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The Round-up Volume 15: Continuous Improvement

If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that we’re never done learning.

September 11, 2020

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the year 2020 said “hold my beer.”

When everything you know suddenly changes, whether it’s shifting to 100% teleworking, rent prices in NYC declining by double-digit percentage points, or the massive stock market rally following a brief bear market this year, you can either bury your head in the sand or embrace disruption and pursue a path forward with new and better information.

What to Read

Entrepreneurship as Problem-Solving 💡

Be Bolder, a podcast about how authenticity leads to success in life and business, welcomed Rhove Co-Founder and CEO Calvin Cooper.

As  the love and light from Rentership continues to spread, be sure to check out Calvin’s great Q&A interview with the NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center. He talks about the spirit of entrepreneurship and the origin of Rhove, business during a time of crisis, and Rhove’s mission to close the gap between renting and homeownership.

“If we don’t solve this problem, it will perpetuate a growing wealth gap and threaten our democracy,” Calvin says.

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Growing Divide ↕️

Unfortunately, the country’s wealth gap is growing as Calvin describes.

Low-wage workers have suffered disproportionately during this time of crisis because they’re less likely to be able to work remotely. A Wall Street Journal columnist describes the juxtaposition of two Americas: One for white-collar professionals who are able to work remotely while watching their stock portfolios reach new highs, and “everyone else.”

Plus, any semblance of wage growth is an illusion, obscuring the fact that job losses are disproportionately affecting low-wage workers and thus removing their lower-wage jobs from the equation. And some expect that too many of those jobs will disappear coming out on the other side of the crisis.

Moreover, the extended low-interest rate environment set by the Federal Reserve could perpetuate inequalities by supporting the wealthier investor class (in the same way low interest rates led to the historic bull market in equities following the 2008 financial crisis). Low rates mean minimal return on bonds, savings accounts, and other conservative investment vehicles, leading investors into riskier equities and lifting the stock market.

For those reasons, pundits playing the alphabet-soup recovery prediction game have arrived at the letter K. It signifies an upward-sloping recovery for some and a downward-sloping recovery for others. 

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Slowing Growth 🐢

The unemployment rate dropped in August, although the pace of hiring slowed. Although your yoga studio may have reopened, here’s a reminder that the U.S. economy is far from full speed: It’s operating at around 80% of normal capacity, according to Oxford Economics.

“The fact that employment is settling into a trend of slower, grinding growth is worrisome for the broader recovery,” said Lydia Boussour, an economist at Oxford Economics.

The Trump administration acknowledges “more work” must be done to alleviate the pain. Worried about the growing wealth divide, the Brookings Institution suggests policymakers should focus on equity in the economic recovery.

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Living with Parents 👪

When rent is paid via chores...

For the first time since the Great Depression, the majority of the country’s young adults live with their parents. 

Census Bureau data show that 52% of Americans between 18 and 29 years old were living with one or both parents in July, according to the Pew Research Center. Coming into the year, the share was already high by historical standards due to the aftershocks of the Great Recession. Then the coronavirus reared its head, leading about one-in-ten young adults to move temporarily or permanently. 

There’s some good news for people who aren’t living with their parents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention halted evictions through year-end for certain qualifying renters as the administration tries to prevent a looming wave of evictions. Meanwhile, homeowners are taking advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance their mortgages. As a whole, though, living with Mom and Dad isn’t going to be an enjoyable or viable option for many of us. 

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Learn from Rhove

In the spirit of lifelong learning, we’re excited to announce we’ve added an illuminating new section to the Rhove website. 

On the Learn page, you’ll find information about the ins and outs of Rentership, how to get the most out of this innovative housing category, and a variety of tips and how-tos related to your personal finance and living situation.

Check it Out

Parting Thoughts

This year has been stressful, no doubt about it. But it’s during these times when we also get some of life’s best lessons. It’s when some of the most innovative ideas (like Rentership) come about. It’s when communities confront underlying problems that were considered status quo.

Some ideas seem far-fetched or too good to be true. But let’s push the boundaries and put forth the simple question: Why not? After all, it’s what we asked when we were told renters can’t be owners. Accepting the status quo isn’t an option.

Let’s keep learning and improving. 🎓

Quote of the Week

The binary choice between renting and owning increasingly leaves too many of us without a choice at all. Why can’t we just buy a stake in our apartment?"

Calvin Cooper, Co-founder and CEO of Rhove, featured