Everyone loves to hate millennials these days. They are characterized as being lazy, entitled and self-absorbed. As is sometimes the case, those stereotypes might have some sort of basis in reality, but as is almost always the case, that’s not the whole story. Laziness, entitlement and narcissism aren’t all that millennials are good for. According to some recent studies, they’re also pretty good at saving. Maybe even better than their elders.
The percentage of millennials saving more than 6% of their income has increased substantially from last year. Not only that, it has surpassed the percentage of people in the 30-49 age range saving more than 6% of their income. Many have attributed these saving habits to the fact that millennials had to watch older generations struggle through an economic recession, as they were growing up. Keeping a healthy savings account is a precaution they can take against the economic troubles that their parents and grandparents faced.
Readers of this blog will be familiar with the Austrian School of Economics; the school of economic thought whose name derives from the fact that many of its early scholars came from Vienna. The school adheres to the individual as the basic unit of economic analysis, and it focuses on the market process.
The Austrian School is noted for some of the fundamental concepts that endure in mainstream economics today, and one of its prominent scholars, F.A. Hayek, received a Nobel Prize in economics. But does the school have anything to offer in terms of investment advice?
Enter the recent book Austrian School for Investors: Austrian Investing between Inflation and Deflation. Continuing with the theme here at Anthem Vault of being financially responsible by reading and continuing one’s education, I was delighted to read through this book, a volume that sits at the crossroads of my two main intellectual interests: Austrian economics and investments.
If you feel like recent economic developments concerning central bank quantitative easing, negative interest rates and government stimulus programs are leaving you confused as to how to invest your money, then this book is for you.
Investors are always looking for indications of an oncoming economic recession, whether it be electricity consumption, Super Bowl wins or even ladies hemlines. However, one indicator that seems to make some intuitive sense is the Skyscraper Index, also known as the Skyscraper Curse.
This theory states that the emergence of record-breaking skyscrapers presages economic recessions. If true, should we be worried that China recently capped the world’s second largest tower, while the world’s next record-breaker is currently rising near the Red Sea?
What Exactly is the Skyscraper Curse?
The Skyscraper Index began with research by property analyst Andrew Lawrence in 1999. He noticed that over the past 100 years in the U.S., record-breaking skyscraper construction correlated to economic recessions, panics and crises. He began his analysis with the Singer Building and Metropolitan Life building, completed in 1908 and 1909 respectively, which were concurrent with the panic of 1907.
How exactly do record-breaking skyscrapers coincide or even predict economic crises? Economist Mark Thornton extended this analysis in 2005, demonstrating that the link between the two is artificially low interest rates. Interest rates are suppressed or kept low due to monetary policies as well as fiscal policies designed to increase credit in an economy. This increase in credit is ‘artificial’ because it is not due to people saving more and consuming less in the present; rather it is effected through money-printing or legislation that distort credit markets.
There are SO many ways to network in your city or town. Websites are all over the place helping individuals, companies, and groups find like-minded friends and colleagues to expand their network and overall spice for life!
I’ve made a list of a few options when looking for a meet-up of like-minded folks in your area.
- Meetup.com: This is the number one place to find all the topics/interests you can dream of! Have a passion for small, white, fluffy dogs? There’s a meet-up for that! Love underground techno music, yep other people do too, and want to meet you! Want to talk to other entrepreneurs to learn about the struggles of starting a small business? They are probably your neighbors! Sign up. You won’t regret it.
- Reddit.com: Either you Reddit or you don’t, but I promise, once you start you can’t stop. Most towns have their own ‘sub-Reddit’. A place where you can bitch about parking violations, how people drive, and the dogs who poop in your yard. It’s also a place to find like-minded people and start a conversation!
- Eventbrite.com: This gives you a chance to browse the latest posted events in your area and get tickets! You can also use this site if you want to start your own networking event! (pro tip: offer free food to get your first round of new comers!)
- Facebook.com: This goes without saying. Type whatever interest, hobby, or profession that interests you in the top search bar along with your city/town and surely you’ll come up with some active groups in your area. If you don’t, maybe it’s time to build an online community to find more like-minded people!
Perhaps you use another tool? Please share your expertise in the comments section and we’ll add it to the list!
Now onto the challenge:
From now until the last day of February (29 days this year! #leapyear), try and attend ONE meetup. Check one out, expand your network. While you’re there, take a picture and post it to your Instagram. Seriously…so much reward for rewarding yourself. #BeResponsible means to grow in success in 2016. Use this challenge to take a step in the right direction.
Questions about how to find the right meet up? Ideas or tips for other networkers? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck and don’t forget to submit your photo to the challenge!
A recent Vox article has renewed the old adage that ‘housing is a good investment.’ While the author makes some salient points, this statement in general can lead some people into a trap.
Is a House an Investment or Consumption Good?
The author admits home values don’t increase much more than inflation on average, but then he tries to explain how they are still a good investment because if you own a home you can live there rent-free, which is “like a de facto dividend.” Let’s stop right there for a second.
It is a little odd to consider residing in your home as ‘paying you a dividend’ simply because you don’t have to pay rent. If I buy a car with cash, I don’t really consider the car ‘paying me a dividend’ because I do not have to rent or lease one. Yet there is a grain of truth here to untangle.
First, we need to start with a proper definition of the word investment. An investment is an asset purchased with the expectation of creating wealth, either in the form of generating income or appreciating in value. Therefore, it is not purchased for the purpose of consuming it today.
Houses are very much a consumer good, because we use them for shelter and derive a consumption benefit from them. Furthermore, the actual housing structure degrades with time and wear-and-tear, much like a car. Roofs leak, furnaces need to be replaced, and appliances break.
However, there is some truth to housing being an investment because a house is not just the physical brick and mortar structure, but also the land and property rights, which usually do not depreciate and tend to keep up with inflation.
The entire month of February we will be covering topics on networking. To some people, networking just seems like stuffy cocktail parties and useless business cards that end up in the trash, or are used as a toothpick. That’s not the case at all. Networking can become your foundation of support in your professional and personal endeavors. Networking can launch you into places you never thought possible. Networking could save you when you hit your lows. As cliche as it is, truly who you know can be just as important as what you know.
To get started, here are three things you can do right now to prepare for networking events that come your way:
- Order business cards. Vistaprint.com does small batches of great looking cards for cheap. (Pro tip: always check for a coupon code on the site or check coupon alert sites. You’re bound to find an additional 15%+ off)
- Sign up for Meetup.com. I met some of my best friends and former employers through meet-ups, and learned a TON!
- Open a networking calendar for yourself. This can be through your calendar app on your phone or perhaps a physical notebook. Being prepared for when the opportunities come up is key. This way life stays organized and you don’t miss appointments with new connections and friends that could change your life!
We are excited to explore with you and share our experiences. By the end of this month, you should feel more confident in your networking abilities, and hopefully attended some events (challenges to come that include prizes!). #BeResponsible