April 18, 2021

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No escape from the virtual office

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Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

$300 a day for a Kia Rio
Those planning a trip might be surprised to learn that rental car prices have “gone insane,” said Chris Isidore at CNN. In Orlando, even a subcompact Kia Rio “could cost you at least $300 a day,” perhaps more than you’ll spend for airfare or lodging. That is, if you can find a car to book: Rentals were totally sold out at 18 of Florida’s 20 largest airports last week. A year ago, when the pandemic brought air travel to a halt, there was “a glut of rental cars.” Companies sold off “more than half a million cars, about a third of their combined fleets,” to generate cash. And they have not been able to rebuild their fleets fast enough to handle the spring rebound in travel.

Robinhood seeks to offer IPO shares
Robinhood is building a platform that would allow users to buy into initial public offerings, said David French and Anirban Sen at Reuters— starting with its own. In an effort to “democratize” IPOs, the popular commission-free app “plans to carve out a chunk of its shares on offer in its IPO for its 13 million users.” Amateur traders are typically unable to buy the stock of a newly listed company until shares start trading. By contrast, Wall Street funds and other institutional investors routinely buy shares before they debut — and before a potential “first-day pop” boosts the share price. Last year, the “pop” in U.S. IPOs on Day 1 was 36 percent. In order to let users buy into outside IPOs, Robinhood “would need to negotiate agreements with the companies and their brokerages.” But it likely could leverage “a major pool of investor demand.”

No escape from the virtual office
“The pandemic has popularized ‘workcations,'” said Erica Pandey at Axios. Working remotely for the past year has dramatically blurred the line between working and not working for many Americans. The economic uncertainty has also made workers more “worried about job security” and “reluctant to take time off.” That’s led to more people “going on a vacation but working while there.” However, “just because we can work on vacation doesn’t mean we should.” The lack of work-life balance “could drastically worsen burnout”; a workcation is not the same as unbroken time off. “Vacations enrich your potential to contribute at work” by putting mental distance between you and your office responsibilities. “You can’t reap any of those benefits on a workcation.”

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.

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