Jobs that will be in demand in the near future

I remember a while ago I wrote that if your job is to drive a car/truck/bus (cab/Uber etc) then you need to start looking for another career really fast. Full-self-driving will become a thing sooner than you think. Ignore the news about the lack of drivers (due to Brexit) to move goods to our supermarkets – that’s only a temporary problem.

So, I did some thinking to put together a list of industries/jobs, which I think will probably do well in the future (in the UK):

  1. Anything to do with heat pumps. There will be huge demand as the UK aims to be more green and energy efficient etc. There’s hardly anybody able to do this sort of work these days.
  2. Solar and wind energy production. Similar reasons as above – we’re all going green.
  3. Technology – quite predictably – AI, machine learning, data analytics etc. This one isn’t really for the masses as this is hard work and only for the curly-brained ones.
  4. Games – developing PC/console/mobile games will grow. Have you ever heard of eSports – it’s bigger than you think? However, salaries aren’t as good in gaming as in other areas of software development.
  5. Electric cars and charging infrastructure – because Elon says so! Don’t bet against Elon!
  6. Nurses. The UK needs more nurses. However, salaries and working conditions/hours aren’t great.

Personally, I’m thinking about pivoting into technology – AI and stuff.

Good luck!

Bitcoin – may be legal tender in El Salvador soon

Firstly, the term “legal tender” is only ever used when a Scotsman tries to use their funny money to pay in a shop in England. “It’s legal tender!” they would shout at the shopkeeper in a Scottish accent… That’s probably one of the few examples of “legal tender” used in a sentence.

Second, where the hell is El Salvador? I’m glad you asked. I googled it and can tell you with confidence that it lives in Central America next to Guatemala and Honduras. I’m sure the weather there is nice all year round…

I admit I know virtually nothing about El Salvador but I love the fact that they might make Bitcoin legal tender. This is huge! I hope many other countries will follow suit.

I’ve always liked crypto and all the possibilities of blockchain. That’s the way forward. I imagine central bankers are all scheming right now to maintain the status quo and how best to avoid innovation at the pretence of protecting the consumer. Let’s see what they come up with this time… maybe some economic sanctions on El Salvador because Bitcoin will totes be used for money-laundering (and conveniently forget that cash is also used for money-laundering).

Crypto is the future! I’m very excited to see it spread its wings and fly.

I also did a quick backtest of how well Bitcoin and Ethereum have done compared to the S&P 500. I looked at what it was like for somebody who missed the crypto boat in 2017 and started to contribute £100 each month from January 2018. Spoiler alert, they’d be pretty happy even though it’s been a very choppy ride in crypto.

Bitcoin VS Ethereum VS S&P 500, 2018 Jan to 2021 May.

The above isn’t investment advice but clearly shows the potential of crypto.

Enjoy the ride!

Inflation and loyalty

We had the UK inflation figure come out today at 1.5% (CPI) compared to a year ago. A month ago this was 0.7%. It’s definitely on the rise and something that has been talked about in the finance media for quite some time. It’s similar in the United States where inflation is 4.2% compared to a year ago.

Inflation is a good thing provided that it is kept under control. That’s why you see governments target 2% for annual inflation. A slight increase in prices means that the economy is functioning well and money is changing hands and signals a healthy economy.

Conversely runaway inflation signals major trouble. Look at Venezuela (3,012.2% inflation), Iran (49.5% inflation) and Argentina (46.3% inflation) today. I know things are really bad in Venezuela… not so sure about the other two but they do need to get things back under control or risk heading in the direction of Venezuela.

One thing which has stuck with me is the way Milton Friedman describes inflation. He calls it “taxation without legislation”. Politicians don’t want to raise taxes as it’s a poor career move. As a consequence, they are happier to print more money. This leads to more money being in an economy and more of anything tends to reduce its value. Therefore money starts to lose its value and prices go up. We end up with inflation.

Printing more money requires no new legislation to be passed i.e. to target who or what gets taxed. The reluctance to raise taxes resulted in a tax – inflation – which impacts all of us.

You’re worse off financially now unless you got a raise of at least 1.5% this year if you live in the UK. My salary didn’t change as my letter from my employer stated “we have reviewed your salary, and can confirm this will remain at [amount] per annum”. Sad.

I wasn’t expecting much of an increase anyway. The best way to improve earnings is by changing employers. Loyalty doesn’t pay and results in you being materially worse off in the long term.

I’m glad I managed to secure my new flat at the same monthly rent as previously (£1,150 pcm) so my largest expense doesn’t change for some time. I hope some of you were able to do so (or better) as well.

Good luck navigating the more expensive world!

(All inflation figures above are from TradingEconomics.com as at 19/5/2021.)

Automation

I’m sure you have heard that the robots will come and take away your job. AI is getting better each and every year and it’s improving at an exponential rate.

The way I see it the robots are already taking our jobs. The transition to automation will look a lot like somebody going bankrupt. It will happen very slowly in the beginning and then all at once.

My prediction is that a huge disruption will happen with autonomous vehicles. If you’re an Uber driver or drive a cab, lorry, bus etc you need to act now. That job will disappear and you need to have an exit plan in place. Start learning new skills, take some online courses etc. Don’t just wait until it’s too late. I think virtually all driving jobs will disappear. Autonomous driving is safer, cheaper, more efficient and simply better.

Another example is the construction industry and 3D printing. Houses will be printed in the future, it’s already happening and it will take significantly less people to build a house going forward. I’d expect 90% of traditional construction roles to disappear in the not too distant future.

I think there is a good chance that financial planners, investment managers and tax advisers will largely disappear as well. The robots will sort it.

Many other industries will be impacted as well.

The problem is deciding what new skills to acquire as the robots will automate so much. A book I read suggested that anything to do with one-on-one people interaction will be the hardest to automate. Think hairdressers, make-up artists and doctors… but their time will come.

That all sounds quite bleak but I’m an optimist. I think people will reinvent themselves and create a huge number of new jobs which don’t even exist today. We’ve seen it happen in the past when internet became mainstream.

However, in practical terms I’d aim to distance myself from driving jobs as a matter of emergency. For other occupations I’d suggest to add a backup plan to your employment situation.

Personally I’m slowly learning software development and am considering data science and machine learning (as I was very interested in this back at uni). Maybe I will be the reason many will lose their jobs in the future when I create artificial consciousness.

The other part of my strategy is FIRE. I aim to build up significant wealth to help me in that transition. Every penny will help…

Your favourite Armchair Oracle

A renters perspective on landlords and letting agents

I’m spending a lot of time online browsing Zoopla and RightMove to find a new home in a nicer part of London. I have a bunch of suggestions for the chaps developing listing websites/apps and also some observations about landlords/letting agents.

  1. There is no floor plan. I would love to have the option to exclude properties, which do not have a floorplan from my search results. It’s important to know what the layout of my new home will be…
  2. Landlords hate pets. C’mon have a heart and let people live with Schnuffles, Fluffy and Brohound. You’re charging a security deposit and have a million clauses in your rental agreement about who is liable for damage to the flat.
  3. It’s not possible to screen flats by their size i.e. square meters. I’m not interested in living in a shoebox – I’d like to have the option to only look at flats which are of a certain size.
  4. On Zoopla, you can see the previous prices for the same advertisement. You will also find a bunch of people trying to game the system. I call them relisting manipulators who keep increasing and decreasing the price of their property. This might result in the ad getting shown higher up in the results or something… but as a prospective tenant, it’s frustrating to look at the same crap all over again and again.
  5. It’s amazing how few ads have video walkthroughs of a flat. Literally, everyone owns a smartphone and it takes only a few minutes to put a video together. Ads without videos are probably a good way to identify lazy landlords. Some don’t even upload pictures – these listings should be excluded from search results by default.
  6. Rental agents are lazy as well. Often, they don’t call back when I leave a message to show interest in a property. Great customer service there… I’m sure it’s only a taste of what’s more to come if I actually ended up renting from them.
  7. I’ve seen ads that state “no agent fees” as if it’s some kind of a Unique Selling Point (USP). The law has made it illegal to charges such fees and it’s been in effect for years. How dumb does the landlord think I am?
  8. Many properties listed do not include an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). I would like to know if I’m going to freeze in the flat or not – why do I need to call the agent/landlord to find out this basic thing. I think ads without an EPC should be hidden from search results as a default.
  9. Landlords can’t count on their fingers to save their own life. There are many ads out there in which one-bedroom flats are listed as two-bedreem flats… or studio flats are listed as one-bedroom flats. Learn to count!!! It’s not that hard. Also, a living room is NOT a bedroom.
  10. Is the ground floor the same as first floor? I have more confidence in the phrase ground floor but first floor can mean the same or the floor above ground floor. I guess this is a British thing… welcome to the UK!
  11. I hate basement flats. Why can’t I filter them out? Who wants to live underground like a rat? No, thank you!
  12. Some flats share bathrooms or washing machines with other flats in the building. This is unacceptable to many people. Why can’t I filter these flats out?
  13. I would love to know if there is a lift in the building. Not a difficult thing to add, is it.

Regards,
Renters in London