Dear ,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the first issue of our new newsletter, Trendline. We feel it is vital to go behind the headlines you view in the news media and explore the issues that will impact you, your families, your businesses and your finances in the weeks and months ahead.

Very concise and highly readable, Trendline will lead you to the critical focal points of major developments in the U.S. and around the globe.

We hope you enjoy and utilize this unique content. 

Warm regards,
Jonathan Beck


  • China’s Goal: Global Tech Dominance
  • Is the high cost of higher education worth it?
  • A look inside the hidden world of self-made billionaires

China’s recent trade war with the U.S. will not dissuade the world’s number two economic power from its strategic goal of developing or acquiring by any means top tech innovations. A recent report from the German think tank, Mercator Institute for China Studies lifts the lid on China’s intentions. Beijing “aims to be a global technological superpower by 2049.” According to the report, “China 2025: China’s industrial policy in the quest for global tech leadership,” it believes it can achieve its aim partially by balancing state-owned enterprises with free-market private companies. The private sector components have already kicked in major tech advances in artificial intelligence, alternative energy vehicles, facial recognition, big data, digital payments, communications systems, just to name a handful. 

In 2018 China invested around $300 billion in R&D, a high 2.2% of its GDP. And it made known it was jump starting 4,000 pilot projects to launch new technologies. Still, comments the report, China lags in high-tech sectors like aviation, machine tools, and software engineering. But is gaining a leading role in smart manufacturing, digitization and emerging technologies. Seven of the world’s top ten electric-vehicle battery companies are Chinese. It is catching up to the U.S in artificial intelligence and may soon take the lead. AI has assumed a central role in Beijing’s ‘Made in China 2025’ master plan, which will be a major factor in innovating key industries including robotics, aerospace, new materials and energy vehicles.


Another strategy: reach out to other tech leaders. China is not shy about engaging some of America’s key allies in acquiring new technology. It has partnered with Israel on several major projects. The U.S. is not pleased. In a new report, the influential Rand Corporation observes, “China's primary objectives in Israel are acquiring advanced technology and utilizing Israel's location for trade connectivity.” The report, “The Evolving Israel- China Relationship,” points out that U.S. and Israeli interests might not align as Israel provides China with access to cameras, radios, fiber-optics, cellular networks and other solutions from its tech brain trust. The U.S. believes this relationship raises cyber-security, data privacy, and espionage risks. 

“The acquisition of Israeli companies and the knowledge generated through cooperation could enable China to gain crucial technologies, with insufficient returns for Israel.”
Few asked this question even ten years ago but now it frequently arises. It’s not just because student debt has emerged as a major campaign issue with several prominent democratic candidates advocating free tuition. That’s mostly campaign rhetoric and not a scenario likely to play out no matter who wins the presidency. Fact is many college bound students and those considering post-grad specializations like law, business and medicine are questioning whether the experience and resulting debt are worth it. Data from the Federal Reserve shows that over 44 million Americans together owe $1.5 trillion, 70% of new colleges grads owe an average of $37,000.

And post-grad schooling is a whole lot pricier. MBAs can cost over $100k at good schools. Law school averages between 100k and 200K and medical schools could easily run over $200K. Although these are solid career choices, they are no longer a sure ticket to a future high standard of living. So what’s the answer. Don’t expect the government to step in. Families and students need to figure this out on their own. And with the help of a good financial adviser.

  • First, save, save, save, no matter how painful, in years when kids are young. 
  • Second, have a plan. Students should try to research possible careers before they decide schools. Education is too expensive these days to try career experimentation on campus.
  • Third, do the math. Before incurring debt that will add stress and problems later on, figure how much you can afford. Generally, student loan payments should not be higher than 20% of income. Also, plan to repay the loan within 10 years of graduation, if not sooner.


Family members such as grandparents can help by investing in ‘529’ plans. Up to $30,000 per year can be put in a plan without incurring gift-tax burdens.

Would-be entrepreneurs are especially prone to skip college. But keep in mind. The value of a well-rounded education pays off in many intangible ways down the road. It’s not just a matter of dollars but of “sense”.
There are more billionaires now than ever—2,208 worldwide, according to Forbes. What’s so surprising about the success of billionaires turns out to be how they manage money and their daily habits. In his new book, “The Billion Dollar Secret,” Rafael Badziag, (who himself is “only” a millionaire) provides fascinating tidbits on how 21 billionaires became and stayed successful.

Most learn from an early age how to manage their money. They tend to limit spending, minimize borrowing, raise kids to be frugal. “The difference between financially successful people (millionaires) and billionaires boils down to the fact that the latter get pleasure from making money and don’t enjoy spending it.” They don’t do it for the money, but for the success. “Money keeps the score.”

Badziag traveled around the globe to interview the very rich but not always famous from Brazil, Canada, Russia, Poland, Australia, Norway, China, South Korea, USA, Hong Kong and more. He notes that they have their own personalities, areas of brilliance, personal interests and individual quirks. But the author managed to ferret out the common denominators. 

Surprisingly their daily habits are very much shared by all. They rise very early, exercise, make it a point to stay healthy, develop their own routines and rituals, read a lot for business and pleasure, live up to high standards they set for themselves through discipline and allocate time every day for quiet contemplation and reflection. As one billionaire summed it up: “The most important thing is the foundation. What you should be most interested in is not the result but the foundation that you build. Result is always what follows.”
David Beck
Content Director- Crown Financial Partners
Editor and Publisher

David Beck was previously: Executive Director, Global Investor Relations Leadership Network; Writer, Wall Street Journal Online; Publisher, Thomson Reuters;
Communications Seminar Leader, MIT and attended Columbia University Business School, Executive Leadership Program.
Crown Financial Partners
 Phone: (310) 734-5660
Fax: (310) 734-5661
*Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. is not affiliated with Dimensional Fund Advisors, LP.