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What caught my eye this week.

I stuck my oar into a Twitter debate this week, after economist Julian Jessop produced a graph purporting to show that the UK has not grown much more unequal post-Thatcher:

I responded that if we assume the data is right, then it’s still interesting that things don’t feel that way. So why the disconnect?

I am sure one reason is house prices. Those who have been on the housing ladder for decades – especially those who can help their own kids on – don’t seem to understand how un-affordable prices for the young have fractured society.

Perhaps that doesn’t show up in overall statistics of inequality because older would-be poorer citizens were made richer by rising house prices? I don’t know.

The other reason I put forward was Instagram. The fabulous lives of celebrities, influencers, and the several thousand photogenic cats and dogs made famous by social media cast a pall over our realities.

In the old days the Jones’ lived next-door, or perhaps across the street. Now they’re in your pocket, for many people day and night.

On the spectrum

It all points to new, technology-enabled (or perhaps enfeebled) ways of feeling rich or poor, which reminded me of an excellent blog post by US writer Morgan Housel.

Commenting on how the super-rich can’t help but make even the ordinarily rich feel poor, Housel writes:

Past a certain income the most difficult financial skill is getting the goalpost to stop moving.

And today’s level of global wealth has moved it a town over.

Housel then proposed a new spectrum of financial wealth, described by words, not numbers – because numbers don’t seem to tell us the whole story anymore.

While there are categories on the list I’d feel prouder to belong to, I plumped for ‘Health Wealth’ as my current status:

You can go to bed and wake up when you want to. You have time to exercise, eat well, learn, think slowly, and clear your calendar when you want it to be clear.

…which is gratifying, because I’ve been reading Why We Sleep? by Matthew Walker, and it’s life-changing enough to have seen me buy some new blackout curtains!

Where would you place yourself on Housel’s spectrum? And are there any categories he’s missing?

Have a great weekend!

p.s. Monevator has been ranked as the #1 UK personal finance blog by Vuelio. Several other good blogs on that list, too.

From Monevator

Lars Kroijer on…hedge fund mimicking ETFs, checking your portfolio, and minimal risk assets – Monevator

By Brexit standards, the debate after last week’s post is worth reading for views from all sides – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Types of entrepreneurs – 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

Credit card interest rates have hit a 13-year high – ThisIsMoney

Bank split on rates as it warns Brexit deal would hit growth – BBC

UK investors dump equity funds at record rates – Money Observer

Scrap entrepreneur’s tax relief, urges former HMRC head – Guardian

Watchdog warns UK fund managers to avoid Woodford liquidity trap – Reuters

‘Greta Thunberg effect’ driving growth in carbon offsetting – Guardian

Zero-fee funds is part of the ‘re-verticalization’ of asset management [Industry]Institutional Investor

Record US personal savings of $1.3trillion are one reason why the US bull market can continue – Investing Caffeine

Products and services

Putting the AI into financial advice [Search result]FT

Vanguard vs Dimensional: Who has delivered the higher returns? – Evidence-based Investor

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

Goldman Sachs teams up with Nutmeg to offer ISAs in the UK [Search result]FT

Plugging into the cost of charging an electric car – Guardian

Interactive Investor reveals its pension millionaires favour Vanguard, Terry Smith, and Nick Train – ThisIsMoney

Comment and opinion

The perma-everything approach – Pragmatic Capitalism

How to spend your money, according to science – Big Think

Bitcoin is a game – Moneyness

Why are we being herded into buying part of the world’s biggest polluter? – Patrick Collinson

Realistic investment results – Of Dollars and Data

Translating US financial independence jargon into UK English – The FI Fox

Money Box Live: How to Retire Young [Audio, featuring Barney]BBC iPlayer

Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline – Science Daily [via Abnormal Returns]

Ergodicity [From 2018, but well worth reading for the counter-intuitive maths]Sid Shanker

Naughty corner: Active antics

What went wrong at Woodford [Video] – Stockopedia via YouTube

Only holding global stocks near all-time highs captured most upside with lower downside – Allocate Smartly inspired by Meb Faber

Tom Lee: The four most important market indicators [Video]Reformed Broker

America’s decade – Albert Bridge Capital

The fool’s gold of emerging market valuations [Search result]FT

Anatomy of a Sell decision: The Restaurant Group – UK Value Investor

Talk Your Book: Greg Zuckerman on Jim Simons & Renaissance Technologies [Podcast]Animal Spirits

Treat each fight as if it were your last, because if you don’t it could be – Klement on Investing

Investors seek to cash in on Airbnb via SPVs [Search result]FT

Brexit and the General Election

“Rambling” Boris Johnson contradicts own government’s claims on his Brexit deal – LBC

Investors fear Labour policies ahead of the election [Search result]FT

Liberal Democrats, Greens, and Plaid Cymru agree ‘Remain Alliance’ pact – Guardian

Kindle book bargains

Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean by Kim Scott – £0.99 on Kindle

The Complete Guide to Property Investment by Rob Dix – £0.99 on Kindle

RESET: How to Restart Your Life and Get F.U. Money by David Sawyer – £0.99 on Kindle

Way of the Wolf by Jordan Belfort [aka The Wolf of Wall Street] – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Experience: My face became a meme and I turned it into a career – Guardian

The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising – The Correspondent

Biology is eating the world: A manifesto – Andreessen Horowitz

The four stages of Fintech start-ups – The Basis Point

Any amount of running reduces the risk of early death, study finds – Guardian

False memory – indeedably

Annoyed – Seth Godin

And finally…

“Budgeting is about telling each pound that comes through your hands where it should go, and how it should be used. In other words, budgeting is forward-looking. It’s about deploying your resources in the best way possible, like an army general planning the deployment of troops”
– Pete Matthew, The Meaningful Money Handbook

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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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