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Weekend reading: The toll

What caught my eye this week.

I had hoped 2018 would see a return to a more regular content schedule on Monevator. But a family funeral put paid to that.

Sitting in the crematorium, I was struck as ever how money didn’t get a look in during the service. The readings talk about an active family life, the arc of a career, a few funny anecdotes and perhaps a sad one. There’s nothing about financial legacies, let alone more mundane money matters.

I’d like to know whether even Warren Buffett’s memorial service will mention his beating the market? I doubt it will dwell.

This is a very trite observation. There’s plenty of other everyday life essentials that get short thrift at funerals. Who wants to talk about money at such a time? (In my experience only undertakers, but that’s another matter.)

And I do think money sneaks in around the edges of the story. When a parent is praised for providing for a family or giving the kids a good start, that’s partly code for earning and spending on them (and much more, of course.)

Equally, someone may enjoy a fruitful career, but few can do it for the anecdotes alone. Show me the money, as they say.

I usually go away from these events pondering whether I’m too obsessed [1] with saving and investing money. I know money can’t buy love [2]. What would I do with it if I knew exactly when I was going to die? [3]

Outside of their jobs, their mortgage, a company pension, and the usual cash savings, I don’t know that either of my parents spent any time thinking about money. It certainly didn’t guide their life decisions. The financial lessons I got from my father were about frugality [4], not compound interest or P/E ratios.

Money was managed, but it wasn’t actively multiplied. That was a very different mindset from some of the parents I later met through friends and girlfriends.

I don’t know where the balance is.

Investing and all the rest comes naturally to me. I don’t feel like a scrooge when I pursue my active investing – I imagine I feel the same enjoyment my uncle did when he was doing something in the greenhouse listening to Test Match Special.

What’s more I don’t get the impression most of my friends and family who care less about money are spending their time writing poetry or planting oak trees or visiting aged relatives. (Often they’re just spending!)

And yet…I wonder.

Excuse the maudlin note, though I feel it doesn’t hurt to ponder these things now and then. Feel free to share any thoughts on how you weigh up spending your time and money now – versus shepherding it for the future – in the comments below.

Have a great weekend!


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber.1 [5]

Shake up for UK banks comes into force [Search result]FT [6]

Retirement incomes soar 30% in five years, as markets boost pension pots – ThisIsMoney [7]

Just Eat 50p payment surcharge branded a rip-off – Guardian [8]

£11bn smart meter rollout to be investigated by government watchdog – ThisIsMoney [9]

Amazon Fresh undercuts supermarkets by up to 25% – ThisIsMoney [10]

Bath revives plans to impose a tourist tax – Guardian [11]

You need to be a 90th percentile earner to buy your own home in London – ThisIsMoney [12]

Don’t listen to analysts if you want to make money on the stock market, report finds – Telegraph [13]

Same returns, different emotions – Morgan Housel on Twitter [14]

Products and services

Monzo introduces overseas ATM fees, so here’s other options – Telegraph [15]

AA hikes online easy-access rate to 1.32% for new savers – ThisIsMoney [16]

Looking for an online broker ahead of the ISA and SIPP deadline? – Here’s some help [17]

New 1.2% savings account for those who ‘actively avoid the internet’ – Telegraph [18]

Housebuyers benefit from profit squeeze on mortgage lenders – Guardian [19]

Comment and opinion

10 things that investors can expect in 2018 – A Wealth of Common Sense [20]

The patterns that weren’t there – Of Dollars and Data [21]

The three levels of financial independence – Financial Samurai [22]

The buy case for US equities has improved – Musings on Markets [23]

You can’t assess a share without reference to its price – The Value Perspective [24]

Stats that shame the UK financial advice profession – TEBI [25]

Borrowing £2m to buy equities: Two years later – FireVLondon [26]

One-year investment performance is a terrible metric – UK Value Investor [27]

Why emerging markets are still good value – Wisdom Tree [28]

Time for market timing? – Simple Living in Somerset [29]

Breakeven rates refresher lesson [Geeky]The Macro Tourist [30]


Bitcoin investors struggle to cash out new fortunes [Search result]FT [31]

Please millennials, do not save in Bitcoin – Pragmatic Capitalism [32]

The secret lives of dorm room cryptocurrency miners – Quartz [33]

Q&A with Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum [Podcast]Forbes [34]

How Coinbase could disrupt traditional brokers – VentureBeat [35]

Good luck spending your KodakCoins – Bloomberg [36]

Off our beat

We all need a bigger f*ck it bucket – Abnormal Returns [37]

And finally…

“Never seek the wind in the field — it is useless to try and find what is gone.”
– Jeffrey Archer, Kane and Abel [38]

Like these links? Subscribe [39] to get them every Friday!

  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”. [ [41]]