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What caught my eye this week.

I got the call to be vaccinated against Covid this week. I admit that being in the midst of reading about super-rare blood clots linked to certain Covid vaccines at the exact time didn’t fill me with joy.

But as Tim Harford says in the Financial Times:

An educated guess, based on UK data, is that being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca jab carries a one-off risk of death of one in a million — not much higher than the risk of dying in an accident while travelling to a vaccination clinic.

Compared to all manner of sacrifices and gambles we take every day – for ourselves, and for the people we care for – these are tiny odds.

And in particular, as someone who spent the first few months of this pandemic wondering whether perhaps a persistent lockdown for all was the wrong strategy, given the low risk for most (a position regulars will recall I’d abandoned by the end of summer, in the face of the evidence) it would be hypocritical indeed to try to duck a one-in-a-million dice roll.

Not least on a personal selfish basis.

Even if you believe that your personal odds of a truly bad outcome from Covid are very low, as I do, I would definitely not claim mine are anything like as low as one in a million.

Or even one in 250,000 for that matter (the rough estimate of suffering a non-fatal clot).

Or even one in 50,000!

But that’s the human brain for you.

Odds that you can persuade yourself look long in the abstract can make you queasy when you will take even more unlikely ones in the next 15 minutes.

Vacillated or vaccinated?

I’ve included lots of links below for anyone who wants to know more on this blood clot issue.

All my friends have been thrilled when they’ve got the call to be vaccinated. Now my generation is on-deck, my social media is ablaze with vaccinations. My co-blogger The Accumulator booked his shot the moment he got the link. Most readers will be equally keen to get vaccinated ASAP.

A few readers are borderline anti-vaxxers, though they may dispute it. I appreciate I’ve opened the subject here. But that’s because I want to do my bit to make the case for taking the vaccine, even if you’re of a nervous disposition, as a coda to our discussions on Covid over the past 14 months.

In any event, all comments I personally consider unscientific or conspiracy-based will be deleted at my whim. (Hopefully this won’t happen. I very rarely delete comments.)

Ready or not

Ultimately it’s still a personal choice in the UK. For most adults, the best decision clearly looks to get vaccinated.

For ourselves and the wider good.

Let’s not forget that those arguments some of us made about deaths due to NHS disruption and so forth from a hard lockdown hold equally true here.

If the entire UK population of roughly 67 million could get vaccinated tomorrow and a worst-case 67 people died, who could argue more lives wouldn’t be saved overall by the health service, society, and the economy (and tax take) getting back to normal…

Will having the shot involve a dice roll?

Yes, like everything else in life.

But as a friend of mine quipped to me as my own jab approached, you’re rolling a dice with 1e6 sides!

As for the usual side effects, I’ve been lucky. Just feel a bit congested.

Hopefully many millions more 30-minute sessions like mine will soon put this thing behind us.

Have a great weekend!

From Monevator

Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE): my journey from first steps to leaving work – Monevator

Lars Kroijer on…dividend stocks, emerging and small cap trackers, and cash – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Shares deliver the best long-term returns, so why invest in bonds? – 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

Mortgage war rejoined as UK market confidence grows [Search result]FT

Rightmove says Cornwall’s Newquay is hottest UK property market – BBC

Reopening verdict: “Buzzing, chaotic, crazy”BBC

Jimmy Lai: The Hong Kong billionaire’s last interview as a free man – BBC

Pulled down by London, the average UK rent is up just 4% over the past year – Which

Products and services

Halifax relaunches its £100 switching bonus – Which

Fintechs are making trading apps more social – Protocol

Marcus, Kent, and Paragon kick off a [still puny] cash ISA bonanza – ThisIsMoney

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

Books & manuscripts: from the Middle Ages to the MoonChristie’s

…including this very interesting journal featuring that Mr. Sharpe – Christie’s

Get ‘work perks’ and a cash bonus with a new ISA – Be Clever With Your Cash

Homes for sale near pubs, in pictures – Guardian

A bit about Bitcoin

Chris Dixon: the potential of blockchain technology [Podcast]Invest Like The Best

Bitcoin arrives on Wall Street – Wired

Coinbase’s direct listing to drive ‘wave of innovation’ in cryptocurrency – Crunchbase

Revenge of the Winklevii [Week old, good updater on the space]Forbes

‘Phony money paying for real money’: Jim Cramer sells some bitcoin to pay off a home mortgage – CNBC

Comment and opinion

Risk: deep and shallow waters – The Financial Bodyguard

Beware graphs bearing outperformance – Occam Investing

Taper traps can leave you paying 60% taxes [Search result]FT

It’s all in the mix [On the efficient frontier]Humble Dollar

New wealth comes along with new emotions – Abnormal Returns

What happens after the stock market is up big? – A Wealth of Common Sense

You ever notice? [On perma-gloomsters] The Reformed Broker

The real story of Weimar hyperinflation [Podcast]OddLots

Naughty corner: Active antics

The 28 investment trust ISA millionaires – IT Investor

Hype cycles [Podcast]Telescope Investing

The pros and cons of discounted dividend models – UK Value Investor

Three takeaways from the Archegos disaster – Morningstar

Games – Enso Finance

Thematic investments have a dark side… – Morningstar

…not to mention all the overlap within thematic ETFs –

Covid corner

Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca jab still outweigh risks, despite more cases of rare blood clots – ITV

Why we shouldn’t worry about vaccine blood clots [Search result]FT

Hard choices emerge as link between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare clotting disorder becomes clearer – Science Mag

Communicating the vaccine’s risks and benefits [Presentation]UK Gov

Risks of rare blood clotting higher for Covid-19 than vaccines – University of Oxford

Another blood clot explainer… – The Vaccine Alliance

…and another, more neutral tone – Statnews

Pregnant women given the green light to have Covid jab in UK – Guardian

Russell Brand on vaccine passports: this is where it leads [Video]YouTube

Is vaccinating enough? Lessons from Chile, Israel, and the UK – Guardian

“Not what people deserve”: Pandemic funeral services  [Video]BBC

Kindle book bargains

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – £0.99 on Kindle

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed – £0.99 on Kindle

Real Life Money by Clare Seal – £0.99 on Kindle

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Turbulent, Triumphant Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier  – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

EV charging: State of play and investing options [Podcast]Motley Fool

Scilly to explore potential of wave, tidal, and floating wind power – CNBC

Off our beat

Life is about what we can do for one another – Ryan Holiday

What will happen to friendships as we crawl out of our pandemic hidey holes? – Vanity Fair

Jeff Bezos: “create more than you consume”Inc.

Non-fungible Taylor Swift – Stratechery

How do we exit the post-truth era? – The Walrus

Tributes to Prince Philip have revealed so much… about other people – Marina Hyde

A few short stories – Morgan Housel

And finally…

“The poor and the middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them.”
― Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad

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