New column: Farooq’s Finance Fridays. LMK your thoughts by replying below!

1. We’re in the middle of the second-most robust, second-longest bull market.

2. I know, I know. Recession any day now.

3. Especially since the Great one ended 8.5 years ago.

4. Stock market went up over TWENTY PERCENT (20%) this year.

5. Hate it or love it: this has a LOT more to do with Trump than even I’d like to admit.

6. In the industry, we call it Trumpflation. What does this mean?

7. Higher federal interest rates incoming.

8. End of quantitative easing (QE).

9. End of zero and negative interest rates worldwide.

10. Looking at you, Europe and Japan. Party’s over.

11. Likely protectionism incoming. Meaning tariffs.

12. Meaning all your imported shit’s about to cost more.

13. On the bright side, the 500 richest people added $1,000,000,000,000 (one TRILLION dollars).

14. Bill Gates (former CEO and chairman, Microsoft) is no longer the richest man alive.

15. Jeff Bezos (CEO and chairman, Amazon) finessed the crown on a single day.

16. October 27: Bezos makes $10,300,000,000 (TEN POINT THREE BILLION DOLLARS).

17. In fact Bezos made $34.2B this year alone.

18. That’s more than Eric Schmidt (former Google CEO; Alphabet chairman until next month’s board meeting, $11.1B), Dustin Moskowitz (former FB exec, $10.7B), and Jan Koum (founder and CEO of WhatsApp, $9B) COMBINED.

19. As for Gates? Well, he’s sitting pretty at #2 with $91B.

20. Not bad for someone who’s given away as much wealth as Bezos has made this year.

21. Bezos now has a body temperature worth in billions ($98.6B).

22. Kidding I lied. It’s actually $99.6B. What’s 1% here or there at that level? (12 digits)

23. The bad news? Wealth inequality is at its worst in a century. Wait. It gets worse.

24. In a world where the five richest people — Bezos, Gates, Warren Buffett (CEO and chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, $85.6B), Amancio Ortega (founder of Inditex Group, known for Zara fast fashion brand, $75.4B), and Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and chairman, Facebook, $71.8B) together are worth $425,000,000,000 ($425B)…

25. Which is 1/6 of the ENTIRE United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the fiscal year (FY) 2017…

26. Speaking of which, the same fiscal year which added between 145 (UBS/PwC) and 195 (Forbes) new billionaires, depending on whom you ask…

27. The same fiscal year which added 2,300,000 (2.3M) new millionaires, to a crisp total of 36,000,000 (THIRTY SIX MILLION!) worldwide…

28. The same fiscal year by whose end the oft-maligned “1%” grew their share of global total wealth from 42.5% at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis to officially OVER 50% (50.1%)…

29. This same world sees the top 0.7% control 46% of global wealth ($280T), while the poorest half — with individual net worth less than $10,000 each, and most under TEN DOLLARS EACH BEFORE INCLUDING DEBT — who account for 70% of global labor — control only 2.7% of global wealth ($22.3T).

30. If that makes you *really* feel bad, don’t beat yourself up over it. Stoicism and years of therapy have taught me to embrace the philosophy of “amor fati” (love [I translate it as ‘radical acceptance’ (thank you CBT!) or resignation to] of fate). But also because Amancio Ortega lost a billion in net worth today.

Personally, as a staunch capitalist, I don’t have a problem with this distribution per se (please look up the technical definition of the Latin argument “per se” before you @ me. Also, don’t @ me. I don’t have the time nor crayons to explain why communism, socialism, and whatever utopian pipe-dream that shitty dimebag from Bobst has you convinced will “save” the proleteriat *won’t* in fact save the proleteriat. Shout out the genius who I now paraphrase: capitalism (and democracy) is the worst economic (and political) system except for its alternatives).

What I do have a problem with is not enough folks getting down with universal basic income (UBI), which can be thought of simply (read: elegantly) as a profit-sharing scheme applied against the GDP. Instead of getting a fixed fee, EVERYBODY should get a percentage.

GDP profit-share UBI incentivizes greater productivity as greater GDP means greater payouts. The system wouldn’t have a ceiling, only theoretical floor. Too good to be true?

Don’t ever believe the hype: Sam Altman (president, Y Combinator) has already started the greatest UBI test in US history [n=3000, $1–2K one-time stipend, monitored over t=5 yrs; control: $50] (source: Altman)

TL;DR: rich getting richer, poor getting poorer. Jobs are harder to find. Wages aren’t even stagnant or keeping pace with inflation, they have been steadily declining for DECADES. Your degree(s) are less than worthless (I say less than because time opportunity cost, worthless because I earned 3 of them, all STEM, in 5 years, research and publish said actionable intelligence to Millennials for a living, so I walk the talk, and know what the hell I’m talking about).

Don’t use this information to blame and shame neither rich nor poor. Use it to keep yourself healthy. Physical. Emotional. Mental. Spiritual. And yes, financial. Ask anybody who’s been homeless or hungry: financial health is the most important health. Disagree? That’s dope. That’s democracy. It’s also capitalism. Opinions, like mine, and yours, are free. Don’t @ me. [Totally kidding about this last part. You should totally @ me, always. Feedback greases the gears of this nobody writer’s mind to think thoughts.]

With all my love: adapt or perish.

Good luck, good night, godspeed.



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SF Ali (Farooq)

SF Ali (Farooq)


Author, BROWN GRASS | CEO/EIC, PERENNIAL MILLENNIAL. Earned 3 STEM degrees in 5 years. Advised Fortune 500 C-suites. Medium’s resident cheerleader since 2015.