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International Investments and Bubbles of Wealth III

investment trends

By
Gary Scott

Yesterday’s message looked at the demographic fact that America’s population is getting younger.  A new baby boom that adds 125 million people by 2050 may be one answer to America’s current baby boomer retirement, Social Security and Medicaid problem.  

Armed with new technology, the new workers will bring productivity that can run future governments and pay off government debt.

This new wave of young Americans will create many other types of opportunity in health care, housing, pollution control, waste management, environmental control, etc. 

There are also some special avenues where it may make sense to place some of our wealth. One major opportunity concerns the health of our youth.  Few priorities are as urgent if the U.S. wishes to remain a great nation. No country filled with sick, imbalanced workers can do well.

A recent June 30 2005 Economist article , "Clearly Unhealthy", says:         

“These days, Americans have many reasons to worry about how they will make ends meet when they retire. Social Security is said to be teetering; corporate and public pension plans are saddled with big deficits. The fastest-growing problem, however, is that rocketing costs are making it increasingly hard for employers to pay for the health care that many of them provide for retired staff. Many companies—think of General Motors—are finding the sums unpleasant.

“Currently, nearly all governments operate on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. They dole out cash to pay for the medical care of those who have retired, but set none aside for future obligations. Their accounts have mirrored this, reflecting only current health-care expenditures and not the cost of promises that are yet to come due. This, critics say, lets governments make promises without counting the cost to be borne by future taxpayers.

“But the effect on the public sector could be much bigger, because government employers are likelier to provide health-care benefits to retired staff (77% of “large” governments do so, against 36% of comparable companies, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation). Public-sector benefits also tend to be more generous.

“The unfunded liabilities that will come to light are likely to be huge, dwarfing many pension deficits, because pensions are pre-funded. Mercer Consulting reckons that governments that have not set aside money for future obligations will face liabilities 40-60 times the current annual cost of retirees' health care. So California, for instance, which allocated $895m for retirees' health care in the 2005-06 budget, could have an unfunded OPEB liability of around $36 billion.”

This is why we have long advocated investing in “wellness”. Details at September 2002 message

Recently Colin Powell (along with AOL co-founder Steve Case and former Fannie Mae chief Raines) invested in a new health care business called Revolution Health Group. Powell said, “There’s no part of American life right now that is more in need of imagination and new ideas than health care.”

The Revolution Health Group aims at investing in companies that offer a range of consumer-focused health service data on price and quality so patients can make more informed choices.

This is just one of the first signs that a much needed health policy change will shift the burden of health back to the individual. In the initial stages of this trend, the greatest focus may be spent on the elderly and workers rather than youth.

Now let’s connect three ideas.

#1: We have a wellness revolution in which we can invest.
#2: Most of this wellness attention is being focused on wellness for retirees.
#3: We have a new baby boom in our midst.


These three ideas suggest that one segment that might be ignored for awhile is wellness for kids. But this is the most important area of
health.

I have empathy for our retired folk (after all I am of this age). Yet retirees will not want to bear the burden of retirement. This we will leave to the kids. 

Our youth are our future. Their physical, mental and emotional health are the most valuable assets our nation can possess. Our country must find new (or return to old) ways to reduce children’s mental, physical and emotional problems such as obesity and bring back the strength and health to our youth. Otherwise our future is up the creek!

When the most vital segment of the most vital economic problems is ignored mega-opportunity is created!

Where would one invest?

Our kids today face many health problems, child obesity and Attention Deficit Syndrome (ADS), being two big ones. 

There will be hundreds of opportunities in this youth segment. For example one highly publicized problem right now is the use of Thimerosal in children’s vaccines.

There have been numerous emails and websites suggesting that Thimerosal may increase autism.

Thimerosal is nearly 50% mercury and according the the FDA.

“One final piece of data regarding thimerosal is worth noting. At the initial National Vaccine Advisory Committee-sponsored meeting on thimerosal in 1999, concerns were expressed that infants may lack the ability to eliminate mercury.”

The FDA also states at that site:

“As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued two Joint Statements, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible (CDC 1999) and (CDC 2000). The U.S. Public Health Service agencies have collaborated with various investigators to initiate further studies to better understand any possible health effects from exposure to thimerosal in vaccines.”

Watch for problems like this. The solutions (in this case a replacement for Thimerosal) create opportunity.

This gives those who see a bigger picture a chance to get into youth health investments before other investors wake up to the absolute importance of healthy kids.

Areas of opportunity are easy to figure out.  Look at the bad habits our youth possess. Look at restaurants and invest in those that begin to offer healthy youth meals and advertise this way. 

Look for healthy movies and Internet content and technology that lead youth towards a healthy trend rather than the smut, profanity and violent action that currently bombards them. 

Look for technology, teaching and lifestyles that slow the young thought processes.  Currently media technology (such as fast moving TV and video frames) shorten attention spans and lead to ADS!

Our youth are our future. Their physical, mental and emotional health is the most valuable asset our nation can possess. Our country must find new (or return to old) ways to reduce child obesity and bring back the strength and health to our youth.

I am betting we will and as an investor I’ll bet some of my savings on businesses offering solutions to such grand problems. 

If you are an investor, I recommend that you bet on this huge social need as well.

Until then, I offer you health and wealth!

Gary


investment trends
International Investments that Sell
updated April 10, 2005
investment trends

 

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