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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.

From Monevator

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

Hargreaves Lansdown under fire over Wealth 150 list – Guardian & Simon Lambert

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

The jury is still out on timing factor [i.e. return premium] investments – Morningstar

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

The economics of divorce – Young F.I. Guy & [Search result] FT

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

Related: Two pieces on future returns [US but relevant]Morningstar & ZenInvestor

In praise of having a big cash reserve – Bone Fide Wealth (via Abnormal Returns)

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


Audience member on Question Time sums up where we’re at [Video] – via Twitter

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

And finally…

“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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  1. 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.
  2. 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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