What I Have Been Reading – May 2021


Why We Invest?

The S&P 500 has been compounding at 14% per year over the last ten years. That rate of return, which was not expected by anyone and should not be expected going forward, turns $100,000 into $370,000 if left alone. There have been people doing their best to talk you out of taking stock market risk, or convincing you that you could hedge it away while still earning the same (or better) returns. This is now and has always been a fantasy – risk-free reward is the domain of the charlatans. It only exists on Twitter, not in real life.

Stock market returns took your savings from ten years ago, nine years ago, eight years ago and kept them competitive with the prices in today’s economy. They allowed your dollars from 2011, 2012, 2013 to keep their purchasing power. In a moment like this, that’s meaningful. You should be able to pay this year’s living, travelling and eating and entertainment expenses without much aggravation so long as you’ve been invested all this time.

The Reformed Broker

 

The Internet and Investing

The problem is our brains were not built for the Internet. We’re not hardwired to deal with the constant stream of thoughts, opinions, pictures and news stories. Weird things are going to happen because of it.

A Wealth Of Common Sense

 

Homes

We’ve actually seen an increase in people staying in their homes longer — 13 years is the median, I believe. They don’t want to go into retirement communities as much. They’d rather just age in place. Twenty-five percent of homeowners have stayed in their home for more than 20 years, which is the highest share we’ve ever recorded.

Market Watch

 

Sellers Market

I think you could make the argument the current market is the worst ever when it comes to being a homebuyer. There has never been a better seller’s market but buyers are in a world of hurt right now.

Yes, rates remain low and houses are bigger and better than ever but this is likely the worst buyer’s market in modern economic history.

A Wealth Of Common Sense

 

Emissions:

China now accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the world’s developed nations combined, according to new research from Rhodium Group

Bloomberg

 

Pessimism:

We seem to have a primal impulse to believe we are present at the end, or at least some sort of grand inflection point in world history. You don’t need to be in a doomsday cult, constantly moving back your Google calendar event marked The End of Days, to constantly believe you are present for the most important time in history, after which nothing will be the same.

We all seem to. Maybe it makes us feel that we ourselves are important, that bearing witness to such grand events—or even participating in them—cancels out the fact that we are one relatively young species on one planet in one solar system in what basically amounts to a galactic backwater.

That kind of thinking is most unwelcome for a species that has, to its credit, conquered an entire world through ingenuity and adaptability. Insignificance is intolerable for beings cursed with our excruciating level of self-awareness.

Esquire

 

Overworking

Working more than 55 hours a week in a paid job resulted in 745,000 deaths in 2016, the study estimated, up from 590,000 in 2000. About 398,000 of the deaths in 2016 were because of stroke and 347,000 because of heart disease. Both physiological stress responses and changes in behaviour (such as an unhealthy diet, poor sleep and reduced physical activity) are “conceivable” reasons that long hours have a negative impact on health, the authors suggest.

NY Times

 

Travel Post Retirement

I travelled before retirement. Sometimes, I travelled for work. That wasn’t a lot of fun. Other times I travelled because I was on vacation and travelling is what a working person is supposed to do when on vacation. I travelled so when the vacation was over I could answer the question, “Where did you go?”

I’ve done some interesting things and met some interesting people while travelling. I’ve also spent a lot of time bored spitless, deprived of amenities I love, and meeting people I hope to never see again. Today, I don’t have a single friend I met while travelling. I can’t say whether my horizons have been widened or my cultural vision expanded. Maybe they have, but if they have I’m not sure it has been worth the stress and discomfort.

Medium