The Economy and Investing Today and the Near Future

The January 12 program was presented by past president Bob Novell and Bob Hoffman.

Bob Novell began by challenging Rotarians to think of the changes that will occur in our nation and economy in the next 20 years. Some mega trends including: a low birth rate in the US, immigration challenges, income disparity between the rich (income growing) and the less rich (income declining) and how employment is being impacted by the efficiency of robots and increasing computer technology.

The overall economy is also influenced by aging Baby Boomers going into retirement, challenges with health care, not only with the elderly but with uninsured.  The economy is full speed ahead now, however, worries of another recession and for inflation persist. The Federal Open Market Committee has been raising short term rates and promises to continue to raise rates in 2018.

Will we have another recession like 2007?  Bob thinks not, however, he thinks there will be some pull backs in the market perhaps 10 to 20%.  Other concerns are promises state and local governments have made to retirees that increase pressure on future workers to pay for the retirements, the $20 Trillion National deficit and Student Loan debt. With regard to Student Loan debt, concern is both for the borrowers and the lenders (will some of that debt be forgiven).

Bob Hoffman talked about the importance of diversification in our investing, while we can’t predict exactly what area of our investments will perform best, having diversification in our portfolio assures us that when one area is negatively impacted other areas pick up the difference.

Bob also reviewed Bitcoin a newer digital currency or Cryptocurrency. Bitcoin balances are kept on a public ledger in the cloud. Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.

Bob concluded by answering questions about alternative investments, the impact of the legalization of Marijuana and other non traditional investments. Overall it was a very informative program by our two Rotarians. Many thanks to you both.