What caught my eye this week.
Got your passport ready and your bag packed for the last flight out of Heathrow when Britain goes all 21 Days Later on Brexit Day?
The good news is even I don’t think that’s going to happen. We’ll be more in for months of Dad’s Army amateurism should we leave with no-deal on the 29th March. But the reviled metropolitan elites will immediately put their brains towards sorting out the mess foisted upon them, and anarchy will be avoided.1
The bad news is Britain has slipped again in the Henley Passport Index. This ranking of how many countries a citizen can visit without a visa is now topped by Japan. Its popular citizens can visit 190 countries around the world visa-free.
Britain has dropped to sixth place – from the top spot in 2015 – though to be honest that isn’t disastrous. You can still visit 185 countries without a visa if you have a UK passport.
Despite the tilt towards nationalism in the UK and US (which has also fallen down the list) most of the world increasingly recognizes the power of hassle-free movement. In 2006 the average citizen could visit 58 countries without a visa. That has nearly doubled to 107.
Brexit surely won’t change things much – it’s unimaginable you’ll need a visa to visit the EU anytime soon – although I do expect we’ll be doling out more visas to the likes of India and China after Brexit.
We’ll need the workers, and they’ll demand visas in trade deals that we can’t refuse.
The Slow & Steady Passive Portfolio Update: Q4 2018 – Monevator
From the archive-ator: Beware the lure of the exotic – 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!2
Four in 10 UK first-time buyers will retire with mortgages, FCA warns – Guardian
One in five baby boomers are millionaires [Search result] – FT
UK house prices rise at fastest rate in almost two years, says Halifax – Guardian
Open banking: the quiet digital revolution one year on [Search result] – FT
[Former?] hedge fund star David Einhorn was down 34% in 2018 – CNBC
Would Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70% tax proposal work in UK?- Guardian
Do you live in a burglary hotspot? – This Is Money
Treasury to review ‘loan charge’ proposals that retrospectively tax contractors – Accountancy Daily
Australia’s house price slide prompts worries about its economy [Search result] – FT
JP Morgan: Most markets began 2019 pricing in an imminent mild recession – FT
Products and services
Why US-style zero-fee funds won’t catch on in Europe – Institutional Investor
Ratesetter will give you a free £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year – Ratesetter
Do you have any of these rare and valuable euro coins rattling around? – This Is Money
Farms and smallholdings for sale [In pictures] – Guardian
Market timing mini-special
No, you almost certainly can’t time markets – Institutional Investor
The evidence says index funds still beat active funds in down markets – Preston McSwain
The wrong debate – The Irrelevant Investor
Lump sum investing versus drip-feeding [From the archive-ator] – Monevator
Comment and opinion
When markets are tough, don’t look – Morningstar
Professional investors are bad at selling stocks – Bloomberg
US equity returns since 2009 are staggering, and likely unrepeatable – ETF.com
On the demographic path to human self-extinction – Ed Yardeni
The price of greed – Of Dollars and Data
30 years of living the bull market life… – Morningstar
Advice for the young as the market weather turns rougher – Simple Living in Somerset
Is J.D. Roth still financially independent, and does it even matter? – Get Rich Slowly
UK Value Investor reviews his performance in a tough 2018 – UK Value Investor
Brexit is dividing Britain. So is a Brexit movie. – New York Times
Outrage at John Bercow is the sound of a constitution working [Search result] – FT
No-deal Brexit would shrink economy by 8%, claims CBI – ThisIsMoney
We’re now a country where right-wing yobs chant “nazi” on live TV [Video] – via Twitter
It’s not perfect, but Norway plus may be Labour’s least worst option – Owen Jones
David Lammy MP urges MPs to tell the truth to misled voters [Video] – via Twitter
Kindle book bargains
Creativity, Inc. [Must read!] by Ed Catmull – £1.99 on Kindle
Barbarians at the Gate by Brian Burrough and John Helyar – £1.99 on Kindle
Start Now, Get Perfect Later by Rob Moore – £0.99 on Kindle
Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle – £0.99 on Kindle
Off our beat
Lonely George the tree snail dies, and a species goes extinct – National Geographic
Don’t reply to emails: The case for Inbox Infinity – The Atlantic
Blow to low carb diet as landmark study finds high fibre cuts heart disease risk – Guardian
Interview with Deep Mind’s founder and AI pioneer [PDF] – The Times via Google
Africa’s biggest conservation success was once a poacher’s paradise – Bloomberg
“The reason so few people optimise their finances and become wealthy is because they never spend any time researching and never properly try their hand at investing. There is a very high correlation between understanding finance and being wealthy.”
– Andrew Craig, How To Own The World
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- Before someone says “So what’s the problem then?”, an analogy here is that an expert surgeon can give you a quadruple heart bypass, but that’s not a mandate to chain smoke between bacon butties for 30 years.
- 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”.