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