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What caught my eye this week.

One way to tell when someone is bluffing is when they rabbit on and on. I got that sense watching Philip Hammond’s Budget on Monday.

Oh, I don’t think he was being deceitful as such – although he did do the standard Chancellor sleight-of-hand trick by not revealing a National Insurance hike (see below) while boasting he was cutting taxes.

I also recognise his need to pepper his speech with dad jokes. Nobody wants to be known as Spreadsheet Phil, and Hammond has spent all his Budgets trying to shake that off that putdown with his Open Mic for MP gags.

But as the speech ticked past the hour mark, I sensed he really was making something out of nothing.

Rarely has so much been said by one chancellor for so little consequence to the status quo for the many, or the few.

Perhaps he was trying to bore MPs into backing a Brexit deal so they wouldn’t have to sit through an emergency Budget in March?

At least he didn’t tamper with pensions or ISAs.

  • Summary of Budget 2018: Key points at-a-glance – BBC
  • Sneaky National Insurance hike may take back some of your tax cut gains – ThisIsMoney

Was there anything in the Budget small print that caught your eye?

From Monevator

The reader discussion following our recent annuity post is a must-read – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Passive investing when the stock market crashes – 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

Northern England house prices to rise at faster rate than London – Guardian

See how these ‘penny pinchers’ retired in their 30s [Video, feat. MMM]PBS

Parents to get child benefit fine refunds as HMRC makes shock U-turn – Your Money

‘Red October’ wrongfoots bets on market bull run [Search result]FT

Are you rich and what do you get compared to the tax you pay in? – ThisIsMoney

Products and services

Nutmeg is rolling out a phone-based advice service – CityWire

Monzo has introduced savings pots that pay… wait for it… interest! – Monzo

Leeds BS’ 0.99% discount mortgage is cheapest since BOE rate hike – ThisIsMoney

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

NS&I got a boost this year, but there could be cuts to come – ThisIsMoney

What’s inside Vanguard’s new ESG ETFs? [US products, but they may come our way]Morningstar

How market destruction gave birth to the ETF [Podcast, multi-part series]Bloomberg

Comment and opinion

No one is crazy – Morgan Housel

Where the risk lies in a balanced portfolio – A Wealth of Common Sense

The upside of market corrections – UK Value Investor

Cash holders need a new drug – Abnormal Returns

The surprising power of the long game – Farnham Street

How to debate finance without being a jerk – Bloomberg

Get rich by being British – The Escape Artist

The 18-year property cycle – My Deliberate Life

Boutique fund managers are the best bet to try to beat the market – Institutional Investor

For active stock pickers: Making sense of the market mayhem – Musings on Markets

The biggest rallies come in bear markets – All Star Charts

Dear first-time angel investor – Roy Bahat

After 10 years, Bitcoin has changed everything… and nothing – Wired


No deal Brexit could see interest rates rise [or fall]ThisIsMoney

On news that David ‘Oops I Did A Brexit’ Cameron is mulling a return to politics – HuffPo

George Osborne has also confessed to regrets about the EU Referendum – BBC

Kindle book bargains

Anything to Declare?: The Searching Tales of an HM Customs Officer by Jon Frost – £0.99 on Kindle

Tiny Budget Cooking: Saving Money Never Tasted So Good by Limahl Asmall – £1.09 on Kindle

The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs by Cynthia Montgomery – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970 – Guardian

Cock Unsure: Some men are resorting to penis fillers to boost their self-esteem – BBC

What it’s like to listen to cricket on the radio for the first time – Young Vulgarian

Waitrose editor resigns after making a private joke. Book burning can’t be far away now – BBC

Empathetic budgies yawn when they see their peers do the same – New Scientist

A surfeit of lampreys: First evidence of stomach-turning medieval delicacy found in London – MOLA

Have you tried ambient literature? – Refinery 29

And finally…

“The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil.”
– John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

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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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