“You Can’t Catch COVID-19 On a Plane, Stupid!”

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Let’s put an exact number on this pressing issue: What are your chances of getting infected with COVID-19 while you’re traveling on a plane?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has an answer, one that I hope will calm down all the worry-warts in the tourism industry: 44 COVID-19 cases – potential, most likely, and 100% confirmed altogether – out of the 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled by air between January and September 2020.

When you do the math, every 27 million travelers will correspond to one COVID-19 case. Even in the worst-case scenario where 90% of the cases are not reported to the authorities, you still get odds of 1 in 2.7 million. If you ask any reasonable statistician or mathematician, those are incredibly low odds.

To put this in perspective: The odds of any person in the United States getting struck by lightning in any 365-day period is 1 in 700,000, according to the National Geographic. Which means there is no realistic reason to expect that you’ll contract the coronavirus while traveling the world.

The same study being conducted by IATA had two other interesting conclusions to make…

One, installing plexiglass on airplanes is a useless endeavor. What allows the aircraft to become safe places for passengers is the airflow within the cabin. Through selective movement and filtration of particles, the spread of viruses like COVID-19 is limited.

Two, face masks were found to reduce risk of contracting COVID-19 even further. This is evidenced by the fact that the majority of published COVID-19 cases on flights happened before universal face masking was adopted and enforced by airlines.

Long story short: If you don’t want to travel by air, you don’t have to. But know that it’s an incredibly safe way to get from Point A to Point B… and you’ll be much more likely to get hit by lightning!

What do YOU think about these numbers from the IATA? Do you feel more confident, safe and secure about boarding a plane right now? Reply to this newsletter and share your comments with us!

You Don’t Have to BUY Gold, But You Can Still INVEST in Gold!

Gold has had an incredibly successful 2020, starting at the $1,514.75 mark at the beginning of the year and reaching an all-time high of $2,067.20 on August 6th before hovering somewhere between $2,000 and $1,800 an ounce. All in all, a 25.5% return is PHENOMENAL (especially compared to the S&P 500 and its disappointing 6% return so far).

We all know the reasons why investors go gaga for gold. It’s a bet on inflation when the value of cash decreases while the price of services and goods goes up. It doesn’t behave like stocks or bonds, which can be a major relief. And hey, humanity has held gold as a valuable item for several thousands of years!

But you don’t need to start racking up on gold bars and gold coins. There are many assets you can buy into that will directly follow gold’s price movement.

Think of GLD (SPDR Gold Shares) and IAU (iShares Gold Trust), two exchange-traded funds that physically hold gold in their own vaults. Or Barrick Gold, a gold mining company based in Canada. Or even a mega-sized exchange-traded fund like GDX (VanEck Vectors Gold Miners) that follows the average movement of 53 gold-related stocks.

Just a friendly note for my metals-focused investors who are looking for new and exciting ways to get involved in trading this commodity. Or for those of you who want something “golden” to diversify your portfolio with!

Canada’s Largest Province Falls Back to Old COVID-19 Lockdown Conditions

After an increasing number of daily COVID-19 cases for the past four months in some of the largest cities within the province of Ontario, Canada, new measures are being introduced province-wide to try and lower the spread of the virus.

(Even though daily DEATHS are not increasing, which goes to show the ignorance of so-called health authorities… but that’s another issue for another time.)

Set to be in place for at least 28 days, this “modified” regression comes with some of the following restrictions:

  • All indoor fitness centers and gyms must shut down, along with all gaming establishments (bingo halls, casinos, etc.)
  • No indoor service of food and drinking in bars and restaurants will be allowed
  • Any personal care services that require the removal of a face mask will be closed
  • Meetings are limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors

There’s only one good thing about this brand-new lockdown: Schools and churches can resume their current activities while practicing common COVID-19 sense (social distancing, hand washing, face masks, etc.).

And right before the country’s Thanksgiving weekend. What a crappy way to start a cherished holiday for our neighbors up north…

United Airlines Launches Interactive Map for Finding Budget Flights

It’s one thing to be able to search for prices when you know where you’re starting and where you want to go. But when you have one place you’re departing from and you have multiple options for your final destination, how do you compare prices and options among multiple routes at once?

United Airlines may have the answer to that long-standing question, thanks to their ability to tap into the Flight Search Enterprise Technology used by Google. Combining that with their interactive Map Search feature now allows you to filter multiple trips on the basis of:

  • Budget
  • Type of destination you want to visit
  • Cities of interest
  • Type of trip (round trip, one way)
  • Date range
  • Food
  • Opportunities for select outdoor activities

And all of the results will be displayed on the map, each place marked by its corresponding price tag. Click on the price tag and you’ll be able to find more details, including flight specifics and booking your stay.

The only unfortunate downside is that this map only works for domestic flights within the USA. So if you’re trying to get to Canada, you’ll have to find something else. Hopefully that “something else” doesn’t involve illegally crossing the border. 😉

All the Upsides of Suburbs AND Cities: 5 “Magical” US Locations That Give You Both

There are obvious upsides and downsides of living in either the big city or the suburbs. And with people leaving the former to escape to the latter, they may quickly find themselves reminiscing over the days when they lived downtown. Where the “city” feel was oddly inspiring and brought some sense of enjoyment to their daily lives.

According to a “Cityness Index” created by Yelp and Zillow, which ranks suburbs on their ability to maintain a city-like atmosphere while offering housing affordability, good housing availability, and a solid diversity of businesses, here are the top 5 suburbs that are most like cities:

  • Lowell, Massachusetts (average home value = $323,576)
  • Sunrise, Florida (average home value = $243,078)
  • Pasadena, Texas (average home value = $168,080)
  • Joliet, Illinois (average home value = $155,018)
  • Waterbury, Connecticut (average home value = $139,304)

Looks like some surprisingly affordable options, right? All of them below the $256,663 median home value across the entire United States of America.

I’m curious to know: Are you currently aware of any suburbs that have a city-type of feeling to them? If so, which one would you most recommend living in? Reply to this newsletter with your suggestions!

Flying Transatlantic at Supersonic Speeds: The Future of International Travel

Imagine if you could fly across one of the Transatlantic routes while feeling more comfortable and simultaneously traveling at a much faster speed. That’s the primary goal of Boom Technology, an aviation start-up valued at $160 million that just released its XB-1 supersonic jet.

The XB-1 is a 71-foot-long single-passenger plane that is being used to test the jet’s capacity for traveling across several overseas routes… at speeds of Mach 1.3 before pushing the speed barrier even further. If all of the tests in 2021 go well, the next decade will be spent crafting the first commercial plane using this technology.

The commercial plane will carry 65-88 passengers, with spacious seats and ample walking room between each seat (think of having your seat be an aisle seat and window seat at the same time). Spanning nearly 200 feet in width, it is currently known under the codename “Overture” and promises the following reductions in popular international routes:

  • San Francisco to Tokyo: 10.25 hours to 6 hours
  • New York to London: 6.5 hours to 3.5 hours

I can’t even begin to imagine the number of obstacles they’ll have to jump over in the regulatory, technology, and testing departments. But if they’ve managed to make it this far, it will be one of the biggest game-changing innovations of the 2030s for all of aviation.

What was once limited to elite military pilots will become commonplace for the average business traveler…

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