Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

I enjoyed Financial Samurai’s post this week about the three worst jobs that made him the leisurely mogul he is today:

Whenever I got yelled at by a client or boss or had to travel thousands of miles for a one hour long meeting, I’d remember back to my high school days and smile.

I had this immense fear that if I did not do well in school, I would end up flipping burgers in the morning, stuffing envelopes in the afternoon, and moving boxes at night for a living.

Thanks to fear, I studied my heart out so I could at least have a chance at a better life.

My own reaction to early wage slavery was slightly different. Two jobs in particular helped make me the mildly maverick man I am.

Key was some part-time temp work I did in a huge office in Central London as a student, processing one privatisation offer or another.

I was going through a left-wing phase at the time, and I don’t remember which issue it was. More importantly, the entire operation was so dispiriting it’s a wonder it didn’t make me a commie.

Every day we’d be assigned near randomly to huge rooms to do different tasks such as sorting envelopes, opening envelopes, or stapling cheques and applications together. Yes, each of these was a different room, and a different role. Mind blowing stuff.1

Being mildly obsessive, I took some pride in processing as many envelopes as I could per hour, which my co-workers found hilariously diligent. And they were right, because at the end of the day a swathe of us would be told – arbitrarily, by alphabetical order or similar – that we would not be required the next day, and my time came soon enough.

All my efforts had been completely overlooked by my capitalist masters, and I was cast out like a three-legged donkey.

I vowed that I’d eventually be in charge of my fate. (Also: Better to be a capitalist master than a wage slave).

At least as crucial for me was my several years of delivering newspapers before school. I loved this job, which involved waking at 6am, seeing the bag of papers dwindle to one and then nothing, and “reading” page 3 and the Garfield comic strip before the paper’s legal owners.

My newspaper round felt like a cross between legalized trespassing and paid weight training, as the size of the Sunday supplements grew over the years. Best of all, the wodge of tips I received at Christmas was directly related to my efforts.

I was delighted to read in The Snowball that Warren Buffett also delivered newspapers in his school years.

Perhaps there’s still hope that the billions – or maybe some modest millions – might yet follow for me, too.

Any formative work experiences? Unburden yourself in the comments below!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: Skipton Building Society has launched a table-topping five-year fixed rate bond. The paltry 3% is enough to make it the best of the bunch.

Mainstream media money

Note: Some links are to Google search results – these enable you to click through to read the piece without you being a paid subscriber of the site.

Passive investing

  • Swedroe: Don’t get too excited about the bull market – CBS News
  • ETFs won’t solve our behavioural problems – NY Times
  • How we lose in the mutual fund casino – AssetBuilder

Active investing

  • Momentum investing with ETFs – Morningstar
  • Nigeria is the preferred Africa play [Search result]FT
  • The risks and rewards of retail bonds – Telegraph
  • Rob Arnott: Why I’ve had it with hedge funds – Fortune
  • Gold’s fair value is $800 an ounce – MarketWatch

Other stuff worth reading

  • London house prices are correlated with the gold price? – MoneyWeek
  • Home ownership falls for the first time in a century – Telegraph
  • Osborne warned by MPs over Help to Buy risks – BBC
  • Some home buyers forced to pay stamp duty twice [Search result]FT
  • Yet more property: An overseas fantasy home finder – Guardian
  • Cheddar mountain helps secure the pensions of milkmen – BBC

Book of the week: We’re forever recommending Tim Hale’s Smarter Investing, and must have delivered him hundreds of new fans. I was told by would-be readers that the book was out of stock a couple of weeks ago. Maybe, but Amazon now has plenty of copies if you want to indulge.

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  1. And another reason why I’m no fan of sweatshops. Bring on the robots!

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