As we welcome 2021 and look ahead to a post-Corona world, I’ve been thinking about a few of the trends accelerated by the pandemic and how they may impact my life in the future.
One of my personal interests is lifestyle design driven by passive income and financial freedom. This is in part why I’m so attracted to cash-flow driven real estate. I have always been intrigued by the idea of traveling for extended period times and becoming engrained in local communities and cultures. My ultimate goal is to have full control over my time while doing work I care about with people I admire.
As remote work becomes the norm, members of the 10x class (as Dror Poleg refers to them) have more flexibility than ever to design the life they want to live. Housing is evolving to meet these new demands; Airbnb is focused on capturing demand for longer-term stays (greater than 30 days), apartment operators are utilizing technology to offer shorter term leases, and new platforms such as Landing and Mint House offer apartment subscriptions which allow ‘members’ to move seamlessly between fully-furnished units without being on a formal lease.
While work and housing have evolved to accommodate a flexible lifestyle, there are other elements which make the digital nomad life a mere dream such as childcare, school, and community. My wife and I, along with our 16-month-old, are spending the month of January in Florida. To make this work, we had to find a daycare that was willing to watch our daughter for 1 month. No easy feat. We signed a short-term lease at a co-working space which was a sinch. For the next 30 days, we are going to be strangers in a new city.
However, with school-aged children, it is nearly impossible to move seamlessly. Kids are tethered to a specific location and I do not I see this changing any time soon. Online programs will compliment in-person learning, but likely will not replace it any time soon.
The biggest shift, in the near-term, will be within higher education. The college education system is broken and too many students are forced to go into crippling debt. COVID has only accelerated the need for a change in education; digital credentialing and coding schools such as Lambda School are proliferating. Big tech companies are launching programs to certify vocational competence. Eventually, I believe, these sorts of programs will supplant the traditional 4-year college degree.
Like working remotely, will students of all ages be able to ‘learn from anywhere’? Will ‘learning pods’ and technology led collaborative learning environments become the norm? I expect to see more of this which will allow members of the creative class to spend part of the year in different areas of the country.
Sense of Community
As a lifelong renter who has moved around frequently, I miss the sense of community that comes with laying roots. I want to get involved in a community, participate in sports, join a board, and make friends with neighbors. That is what excites me most about buying a home in the not-too-distant future. The sense of belonging is difficult to replace with technology, but is it impossible?
Virtual worlds and communities are nothing new. They are wildly popular and are growing rapidly, but can they replace physical communities? With the mainstream adoption of virtual and augmented reality, I think it is possible. Virtual worlds combine two things intrinsic to human behavior: social interaction and imagination.
If the infrastructure is designed to allow you to work from anywhere, learn from anywhere, and live anywhere easily, how would you design your lifestyle?
And what does that mean for real estate investment? It’s a big question with no easy answer.
I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021.