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What caught my eye this week.

Ever wondered whether you own enough home? If you’re casting your eyes around your living room and finding all the walls, windows, and doors present and correct, you might think this is a trick question.

But not if you’re James Max, the Financial Times columnist who writes [search result]:

While I am fully aware that you can only live in one property at a time, I’m firmly of the opinion that you need to own more than one home.

Three used to be the ideal number. Is this still the case?

Max isn’t suggesting you become a landlord. He says own three homes for your personal enjoyment.

Fair enough, it’s a point of view, but it’s a bit – well – rich to then claim:

News flash! There isn’t a housing crisis: there is a particular difficulty for those wishing to buy.

For those with a home, there is no crisis – other than the slowing market created by politicians.

Max apparently made his fortune on the back of his business smarts. He’s clearly smarter than me, because I took a different lesson from the guff about supply and demand.

Owning a lot of property also sounds like a lot of hassle. No doubt Max is right when he argues – as he did on the FT’s follow-up podcast – that not renting out your second and third homes does reduce the grief.

Less grief that is until the property-poor masses come to your door with pitchforks…

Home alone

It’s a tricky one for this self-professed capitalist, but on balance I think housing in the UK is a special case. There are clearly limits on our ability to meet demand with supply, and still live in a country we mostly all want to live in.

I’m therefore in favour of punitive taxes on owning multiple properties, where the extra housing is removed from the national housing stock. But I can understand why some feel this is an impingement on the rules of the capitalist game.

Luckily I’ll probably be spared too much hand-wringing. Becoming an owner of even one home has increased the complexity in my life. I can’t imagine tripling down.

One multi-property owner agrees with me. Blogger Fire V London finds:

The most painful complexity is real estate. I will let out a big sigh of relief when I eventually sell my old home. And I may well then repeat the process and sell my ‘buy-to-let’ flat.

Certainly, if I swapped out my ownership of these two assets and replaced them with just a diversified collection of public real estate listings […] my net yield would increase and I think my long term rate of return would increase.

Read the whole article for a candid recap on how investing can spiral out of control.

From Monevator

It’s an emergency (fund)! – Monevator

From the archive-ator: The first law of personal finance – Monevator


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

Salary required by first-time buyers rises 18% in three years in UK’s biggest cities – Guardian

London stamp duty take hits record £4.9bn even as sales fall [Search result]FT

Barclays chair condemned after claiming many PPI claims are fraudulent – Guardian

Brexiteer billionaire rejoins world’s richest amid building boom [JCB]Bloomberg

How would Labour plan to give workers 10% stake in big firms work? – Guardian

Emerging markets: Basket case or opportunity? [Search result]FT

36 million millionaires (< 1% of adults) hold 46% of household wealth worldwide – via Ben Carlson

Products and services

Wall Street versus High Street: Goldman Sachs launches 1.5% online saver – Guardian

Sharia-compliant Al-Rayan Bank still offers best two- and three-year rates – ThisIsMoney

First-time buyers with a 5% deposit offered the cheapest deals ever – ThisIsMoney

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

Silver 50p coin sells for £400 at auction. Do you have one? – ThisIsMoney

TSB, HSBC and Barclays customers hit by latest IT problems – Guardian

I’m 82 and in good health, so can I blow some savings on a world cruise to avoid future care bills? – ThisIsMoney

Comment and opinion

Dear future me – Robert Seawright

Undervalued financial advice – A Wealth of Common Sense

Next week you can get financial planning for free. YFG has the details – Young FI Guy

When you don’t know the price until you sell – Of Dollars and Data

Monkey stocks: A three-year experiment with stock picking – Quietly Saving

FIRE in the news: Liar, liar, pants on fire – Simple Living in Somerset

Living the good life on a small budget in Mexico – Physician on FIRE

Why the ‘Dean of Valuation’ is selling/shorting Apple and Amazon2Musings on Markets

Interview with tech VC Fabrice Grinda [Podcast]Meb Faber

Challenging the convention wisdom on active management [Research]Paper at SSRN (h/t Abnormal Returns)

Kindle book bargains

The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More by Chris Guillebeau – £0.99 on Kindle

Small Change: Money Mishaps and How to Avoid Them by Dan Ariely – £0.99 on Kindle

Your Money or Your Life: A Practical Guide to Getting – and Staying – on Top of Your Finances by Alvin Hall – £0.99 on Kindle

How Do We Fix This Mess? The Economic Price of Having it all, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity by Robert Peston – £0.99 on Kindle


Boris Johnson’s [pay-walled] 6-point plan has no answer to fixing Brexit – Business Insider

UK nationals would suffer under skills-based immigration, EU tells Javid – Guardian

Chilling predictions confuse the Brexit picture [Search result]FT

Customs delays of 30 minutes will bankrupt one in 10 firms [Seems alarmist]Guardian

Life after Brexit [Comic short film]BBC Three via Facebook

Media Leaver heralds corporation tax cut benefit from Brexit. Wrong as per. – Twitter

Bottle of wine up 28p to record high since Brexit vote – ThisIsMoney

Off our beat

Different kinds of smart – Morgan Housel

Where we’re at – James Morrow via Twitter

And finally…

“Life shouldn’t be an impulse purchase. We may fall short of our financial plans, but that’s better than no plan at all.”
– Jonathan Clements, From Here to Financial Happiness

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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”.
  2. I’m biased as an Amazon shareholder, but I say never short on valuation grounds alone…

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