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Weekend reading: Rebooted

Weekend reading: Rebooted post image

Some links that caught my eye this week.

Readers, I’ve got the blogger blues. Luckily for you I haven’t got my guitar out. But most days for a while now…

I’ve woken up in the morning
Got over to my desk
Had an overdue post on Lifetime ISAs or tax or whatnot
Wanted to do something else instead
Baby, I got them blogger blues…

This is not surprising. Monevator will be ten years old this summer, and I recently wrote my 1,000th article. I’ve never committed to anything this long, except peanut butter and phoning my mum once a week.

I was going to widen out this tale of woe – our plunging ad revenues due to high mobile usage and ad blocking, the long absence of The Accumulator as he writes our book, my failure to turn Monevator into the next MoneySavingExpert, a friend recently hospitalized from stress due to overwork – but that’s all by-the-by.

Bottom line: Something has to give to keep this ship afloat with everything else going on.

And Weekend Reading is it.

Why Weekend Reading is changing

For nearly ten years I’ve been at my desk by 8.30am on Saturday to finish this link roundup, which in practical terms has meant mostly no going out late on Friday and working for most of the past 500 Saturday mornings.

I’ve enjoyed it a lot, but I can’t overlook the times I’ve worked from hotel rooms or friends’ kitchen tables – or much more often stayed at home instead of taking that weekend break in the first place.

Most posts can be queued in advance, but topical links can’t. That puts the cosh on spontaneous holidays. I could just skip the links every few weeks, but I’m a do-or-don’t-do sort.

Other reasons to put Weekend Reading on the chopping block:

Tomorrow’s fish and chips paper: Many of you love the links – this is by far the most popular kind of article in terms of initial impressions. But after a week nobody is reading. Other articles can be delivering value for years. I’m instinctively an investor, and these links are more like a cash crop.

Nobody does this anymore: When I began blogging a gazillion years ago, Facebook wasn’t a thing and your social network was the people you’d buy a pint. Now almost no one does link lists. Very few sites even link out anymore from any articles. I’ve deliberately tried to support the best new UK investing blogs, but with a few exceptions (you know who you are! 🙂 ) not many sites send traffic here. At best most linking is on Twitter now.

The rest of Team Monevator cowers before it: An obvious solution to get me the odd weekend off would be to outsource the roundup to other writers. But it might as well be radioactive – it’s just too daunting to keep abreast of 100-odd websites each week.

It’s grown too big: Totally my fault. It means it takes several hours to create but more to double check. I’ve been a stickler for tidy formatting, too.

Now you know the background, here’s how it’s changing.

Weekend Reading is dead. Long live Weekend Reading!

I did consider scrapping Weekend Reading entirely, but two minutes with Google Analytics shows many thousands of people would be disappointed.

And what’s this blog for if it’s not to create a useful resource for many thousands of people?

Instead, a compromise:

Post links on Friday afternoons: This gives me my Friday nights back, and enables weekends away. A big win. It does mean we’ll lose the Saturday morning paper links.

A more idiosyncratic list: I can no longer claim this will be a comprehensive review of the Internet’s best money stories. Rather, it’s articles I’ve read and found useful.

Less formatting: I’m ditching nice bullet points and all but a few big sub-categories. Sounds trivial, but will probably save an hour.

More personalised: From now on I’m going to try not to write big prose intros (like this one) for Weekend Reading, but rather get straight into the links. However I’m also going to editorialize a bit more. Some of you will hate this, but others may find it more interesting (including me!)

Less blog promotion: With regret I will dial back the traffic I deliberately send to smaller blogs in order to save time and attention. I will still read them, and try to highlight their best articles.

Team Monevator: I’m hoping doing a shorter list (5pm update: I’ve failed this week!) that’s produced on Fridays might help me recruit someone else to do the job every few weeks.

This explanation might seem a bit self-indulgent. Who cares? Show me the links already!

However some of you have been reading Monevator for nearly a decade, and I know from your emails that perusing Weekend Reading has become a ritual. So I wanted to explain why it’s changing.

Hope you understand, and 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

News

Lloyds, Halifax, and Natwest all hit by online banking glitch – ThisIsMoney

Northern cities see fastest house price growth for 12 years, but the south stalls – ThisIsMoney

London rents are falling, too. So much for buy-to-let pricing power – Guardian

Uh oh: UK GDP growth slowing as shoppers stop shopping – BBC

Double lock: Theresa May ponders ditching the 2.5% minimum annual pension raise. Might make State pensions more affordable and halt the upward creep in the pension age. (I need to write about what fairness means when it comes to pensioners. Is it right that minimum wage earners are busting their guts to see their real incomes decline while pensioners’ incomes are guaranteed to rise? Didn’t many – not all – pensioners have the chance to live more frugally, save, and invest over their long lives?) – Guardian

That said I definitely think the State pension should remain universal, whatever the OECD says about halting it for the richest. (Better to tax them instead) – Guardian

I’ve been increasing my (modest) investments in unlisted EIS companies, but it hasn’t been enough to stop total EIS investment slumping 12% on tighter rules [Search result]FT

New study finds cash in the bank is a better predictor of happiness than income [PDF]Report

How state benefits help the UK income gap shrink [Search result]FT

Products and services

Premium Bond changes mean you’ll need to wait 55,000 years for a jackpot – ThisIsMoney

The price of honesty in financial services? Triodos Bank has just launched a new current account offering 0% interest and a £3 monthly charge – Triodos Bank

Fancy a 2.2% interest rate? You’ll need to tie up your money for seven years – Shawbrook Bank

Remember Thriva, the sci-fi blood test dashboard solution? (Work with me here.) Not only will you get £10 off your first kit with the following link, you can use the code ITSAPRIL at checkout to get a further 50% deduction – Thriva

Comment and opinion

Index funds are finally sexy. What a shame – Bloomberg

Don’t throw away your final salary pension [Search result]FT

Just say no to Angel investing – Financial Samurai

Holding on in a bull market is hard – Ben Carlson

The 2015 Finance Act means companies can no longer offer dividends as capital – Telegraph

Early retiree mistaken for master of the universe – Simple Living in Suffolk

Josh Brown says he knows what bust the Dotcom boom – Reformed Broker

Why early investing is important: A reminder – Of Dollars and Data

Other interesting bits and bobs

Graphic: The relationship between fees, size, and performance for US fund managers – Twitter

How online shopping makes suckers of us all – The Atlantic

Can Britain pull together to get fit for Brexit? – CapX

Globalization: Trade rising again, reports of death premature – Bloomberg

Merkel warns Britons to ditch their Brexit illusions – Reuters

When Elon Musk got divorced, he only kept his Tesla shares due the kindness of is his fellow billionaires – CNBC

The Vauxhall Brexit is the perfect car for John Redwood and his ilk – Twitter

And finally

“The problem is that decades roll by and life gets busy, and if no-one challenges the negative ‘scripts’ that auto-play in your head whenever you stuff something up or get rejected, those teenage beliefs bed down, compound, and become ingrained – they become who you are. And they slowly but surely eat away at your self-confidence, keeping you locked in a job you’ve lost interest in, relationships you’ve outgrown, and a financial state that stops you from experiencing life on your terms.” – Scott Pape, The Barefoot Investor

Like these links? Subscribe 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”. []

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{ 73 comments… add one }
  • 51 Guy April 30, 2017, 10:31 am

    Hey, nothing new or novel but I did want to offer my thanks for all your hard work! As with many other readers, this is the only financial site I read regularly now.
    Best regards, Guy

  • 52 PA April 30, 2017, 11:17 am

    Agree with sentiment from previous comments – great site, informative and very useful. If these changes improve your life then so be it!

  • 53 Mathmo April 30, 2017, 11:41 am

    As you know, I’m a big fan of weekly reading, and the links often form, challenge and adjust my way of looking at the world, and have helped me in organising my and others’ finances.
    And while it might seem a cash crop to you, WR is the reason that Monevator is *the* single site that I feel obliged to recommend to anyone who asks me how I think about money as the place they must go and read every week. The other articles might have “slow burn” potential, but they rely on traffic to be read — WR must hose that traffic all over the site. More internal links as well as external ones, perhaps? You’ve happened upon a vital spark that engages readers. Many publishers fail to find such a valuable thing.

    I’m delighted, then, that the links have survived the cull (and for me most of the value is the links rather than the hard-to-craft thought-leader article). And who cares if we miss the Saturday papers if you’re able to have a more sane life — collect the links during the week, schedule to publish and retire to a glass of wine on Friday night and tweeting at 1am… 😉

    I’m sure I wouldn’t read and enjoy TEA and half a dozen other excellent blogs if you weren’t calling out the articles which are worth reading. I’ve certainly no desire to subscribe to all the blogs that you do! I stopped my adblocker on this site, but I’d also happily subscribe to be a “member”, although I’d counsel against making a paywall: the joy is the accessibility. Particularly if it helped make you feel even more trapped into continuing to provide such a valuable site.

    I’m glad some sectioning (we all need sectioning!) survives. I particularly enjoy the other stuff about living better as well as wondering at the active/passive divide. I’ve never really understood the mainstream vs blog separation. Seems like unnecessary work.

    Finally recall the true aim of the perfectionist is to perfect the art of the 80/20 solution. If you can reset that to your goal then “the best I could do in the time I allowed myself” is the new pinnacle. Sod the formatting. Feel the width.

  • 54 Mathmo April 30, 2017, 11:42 am

    PS Thank-you. Forgot to say that above, but really mean it. Your work enriches my life, I’d like to buy you a pint.

  • 55 Sean April 30, 2017, 3:45 pm

    Monevator in any form is good and well done for the consistent high quality. I always get something out of it and the impact on my finances since reading it has been huge. It’s a free education so take it easy on yourself!!! Would also happily buy you a pint!

  • 56 SG April 30, 2017, 9:19 pm

    1) Thanks for helping me on my financial journey. Its been invaluable to me, my children and my family and i have pointed people towards your site (family and any friends interested in personal finance – not that many….).
    2) I’ve often wondered how on earth you managed to create my weekend read of finance articles that has always arrived in my inbox without fail. I’ve nearly emailed you a few times to ask. The answer should have been obvious of course….hard work!
    3) I had no idea you had ambitions of being the next MSE. Please take this as constructive feedback; a) You dont come across as ambitious/commercial at all! (but neither does MSE). Perhaps a few more affiliate links would help…. b) I never think of your site as a blog. Its an email (or it might just be the only blog post i get by email…)
    4) If you want to make money out of your site, have a look at the value you provide and get people to pay for it!
    5) Thanks for the weekly reading. If it stops from now on, I would be more grateful I benefited from it than sad that its gone.

  • 57 Sally May 1, 2017, 12:31 am

    Your website is a huge help to eejits like me who had no idea it was possible to be FI before the UK govt says you may be. I will read your links in any format you like, any day you care to publish them and am always grateful for your insight on what is amusing or relevant. Especially amusing. Chin up!

  • 58 DaveTheHedgehog May 1, 2017, 10:05 am

    Thanks for the great work. Your blog got me into passive funds and vanguard lifestratergy in particular!

  • 59 FIREin' London May 1, 2017, 11:10 am

    To echo others above – thanks for all the work on the weekend reading, it’s been great reading but I can understand the need to get your weekend back – it’s a lot of work to do week in, week out!
    I will of course still be reading it 🙂

  • 60 Chris Stephens May 1, 2017, 3:51 pm

    Thank you. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. It is really sensible useful information. Enjoy having your weekend back.

  • 61 David Chen May 1, 2017, 6:11 pm

    Congrats on your 1,000th post! I am pretty new at this stuff, so seeing someone go at it for 10 years is awesome. I look forward to continuing to read your posts.

  • 62 Neil May 1, 2017, 7:55 pm

    Can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said, feel guilty about having had my adblocker on denying you some revenue so have turned if off. Did the Ratesetter referral about a year ago so not long to wait for the bonus – hope this makes up for it! Keep up the good work!!!

  • 63 Joe May 1, 2017, 8:46 pm

    As a non-US, non-UK investor, I must say that Monevator has proved to be the best online resource about DIY investing after the Bogleheads forum. Please consider putting a “donate” button.

  • 64 McBenthy May 3, 2017, 10:34 am

    Over the past few years Monevator has gone from an occasional read, to checked several times a week for both the crafted content, and the conversations in the comments – and that’s where the most value is for me in the weekend reading lists. I’d echo the sentiment above that the more author-friendly version is still great, and I’m grateful for the work you put in

  • 65 Carlos May 4, 2017, 9:02 am

    I love your ‘Weekend reading’ section, but to be honest, I almost never really read or look into the links. What I love about it is the short stories, insights and thoughts you write before you get to the links.

    Thanks for your work!

  • 66 Jim McG May 4, 2017, 4:18 pm

    Just to say many thanks for the numerous links you’ve given to my blog and the support, not to mention the boosts in traffic, that has come with the references. As a blogger I’d like to say I do it wholly for love, but if nobody reads it then I might as well just stick to my private diary. Feedback and traffic are what keeps me going, on top of the enjoyment of just writing, and you’ve really helped as I’ve gone along the way. Cheers!

  • 67 The Investor May 4, 2017, 9:14 pm

    Cheers for all the further comments everyone, and also thanks for reading Monevator! Lots of competition out there for our every second so very pleased so many people have us as one of their go-to web sites. You’re welcome Jim, and special thanks to Carlos for sticking up for my Saturday morning rambles… 😉 Perhaps they’ll make a very occasional reappearance in the future.

  • 68 theFIREstarter May 5, 2017, 8:59 am

    Sure this has already been said 50 times but:

    1) I have no idea how you can keep up with, read and curate so many articles over the week. I don’t even get time to read all the ones you do post up so presuming you’ve read at least twice that amount to pick only the best ones! You are a PF reading machine!

    2) I tried doing some weekly reading links years ago, and with only about 5 links per post and think I lasted about 2 weeks. Keeping this up for 10 years is amazing! I read plenty of decent stuff but just forget to bookmark it to reference later, maybe it is just getting into the habit of doing that then once that is ingrained it becomes “easier” ?

    3) It’s definitely the part of the site I look forward to most, and glad it is surviving, the format changes sound totally fine and I can’t imagine many people will be annoyed about this!

    4) I can’t believe formatting takes that long?! If you want a brief course on wordpress keyboard shortcuts shoot me an email 😉 (in all seriousness though, I don’t really care about how the posts are formatted so do whatever takes the least amount of time for you!)

    Finally thanks for all the links you’ve posted and therefore traffic you’ve sent me over the last few years. I hope you can see I’ve tried where possible to reciprocate the favour either with relevant links in my posts or even just via the blogroll (Looks like you get at leasts 10 clicks a day from that… you’re welcome 🙂 )

  • 69 The Investor May 5, 2017, 12:09 pm

    @TFS — You’re welcome! Regarding the formatting, I think some of you are not managing to enter the mindset of a perfectionist. On my browser (Firefox, Mac) on the viewing setting I use, none of the bullet points under the old format accidentally bled over into the line below (a widow) and everything was perfectly spaced, and I could smile at it and all was good. That took a lot of fiddling — blame experience in pre-Internet era typography (and as I said above somewhere, I even knew it was futile because it doesn’t translate to what other people are seeing on the web). As I whittled down maybe 70 short-listed links to the 50 or so that went out, I’d often get stuck for 1-2 minutes trying to decide if a particular link was passive or active. Multiply than by say 5-10… And then you have the fact I had effectively 7 categories to fill. It all adds up. (I did it because I didn’t want to distract passive readers with active fireworks. Now everyone will have to take their chances).

    In terms of reading, I read about 5-10 hours most days, and 12+ on many. It’s a rabid active investor thing, and just how I like it. (See this post for my good company: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/28/what-its-like-working-for-warren-buffett-its-literally-just-reading-about-12-hours-a-day.html)

  • 70 The Investor May 5, 2017, 12:11 pm

    p.s. Yes, thanks for the link! Will continue to read your stuff; it’s a bit off-piste for core Monevator (I’d say you’re more a personal mission blogger?) but there have been some good and relevant posts over the years. 🙂

  • 71 Phil Gyford May 7, 2017, 10:09 am

    Just another “thanks” for all your hard work.

    I know you’re not keen but I’d still add another vote for Patreon. I contribute a small amount via Patreon to a couple of other blogs I read regularly because I appreciate the work that goes into them and want their authors to be able to keep doing it. I don’t expect anything extra above the usual free service for doing so. Neither of the other blogs makes all their money from Patreon but it’s a useful, and regular, part of their income.

  • 72 The Investor May 7, 2017, 11:41 am

    @Phil — Cheers, you’re welcome. I have had so many comments about this via email also, that I am pondering it. I may try something like Memberful. Same sort of low monthly cost, but with more freedom to try to product something extra for members, even if it’s just a Christmas message… 😉

  • 73 theFIREstarter May 8, 2017, 7:31 am

    “it’s a bit off-piste for core Monevator” – Haha, yes I’d agree with that but thanks for continuing to read. I don’t feel I’ve put out much of use recently so no complaints of not getting mentioned here as much. I have loads of ideas which might be relevant so need to pull my finger out and get them written up!

    I would love to read a bit longer per day (not 12 hours though, I think my brain would melt!) but realistically only get about 2 hours a day and that’s only if I’m working (commute). So I have to be extremely picky about what I do read (which is why I love Weeking reading links!).

    Happy to take my chances with the active/passive category potluck so no worries there, and I get the whole perfectionist thing, I used to be a bit like that but am slowly moving to a Pareto based view on all of that 😉

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