• MILLENNIAL UPDATE: Some 92 million people aged 15 to 35 now comprise the biggest generation in U.S. history and their impact is huge – on their parents as well as the country’s economy. Having come-of-age during years of dramatic economic disruption, technologic change and globalization, the experiences, expectations and behaviors of millennials are quite different than those of Gen X (now 36 – 50) or Baby Boomer (51 – 70) parents. With instant access to product info, pricing and peer reviews, they shop differently; with focus on life balance & wellness, they eat and exercise differently (generally better); less than a quarter now choose to get married and live in their own households. But the biggest societal change is that around a third of adult millennials still receive regular financial support from their parents, including up to 25% still living rent-free at home and/or parents paying for groceries, clothing, cars, vacations, and more. A growing problem is that “even affluent Boomers are putting their retirements at risk by drawing down Retirement funds to subsidize” their kids and the big societal question is whether those kids will be in a position (or willing) to return the favor in their parents’ senior years?   [BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK – Mar 9, 15]
  • ‘STICKY BATON SYNDROME’ RELATES TO INEFFECTIVE FAMILY BUSINESS SUCCESSION, when “the older generation hands over management in theory, but in practice remains in control of what really matters… often excluding successors from hands-on-involvement and experience necessary to run a company… and the opportunity to gain credibility and trust among key stakeholders” (particularly other family members). A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that nearly three-quarters of U.S. family businesses do not have a documented, reality-based succession plan in place for senior roles – 40% acknowledged “it would be difficult to hand over complete control” and 56% intend “to remain involved longer than the optimal time to ensure a smooth transition.” DCG have decades of experience in this area and Dennis is a Galliard Certified Family Business Advisor. Let us help in this most critical factor for family legacy and protection.  [CFO MAGAZINE – Feb 15]
  • SMARTPHONE PLUG-IN MEDICAL DEVICES ARE NOT FAR AWAY, just pending FDA approval. They involve a finger-prick blood sample or swab of mouth fluid biologically measured by what’s known as ‘lab on a chip,’ then transmitted by App for analysis of infections ranging from the flu or strep throat to HIV, MRSA or syphilis. “By offering lab-type diagnostics to almost any population with access to a Smartphone, such devices would be particularly useful in remote and resource-poor areas, but they are bound to give hypochondriacs yet another reason to fiddle with their handsets.” [THE ECONOMIST – Mar 7, 15]
  • THE U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FELL THIS MONTH to 5.5% – “TOP END OF THE RANGE CONSIDERED NORMAL by most Federal Reserve policymakers” despite the reservation of Chairwoman Yellen who reported to Congress that “while the labor market has seen improvement, too many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed.” Reality is that employment ‘Recovery’ statistics are bogus. The facts are that: (1) Since 2008, actual full-time jobs have decreased by 140,000; (2) The primary counting flaw is that government now considers nearly 93 million of ‘long-term unemployed’ workers over age 16 to be “not a part of the labor force”; (3) Add in the 8.7 million officially unemployed and that means over 100 million not working – hardly fitting the definition of ‘full employment’; (4) Of those who are employed, well over half only work part-time (below 30 hours/wk) with, according to Social Security Admin, around 40% making less than $20K/yr and 60% making below $40K/yr. While politicians and mainstream media pronounce that all is well, “if the unemployment rate was calculated honestly, the real rate is currently above 23% according to shadowstats.com.  [WALL ST. JOURNAL – Mar 6, and ECONOMICCOLLAPSEBLOG.COM – Mar 8, 15]
  • MEANWHILE, USE OF DEAD PEOPLES’ SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS CONTINUES OUT OF CONTROL. “Tens of thousands of these numbers are currently being used to report wages of illegal immigrants, fraudulently apply for benefits, and open bank accounts.” But the kicker is that SSA’s Inspector General “has identified 5 million active SSNumbers for people aged 112 and older, for whom no death date has been entered in the ‘Death Master File’… since SSA lacks the controls necessary to annote death information for those who exceed ‘maximum reasonable life expectancies’.” Tragicomedy. [CNS NEWS.COM – Mar 9, 15]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: “War has rules, mud wrestling has rules, but politics has no rules.” – Ross Perot
  • “What a strange thing is memory, and hope; one looks backward, the other forward. The one is of today, the other is the tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain; memory paints pictures of the past and of the day.” – Artist Grandma Moses