]
  • “WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF A DIGITAL ECONOMIC REVOLUTION, driven by a succession of technologies – the internet, the cloud, big data, robotics, machine learning, and now artificial intelligence… which have steadily provided external intelligence, housed in the virtual economy’s algorithms and machines… bit by bit rendering human activities obsolete… It’s a new era where production matters less than access to that production – i.e. who gets what and how they get it… Today’s virtual economy is not just an Internet of Things, but a source of recognizing, ‘sensing’ and using this ability to make appropriate associations, then to reuse information to act appropriately… while steadily digesting the physical economy and the jobs it provides.” In 1930, John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2030 “the production problem would be solved but machines would cause technological unemployment.” We’re twelve years ahead of schedule and, indeed, many have been and are being displaced, at best forced into low-paying or part-time jobs. “We have entered the Distributive Era.” [McKINSEY QUARTERLY – Oct 17]
  • CANNABIS IS NOW LEGAL IN 29 STATES BUT STILL POSES VARYING CHALLENGES for enterprises gearing up to serve an industry forecasted above $6 billion. Beyond licensing & permitting issues which are locally determined, and risk from last week’s authorization of U.S. attorneys to “decide on their own” whether to intervene despite State legalization, another potential obstacle is from litigation filed under RICO – the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations Act enacted in 1970 to go after mobsters. This statute “allows individuals to file civil complaints (for up to treble damages) against anyone allegedly playing a role in the commission of a crime that harms a plaintiff’s property or business.” Technically, everyone involved in a cannabis business could be liable; a current lawsuit filed by a neighbor opposing a Cambridge Mass dispensary contends that a pot-shop creates “pungent odors, undesirable visitors, higher crime rates, and lower property values,” naming Massachusetts state officials and the company’s bank as co-conspirators. [BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK – Dec 18, 17]
  • ‘REVERSE’ MORTGAGES ARE BECOMING MORE FASHIONABLE FOR SENIORS 62 AND OLDER. These are loans against ‘equity’ in a home (excess of appraised market value over the loan) which requires no payments of interest or principal unless/until the borrower moves, sells the house, or passes away. Proceeds (in the form of a credit line draw down) can be used for any purpose. Most are insured by the FHA, an agency of the U.S. Dep’t of Housing & Urban Development, up to a loan limit of $636,000 and protect the borrower from liability even if accumulated loan & interest balance is below value when sold. Some commercial lenders also offer ‘jumbo’ larger reverse mortgages for high value properties. Borrowers must simply remain current on property insurance, taxes and appropriate maintenance. Particularly for persons unconcerned with their home providing financial legacy to heirs, this can be a very viable retirement strategy.  [REVERSE MORTGAGE MAGAZINE – Sep/Oct 17]

      The perspective of Pope Francis, espoused recently on the Vatican Radio channel: “The Devil is more intelligent than mere mortals and should never be argued with. Satan is not a metaphor or a nebulous concept but a real person armed with dark powers. He is evil, he’s not like mist. He’s not a diffuse thing, he is a person. I’m convinced that one must never converse with Satan – – if you do that, you’ll be lost. He’s more intelligent than us, and he’ll turn you upside down, he’ll make your head spin.”  Wow, who knew?