Weekend reading logo

What caught my eye this week.

I have a stuffed hamper’s worth of links below to help get you through the Christmas break. However I struggled with how to introduce what’s probably our last post of the year.

Covid? Too miserable, interminable, unresolved, and depressing.

Brexit? Ditto, with knobs on.

Even recapping this bonkers year is a hard task for an investment blog.

In March we stared into the abyss. In a rare show of animation The Accumulator charged into the fray, urging “Do not sell!” from the ramparts of our passive investing HQ like some calculator-wielding William Wallace. I even sensed an opportunity, but hindsight and global indices back at their highs are deceiving and make such calls look smarter than the hunches they were at the time. This year confounded, and confounded again.

As I was mulling all this over, I was also moderating the comments on TA’s Financial Origin story from Tuesday and I realised they are the best way to end 2020. More than 70 readers have now shared their financial journeys – and in some cases report they’ve already reached financial independence.

The stories make for a heartening read. Please consider adding yours.

Keep on keeping on

More than a few of the stories give Monevator a nod, among other blogs, as playing a part in their success. Talk about an early Christmas present! It’s great to hear we’ve helped nudge a few lives in the right direction.

Indeed thank goodness for the much-maligned Internet. Some of us have spent most of this year alone. But it’s rarely felt that way to me, partly because this blog reaches a vast audience – approaching three-quarters of a million souls over the course of a year.

Monevator has at heart a simple message and a design that needs updating, but it still finds a readership. Hopefully we’ll all spend less time in front of our screens in 2021 – but do continue to make some time for us!

Until then have the best Christmas you can in the miserable circumstances. Maybe phone a lonely friend?

I continue to think that (again, like Brexit) the true toll of the virus and the countermeasures will be counted over decades, not months. But when it comes to the upfront impact, the worst is nearly behind us.

The global economy could well roar in 2021. Stay with it!

From Monevator

What’s your financial origin story? – Monevator

…don’t miss the amazing replies from readers on that one – Monevator

From the archive-ator: How to enjoy life like a billionaire – Monevator

News

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

Bank of England governor apologises after FCA failings over £237m investment scandal – Sky

Bitcoin breaks [far] above $20,000 for the first time ever – CNBC

Citigroup to offer up to 12-week sabbaticals to staff – Guardian

FCA establishes Temporary Registration Scheme for cryptoasset businesses – FCA

Average UK house prices up £13,000 to new record of £245,000, says ONS – ThisIsMoney

How London’s reach will shrink after Brexit [Search result]FT

Value is cheap, so is growth a bubble? – GMO Quarterly

Products and services

Big banks paid as little as 38p on each £1,000 held in an ISA in 2020 – ThisIsMoney

How to save the planet? Richard Curtis says it involves pensions, actually – Guardian

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade

Natwest the latest to bring back 90% loan-to-value mortgages – ThisIsMoney

Investment platforms scramble to retain new customers [Search result]FT

Another backdoor crypto investment option opens [In the US]ETF.com

Comment and opinion

Custom indexing is the investing mega-trend of 2021 – The Reformed Broker

Wealth tax would prove taxing for the Tories – FireVLondon

Supercharging your financial bullshit detector – Incognito Money Scribe

As Covid optimism grows, investors seek ways to hedge inflation risk [Search result]FT

Why Bitcoin is not that stupid – Deep Dish

Penis thieves and asset bubbles – A Wealth of Common Sense

Get ready to explore in retirement – Humble Dollar

Poisoned just enough: Why MMM is so optimistic about 2021 – Mr Money Mustache

Why you don’t want to invest in a hedge fund ETF – The Evidence-based Investor

A bubble in US stocks? Maybe, but the US is richer than ever, too – Calafia Beach Pundit

Macroeconomics and money [Reminder: I don’t necessarily agree with all that I link to. IMHO the first half of this is a useful summary. The second half is a provocative opinion.]Richard Murphy

Naughty corner: Active antics

Decoded: institutional investors’ BS – Institutional Investor

This man lost everything betting on stocks – Pragmatic Capitalism

HICL Infrastructure: dividend growth on hold – IT Investor

How to categorise stocks as quality, defensive, and/or value – UK Value Investor

The Unicorn decade is over and everyone is a winner – I’m Late To This

Analysts react to incentives, too – Klement on Investing

Professional investors underweight cash for the first time since 2013 – All-Star Charts

Covid corner

How science beat the virus – The Atlantic

Coronavirus doctor’s diary: “Have I got Covid for a second time?”BBC

Christmas relaxation will overwhelm the medical services – BMJ

Boris Johnson refuses to rule out third national lockdown – Guardian

More than 130,000 vaccinated in the UK in the first week – BBC

Online calculator estimates when you’ll receive vaccine – Omni Calculator

Sweden reverses face mask guidelines – BBC

New Covid variant spreading faster, scientists warn ministers – Sky News

NICE advises hospitals to check patients for ‘Long Covid’ after six weeks – BBC

Politics and Brexit

Brexit trade talks enter yet another ‘critical’ 48-hour period – BBC

How offshore odds-makers made a killing in the betting markets from gullible Trump supporters – Slate

Kindle book bargains

Wouldn’t a Kindle make a great present for that hopeless illiterate in your life?

Amazon FBA Step-By-Step: A Beginners Guide To Selling On Amazon – £0.99 on Kindle

Make Your Bed: 10 Life Lessons from a Navy SEAL by William McRaven – £1.99 on Kindle

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini – £1.99 on Kindle

Bean Counters: The Triumph of the Accountants and How They Broke Capitalism by Richard Brooks – £1.19 on Kindle

Off our beat

Blob opera [Interactive fun!]Google Arts

Super cubes: inside the big business of packaged ice – Guardian

“Should I quit Wall Street to pursue my passion project?” [Podcast]FT Money Clinic

When a virus is the cure [On bacteriophages]The New Yorker

When the 1% moves town – Bloomberg

Jerry Seinfeld’s systems, routines, and methods for success [Podcast]Tim Ferris Show

Cockroach: Ai Weiwei’s new documentary on last year’s Hong Kong protests – BBC

The man who taught Uber to say sorry [Two months old but interesting]BBC

And finally…

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”
– Timothy 6:10, King James Bible

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every Friday! Like these links? Note this list includes a few affiliate links. We may be compensated if you pursue these offers. This will not affect the price you pay.

  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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