Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

Still to buy all your Christmas presents? You’ll get no sympathy from me if you intend to shop on foot like some Luddite from the 1980s.

Why not go the whole hog and hit the High Street on a horse?

Me, I’ve done all my Christmas shopping online via Amazon for years now, sending the bulk of it direct to my mum’s house – the scene of the annual family bust-up reunion. It’s become even easier since I joined Amazon Prime. No crowds, no packing, no delivery fees, and no worries it won’t make it on time.

So in the spirit of giving, I’ll share a few Amazon-able gift ideas with you.

Fear not! I won’t try to cherry pick the best BBC box sets or handmade soap.

Instead we’ll stick to what we know, with money and investing book ideas plundered from the many I’ve read and featured here in 2013.

Best for new passive investors

The third addition of Smarter Investing is no more exciting than versions one and two, but my co-blogger The Accumulator swears he’d never have got started in index funds without Tim Hale’s definitive and sober advice. The Bible for UK passive investors.

Best for those who should know better

Investing Demystified by Lars Kroijer is only a little less sleepy than Tim Hale’s tome, but the fact it’s a passive investing treatise written by an ex-hedge fund manager does add some extra frisson. An impressive turnaround.

Best for old-school share investors

John Lee is one of the greats of UK private investing, with the noble Lord having become famous through his FT columns – and his revelation that he was an ISA millionaire by the early 2000s through his investing results. Now we can learn how he did it in his eagerly-awaited How to Make a Million Slowly. I’m glad to report there’s even a Monevator plug on the back!

Best for value investors

I wish I’d bought the attractive hardback version of The Value Investors instead of the Kindle edition – it’s much more in keeping with this old-school method to riches. Good to dip into for a quick inspiring story about some quirky maladjusted male made good. The Asian case studies were all new names to me.

Best for investing wisdom

The Most Important Thing: Illuminated is the new version of Howard Marks’ super distillation of years of investing insights. A must-read for active investors, but in stressing just how hard it is to beat the market – and to run away from the herd –  it could also make a good read for the passive investor in your life.

Think of the children!

There’s a dearth of new books out there for newcomers to investing – a shame given that the state pension age has just been raised to 143 (or thereabouts) and half the country is in hock.

This means it is hard for me to recommend new books for disinterested nieces or nephews.

I still meet people whose life was changed by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, and even though it’s dated, US-based, and the author is a controversial salesmen, I bet it would still work its magic. Just make sure you steer them clear of his gazillion pound follow-up courses.

Alternatively, perhaps just throw the superlative Warren Buffett autobiography The Snowballat them, and hope they get inspired!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: The Post Office is offering attractive five-year fixed rate mortgages that can beat Help To Buy alternatives if you can stretch to a 10% deposit, reports ThisIsMoney. It’s charging 4.29% for a five-year fix at 90% loan to value, but there is a £1,495 fee.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

  • October best month ever for UK tracker sales [Search result]FT
  • ETF fund strategists are making hay from the ETF boom – Reuters

Active investing

  • Asset prices: Not yet fully inflated – Economist
  • Shares can survive the end of money printing – Telegraph
  • Buffett’s peerless market-beating ways revealed – Bloomberg
  • Cash is still king for affluent investors – FT
  • 10 US stock ideas from the ‘ultimate’ stock pickers – Morningstar

Other stuff worth reading

  • How many tulips can you buy with one bitcoin? – The Atlantic
  • Bankrupted by a mobile phone bill – The Guardian
  • House prices show biggest leap for six years – The Guardian
  • Autumn Statement disappointing for savers – Telegraph
  • New CGT rules for homeowners turned landlords – ThisIsMoney

Book of the week: Don’t fancy the money books? Then indulge your bucolic fantasies with this gorgeous book of Perfect English Farmhouses. The words might be good, but I just look at the pictures and sigh. A bit wet, I know.

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  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.”

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