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Investing in a Rapidly Changing World

Written by Steve Ciaccio, MBA, CPA, CFP®

We invest so that we can increase our wealth and income as we move into the future. As much as it is important for all of us to have a vision of our goals for the future, we should also have a vision of what the world will be like in the future so that we can plan to succeed as the world progresses.

One example of how technology could impact our future is the development of driverless cars that is currently underway. Here is a very hypothetical future scenario. With a world of driverless cars, you might simply need to let “the system” know where you want to go and when. A driverless car will be dispatched to pick you up and drive you to your destination. Then, it will efficiently move itself to another nearby person who needs a ride to somewhere else, and so on. When needed, the car will bring itself “home” to refuel itself.

Who could benefit and who could lose from this scenario? If one car will be able to shuttle several people per day, there might be significantly fewer vehicles needed. Many vehicles could also be smaller since they might tend to carry one passenger at a time. Ride sharing could be more common, saving even more. As such, auto makers could have fewer sales, but “system” owners might profit. It would seem that the technology developers could benefit from those patents. Component manufactures might benefit as well. With fewer cars and fewer miles driven, maybe less fuel will be used and less pollution created. The possibilities for this scenario go on.

Is a large fleet of robotic cars roaming the streets a realistic concept for the future? Consider that currently some major mail order fulfillment centers that “pick and pack” several thousand items per day are operated to a large extent by fleets of roving robots. The robots scurry about the warehouse taking products from bins and delivering them to shipping boxes. Robots do much of today’s manufacturing, and some can also see what they are building. How likely did smart phones seem 20 years ago?

Seeing how far technology has come during the past 20 years, it is conceivable that the possibilities for the future are only as limited as human imagination. Here are just a few of the areas that I believe have potential for significant change in the future:

  • Driverless cars and drones
  • 3-D printing
  • Robotics and robotic vision
  • Smart homes
  • Nanotechnology
  • Of course, computers and communication

We do not know if the above scenario will actually happen, but it is an example of how a vision of the future can guide your investment choices, and your financial plan. Some of the questions to consider are: Which technologies will prevail? Which companies will lead, and which will fall behind? Which currently popular products will disappear? How should we invest in a rapidly evolving world? Among other things, we will need to watch vigilantly for emerging innovators in all economic sectors and industries (and some future industries that do not even exist yet). We need to be ready for the future because the future comes every day.

All the best to you!

Steve Ciaccio is a Wealth Advisor and founder of Ciaccio Wealth Management, located at 232 South Batavia Avenue, Suite B, Batavia. He can be reached at 630-454-4599 The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment or tax advice or recommendations for any individual.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC Copyright Steve Ciaccio 2015

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