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What caught my eye this week.

Besides a brilliant comment thread, our early retirement Christmas debate concluded with a poll. That’s now closed and the votes are in.

And you, The People – as we must say these days – expressed your FIRE plans as follows:

1,199 readers voted. Wish I’d waited for one more now.

Tempting though it is to present these results as a crushing blow for my workshy arch-frenemy The Accumulator, I’d say it’s really a no-score draw.

That’s because in hindsight the phrasing of the ‘maybe do a bit of work if interesting’ option made it a no-brainer. Only the most dedicated rat race escapee would turn down doing a little paid work they thought was both interesting and useful, surely?

Actually, perhaps the ever-reasonable Details Man really won the debate, given this result.

If so, the prize for victory – diddlysquat, bar the joy of me contesting the results when I see him next – couldn’t have gone to a nicer FIRE-seeker.

Enjoy the links, and your weekend.

From Monevator

The Slow and Steady passive portfolio update: Q4 2019 – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Admit it – you miss the market meltdown – Monevator

News

Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

FCA proposes rules requiring banks to stick with a single rate after introductory deals – Guardian

Vanguard prepping to enter UK advice space – Investment Week

Your tax return: The deadline is looming [Search result]FT

40% rise in companies opting to leave the stock exchange – Guardian

British collector sells 3,000 Matchbox toy cars for £300,000 – ThisIsMoney

Two-thirds of London Capital Finances clients set to lose their savings – ThisIsMoney

[Click to enlarge]

Fintech users just can’t get enough of traditional banks [Search result]FT

Products and services

Six tips for anyone buying a leasehold property – ThisIsMoney

Energy bills: Switch now to save up to £300 – Guardian

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year – Ratesetter

Equity release mortgage rates are at record lows, but tread carefully – ThisIsMoney

Grade I-listed homes for sale [Gallery]Guardian

Mini house price and property special

Halifax: UK house prices up 1.7% in December, lifting annual rise to 4% – Guardian

London house prices link to earnings is ‘almost entirely dislocated’; North, no so [Search result]FT

What do you want to happen to house prices? – Simon Lambert

Why one wealth adviser changed his mind about buy-to-let [Search result]FT

Comment and opinion

Charts of the decade (UK-style) – The Financial Bodyguard

Mr Market isn’t so foolish, after all – Morningstar

Extreme FIRE and how to live well – Simple Living in Somerset

3 ways to get the ‘unbanked’ into equities [Podcast, US but relevant and passionate]Bloomberg

Massive ‘Tweetstorm’ thread making the case for global investing – Meb Faber via Twitter

Why longer-term bonds have greater price volatility (interest rate risk) – Oblivious Investor

Annual FI audit – FireVLondon

How much does rebalancing frequency matter? An interesting experiment – Of Dollars and Data

Gradual improvements redux – The Irrelevant Investor

Crazy tales of financial fraud – A Wealth of Common Sense

Naughty corner: Active antics

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Wall Street strategists look to unearth the next ‘Fangs’ [Good luck with that!] [Search result]FT

UK Value Investor’s 2019 portfolio review… – UK Value Investor

…another review, from one of my favourite UK small cap stock pickers – Maynard Paton

…and a review of the past decade from one who focuses on investment trusts – IT Investor

Secondary lessons from The Intelligent InvestorNovel Investor

A heroic attempt to make a theoretical case for active investing [Geeky]Alpha Architect

Kindle book bargains

Economics: The User’s Guide by Ha-Joon Chang – £1.99 on Kindle

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein – £1.99 on Kindle

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Frog in a blender – The Feld Report

The end of ‘someone’ – Seth’s Blog

Obsessed with Wikipedia’s personal life entries? You’re not alone – Seattle Times

2020: What a time to be alive – Morgan Housel

And finally…

“The world is full of examples of two things that appear to be related because they move in concert with one another, merely by chance. The number of films Nicholas Cage appeared in is highly correlated with the number of people who drown in a swimming pool each year.”
– Ben Carlson, Don’t Fall For It: A Short History of Financial Scams

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  1. Note some 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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