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The Sunday Drive - 01/14/2024 [#93]

👋🏼 Hello friends,

Greetings from the road! Given time constraints, I apologize for a somewhat shorter letter than usual this week. Now, let's enjoy a leisurely Sunday Drive around the internet. 

🎶 Vibin'

No theme to the Vibe of the Week. This week I’m just vibin’ to one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac tunes of all time. I hope you enjoy Tusk from their 1979 album of the same name.

How cool is it to not only include members of the USC Trojan Marching Band on the album, but also in the associated music video?


💭  Quote of the Week‌

“You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things—to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”
– Sir Edmund Hillary

📈  Chart of the Week

Real wage growth has started to show signs of life in recent months as inflation has dissipated. This bodes well for consumer spending in the coming quarters and thus corporate earnings and GDP growth.

One thing that has been worrying me of late is the risk of a pickup in inflation again related to potentially higher commodity prices should the disruptions to trade in the Red Sea expand. This could bring back the supply disruptions that were a key driver of the post-pandemic inflation pressures the Fed has worked so hard to tamp down. We’re not seeing it yet, but it’s definitely on my list of things to worry about.

🚙 Interesting Drive-By's

This week we have articles on success, longevity, inter-generational relations, and celebrity:

📈 How to Be Successful: the real path is not the easy one - from Jim O’Shaugnessy

I seem to be easily triggered by lists such as:

  • ‘Here’s what EVERY successful entrepreneur does in the morning.’

  • ‘Ten common traits ALL millionaires share.’

  • ‘Six things you NEED to know before the market opens.’

These lists MUST be popular, or the clickbait farms wouldn't publish them.

Why do they get me so riled up?

They lull honest, hopeful people who want to better themselves into a thought process that believes that “if I just do those things that successful entrepreneurs do, or develop those traits that ALL millionaires share, I'll make it. I'll be successful just like them.

Bad news: NO, you won't.

That's because successful entrepreneurs all tend to do DIFFERENT things in the morning.

Millionaires who self-select themselves to answer *pages and pages* of questions might share traits, but they are a TINY fraction of all millionaires. Most of those ‘self-selected’ millionaires might have LESS in common with the entire universe of millionaires than you do.

Anyone who follows me or listens to the podcast knows that there are never 6, 10 or 20 things you NEED to know before the market opens, unless one of those things is the sun exploding; aliens landing or a civil war starting overnight. Honestly, with the exception of the sun exploding, my guess is most gurus and forecasters would even be WRONG about the ramifications of the other two.

The honest-to-god, no BS answer is that there is NO secret to almost anything.

People so want there to be a secret, an easy path that leads to guaranteed success. That path does not exist.

If you think about it for just a second, you can see how obvious that is. If such a path DID exist, you couldn't get on it because every other human on the planet would already be on it. [link]

🤔 U.S. Centenarian Population Set to Double Over the Next 30 Years - from Pew Research

The number of Americans ages 100 and older is projected to more than quadruple over the next three decades, from an estimated 101,000 in 2024 to about 422,000 in 2054, according to projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. Centenarians currently make up just 0.03% of the overall U.S. population, and they are expected to reach 0.1% in 2054.

The number of centenarians in the United States has steadily ticked up since 1950, when the Census Bureau estimates there were just 2,300 Americans ages 100 and older. [link]

🤐 Gen Z, Millennials Should Stop Complaining About Baby Boomers - from Business Insider

Nostalgia might be one of the most powerful and enduring human emotions. Civilizations have always looked to a golden age in the past when times were better and people were nobler. Even the Romans, throughout their long period of dominance and empire, routinely criticized their current state as decadent and weak, longing for the strength of previous eras.

Americans in the 21st century aren't immune to the impulse to don rose-colored glasses — commentators on both the left and the right routinely pine for a return to an idealized postwar era of tranquility and abundance. But nowadays, the nostalgia comes with an added emotional layer: blame. For many American millennials and Gen Zers, the greed and economic failures of their parents and grandparents are the root cause of the various financial challenges they face. The supposition is that boomers had it easier: Homes could be had for a dime and a handshake, a single paycheck supported three kids with two cars and a white picket fence to boot, and you could work your way through college without going into debt. The boomers had it great, the argument goes, but then they went and screwed it all up.

That instinct is wrong. For one thing, baby boomers didn't have it easy: The America they grew up in was poorer, less educated, less healthy, and more unfair than the society we live in today. And for all the flak the older generation gets, the boomers have by and large left America a better place than how they found it.

This isn't to say that the boomers are handing young people a utopia. Plenty of challenges still need to be solved — from a housing shortage and high inequality to the dangers of the climate crisis and rising political instability — and many of them were partly caused by the boomers' decisions. But we won't be able to solve those problems by lying to ourselves about the past or the progress we've made over the past 70 years. It's time Gen Zers and millennials gave the boomers their due credit, even as they try to fix some of the messes they've made. [link]

👏🏻 The Managers Who Helped Make Travis Kelce a Celebrity - from the New York Times

In the only recent year in which Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs weren’t playing in the Super Bowl, the N.F.L. star was driving around Los Angeles in early February with his business managers, André and Aaron Eanes, marveling at billboards featuring Dwayne Johnson, the actor and entertainer better known as the Rock.

“Man, I don’t think I’ll ever be as famous as the Rock,” Mr. Kelce said.

His co-managers looked at each other. “We’re like, Yes, you can,” André Eanes said. [link]

👋🏼 Parting Thought

Those who suffered air travel related tribulations during the recent Holiday season can relate to this one…

If you have any cool articles or ideas that might be interesting for future Sunday Drive-by's, please send them along or tweet 'em (X ‘em?) at me.

Please note that the content in The Sunday Drive is intended for informational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be financial, legal, tax, marital, or even cooking advice. Consult your own professionals as needed.

‌I hope you have a relaxing weekend and a great week ahead. See you next Sunday...

Your faithful financial provocateur,