In a previous post, we talked about the Four Horsemen of the Gen-Z Apocalypse. While this might have made for a depressing read, there are strategies we can contemplate to at least mitigate, if not benefit from, the Horsemen. One of the easiest ways might be financial planning, via investments. Let us rephrase the question then – how can we benefit from a dystopian future by investing our money strategically?
Bet on Automation, Robots, and AI
The key to hedge the coming revolution of automation, robots, and AI is to invest in them.* Yes, you need money to do so, which in turn means that the sooner you can make money, the better. Instead of investing in long academic education with questionable payback and uncertain recuperation times, we might be entering an era where less, but safer, money today, might be preferable to more, but uncertain, money later.
Now, how can we invest in new technology? Easy. The financial service industry has sliced and diced the world into countries and industries that are investable with a stroke of a finger on the keyboard. There are several targeted mutual funds, more specifically exchange traded funds available. They focus on robots, AI, automation, and the whole topic of displacement of humans. The beauty of these funds is that they invest in dozens, if not hundreds of companies, in this particular tech space. This diversification is quite useful. Since you don’t know which of the companies will make it and be successful, buying the whole basket is the easiest and least risky way of getting exposure to the sector. Now, as robots and AI take over the world, you as shareholder should profit by enjoying increasing share prices and dividends from the companies of the new overlords.
Playing any industry instead of the widest possible basket of stocks (e.g., the whole US market or European market) is risky. But so is not investing in what seems to be the dystopian future. Are you concerned that you will lose your job one day due to automation, robots, or AI? If so, investing in the companies that might cause your job loss might at least get some of your money back. Investment gains against loss of earned income, so to speak.
Profit from the Bust of the Debt Bubble
When it comes to protecting your money from a currency default or massive inflation due to out-of-control global debt, history has shown the way. You might want to buy some precious metals, invest in timber, agriculture, or other real assets like land or collectibles (e.g., rare coins and art). Holding some foreign currency of a country that is not part of the debt bubble or has proven itself in history, like the Swiss franc, might also work. You can find many authors online that deal with this topic, though nobody has found the proverbial silver bullet. In fact, if you are young and the great financial reset comes in the near future, you might benefit from it – your student debt might be wiped out, and there is not much else you will lose. Thus, though it sounds crazy, the earlier the next debt crisis arrives, the better it might be for you. At least it would be more advantageous than having saved for decades and then lose it all.
Seek Shelter from US-China Rivalry
Since it is not possible to foresee how the US-China rivalry will play out, the prudent thing to do is to invest in both countries. Both countries might be required to stimulate the economy when the world breaks down into two major trading blocks, the US-led and the China-led one. Moreover, buying into defense companies might also help you make some money before and during the shooting. If you really want to hedge against a hot war, you need to hedge against inflation. In all wars, inflation goes up and you need to protect your purchasing power. Gold, real estate, agriculture, etc. might come in handy. The former assumes that no bombs or drones kill you. Thus, maybe you follow Peter Thiel and other billionaires by buying properties abroad in the hope of making it out on time. For the non-1% of the population, a small house in Mexico might do the trick—no need to fly all the way to New Zealand on your private plane.
Invest in Surveillance Dystopia or Escape Routes
You have only limited options here. You can join the bandwagon and put both your working skills and investment dollars into it. Ethics be damned, but maybe you prefer joining the new overlords of Facebook, et al. over becoming a human serf in the new age. Investment opportunities should be galore – blockchain, drones, robots/AI, anti-spy ware, 5G infrastructure, and tons of other high-tech options. As they say, if you cannot change something, at least enjoy it.
The other investment might be a flight ticket to and a residency visa for a country that is a few years behind China, the US, and the UK in terms of surveillance. Why not a small parcel in Nicaragua? It might be better to live like a human and tend a coffee farm than be taped and recorded around the clock. Two bad choices: pick the one you prefer.
Unfortunately, money matters more than anything else when trying to offset or even benefit from the Four Horsemen of the Gen-Z Apocalypse. With small amounts, you can start investing in robots/AI, select real assets, and maybe a small place abroad. Your hedging strategy might not fully protect you, but you might be better off than your neighbor who does not invest in our not-so-rosy future.
* Disclaimer: This is article is not intended to recommend or sell any type of security. It is purely educational. Each investor, unless sufficiently qualified, should always seek professional guidance before putting her money to work. Links to reputable companies that offer international investment options are provided for convenience only. No compensation is received whatsoever.
© Michael Froehls – 2019 – All Rights Reserved
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