The Benefits of a Home Inventory
In my experience, the number-one reason people engage a financial planner is to sleep better at night. That doesn’t mean planners give advice on what kind of mattress to buy. The sleep aids we provide are more about peace of mind.
For example, you may be sleeping just fine, thank you, because your home and contents are covered by homeowners insurance. A planner might disturb your sleep by helping you look at whether you're getting the most protection from that insurance.
The first is having a detailed listing of all your home's contents, along with proofs of purchase and serial numbers. If a fire or flood destroys some possessions, the insurance company will need a detailed list of everything that was lost.
You have that list, right? It’s safely stored in a secure location other than your home, correct? And you update it annually? Congratulations, you are one of the .01% of homeowners that do!
Now, let’s be serious. There is a high probability you don’t do this and you are not losing sleep over it. Last time you checked, the amount of insurance to cover your home's contents seemed so high you could replace everything in your house and have enough left over to furnish your neighbor's place.
While you may be right about that, you could be terribly wrong. Do you know for sure?
Maybe, if you don't have expensive artwork or jewelry, you assume your ordinary belongings wouldn't be that expensive to replace. This isn't necessarily the case. If your refrigerator or washer and dryer are old enough to vote, you might be shocked at what it would cost to buy new ones today. Or think about what you might spend if you had to replace all the tools in your garage at once. How can you know the true cost of replacing all the contents in your home and that your insurance is high enough to replace them? By having an inventory of them and a reasonable idea of their current replacement cost.
If that isn't enough to disturb your sleep, consider this: A fire doesn't burn your house to the ground, but the contents in just a portion of it are destroyed. Now you really need that list. How are you going to prove that your $5,000 upscale mattress wasn’t a generic $800 version, or that your silverware was actually made from silver, not steel? Just having enough coverage won’t help you in this situation. This may leave you thinking maybe you should have a better plan than praying, "If there is a disaster to my home, please let it be a complete one."
The good news is there is an easy way to document everything in your home without having to make a detailed list with attached receipts and serial numbers. Simply get out your smartphone, walk through your house, and make a video recording of everything in it. In addition to filming furniture, fixtures, and wall hangings, be sure to open drawers, closets, and boxes. Capture the serial numbers of big ticket items and be sure to include the garage, all collections, china, silverware, and expensive antiques. Then store copies of the video in several places, including on the cloud and at least one flash drive located outside your home. Update your video once a year.
If updating the contents portion of your insurance and making a video inventory don't help you sleep better, maybe the problem really is your mattress. My advice is to do some research through Consumer Reports before you buy a new one—and be sure you add it to your home-contents video.
Rosie the Robot, Amazon, and the Future of RAAI
Written by: Travis Briggs, CEO at ROBO Global US
It’s tough to find a kid out there who hasn’t dreamed about robots. Long before artificial intelligence existed in the real world, the idea of a non-human entity that could act and think like a human has been rooted in our imaginations. According to Greek legends, Cadmus turned dragon teeth into soldiers, Hephaestus fabricated tables that could “walk” on their own three legs, and Talos, perhaps the original “Tin Man,” defended Crete. Of course, in our own times, modern storytellers have added hundreds of new examples to the mix. Many of us grew up watching Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons. As we got older, the stories got more sophisticated. “Hal” in 2001: A Space Odyssey was soon followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO in the original Star Wars trilogy. RoboCop, Interstellar, and Ex Machina are just a few of the recent additions to the list.
Maybe it’s because these stories are such a part of our culture that few people realize just how far robotics has advanced today—and that artificial intelligence is anything but a futuristic fantasy. Ask anyone outside the industry how modern-day robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are used in the real world, and the answers are usually pretty generic. Surgical robots. Self-driving cars. Amazon’s Alexa. What remains a mystery to most is the immense and fast-growing role the combination of robotics automation and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”), plays in nearly every aspect of our everyday lives.
Today, shopping online is something most of us take for granted, and yet eCommerce is still in its relative infancy. Despite double-digit growth in the past four years, only 8% of total retail spending is currently done online. That number is growing every day. Business headlines in July announced that Amazon was on a hiring spree to add another 50K fulfillment employees to its already massive workforce. While that certainly reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to web-based retail, it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what this growth means for the technology and application firms that deliver the RAAI tools required to support the momentum of eCommerce. In 2017, only 5% of the warehouses that fuel eCommerce are even partially automated. This means that to keep up with demand, the application of RAAI will have to accelerate—and fast. In fact, RAAI is a key driver of success for top e-retailers like Amazon, Apple, and Wal-Mart as they strive to meet the explosion in online sales.
From an investor’s perspective, this fast-growing demand for robotics, automation and artificial intelligence is a promising opportunity—especially in logistics automation that includes the tools and technologies that drive efficiencies across complex retail supply chains. Considering the fact that four of the top ten supply chain automation players were acquired in the past three years, it’s clear that the industry is transforming rapidly. Amazon’s introduction of Prime delivery (which itself requires incredibly sophisticated logistics operations) was only made possible by its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems, the pioneer of autonomous mobile robots for warehouses and supply chains. Amazon recently upped the ante yet again with its recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market, which not only adds 450 warehouses to its immense logistics network, but is also expected to be a game-changer for the online grocery retail industry.
Clearly Amazon isn’t the only major driver of innovation in logistics automation. It’s just the largest, at least for the moment. It’s no wonder that many RAAI companies have outperformed the S&P500 in the past three years. And while some investors have worried that the RAAI movement is at risk of creating its own tech bubble, the growth of eCommerce is showing no signs of reaching a peak. In fact, if the online retail industry comes even close to achieving the growth predicted—of doubling to an amazing $4 trillion by 2020—it’s likely that logistics automation is still in the early stages of adoption. For best-of-breed players in every area of logistics automation, from equipment, software, and services to supply chain automation technology providers, the potential for growth is tremendous.
How can investors take advantage of the growth in robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence?
One simple way to track the performance of these markets is through the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index. The logistics subsector currently accounts for around 9% of the index and is the best performing subsector since its inception. The index includes leading players in every area of RAAI, including material handling systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, enterprise asset intelligence, and supply chain management software across a wide range of geographies and market capitalizations. Our index is research based and we apply quality filters to identify the best high growth companies that enable this infrastructure and technology that is driving the revolution in the retail and distribution world.
When I was a kid, I may have dreamed of having a Rosie the Robot of my own to help do my chores, but I certainly had no idea how her 21st century successors would revolutionize how we shop, where we shop, and even how we receive what we buy - often via delivery to our doorstep on the very same day. Of course, the use of RAAI is by no means limited to eCommerce. It’s driving transformative change in nearly every industry. But when it comes to enabling the logistics automation required to support a level of growth rarely seen in any industry, RAAI has a lot of legs to stand on—even if those “legs” are anything but human.
To learn more, download A Look Into Logistics Automation, our July 2017 whitepaper on the evolution and opportunity of logistics automation.
The ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation Index and the ROBO Global® Robotics and Automation UCITS Index (the “Indices”) are the property of ROBO who have contracted with Solactive AG to calculate and maintain the Indices. Past performance of an index is not a guarantee of future results. It is not intended that anything stated above should be construed as an offer or invitation to buy or sell any investment in any Investment Fund or other investment vehicle referred to in this website, or for potential investors to engage in any investment activity.
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