What caught my eye this week.
I told to my friend we should saunter down the platform, because the tube would surely be busy. It was Friday night in London, after all.
But when the train drew in, the carriages were all half-empty.
You can visit Oxford Street and imagine things are back to normal.
But if you really cast your mind back to the crush and the rush, you know we’re not there yet.
And, as I’m steadily catching up with friends for in-person conversations, it’s uncanny how the same related topics keep recurring.
Work/life balance, going back to the office, moving out of the city – and how while we’re all happy to be seeing more people, we’re (mostly) not going back to those frazzled social lives we once thought must-haves.
Of course my friends are self-selected. They mostly know I write about financial independence and investing and all that malarkey, too.
And they know I’ve worked from home since forever, so it’s natural the subject comes up.
But even allowing for this, I’m hearing a lot more about changed habits – or at least a willingness to experiment – that no hectoring about savings rates or the hedonic treadmill could inspire back in 2019.
What a difference a virus makes
That most of us saved more money when locked in our homes due to Covid is well-understood.
But could more subtle shifts be seen in the millions made meditative by successive waves of lockdown?
The substitutions they report are straight from a primer for financial independence:
- Partying in the garden instead of partying on a far-flung beach.
- Wearing the same clothes instead of wearing nothing new twice.
- Learning a new skill versus chasing a new experience.
- Working out at home compared to working out how to afford the gym.
- Getting a takeaway (delivered) instead of eating at a restaurant…
- …and cooking your own meals instead of getting a takeaway…
- …in both cases saving on alcohol bought at supermarket prices.
- Seeing a friend for a lockdown coffee versus blathering with strangers.
- Netflix and M&S snacks versus the cinema and £10 popcorn.
- Buying a nice home office chair instead of a £4,000 season ticket for the train.
- (Barely out of your) birthday suit to answer emails rather than shopping for another suit for the office.
- Saving 20% each month instead of dipping into the red at its end.
This list goes on. Let me know what have I missed below.
To many Monevator readers, such potential new habits will sound pretty pedestrian. But we’ve always been the exception.
No, I don’t think the world has caught FIRE1 along with Covid.
But perhaps some tenets of living well on less will be an easier sell for the next few years? Let’s hope so.
Have a great long weekend!
Time to switch to a new mortgage rate – Monevator
Fund names explained – Monevator
From the archive-ator: All about assets – Monevator
Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!2
‘Criminal’ post-Brexit error on HGVs could see Christmas food shortages – ES
Record numbers leaving London, but where are they going? – Which
83% of UK department stores have shut since 2016 – ThisIsMoney
Giant US retailers are now chartering their own freight vessels – Axios
The real victims of the mass crypto attacks that keep happening – BBC
The pandemic spurred millions of Americans to retire earlier – NPR
Too bad for their over-worked former colleagues left behind – The Cut
Products and services
Contactless payment limit set to rise to £100 in October – Guardian
Revolut’s ‘Payday’ feature will advance you half a month’s salary – ThisIsMoney
Interactive Investor is offering £100 cashback for ISA transfers worth more than £20,000 and up to £500 if you transfer a pension – Interactive Investor
A roundup of the camper van and transit van market – ThisIsMoney
Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade
PayPal enables UK users to buy and sell cryptocurrency – Reuters
How low can fund fees go? [US but relevant] – Morningstar
Zopa launches Best Buy two-year (1.67%) and three-year (1.76%) fixed savings rates – Zopa
Homes for sale near universities, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
A comprehensive overview of the 4% rule [Podcast] – Rational Reminder
Rules, truths, beliefs – Morgan Housel
Will gold have its day as an inflation hedge? [Search result] – FT
Assumption – Indeedably
When to use rules of thumb – Humble Dollar
Why does quitting your job still feel so hard? – BBC
So far 2021 is yet another great year for the US indices… – AWOCS
…but remember that all markets can and do fall eventually – Validea
How to trade up from a bobby pin to a house [Podcast] – NPR
Welcome to the weird – Simple Living in Somerset
Digital asset mania mini-special
12-year-old coder to earn $400,000 after two months selling NFTs – CNBC
OpenSea is first NFT marketplace to pass $1bn in monthly volume – The Block
Visa bought a CryptoPunk NFT for $150,000 [Good publicity…] – CNBC
Why wouldn’t Bitcoin go to $100,000? – The Reformed Broker
I don’t fucking get it – The Irrelevant Investor
Naughty corner: Active antics
Price moves everything around me – Of Dollars and Data
A look at the valuation of the major investing factors – Validea
Analysts say lost decade is over for emerging markets – Bloomberg
Average late stage VC valuations nearing $1 billion – Institutional Investor
Covid infection protection waning in double jabbed… – BBC
..and cases are rising again. Time to worry? – BBC
Some Wall Streeters are fed up with their unvaccinated coworkers – NY Post
Kindle book bargains
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker – £0.99 on Kindle
Surrounded by Psychopaths: or, How to Stop Being Exploited by Others by Thomas Erikson – £0.99 on Kindle
The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living by Mark Boyle – £0.99 on Kindle
Hired: Six Months in Low-Wage Britain by James Bloodworth – £0.99 on Kindle
Dead white man’s clothes – ABC News Australia
Meet the bounty hunters after Florida’s invasive pythons – Field and Stream
Off our beat
The secret to surviving cancer – The Atlantic
Uh oh! Netflix discovers the clickbait that killed online journalism – Slate
Why people who brush still get cavities – Five Thirty Eight
The hard men removing Spain’s squatters – BBC
Having killed them off, why is Amazon now opening malls? – The Atlantic
In the ‘undefeated’ Panjshir valley of Afghanistan – BBC
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Say you’re running and you think, ‘Man, this hurts, I can’t take it anymore’. The ‘hurt’ part is an unavoidable reality.”
– Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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- Financial Independence Retire Early. [↩]
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