Some pundits have begun claiming that we are in a cold war with China. Terminology aside, it is an open, high stakes competition for global economic dominance. In this context, it is worth taking the time to learn about why Huawei, the Chinese telecom company, matters so much. We also have an update about important retirement plan legislation (the so-called “Secure Act”). If time permits, I encourage readers to sample some of the Notes that touch on topics that speak to well-being and quality of life. My personal favorite? That would have to be the article about Frances Arnold, the scientist extraordinaire!
- Walling Off Huawei? Huawei is now the world’s second-largest cell-phone maker after Samsung. It, and other Chinese telecom companies, control roughly half of the networks for global internet traffic. This control gives it immense clout to spy on global communications or even to shut important communications down completely. President Trump wants to “wall it off” and, in effect, create two Internets. NYT
- The Secure Act: The House has passed legislation with bipartisan support that makes important changes to retirement plan regulation, including IRAs. We expect some version of this legislation to pass in the Senate as well. Among other changes, we may be looking at an increase in the required minimum distribution age for retirement accounts to 72 (up from 70½) and a repeal of the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions (currently 70½). CNBC
- Outstanding Portland Restaurants: Those who live in or near Portland (Maine) are well aware of all the superb restaurant choices available to us, but it is still fun to see what the Boston Globe recommends for “this bona fide food scene”. This list of recommendations immediately became my new bucket list for eating out. Boston Globe
- A New Cold War? The tariff conflict with China is just one facet of our global rivalry with China. CNBC China indicates it will never give in to U.S. demands to change its state-run economy, which may be at the heart of the impasse in tariff negotiations. CNBC
- Tariffs Will Hurt U.S. Growth: A Nomura economist estimates that U.S. inflation may increase 0.5% over the next twelve months due to the tariff increases and that economic growth will suffer. CNBC
- Scientist Frances Arnold: I found this article about Frances Arnold, a Nobel prize winner for Chemistry, enthralling. Everyone has a story, but hers is far more interesting than most. Her personal story is compelling, and she has endured much adversity in her private life. But she is brilliant, engaging and is conducting groundbreaking scientific research, having pioneered a new field in chemistry, drawing upon evolutionary principles. NYT
- Take a MasterClass? Interested in learning a new skill? Improve your cooking? Playing poker? Writing? How about taking lessons on writing from Malcolm Gladwell? I recently came across a resource featuring accomplished experts teaching a long list of various skills online. I encourage all to check it out! MasterClass
- Let’s All Koselig: Why do happiness surveys consistently rank Norway and many other Scandinavian countries so high? Shouldn’t the cold weather and relatively shorter days be a pervasive downer? One explanation is that Norwegians are good at “koselig,” which translates, more or less, to coziness. But the experts say that there is much more to koselig, including social bonds and spending time in nature, activities that research tells us correlate highly with happiness. CNN
- Florida Wins Big: A major demographic trend is for the wealthy to migrate out of the northern states. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are the biggest losers. Florida is the big winner, then South Carolina. Apparently, there is insufficient “koseliging” in these northern U.S. states going on. Bloomberg
Feel free to send us feedback on any topic or make a request or to forward the notes on to anyone who might be interested.