Are Things Real Anymore?

Are Things Real Anymore?

Every day we move closer and closer to a virtual world. Embracing the virtual option has created incredible efficiencies in so many aspects of our daily lives. From doctor’s appointments to travel, even the notoriously steadfast financial services industry has made giant leaps over the years, with e-transfers and e-signatures becoming the norm. Newer still, cryptocurrency, that dark horse that defies definition. So how can an investor capitalize on this virtual world? Listen today to ThinkSmart with TMFG to find out.



Rob (00:00):

Hello, this is Rob and Mike from The McClelland Financial Group of Assante capital management. And this is Think Smart with TMFG. Happy new year, everyone today on Think Smart with TMFG, Mike and I are going to be discussing are things real anymore.

Mike (00:21):

Did Santa Claus make it to your house?

Rob (00:23):

Santa Claus did make it to our house.

Mike (00:26):

Must be real.

Rob (00:27):

He must be, I don’t know how we just came down in the morning and there was lots of presents under the tree. I don’t know how they got there. They were actually there though.

Mike (00:36):

So if they’re there, he must be real

Rob (00:38):

Today. I thought we should discuss whether things are real or not real. As having a conversation with my son this morning, and he was talking about he’s got some stomach issues right now. And he said, you know, dad, I’m having to drink decaf coffee, and I’m having to drink non-alcoholic beer and wine. He said, I’m a fraud. I’m just a big faker. And it got me thinking about the whole world has changed and this change has been going on for a long time, but we’ve accepted a virtual world. And so I thought it might be interesting Mike today to go through some of the things that we have accepted virtually.

Mike (01:23):

Well, you were speaking of foods and drinks and things like that. So let’s start off with that.

Rob (01:28):

Growing up as a kid, my sister used to drink diet pop, and she was a little heavy at the time. And so she started drinking tab and I think tab was one of those first diet pops that was available out in the marketplace,

Mike (01:44):

The 1970s in its fullest.

Rob (01:46):

And I hated the stuff I did tested it. I don’t know why, but it wasn’t real to me. And I didn’t like that there was a fake version of pop, but how have things changed? Do we have, Today, we have non-alcoholic beer. We have non-alcoholic wine and not just a couple of them. There’s multiple choices in that whole area. What else has become virtual in terms of food and drink?

Mike (02:13):

Well the big one we’ve seen beyond meat start to move into the marketplace in the last two or three years. And now you can have the impossible meat, which is non-meat burgers. You can have non-meat chicken now. So everything is given you a non-meat option. So it’s been a massive move in the food area.

Rob (02:33):

So we’re starting to accept all these things into our life because we like the original, but maybe there’s a version of the original that’s a little better for us.

Mike (02:43):

I mean, you drink coffee and decaffeinated coffee has been around for years,

Rob (02:47):

Right? And now I drink half-caff. So that allows me to have two coffees as opposed to just one. Which I enjoy. I enjoy my coffee, but I was realizing I was having three coffees a day and my body wasn’t comfortable with that. Now that I’ve gone to half-caff, my body’s completely comfortable with it. But again, it’s not real coffee. It’s like a virtual coffee. It’s kind of like virtual beer. I get the same experience, but I’m not really getting the caffeine per say, which is what really made coffee so successful. What has changed in the world of meeting people in person? So what’s different there. What’s become virtual, where we no longer have to physically meet a person. What’s changed in that world.

Mike (03:31):

I know today at four o’clock I have a doctor’s appointment and he’s going to call me and it’s just going to be to renewal prescription. And I’ll talk for five minutes on the phone. We ask me how my health is and he’ll renew my prescription for me. And to be honest, it’s really efficient. It used to be a pain for me to go into the doctor’s office, set something up, leave work, go back to the doctor’s office. Now it’s a five-minute phone call gets the same thing accomplished.

Rob (03:52):

At four o’clock today. I have a chiropractor appointment. Now that’s not virtual. That’s real because pretty well. I don’t think that’s ever going to be virtual. There’s no real way of doing an adjustment on me from somewhere else. At least not that I know of today, but maybe one day they’ll be able to do that. Think of over the last year, we’ve always had the ability through, whether it was FaceTime or so on. Not always, but certainly in the last few years of having a conversation with someone and you get to see them, but you’re not really there. You’re virtually there. Our zoom appointments, go to meeting appointments. You’re not really there. You’re just virtually there.

Mike (04:31):

It took a while. You know, we started doing these virtual meetings as soon as, or even before the big outbreak hit Canada. The funny thing is when I first came into this COVID lockdown, I had a few clients that wanted to update their wills. And there was a bit of a problem initially, because COVID put a scare into everyone. So they wanted make sure all their estate was updated, but the lawyers, they couldn’t meet with the lawyers and that was causing a problem. But within six months I saw my clients start to have their will done virtually with the lawyers. And they started being able to create a new will, have everything done virtually. There’s been an uptake in using DocuSign right across the board. It seems to be legally accepted. In many cases, I know as a finance institution, we now accept DocuSign for all documents and has made it so no one has to actually walk into your office and scribble their name. I mean, the signatures was the stupidest thing ever. We, we used to always require live signatures. And I don’t know anyone who could tow a fake signature from a live signature.

Rob (05:29):

No, not at all.

Mike (05:31):

As long as it was scribbled, it looked like everyone assumed it was the right signature, but this was this requirement we had for a century or centuries that people had to sign this stuff. And nowadays, I never knew anyone who could tow one signature from the other.

Rob (05:43):

So we just virtually sign documents now. And we have no issue with that.

Mike (05:47):

Yeah. And it accepted it’s much better too. You, you have the persons get a cell phone contact, there’s get two, two types of verification. To be honest, it’s a way better system than a scribbled piece of ink on a piece of paper.

Rob (06:00):

What about travel? How’s travel changed?

Mike (06:02):

Well travel. There’s a, I mean, to start with, we used to always have to stay in hotels and it was generally relatively expensive. It was limited to where you could stay. You had to stay in pretty, pretty much a main metropolis or something to get a decent hotel. And then Airbnb came in and now all of a sudden you can stay in any low town and village and you actually become part of that community. And it’s had a twofold. I mean, number one as a traveler, it’s great. And for people who have properties, they now have a second source of income.

Rob (06:31):

So you’ve got VRBO, you’ve got Airbnb. You can actually go to places and stay in a place that may be even beyond your means. You can stay in some pretty amazing places and some fairly spectacular parts of the world. Whereas before you had to stay in a hotel with thousands of people. Now you can have the house to yourself. Another area where virtual has taken place. Virtual headsets are obviously going to be playing a major role in the future. And eventually they’ll be whether it’s a chip in your brain or whether it’s glasses that you’re wearing, we know we’re going there.

Mike (07:09):

Last week, I was talking to you and I said, what are you doing? He says, I got to go to golf. He said, told me, you have to go to golf game. I said, well, it’s snowing outside. Where are you going to play golf? Tell us a bit about that.

Rob (07:20):

So this week I had a round of golf with my son and another round of golf with my daughter. It was at a golf simulator at, at Thorn hill country club. They’ve got these simulators set up. We were able to play, choose from 60 different courses. And we just go and we play 18 holes. It was, it was amazing. You, you can food and drink. It, but it was all virtual. And afterwards, my son asked my daughter, did you enjoy that? And she said, yes, but I prefer being on a real course and walking.

Mike (07:49):

I see they’re just putting one south of our office too, aren’t they? So they’re going to become pretty popular.

Rob (07:53):

How has the world of art, photography, music, and movies, all of those things have changed. We’re accepting virtual in all of those. Think of NFTs. These Non-fungible token there, you don’t actually own the artwork. You own a virtual piece of the artwork and it has a value, or at least right now, it has a value. You can go on virtual art gallery tours, where you tour some of the most famous art galleries in the world without having to get on a plane and stay on a hotel and spend all that money. Photography is now all digital. We used to have to have a physical picture. And before that they were slides. We had little slides that we headed on. Now, you don’t, you just have a virtual picture, you have them on your phone. You’ve got thousands of pictures on your phone. What about the recording industry? How has that changed, Mike?

Mike (08:45):

Nowadays, everything is digital master and has taken over the recording industry. Now when they have new artists and there still are great artists out there and great singers, but even if they’re not a great, they have auto tune and pitch, correct where they can bring everyone’s voices on to be dead on key through everything. So, a lot of the industry is more looking at the images of people rather than the talent. It’s made a big difference in the quality of everything you see. I of course like the old music better, but it had a lot of mistakes in it. Nowadays music is perfect. I find it a bit boring, but it’s perfect. Right? So, so it’s come a long way.

Rob (09:18):

It was interesting before the pandemic, my wife and I went down to see Ed Sheeran and what was really interesting. It was an amazing performance, but he had no band. He had created a virtual band around him that he got to pick and choose which instruments played. And he selected them without having the band around him for support. And you could not tell that there was not a band there.

Mike (09:43):

Yeah. It’s amazing. You know, I was watching, if you go to the movie industry, it’s Christmas time. So all these different movies are planned. The Never-Ending Story was on. Right. And you remember that movie, it was probably in the eighties right. To early eighties. And you’re watching all the puppets and all this stuff. And it was amazing how cool it was done with those puppets. But they’re so unrealistic when you look at the now and you watch the new movies with all the CGI, the computer generate imaging that comes in, everything is perfect. Every time you see a monster, they’re absolutely perfect. They look, if you have animals that look absolutely real, that can speak and do things like that. And I mean, things that move. So, so far ahead again, you don’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s fake anymore. In the old days, you used to be able to tell when they had a puppet doing a part, you could say, well, that’s fake. I know how they’re doing it. Nowadays, it’s as real as can be.

Rob (10:36):

The other area that has changed, I think, is delivery. And whether it’s Amazon delivering something to your door or drones, delivering something well, that hasn’t, we haven’t seen a lot of that yet in Canada, we know it’s coming, you’ve got Uber eats, you’ve got door dash and no longer do you have just access to things like, as you said, Chinese food and pizza, you’ve now got access to everything and it virtually arrives at your door. Now it actually, it does arrive, but we’ve eliminated so many steps in the whole process. You can go do your virtual shopping online and have stuff arrive that is real.

Mike (11:17):

And even go to the next level. Delivery of information is so seamless now. Your phone listens to you and it scares me how much my phone listens to me, because I’ll be talking about something. The next thing I open up and whatever I’m talking about is showing up, advertising me on my phone. So the delivery of information is so specified. And so immediate, I used to think it was just coincidental. Then I realized, no, there’s no coincidence involved in this. My phone knows everything. I’m doing everything I’m discussed and everything I’m talking about and that advertisement will be geared toward that.

Rob (11:46):

So I think it’s important to talk about some of the things that are taking place in the world today that I know. And, and the rumor is that anyone over under 50 or under 50, they understand it, anyone over 50, they don’t understand it. And I’ve been trying to given that I’m over 50, I’ve been trying to understand what I don’t understand and think of money. So before with money we used to trade gold and then we had currency and you actually had physical bills and coins that you would trade. And then back in the, whether it was the seventies or sixties credit cards came out. And I remember my father used to have Diner’s club. That was pretty much the only credit card he had. And then suddenly we had travelers checks. So if you were going on a trip, you needed to get travelers checks, because you didn’t want to take currency. We then evolved to debit cards. We now have E transfers where you can electronically transfer money. And the newest thing out there is crypto. And we’re all struggling with it. Or some are the older people, certainly are the younger people aren’t but it’s just another virtual.

Mike (12:54):

It’s been a change for a long time. I’m not going to get the years, right. Because I can’t remember them exactly. But if you ever look at old U.S. Bills, there’s something called silver certificates. Right? And when U.S. used to issue money, I think it’s before the 1950s, every dollar bill that was issued had to have in Fort Knox. That’s why Fort Knox is always a big thing. You used to have an ounce of silver, an ounce of gold, whatever the equivalent value used to back those dollars. And the idea behind the currency was you could always trade it in to get the equivalent amount of silver and gold in the fifties. At some point, the government couldn’t keep on doing that. And they decided to separate that system and U.S. dollars became based on the faith in the U.S. government rather than actual material behind it. And that was the start of everything becoming virtual that’s you know, the first stage of that, as soon as they said, we’re no longer going to back anything with a hard asset, then money was to be honest, dollar bills in the U.S. were virtual from that point forward.

Rob (13:48):

So let’s talk about some of the things that are virtual now, and we’re hearing about NFTs Non-fungible token. Again, they’re virtual. Crypto is virtual, virtual headsets are virtual soon. You’re going to be able to, You can already go and visit a rainforest. Like you’re actually there, but it’s virtual. Even in movie theaters, you can recline, you get water sprayed on you. You can feel the wind. Those are all examples of not reality, but virtual and video games have always been virtual. That’s what they’ve always been about. So how is an investor to capitalize on all these things? How do you, how do you do that as an investor? Do you go out and invest in the early stages of these things, which seem like speculation, because you don’t quite understand it.

Mike (14:36):

Well, you need to have companies that are involved in this, as you talk video games and all there’s companies like Microsoft out there that are involved with this from day one and they’re going to continue to be involved in all of the future. There’s Facebook, there’s Amazon. You know, as we talk about delivery, they’re going to push this delivery system. You hear about drones, and they’ve already started this system where drones are delivering things where you can order something two hours later, it comes to your door. So these are advancement that these companies are going to continue to make. You know, you need to own small companies in your portfolio. We always say, you should have a little bit of a tilt towards small companies. But all these companies, even from Amazon started as small companies, they were all Microsoft at one time was a small company.

Mike (15:18):

You know, IBM was a big company. Microsoft was a small company. And what was your money better? IBM or Microsoft be a lot better back in the seventies, invested Microsoft rather than IBM. Right? When you look at your pay, you look at apple companies like that. They all started off as smaller companies and grew massively. So you need to have those in your portfolios and you can’t only stick to tech companies because remember tech only works because there is banking and there’s financial institutions that go and support these companies. So you need to make sure you have that part of your portfolio too, because without the funding, those companies wouldn’t exist either.

Rob (15:51):

So in other words, don’t worry too much that you’re missing out on some of these trends. You’re actually heavily involved in these trends because you do own some of the large companies and you do own some of the small companies. I think that sets us up for a great new year. This is Rob and Mike with Think Smart from the McClelland financial group of Assante capital management, reminding you to live the life that makes you happy, happy 2022.

Assante Capital Management (16:42):

You’ve been listening to The McClelland Financial Group of Assante Capital Management Limited. Assante Capital Management Limited is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Insurance products and services are provided through Assante Estate and Insurance Services Incorporated. This material is provided for general information and is subject to change without notice. Every effort has been made to compile this material from reliable sources. However, no warranty can be made as to its accuracy or completeness. Before acting on any of the previous information, please make sure to see a professional advisor for individual financial advice based on your personal circumstances. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Assante Capital Management Limited. Leveraging carries its own risks and is not for everyone. Talk to your financial advisor for advice on properly managing those risks. The material herein is not intended to provide and should not be construed as providing individual financial, investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice.


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