Alexander Graham Bell knew in 1918 how we would live in 2018.

One of the most interesting reads of the week was shared by Mawer Investments. Here’s Life in 2018 as predicted by people in 1918.

100 years ago life-changing innovation and invention was on a tear with the Alexander Graham Bell’s, Henry Ford’s and Nicola Tesla’s leading the charge (pun intended). Long distance communication and the telephone was a ‘modern’ invention. From the article …

In 1915, one such “wireless telephony” system had allowed a Virginia man to speak to another in Paris while a man in Honolulu listened in — a distance of 4,900 miles (about 7,886 kilometers), setting the record for the longest distance communication at that time.

Bell marveled at this achievement and the change it had already created, predicting that “this achievement surely foreshadows the time when we may be able to talk with a man in any part of the world by telephone and without wires.”

 

Yes, Mr. Bell understood that the modern day cell phone would be developed. Futurists also knew that those phones would be smart. He went on to add “We shall probably be able to perform at a distance by wireless almost any mechanical operation that can be done at hand,”

And a prediction in Scientific American knew what would be ‘our ride’ in 2018.

It would be water-tight and weather-proof, with sides made entirely of glass, and seats that could be moved anywhere in the vehicle. It would be decked out with power steering, brakes, heating, and a small control board for navigation.

Oh my, they knew about Google maps in 1918. The list goes on it is a fascinating read. It might be even more difficult to predict what our world might look like in 2118 given the rapid pace of technological change and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that might accelerate that change. Our most useful or meaningful areas of change might develop in medical care and energy sources and use – just as a guess or two. Do we really need ‘smart homes’ that we can control from our iPhone? That’s an added convenience, not an advancement that truly changes our quality of life.

Having a clean and renewable energy source for power and transportation – now that will change the world. Curing cancer and Alzheimer’s and other diseases will change the world. Getting clean water to the world’s most poor will be a more than meaningful change for the better.

And speaking of clean energy and change, this was a big week for Elon Musk and Tesla (of course the Tesla automobile and company is named after that same Serbian inventor Nicola Tesla). Check out that link and you’ll see that Mr. Tesla makes Steve Jobs look like an under achiever.

Tesla Logo

Telsa (TSLA) reported earnings this week and against all odds and predictions the company delivered profits for the first time. From Bill Mauer on Seeking Alpha here’s Telsa Q3 Shames Expectations. The company has ramped up production on the electric vehicle ‘for everyone’ with the Model 3. You could say that Elon Musk (who attended Queen’s University) is the Henry Ford of the day. He is out to revolutionize the transportation industry by changing the power source. This might have more than a positive effect on the environment, and it will disrupt the industries and workers that support or profit from the current transportation models in use. The Tesla electric car has only 18 moving parts compared to thousands for a regular gas-driven vehicle. There’s not much to break. It’s estimated that once they work out any bugs these vehicles could travel for 1,000,000 kms without the need for much or any repair (battery sources excluded). There is no oil or gas or many other lubricants required of course. Do those industries go away. Do service stations go away, or change? Do repair shops disappear? Oil change shops? Such is the power of creative destruction.

But business pops up elsewhere of course. The introduction of smart phones certainly put more folks to work in more areas from technology to infrastructure to sales than the staid old Bell home phone. With respect to the electric car, a good friend of mine who is an electrician is busy installing home charging stations for those Telsa’s. Most have been for the higher end and more expensive Tesla’s. Some of his clients have included several NHL hockey players. Destruction creates new opportunities.

On the financial literacy or education front, Telsa provided a potential teaching opportunity for my 18 year old son. A few months ago he offered that Telsa was a no-brainer and that the company would eventually kill the competition.

‘Everyone will be driving a Tesla eventually’.

Well that sounds like a great investment was my response. I offered to buy him a share or two of Tesla, using his money of course. Shares are over $300 US. He had the potential to make some good monies, and I also let him know that he could lose money as well if Tesla does not figure out how to become profitable. He declined, but it’s not too late just because the stock shot up this week.

TeslaStock

In fact it might be a more sensible investment now that they’re ‘making money’. I will go back to my son with that offer. Of course at the same time I can teach him about the risks associated with investing in just one company. I’ll show him how one might create a sensible Balanced Portfolio using ETFs. Here’s my recent post The Classic Balanced Portfolio. Stocks for Growth, Bonds for Ballast.

But many of us like to own a stock (company) or two that we really believe in. We just might ensure that we have that core portfolio and keep the stock picking to a minimum.

And certainly even our core portfolios would have taken a hit recently. On that volatility front Jonathan Chevreau shared an interesting post on the investment clichés that get thrown around during times of market turmoil. The author of the post is Adrian Mastracci, it’s a fun read.

I have been continually reminding my readers that volatility is all normal and expected stock market behaviour. A wonderful graphic arrived in my inbox from Carl Richards, the author of the must-read Behaviour Gap. It was a great reminder and was worth a timely share on Twitter and LinkedIn, and well, now here …

Behaviour Gap

We can’t control the stock markets. But we can control our asset allocation and the fees that we pay. Why worry about stuff that is out of our control? Keep adding more monies on a regular schedule.

And on great reads Robb Engen on Boomer and Echo took a look at the wonderful The Essential Retirement Guide from Fred Vettese. That is on my list of books to finish. Full disclosure, I took in a few free chapters while at Indigo, but I promise to buy the book, honest. Mr. Vettesse writes about being able to spend at a very aggressive 5% (of assets) rate. In an article for Boomer and Echo I had looked at the spend rate for retirees with The 4% Rule: Is There a New Normal for Canadian Retirees?

On retirement funding a single retiree asks Jason Heath how she might fund her retirement. Here’s Drawing down retirement savings as a single senior. Of course that’s a touch question and without the full picture there can be as many questions as answers. This brings to light that for many, or most, it makes sense to talk to a fee-for-service financial planner with tax and investment expertise. Most of us will need that financial check-up in the accumulation stage and especially as we prepare for funding our retirement. There are so many moving parts with respect to our retirement finances and situation. Consider advice at a reasonable rate.

Lastly given that we are winding down the year, we might be thinking about tax planning and preparing out tax filing. On youngandthrifty here’s Best Tax Return Software 2019, authored by Jordan Brown of myalternativelife.com.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions feel free to send a note to cutthecrapinvesting@gmail.com, or post a comment on this article.

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Have a great Friday, and weekend.

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