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Weekend reading: Summer fields of dreams

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

I laughed out loud reading The Escape Artist’s FAQ for City workers who are thinking about attending a summer festival.

Here’s an extract:

Can I catch communism at a festival?

No. Communism is not a communicable disease. Communism is in fact a sub-optimal system for organising the allocation of scarce resources favoured by The Soviet Union and China prior to the 1990s. Unfortunately for the millions of working class people that died as a result.

Festivals are excellent examples of capitalism at work. Like companies, festivals work best when they treat people as humans, are lightly regulated, flexible and run by good people who don’t get too greedy.

Yes, there are plenty of stalls selling…ahem…non-essential items such as healing crystals, whale song CDs and vegetarian sandals…but these are small entrepreneurs providing what people want.

The irony is that many bankers think festivals are full of communists. Yet it is the bankers that work in monolithic faceless bureaucracies supported by The State.

Most banks make decisions with the efficiency of a 1930s Soviet tractor factory.

Many Monevator readers are City workers. A few of you might be offended, but to be honest I suspect you’ll find it funniest of all.

(Besides, he is talking about the other people…)

Do read the full FAQ.

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

  • Asset allocation: Make it personal – Vanguard blog
  • How contributions affect your rate of return [Ignore Canada stuff]CCP
  • Why optimal portfolios are so hard to create [Geeky!]Rick Ferri
  • The case for gold: It’s more than a pet rock – Alpha Markets

Active investing

Other articles

Products of the week: The Telegraph says that the new two-year and three-year fixed rate savings bonds from Paragon Bank are Best Buys. They pay 2.34% and 2.66% respectively.

Mainstream media money

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 of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Tips for choosing an ETF – ETF.com
  • Hedge funds as a class perform like pricey ETF portfolios – ETF Trends

Active investing

  • Swedroe: Hedge funds continue to fail – ETF.com
  • Housel: Everyone was mad for gold in 2011. Oops. – Twitter
  • The extra tax that’ll be due on £20,000 of dividend income – Telegraph
  • Harry Nimmo’s investment trust is on a big discount – Telegraph

Other stuff worth reading

  • Would you pay more if income tax and N.I. is merged? – ThisIsMoney
  • Secure your future with money you didn’t know you had – N.Y. Times
  • Life stories from Generation Rent – Guardian
  • Entrepreneurs get money (not genes) from their families – Quartz
  • Simon Evans Goes to Market: Coffee [Podcast]BBC Radio 4
  • Meet the man who flies the world for free – Rolling Stone
  • Inside the Government’s Nudge division – BBC

Book of the week: The algorithms that nowadays attempt to guess our every move occasionally get lucky. So it was this week at Amazon, when its software slaves correctly predicted I’d be interested in Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor. True, this take on Warren Buffett’s legendary sidekick is not out until October. But the premise looks good and the author runs a thoughtful blog. One for the wish list.

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  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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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • 1 Neverland July 25, 2015, 10:20 am

    Had to laugh when the Tory graph said standard life smaller companies is on a big discount at 10%

    I’ve been recently flouting my no active investing rule and buying dunedinin enterprise at a 33% discount to NAV which is a proper investment trust discount

  • 2 The Escape Artist July 25, 2015, 11:04 am


    Many thanks for the headliner slot on what is surely the Pyramid Stage of all UK PF blogs!


    p.s. and yes, you are spot on, it was indeed the other people I was talking about 😉

  • 3 Dividend Mantra July 25, 2015, 6:44 pm


    Thanks so much for the inclusion.

    So glad to know that communism isn’t contagious. I can take off this silly surgical mask now… 🙂


  • 4 Willem de Leeuw July 26, 2015, 9:20 am

    @ Neverland: That’s SME private equity, though. The stockmarket hates them; if you’re lucky it’ll move to a 25% discount.

  • 5 Jonathan July 26, 2015, 11:26 am

    @article: “Many Monevator readers are City workers.”

    Gosh, really? I thought this was a site for normal people like me, just a worker, outside the finance industry.

    Somehow this fact makes Monevator.com seem less relevant and interesting to me. (Since I’m currently reading Richard Thaler’s “Nudge”, I think I see why there might be such an irrational change in my sense of “belonging” to the target readership.)

  • 6 BeatTheSeasons July 26, 2015, 9:46 pm

    You probably already realise this, but this article isn’t on the homepage of your website.

  • 7 Mathmo July 26, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Thanks TI – some very good article this week, even a few that made me feel a little better about gold.

    I enjoyed the optimal portfolios piece, but when I read these articles, I am constantly reminded of the Authers article some months ago which compared various asset allocations from the whizzy down to the Permanent and the performance difference was modest, and the fact about the dead Fidelity investors. Behaviour trumps a fine-tuned asset allocation.

    I also like UTMTs thoughts on mortgages and the Uber article.

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