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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.

We’ve also kicked about on Monevator what offices will be for now, how much we’ll stick to home working, or how we’ll mix in a mask-less world.

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:

  1. Partying in the garden instead of partying on a far-flung beach.
  2. Wearing the same clothes instead of wearing nothing new twice.
  3. Learning a new skill versus chasing a new experience.
  4. Working out at home compared to working out how to afford the gym.
  5. Getting a takeaway (delivered) instead of eating at a restaurant…
  6. …and cooking your own meals instead of getting a takeaway…
  7. …in both cases saving on alcohol bought at supermarket prices.
  8. Seeing a friend for a lockdown coffee versus blathering with strangers.
  9. Netflix and M&S snacks versus the cinema and £10 popcorn.
  10. Buying a nice home office chair instead of a £4,000 season ticket for the train.
  11. (Barely out of your) birthday suit to answer emails rather than shopping for another suit for the office.
  12. 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!

From Monevator

Time to switch to a new mortgage rate – Monevator

Fund names explained – Monevator

From the archive-ator: All about assets – Monevator

News

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

Foxy Money with Andy Craig, of How To Own The World fame – via YouTube

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 corner

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

Environmental factors

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

And finally…

“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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  1. Financial Independence Retire Early.
  2. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.

The post Weekend reading: The pandemic was a shot in the arm for financial independence appeared first on Monevator.

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