Monthly Newsletter - September 2021

👋 Hey there, welcome to the WalletBurst monthly newsletter for the month of September 2021. Let's dive in!

Around the web

📅 The WTF Happened in 1971 project compiled dozens of historical economic data graphs that have one thing in common - they all show disturbing inflection points around the year 1971. For example, worker compensation began to plateau and inflation went from flat over the previous several decades to a steep slope up to the present day. What exactly happened in 1971 that could have triggered these trends simultaneously? Well, the USA ended the Bretton Woods system, taking the US dollar off the gold standard and making the world's reserve currency no longer backed by gold.

🏠 Two different perspectives on the current US housing market:

  • Why U.S. Housing Prices Aren’t as Crazy as You Think: While the US housing market has seen unprecedented price growth since the pandemic began, the price growth of real estate in the USA is still relatively low compared to Australia, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom.
  • The housing theory of everything: This in-depth essay explains how housing shortages in the West are driving a variety of problems including inequality, reduced productivity growth, obesity, and even falling fertility rates. The solution, the author presents, is to fix local policies to enable greater density housing in major cities. The piece is spot on, and it makes one really worry about the trajectory of our society if we don't begin to address the housing shortage now.

🚗 Along that same vein, I also really enjoyed Adam Singer's piece Ditching your commute: worth ~$40K/year in happiness. His premise is that we underestimate just how much of a toll having a long commute takes on our quality-of-life. Adam quotes National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner's research which found that "if you can cut an hour-long commute each way out of your life, it’s the [happiness] equivalent of making up an extra $40,000 a year if you’re at the $50- to $60,000 level." The takeaway here is that if you can move closer to the office or negotiate a remote or semi-remote work arrangement, do it! Reducing your commute could be one of the best things you can do to improve your happiness and quality-of-life.

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