Where the puck? How the big picture can help direct our play

Where the puck? How the big picture can help direct our play


Where the puck? How the big picture can help direct our play

A future of fewer babies, older people and smarter machines should inform our investment decisions, writes Adrian Saville

History is one of investors’ greatest teachers, offering rich lessons and valuable guiding principles. But this aspect of investing is a level playing field — the past is “open access”. The distinction of the skilled investor lies in the discipline of applying the lessons and principles from history to the future. As Wayne Gretzky, widely regarded as the greatest ice-hockey player yet, eloquently puts it: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

The Atlantic: “The track record of expert forecasters … is dismal. In business, esteemed (and lavishly compensated) forecasters routinely are wildly wrong in their predictions of everything from the next stock market correction to the next housing boom.”

Three such “big-picture” drivers that will shape markets over the next five years include fewer babies, older people, and smarter machines:

century, no country in the world had a life expectancy over 40 years. As recently as 1960 the average life expectancy for all countries was 51. Yet the country with the lowest life expectancy now is the Central African Republic at 53 years, and the world average stands at 72 years. Japan leads the world in life expectancy, having lifted from 68 in 1960 to 84 today. Thus, despite falling fertility rates, the world population continues to grow — and to grey.

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