Archive: Business & Economy

May 17th, 2013 | By Contributing Writer | Posted in Business & Economy | Comments Off

Safeguarding your child’s financial future

childsavingsGuest blog by Aimee Claire

Planning for a child’s financial future used to be considered a luxury, with only the wealthiest families able to provide for their life and education through trust funds or estates.   Today, tools for safeguarding the financial security of a child are available to everyone, and parents will want to take advantage of these many tools and schemes throughout their child’s life, often starting from birth.

There are several reasons why it is wise to plan for a child’s financial future.   Many parents simply want to save for their child’s educational future, putting aside money from an early age for a college education.   Providing for the child in the event of parents becoming ill or dying is also a consideration and an important reason to make financial plans for their protection.   Other parents may wish to leave property or other wealth to their child – a financial legacy with meaning.

Whatever direction a family chooses to go will be guided by their own personal financial goals and situation.   The one constant investing principle throughout is that regardless of what financial plan is chosen, it is vital to start saving for the child’s future as early as possible.

Ways to secure a child’s financial future

The first step for anyone looking to provide for their child is to make sure that their will is up-to-date.   A well-written will may provide for not only the financial protection and future of a child, but also for their physical well being in the event of the death of the parent(s).   For a young child, establishing a trust will see to it that assets are handled appropriately while at the same time protecting the interests of the child.

Life insurance should also be a consideration.   A life insurance policy is a valuable way to provide for loved ones after death, and also to provide a source for emergency funding during life.   A life insurance policy can be maintained by the parents for a relatively small monthly investment.

There are many different ways to save for college, but by far one of the most popular and successful is the 529 college savings plan.   Named for the IRS Code that authorizes its existence, the 529 is flexible and offers parents numerous tax advantages and the ability to retain control of their assets.

Other options for saving for a child include savings accounts and custodial brokerage accounts. Savings accounts, such as the Uniform Transfer to Minors Account (UTMA) or the Uniform Gift to Minors Account (UGMA), may be opened and managed through online banking; the child will get control of the Discover online banking account when they reach legal age.

For broader savings options many parents consider custodial brokerage accounts.   Easy to open, flexible and inexpensive, these accounts are taxed under a lower child’s rate and are filed under the child’s social security number rather than that of the parent(s). Like the savings accounts, the child will gain access to the money at legal age.

*About the Author: Aimee Claire is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with big ideas for the future. She is fascinated by the possibilities of modern technology, and what it could do for businesses in the future.

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May 2nd, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Innovation | 3 Comments

Future of Jobs and Employment

Where will future jobs come from? There are few questions that I get asked more than this one. It is becoming generally accepted that the fall off in jobs that came with the great recession in the States and the age of austerity in Europe, may not come back, at least not in the same numbers and at the same quality and pay. People going back to work as the recession has wound down have often ended up in jobs that pay less and are lower level than the job they lost. Is this the future?

I personally recall two other times, after the recessions of the early 1980’s and the early 1990’s when the conventional wisdom was that we had entered a new era of jobless growth. Each of those times the conventional wisdom was wrong, and new inventions, new economic opportunities and an expanding global economy eventually produced huge numbers of new, good jobs. Still, might this be the time that the prediction of a jobless future comes true?

I do not think so. I believe that history is more likely to repeat itself and produce unprecedented levels of employment in the coming two decades. But I use the term employment carefully, because I do think that the nature of work is changing, a lot. Define a job as going to work for someone else, doing work you are largely instructed to do, for a given time each day and each week, in a position that is going to last for many years, in exchange for which you receive “security” in the form of pay and health care and retirement benefits. That world is indeed disappearing. What is different looking ahead is that employment will be more individualized, more stint-based, more oriented toward entrepreneurship and solopreneurs, and in most cases require an up-skilling of more of the workforce.

This requires a re-thinking of many things. Jay Ackroyd points out that the required re-thinking is broad in scope:

If we’re entering a world of job-shifting entrepreneurship, with high-risk/high-reward opportunities for the talented and diligent,* then we need a government that provides a foundation for that world. That means not just a really solid set of social insurance programs independent of people’s jobs, like health care and pensions, but also a stronger basic infrastructure.

Pull optical fiber to every post office and set up public wireless. Give everyone a bank account at the Fed. Restore access to inexpensive higher education. Stop the copyright and patent madness. The best public policy in Tommy’s [Thomas Friedman] world would eliminate the parasitic monopolists choking off innovation and opportunity.

We are not there yet, but should go there. Interestingly one of the institutions focusing on jobs is the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. They have been charged with a mission by their directors to help the nation focus on how to develop the workforce of the future. To that end one the things they have been doing is to sponsor and host conferences on future workforce training. I’ve had the opportunity to provide keynote speeches to two of them, last Fall in Kansas City, and in January of 2013 in Atlanta. The latter was a special gathering of the Presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. That program was not recorded, but the earlier event in Kansas City was video recorded, and highlight videos were produced. You can see several of them here.

My keynote speech that kicked off that conference was excerpted in the video below. Fast forward to the 7:50 mark if you want to see what I had to say about the digital native generation and the knowledge value economy and what they mean for the future of work.



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May 1st, 2013 | By Glen Hiemstra | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Innovation, New at Futurist.com, Science & Tech | Comments Off

Fast Co.Exist welcomes Glen to their Futurist Forum

FastCo Futurists

I was pleased this spring to join 5 other leading futurists as resident advisers on the future for Fast Company and their online endeavor FastCo Exist. We are called The Futurist Forum and our task is to imagine the future. The image above is a page from the May 2013 edition of Fast Company Magazine introducing the 6 experts to the magazine’s readers.

We each will be contributing articles periodically and participating in webcasts and online conversations. You can find my initial piece here, on the future of transportation. I highlight the prospects for solar roadways and a magnetic induction system for buses from the Wave company.

Check out the other’s in this forum, as they have very interesting things to say.

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April 16th, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Environment & Energy, Science & Tech, Space | 5 Comments

Top 10 Future Careers: 2050 and 2100

iStock_000005407395LargeIn 2001 Glen wrote a blog called Top 10 Future Careers.  Now here’s what we’re thinking about future employment.

Popular Careers in 2050:

• Dental Hygienist
• Human Resources Specialist
• Pharmacist
• Biotechnology Salesman
• Biomedical Engineer
• Entrepreneur
• Programmer/Software Developer
• Network and Computer Systems Administrator
• Lawyer
• Nuclear and Solar Power Engineer

Popular Careers in 2100:

• Gene Programmer
• Food Engineer
• Bioengineer
• Brain Augmenter
• Weather Controller
• Spaceport Traffic Control
• Human-related Spacecraft Maintenance
• Nature Conservationist
• Ethics Lawyer- for memory augmentation, genetic programming, etc.
• Domestic Robot Programmer

What do you think jobs will look like in 2050 or 2100? Let us know in the comments.

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January 2nd, 2013 | By Mallory Smith | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy, Innovation, Science & Tech | Comments Off

Starting the New Year off right with Arthur C. Clarke

“The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic.” -Arthur C. Clarke

In 1964 Arthur C. Clarke made some wild assumptions about the future in  this clip below from BBC’s Horizon programme.

In this clip Clarke barely touches on the future of communication and its effect on cities, “The traditional role of the city as a meeting point for man will have ceased to make any sense—men will no longer commute, they will communicate.”

Interested in hearing more accurate predictions from Clarke? Watch the full version of this episode, parts 1 & 2, below.


And just for fun check out Clarke’s 2008 discussion about the Space Elevator.

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