What caught my eye this week.
I enjoyed Indeedably’s post this week about his self-imposed silence on hitting a major financial goal:
In the end, I opted not to mention my arbitrary financial milestone to anyone in real-life.
Instead, I joined my kids on the couch for a game of Super Smash Bros, while icing my busted toe with a bag of frozen peas.
The lockdown kitten leapt onto my lap and settled down for a nap.
Shallow and vain creature that he is, he had already forgotten about his fleeting stolen food victory and recent water gun defeat. Now he was content to be friends, for at least as long as I was willing to stroke his fur.
I gave another wry chuckle. We were a fine pair!
It doesn’t get much more shallow, vain, and fleeting than celebrating arbitrary round numbers contained in a spreadsheet.
As a private individual who’s nevertheless run a financial blog for over a decade, I relate.
Money’s too tight to mention
I generally prefer to live financially incognito, here and in real-life. But it does cause some issues.
My Bohemian investor habits for example eventually had some of my friends asking questions – not unkindly – as the years wore on.
Even as they upgraded their hedonic treadmills with the latest bells and whistles, I was still living like graduate student.
Where, a few prodded gently, had it all gone wrong?
De-cloaking to buy my flat mostly alleviated these concerns, albeit at the cost of more questions. I usually change the subject!
(Most of my friends are supremely disinterested about both my investing and this blog, so they won’t read this. I return the favour by not reading their books, playing their games, or listening to their music. Hah!)
Family is even trickier. You’re liable to be offered help you don’t need for one thing, which makes you feel guilty.
I eventually had to share some numbers with my mum to stop her worrying.
Family also bring the issue of whether and how you should help who. I haven’t really got a strategy for that one yet.
Something got me started
Finally, as a writer, there are you lot, the readers.
What should you know? How much context is useful, how much voyeuristic or self-indulgent? Or is it maybe misleading not be more candid?
My co-blogger The Accumulator made a splash when he came out as Financially Independent last year. Lots of congratulations went his way, which was great. And almost nothing snarky – ditto.
But best of all, it was suddenly clear how inspiring and helpful it was for many Monevator readers to see him hitting that goal.
They took it as further evidence and motivation. They could get there, too.
If you don’t know me by now
I do sometimes wonder if I should be more candid about my finances.
I thought it when TA posted about hitting his FI number.
I often think I should when I see people struggling with the slog, and doubting whether this whole saving and investing malarkey really works.
(Spoiler: it really does.)
I even found myself this week alluding to previous investing success in a draft that I’m writing about one of my biggest investing failures.
If you only read about an investor’s bad days, you might well question why you’re reading him or her at all. So maybe it isn’t entirely vanity or insecurity that makes me want to sneak in a few disclaimers? We’ll see.
What about you? How much do you share with your friends, family, and co-workers?
Let us know in the comments below, and have a great weekend.
As Interactive Investor targets EQi, should we fear platform consolidation? – Monevator
Best global tracker funds: how to choose – Monevator
The beginning of the end of the Covid-19 crisis – Monevator
From the archive-ator: A landlord is someone who borrows money on your behalf – 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
London average house prices top £500,000 for the first time… – ONS
…while housing transactions hit a 13-year high [Search result] – FT
UK retail sales suffered record fall in 2020 – ThisIsMoney
AJ Bell funds arm hits £1bn in first-ever AUM report – CityWire
New York emerges as winner as Brexit pushes swaps trading from London – Reuters
Interactive Investor swoops for rival EQi… – Sky News
…while the UK’s IG Group has acquired US platform TastyTrade – MarketWatch
Police discover a cannabis farm in London financial district – Reuters
London Metal Exchange to propose closure of historic trading Ring – Sky News
Netflix’s business model is now self-sustaining – New York Times
Some Bitcoin bits
How to make millions in Bitcoin – The Belle Curve
Bitcoin is a faith-based asset – Bloomberg
What explains Bitcoin’s resurgence? – New York Magazine
Elrond and the new crypto spaces [Warning: nerdy] – Marginal Revolution
Products and services
Britons buying from EU websites hit with £100 customs bills – Guardian
New lender Perenna claims it will offer 30-year fixed mortgages – ThisIsMoney
Households urged to brace for £80-a-year hike in energy bills – Guardian
Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade
NS&I boss apologises for customer service amid rise in withdrawals – Guardian
How investment platforms could evolve to add more value – Alex Graham
Homes for a healthy lifestyle, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
You turned $300k into $3 million. Now what? – A Wealth of Common Sense
Inheritance tax: an overview – DIY Investor (UK)
Higher inflation is coming and it will hit bondholders [Search result] – FT
Can money buy happiness? – Rock Wealth
Pitfalls of the inflation narrative – Klement on Investing
Why we go wrong managing money – Humble Dollar
Seven years of financial independence – Getting Minted
Adjusting an investment strategy – Quietly Saving
Stocks for the long run? Maybe not [Research] – SSRN
Investing lessons from Nomad’s Nick Sleep – The Undercover Fund Manager
Bubble trouble mini-special
— Ramp Capital (@RampCapitalLLC) January 17, 2021
Investing in a bubble – Verdad
Happy new year! Bubble yet? – The Brooklyn Investor
This is nuts, where are the profits [Search result] – FT
How we know we’re in a risk-on environment – All-star Charts
Pockets of the market are in a bubble. It’s okay just to say it – Late
Are retail investors now bullying Wall Street? – The Irrelevant Investor
When investors forget fundamentals, the market is broken [Paywall] – WSJ
The stock and crypto market are the ultimate platform and game – Howard Lindzon
Bursting bubbles – Bennallack
Why bubbles are good for innovation – A Wealth of Common Sense
The pandemic and politics
Lockdown could continue in England until summer – Guardian
Early hints new UK variant may be 30% more deadly – BBC
UK’s R number drops to between 0.8 and 1 – Sky News
Why won’t vaccinating the vulnerable end lockdown? – BBC
At best, travel bans to stop infectious diseases merely delay the inevitable – Slate
South African virus variant may resist antibody drugs; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine seems to work vs UK variant – Reuters
The rise of the coronavirus cranks – Quillette
Joe Biden has a shot at being a boring president. Let’s hope so – The Atlantic
‘No plan, no Q, nothing’: QAnon followers reel as Biden inaugurated – Reuters
Kindle book bargains
Don’t have a Kindle? Buy one.
Remote: Office not required by David Hansson- £0.99 on Kindle
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – £0.99 on Kindle
The Organised Time Technique: How to Get Your Life Running Like Clockwork by Gemma Bray – £0.99 on Kindle
The Wealthy Retirement Plan by Vicki Wusche – £0.99 on Kindle
Off our beat
Clean the tiles, not the floor – Raptitude
Why the cost of shipping goods from China is soaring [Podcast] – OddLots
Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. How come? – Fast Company
“Rather than seeking superior portfolio performance by chasing high-risk stocks (‘return-free risk’), investors should seek out ‘boring’ companies which have predictable returns, and superior fundamental financial performance, and take advantage of their persistent undervaluation relative to those returns to buy and hold them.”
– Terry Smith, Investing for Growth
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