David Waddell, president and CEO of the Waddell & Associates Inc. wealth management firm, will host his annual "State of the Union" meeting Friday at the FedEx Institute of Technology. About 200 people are expected to attend.
His topic is "You've Been Globalized," which is evident, Waddell said, by the fact that many of Americans' alarm clocks are made in China, jackets might be made in Malaysia and gas comes from deep in the ground below Saudi Arabia.
"Many Americans feel conflicted about the merits of globalization," Waddell said. "At this stage, that's a moot point. The question now is what are we going to do about it?"
During the meeting, which begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. at 365 Innovation Drive on the University of Memphis campus, Waddell will share some of the benefits of globalization, such as farmers exporting more food and receiving larger subsidies.
Waddell also will present a "laundry list" of things people should be aware of as they listen to the presidential candidates during this, one of the most "pivotal election years," he said.
That list includes listening to what the candidates have to say about entitlement budget challenges for the government, which is a combination of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
"Today that accounts for 40 percent of our national budget and it's going to grow much faster than our GDP (gross domestic product), so that needs to be addressed," Waddell said.
Waddell also will encourage attendees to listen for reforms to the current tax system, energy independence and excesses in the U.S. legal system that need to be addressed.
One important issue that has come up a lot during the presidential debates is how bad trade is for the U.S., he said. Presidential candidates seem to be pandering to the fear Americans already feel about trade.
"There's a lot of rhetoric in the campaign around how bad trade is," he said. "And, if you look at how U.S. citizens on average view global trade, you're looking at about 59 percent who view trade as favorable, which is well below the world average. So, we're fearful of this globalization, we're fearful of this global trade, and yet it completely supports our economy right now."
Waddell has been studying the effects of politics, war and economic factors on the finances of U.S. citizens for 15 years. But he really started to focus in on globalization within the last four years.
His State of the Union meeting was launched four years ago at the request of some Waddell & Associates clients.
"They said, 'We want more insight into the strategic thinking of the firm and so this is what came out of it," Waddell said. "But we have been really pursuing this topic on globalization for that four-year period. So we were a little early on ringing the globalization bell. And at this point what we're trying to do is anticipate where it goes from here."
Waddell also will talk to attendees about how better understanding the globalization picture can enhance the return on their investments.
When employees at Waddell & Associates help clients with their financial strategies, they picture the clients living to be 100 years old. If a person retires at age 65, their money then has to continue to be productive for the next 35 years. And sometimes that means venturing into markets outside the country where there is a greater return.
"This really isn't about picking stocks in the United States of America and hoping it works out," he said. "For your money to last, you're going to have to go where the returns are. If that's in the U.S., then you're in a great position, but if the returns are outside the U.S., because we haven't addressed our competitive issues, then you need to go there."
Anyone who would like to attend the meeting still may do so as long as they R.S.V.P. to Waddell & Associates at 767-9187. A DVD of the presentation also will be available after the event.