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The Sunday Drive - 07/16/2023

👋🏼 Hello friends,

Greetings from Ellicottville, NY! Let's take it easy and enjoy a leisurely Sunday Drive around the internet.  


🎶 Vibin'


As the heart and heat of the summer season come together here in mid-July, this week I’m vibin’ to a throwback to a slower, more calm time. Please enjoy a remastered version of Frank Sinatra’s classic hit, Summer Wind.

💭  Quote of the Week‌


"If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." – Albert Einstein

📈  Chart of the Week

Source: FRED, Axios

According to a recent report from BlackNight, more than 60% of U.S. mortgage holders have mortgages with rates under 4%.

This could at least partially explain the resilience of the U.S. economy and consumers in the face of the Fed’s interest rate hikes. Most are pretty well insulated from higher rates.

It also shows why the inventory of existing homes for sale in many areas is so low. Many folks just can’t afford to move and refinance at the current market rate for mortgages.

🚙 Interesting Drive-By's


This week we have articles on longevity, AI’s impact on Finance, human skills, and the end of the WFH era on Wall Street:

📈 The Gen X Factor - from Brian Clark of Longevity Gains

They’re the forgotten generation.

The middle children of history, wedged between the huge Baby Boomer and Millennial generations. They’ve been known as latchkey kids, slackers, and cynics.

And by they, I mean we. That’s because I’m a proud member of Generation X.

A cohort named for a book that was named after a band, Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. We’re the smallest of the economically-active generations, which is the explanation most often given for why marketers and media ignore us. 

But for such a small group, we’ve had a big impact. That’s because Generation X specializes in influence rather than recognition. From music and movies to technology, we’re the primary architects of the culture every generation currently resides in.

And now, Generation X will do more to define the shape of the longevity economy than the Baby Boomers who have all those coveted cash reserves.


🤔 OpenAI’s Code Interpreter is about to Remake Finance - from Evan Armstrong of Napkin Math

Like most startups, we’ve been looking at how to reduce our expenses at Every with AI. One area I’ve been experimenting with is just how much accounting minutiae I can automate. Recently I had a breakthrough thanks to a ChatGPT plug-in called Code Interpreter (it’s not widely available, so don’t be sad if you don’t have it on your account yet). A user uploads a file, and ChatGPT will write in Python code to understand and analyze the data in that file.

It sounds simple, but that is basically what every finance job on the planet does. You take a standard form, like an income statement or a general ledger; populate it with data; and run analysis on top of that data. So theoretically, Code Interpreter can do the majority of finance work. What does it mean when you can do sophisticated analysis for <$0.10 a question? What does it mean when you can use Code Interpreter to answer every question that involves spreadsheets?


💡 Expiring vs. Permanent Skills - an oldie but a goodie from Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund

Every field has two kinds of skills:

  • Expiring skills, which are vital at a given time but prone to diminishing as technology improves and a field evolves.

  • Permanent skills, which were as essential 100 years ago as they are today, and will still be 100 years from now.

Both are important. But they’re treated differently.

Expiring skills tend to get more attention. They’re more likely to be the cool new thing, and a key driver of an industry’s short-term performance. They’re what employers value and employees flaunt.

Permanent skills are different. They’ve been around a long time, which makes them look stale and basic. They can be hard to define and quantify, which gives the impression of fortune-cookie wisdom vs. a hard skill.

But permanent skills compound over time, which gives them quiet importance. When several previous generations have worked on a skill that’s directly relevant to you, you have a deep well of relevant examples to study. And when you can spend a lifetime perfecting one skill whose importance never wanes, the payoffs can be ridiculous. Anything that compounds over decades usually is.

📉 The Death of Wall Street’s WFHamptons Era - from Linette Lopez of Business Insider

It may seem counterintuitive, but the pandemic was like a brief visit to Shangri-La for Wall Street. Instead of spending their days cooped up in corporate offices or dressed up on trading floors in suits, fleece vests, shift dresses, loafers, and sensible heels, bankers were able to work from wherever they wanted. Those with the means to escape the city did. Meanwhile, the stock market marched ever higher, as if to say: "Go ahead my sweet summer children, relax. You've earned it."

👋🏼 Parting Thought


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 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 when needed.

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

Your faithful financial provocateur,