It's time to stare into the future's blank face and declare what it holds.
It's time for my Fearless Forecasts.
A WOMAN WILL BE ELECTED PRESIDENT IN 2008. Two friends learned this while visiting Ted Turner's Vermejo Park Ranch in northern New Mexico. While there, they heard the foreman observe, "Women are better working with bison because they are used to manipulating bigger, stronger and dumber creatures without the use of force."
Surely, men, bison and voters are ready for a woman's touch.
THE PARTHENOGENESIS MOVEMENT WILL GROW STRONGER. In the odd event that "parthenogenesis" isn't one of the words you regularly use around the breakfast table, it is the process of reproducing without the aid of a male and, of necessity, is based on a single set of chromosomes. This is not a popular idea among us men, particularly at bars around closing time. But it isn't necessary to visit one of Ted Turner's ranches to understand the movement.
Just visit a college campus and check out the ratio of women to men. Women outnumber men. College for women isn't about "a ring by spring or double your money back"--- as young women at a long-closed Boston junior college once said. College is about being productive and self-supporting, a concept many young men fail to grasp.
Then again, it's all part of a distressing pattern that my gender is showing. According to a recent report on defined contribution plans from Vanguard, more men are clueless about money than women. More women than men participate in 401(k) plans at work at all levels of income up to $100,000. Women also save more. This means more adult men than women still believe in the Tooth Fairy.
A RENEGADE SENATOR WILL FILE THE FIRST HONEST LEGISLATION IN DECADES. The new bill, largely inspired by the so-called 2006 "Pension Protection Act," will be called the Truth in Legislation Act. It will require that legislation be titled in a way that describes what will actually happen as a result of the bill.
No sooner was the Pension Protection Act signed into law in 2006 than multitudes of corporations announced that they were going to freeze or otherwise eliminate their defined benefit pension plans. As Plan Sponsor, an industry magazine put it, "What the PPA effectively does is hammer the nail into the defined benefit coffin by revoking the financial wiggle room that encouraged corporations to accept the pension bargain in the first place."
A PRIVATE EQUITY FUND WILL BUY MANHATTAN. Called the Wappinger Fund for the tribe that sold the island in 1626 for 60 Dutch guilders, the Mother of All Private Equity funds will buy Manhattan because, well, they have the money.
GOOGLE WON'T BUY EVERYTHING ELSE. Contrary to the belief (and business plans) of every new Stanford MBA, Google won't buy everything. High-tech desperation will result as new ventures actually have to function and become profitable. Ferrari and Bentley deliveries will be deferred. The problem will appear to be solved when one daring start-up leader says: "Let's be quaint. Let's go public." THE IDENTITY OF THE GREATER FOOL WILL CHANGE. Long assumed to be hapless John Q. Public and silly Johnnie Oddlot, it will be learned that both got smart and started selling their overvalued shares to the new kid on the block, an impulse buyer named Joseph Private Equity.
BLUETOOTH WILL BECOME FASHIONABLE WITH THE ELDERLY. This will happen when someone introduces the first Bluetooth hearing aid. This will allow the hard of hearing to look just like the road warriors we all see at airports, walking Borg-like and talking to the air with blue lights flashing from the apparatus on their ears.
How will we know it's a hearing aid and not a mobile phone?
Easy. The wearers who are talking to an actual person directly in front of them will be hard of hearing; the wearers talking to the air will either be road warriors or people who need to get back on their meds.
COSMOPOLITAN AND MONEY MAGAZINES WILL EXCHANGE EDITORS. Surprisingly, the changes will be minimal. Cosmo will take a broader view, offering new articles with titles like, "Here's a Checklist to Keep Your Sex Life on Track," "What Positions Should You Use in 2007?" and "Can You Trust an Emerging Market? Six Signs of Trouble."
Money magazine will barely change, offering, "Six Hot New Funds" and "Intimate Details Your Fund Manager Won't Share."
WE WILL ALL WORRY A LOT. We'll do that because it's so easy to forget that the only reason we worry about the markets is that we have some money to worry about.
On the web: earlier fearless forecasts
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