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What caught my eye this week.

Figures from HMRC, as reported on in the Financial Times [search result] show the tax take from capital gains tax and inheritance tax rising fast in recent years:

Much of the increase is apparently due to growing tax receipts from property sales. The FT quotes Sean McCann, a chartered financial planner at NFU Mutual:

“Landlords are being caught in a very effective pincer movement from the taxman. From one side the higher rate tax relief on mortgage interest is gradually being phased out and making letting properties less profitable. From the other side, landlords looking to sell buy-to-let properties are being squeezed with an extra 8 per cent capital gains tax.”

I suspect most Monevator readers won’t be too sad to see buy-to-let being squeezed after a 20-year boom. I’m not against the rental sector on principle. But I did think the game had tilted too much in favour of landlords, and I was glad to see measures to address that.

Of course I myself swooped to buy my own home barely a year or so into the resultant correction. My stellar record of making a fist of the erstwhile millionaire-maker that is the London property market continues!

Tax take

I don’t think property is the whole story, though. It doesn’t take a charting genius to notice the previous peak in capital gains tax receipts was just before the last bear market. So after a decade of strong stock markets, at least some of the latest surge is surely also coming from investors coughing up on selling unsheltered investments.

Always use your ISAs and SIPPs as much as you can! Don’t be a klutz like me 15 or so years ago, when I was tardy in sheltering my investments.

I am still defusing capital gains tax liabilities from back then – as well as some built up when I’d filled ISAs but hadn’t started on a SIPP – and expect to be doing so in a decade.

You might say it’s a high-class tiny violin problem to have; perhaps but it was also an unforced error.

Back then I thought tax on investments was only a concern for moguls. Not only was I wrong, but in the eyes of The Man anyone pursuing the sort of high six-figure portfolios required for financial independence pretty much is a mini-mogul.

Now I’ve got rid of nearly all the dividend payers it’s not such a pressing issue as it was (at least not until the rules change again) but it is a pain.

Paying investment taxes can savage your returns, for no risk/reward upside. Use tax mitigation strategies wherever legal and practical.

From Monevator

How to improve your sustainable withdrawal rate – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Environmental degradation threatens your long-term wealth – 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

The Slashie: A glamorous new way to work, or the ultimate grind? – Guardian

Tickets now on sale for the UK premiere screening of Playing with FIREEventBrite & Review

Number of landlords investing in London falls 31% since 2010 – ThisIsMoney

Living costs rising faster for UK’s poorest families than richest – Guardian

More companies are going public again, but the trend to stay private longer is here to stay – Tech Crunch

“Outrage is justified”: David Attenborough backs school climate strikers – Guardian

They’re popular, but high-yield bonds offer the worst of both worlds – Bloomberg

Products and services

Monzo announces new ‘Plus’ accounts with a £6 monthly fee – Monzo

20 ways to save cash while helping to save the planet – ThisIsMoney

Ratesetter’s £100 bonus effectively boosts your expected annual return on £1,000 to 14%  – Ratesetter [Affiliate link]

GiffGaff is the best rated mobile deal provider – ThisIsMoney

Smart Beta slows down – Institutional Investor

Are prefabs the homes of the future? – ThisIsMoney

The price of buying into the classic English country life – ThisIsMoney

Five of the best wisteria-clad homes for sale [Gallery]Guardian

Comment and opinion

The problem with most financial advice – Of Dollars and Data

Is the value premium dead? – The Evidence-based Investor

You played yourself – Morgan Housel

[Effectively] get 97% off annuity rates with Class 2 NI contributions… – Simple Living in Somerset

…but beware the top-up system is complex and overdue an overhaul – ThisIsMoney

A stealth wealth solution for property investors with kids – Financial Samurai

Only intrinsic motivation lasts – Daniel Vassallo

“I’m having more fun than any 88-year-old in the world”: Warren Buffett [Search result]FT

A bad year in the bond market is a bad day in the stock market – A Wealth of Common Sense

The path-dependent nature of Perfect Withdrawal Rates [Nerdy]Flirting with Models

How many stocks should you own in your portfolio? – Intrinsic Investing

Bond-fund managers have enjoyed a happier hunting ground – Morningstar

Professional investors are now very bearish. Retail investors are very bullish – The Macro Tourist

There’s a case for a 1% allocation to Bitcoin, but beware the charlatans – Money Maven

How do great (active) investors measure success? – Market Fox


The best place to build a life in English? The Netherlands [Search result]FT

Kindle book bargains

How to Have A Good Day by Caroline Webb – £0.99 on Kindle

Eat Well for Less by Jo Scarratt-Jones- £1.99 on Kindle

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens – £1.39 on Kindle

What You See is What You Get by Alan Sugar – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Who’s really buying property in San Francisco? [Fascinating end-of-times stuff]The Atlantic

Global warming: Is Greta Thunberg right about UK climate emissions? – BBC

Computer scientists say AI’s ethics have yet to move beyond Libertarian phase – The Onion

Housework could keep your brain young, research suggests – Guardian

On finding something to say – Seth’s Blog

The Instagram aesthetic is over – The Atlantic

How to talk like you’re a character in BillionsVulture

Post-coal Prom Queen: Romania’s lost lands [Gallery]Guardian

And finally…

“Warren and I aren’t prodigies. We can’t play chess blindfolded or be concert pianists. But the results are prodigious, because we have a temperament advantage that more than compensates for a lack of IQ points.”
– Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger quoted in Michael Batnick’s Big Mistakes

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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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