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Weekend reading: All you can eat Buffett

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What caught my eye this week.

Back when this blog was more about my personal adventures in investing than about what you should do with your money, I used to write a lot about Warren Buffett.

How Buffett really got rich, how his family appreciated the benefits of cash, and of course the obligatory How to Be Like Buffett post.

The Internet is full of people praising Buffett though. In contrast, ten years ago there was little about passive investing and index funds. And, ironically, even Buffett says you should use tracker funds.

So my co-blogger came on-board to write the manual on passive investing, my active investing escapades mostly took a backseat, and the rest is history. (Or rather, a website.)

However, like some South American tribe who ate 17th Century missionary food in hastily knocked-up churches by day but continued to worship vultures and rivers in the forest by night, I never myself converted to passive investing. (In fact I’ve gotten even more active over the years.)

All of which preamble is to set the scene for why I was so delighted when CNBC revealed its Warren Buffett archive last week.

The site collates tons of Buffett bumph from across the ages. But by far the jewel in the crown are full video recordings of 25 years of his Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings!

We Buffett fans didn’t even know these existed, let alone dreamed we’d one day be able to while away a Sunday afternoon watching many hours of a septuagenarian and an octogenarian discussing reinsurance premiums in the 1990s.

Think that sounds dull? Totally understandable, and good for you.

For a certain micro-sliver of readers though, this is like when The Phantom Menace was first announced. (But without the anti-climax of the actual movie, I stress.)

When you’ve got this much grainy video of two of the world’s greatest stock pickers holding forth, who needs sunshine?

From Monevator

Oh dear, a super busy week leaves me frantically pressing the red button on…

The archive-ator: 5 lessons my dad taught me about money – Monevator

News

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

Interest rates on hold as Bank of England cuts growth outlook – BBC

British shares have only been cheaper during the world wars – Telegraph

UK house prices are on the slide. Where will they go now? – The Guardian

96-Year-Old secretary quietly amasses fortune, then donates $8.2 Million – N.Y.T.

Student loan interest rate is ‘absurd’, say MPs – Telegraph

Buy-to-let isn’t dead: Where landlords could make greatest profits – ThisIsMoney

The US yield curve hasn’t been this flat since 2007 – Bloomberg

Products and services

Transferwise’s new ‘borderless’ debit card gives you a free account anywhere in the EU, Australia, the US and Britain – ThisIsMoney

Rise in cashback mortgages as lenders appeal to first-time buyers – Telegraph

How futures trading changed [crashed] Bitcoin prices – Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Merryn S-W: Time to stop worrying about inheritance tax [Search result, on perils of using life insurance to mitigate IHT]FT

Smart Beta Vs. Factor Funds: What’s The Difference? – ETF.com

Why the GDPR deluge, and can I ignore it? – The Guardian

Free-to-trade US broker Robinhood aims to rival Coinbase in crypto with $363 million funding round – Fortune

Comment and opinion

Bad financial advice can be expensive – A Wealth of Common Sense

Nobody planned this, nobody expected it – Morgan Housel

A passive investor buys a portfolio of stocks for the first time – bps and pieces

The case for a five-hour working day [Search result]FT

At last a reason to celebrate! House prices are falling – The Guardian

Did you hear about strategically humble college endowment fund that invests passively in Vanguard funds and beats 90% of its peers? This guy thinks they should lever up and pay higher fees… – Bloomberg

How to invest a lump sum – Fire V London

Managing your money for a lifetime of financial security [Search result]FT

The costliest bias of all – The Evidence-based Investor

Common Sense with Ben Carlson [Podcast]Canadian Couch Potato

The worst possible time to retire – Investment News

Drawdown: Lamborghinis and holidays – YoungFIGuy

Why winners keep winning – Of Dollars and Data

Centrica’s 8% yield is priced for energy Armageddon [PDF]UK Value Investor

Why you should split your start-up 50-50 – Medium

Kindle book bargains

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis – £1.99 on Kindle

Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr – £0.99 on Kindle

Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact by Steven Kotler – £0.99 on Kindle

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth – £1.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

What’s on the menu in hospitals around the world [Pictures]The Guardian

Rolling the dice in a battle with Russia [Podcast]The New Yorker Radio Hour

At 112, America’s oldest man has the secret to a long life: ‘Just keep living. Don’t die.’Dallas News

Tesla’s giant battery in Australia reduced grid service cost by 90% – Eletrek

When children become scarce – Axios

This is how the [dying] paparazzi business really works [Podcast]Oddlots

And finally…

“Here were two billionaires hurling insults while the world stopped and watched. CEOs from Davos to Dallas stopped what they were doing to watch it. It was a moment in time – organic, bizarre, and completely unplanned.”
– Scott Wapner, When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle

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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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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • 1 Sue d'Nym May 12, 2018, 10:44 am

    Interesting mumblings about “cheap” UK shares above. Have been thinking maybe I should invest more in the home market (I’m currently 10%), but that would be trying to time the market, wouldn’t it …?

    Thanks for all the reading links, as ever. I was thinking I would leave the sofa, but now I’m thinking of making another pot of tea instead…

    And, no offence, but I think I prefer last weekend’s glorious sunshine to old videos of the Buff Meister. But whatever floats your boat…

  • 2 hosimpson May 12, 2018, 11:14 am

    I think the Investment News article assumes a 25 to 30 year retirement, which makes their thesis a statement of common sense. If you don’t lose or spend most of your money in the first 10 years, there’s a good chance you can plod through the remaining 20 years with relatively few worries. For someone with a longer time horizon retiring at the end of a bull run, shifting their asset allocation to something like a permanent portfolio could be a good idea.

  • 3 edel May 12, 2018, 11:30 am

    I recognise this is not the forum for this but does anyone else have an III account? I am no longer able to log in and they are not recognising my email address. I am fearing the worst and wish to ask if anyone else is having these issues? Also it appears that they do not have a weekend service to call if you fear your account has been compromised anyone have any advice? or experiencing any issues?

  • 4 AncientI May 12, 2018, 12:32 pm

    RE: “cheap” UK shares

    I thought about lumping on a FTSE100 index tracker recently but was put off by the recent surge in the FTSE100, I want to buy a dip not a rally. And if the rally has been fueled by oil prices that makes me even more nervous as im not sure oil prices will stay this high.

    Im more interested where GBP will go from here because I dont want to invest in overseas stocks only for the GBP to rally again, Personally im not bullish on the UK economy at all,

  • 5 The Investor May 12, 2018, 1:13 pm

    @AncietI — The UK market fell 12% in the first quarter. If you’re going to play at market timing you have to move quick! 😉

    RE: The pound, have you seen my currency hedging series (which I still need to finish)? — http://monevator.com/tag/hedging/

    @Sue — You’re welcome! (I enjoyed the sun too. A bit of poetic license there. Plus it’s raining today…)

  • 6 Retirement Investing Today May 12, 2018, 1:23 pm

    @edel
    My account was originally TDDirect but is now II. I’ve been able to log in this morning with no problems.
    Good luck with it.

  • 7 dearieme May 12, 2018, 3:06 pm

    The college endowment piece: I laughed – he talks about returns since 1963 and then a footnote proclaims “None of the actual funds have returns before 1983, but we can approximate the earlier returns using …”

    I gulped when he advocated taking on fees of 0.6% p.a. yet according to a footnote “most professional investors would instead put $90 in the Vanguard funds and use the extra $10 as margin to go long $90 notional of 10-year Treasury futures”. Would effecting such a simple-sounding policy really cost 0.6% p.a.?

  • 8 TheFIREShrink May 12, 2018, 3:28 pm

    @ancientI and TI, surely a passive investor would favour buying in a market when others run from it?

    The telegraph article was interesting. I’ve been wondering this week if undervalued shares are suggestive of the general market jitteriness or a sign of a looming storm. Think unpredictable political machinations will decide.

  • 9 Hariseldon May 13, 2018, 4:14 pm

    @ancientI
    Regarding “buying on a dip” in the long run (investing is for the long run ) does not make a lot of difference.

    I noted that Foreign and Colonial is around £6.80 a share, my early purchases were around 70p in the 90’s , a few pence more or less would have made little difference, plus all the gains of reinvested dividends over the years.

  • 10 Mathmo May 14, 2018, 12:25 am

    Thanks for the links, TI. Some good reading there this week.

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