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Weekend reading: You’re in the 1% for financial savvy

What caught my eye this week.

The knowledge gap about money and investing between you guys and the average person in the street is staggering.

A reader let me know me recently that their “genius level” friend was left baffled by our website. I was pointed to the story in the comments on the Financially Free By 40 blog [1]:

I love Monevator, and the authors, and the content. The site has helped me so much and I’m wildly indebted to the cheapest broker table.

I suggested Monevator to my (bright, mathsy, actual genius-level-IQ) relative because I wanted her to consider dumping her expensive IFA and go it alone.

I sent a couple of Monevator links, including the one to Lars Kroijer’s excellent video series.

Instead of following the links, she searched for Monevator and started reading the first page, which was a wildly complex post (I think about tax efficiency of bonds and bond funds).

She dutifully ploughed through the first two-thirds of it, before being utterly convinced that investing was too hard for her to do alone, and that she needed her comfort-blanket IFA more than she realised, and that her IFA was doing all this in their sleep […]

It’s great that Monevator has the detailed bond-focused page, it is a useful resource; but without a flashing warning for newbies to go avoid reading it as a first article I’d struggle to recommend it to a beginner.

Does that make sense?

I’ve swapped a few emails with this thoughtful reader and we’ve agreed there’s no easy solution, particularly for an established site like ours.

I think we’re pretty much set up for fanatics now. Or at least the pretty clever

If you think I exaggerate, then go test yourself via the short financial quiz that CNBC [2] published this week.

Don’t worry – it’s a US site but the questions [2] are relevant wherever your are in the world.

And double don’t fret that you’ll get something wrong and be left virtually blushing in front of your fellow Monevator readers.

While fewer than one-third of Americans could answer all three questions correctly, most of you will ace it 100%.

Income inequality and wealth inequality are hard enough to do something about. But I have no idea how to tackle this gap.

From Monevator

Find out when you’ll make your million – Monevator [3]

From the archive-ator: How much interest do you earn on a million pounds? – Monevator [4]

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 [5]

Well-off savers are using the pension freedoms to dodge inheritance tax [Who saw *this* coming? [6] *cough cough*]Telegraph [7]

The biggest investment winners and losers in ten years after the crisis – ThisIsMoney [8]

Political uncertainty blamed for slowdown in UK property market – Guardian [9]

Americans are dying younger, saving corporations billions – Bloomberg [10]

She retired at 28 with $2.25m – CNN Money [11]

Hedge funds gaining influence due to passive boom [Salt – take a pinch!]Bloomberg [12]

Divorce case pension sharing orders on the rise [Search result]FT [13]

Here’s how unicorns2 [14] trick you into thinking they’re real – Bloomberg [15]

Pensioner households tripled income over 30 years, workers’ only doubled – Guardian [16]

Products and services

Bank of Cyprus UK cuts top savings rate to 1.2% after three days – ThisIsMoney [17]

Do I really need a titanium credit card? [No. Search result]FT [18]

Pension charges saver hundreds in fees on pot that didn’t budge – ThisIsMoney [19]

Should you sign up for EDF Energy’s 20-year solar panel trial? – Guardian [20]

Calls to bring back 100% mortgages to combat wealth inequality – Telegraph [21]

Do you have a stamp collection? Get a free valuation – ThisIsMoney [22]

Comment and opinion

Goodbye BTL: A landlady of 13 years says it’s all got too costly… – Guardian [23]

…and she is hunted down and vilified online for her candor – Guardian [24]

Bond bubbles tend to slowly deflate, not burst – Bloomberg [25]

3 reasons index fund investors deserve perdition… or not – Morningstar [26]

What would happen next if this was 1929? – The Irrelevant Investor [27]

10 topical questions – A Wealth of Common Sense [28]

Why you feel richer or poorer than you really are – Science of Us [29]

There are no constants in investing – Pension Partners [30]

A decade on from the ‘quant quake’ that roiled factor funds – Cliff Asness [31]

Tesla: A disruptive force and a debt puzzle – Musings on Market [32]s

The case for becoming a ‘10% entrepreneur’ – Patrick McGinnis [33]

“The solutions he proposes generated a reaction within in me that I was surprised about – my response to them was mostly, ‘Okay, that makes sense – but you first.’ Who wouldn’t want their own children to have every possible advantage under the sun? Who doesn’t see the wealth they accumulated as earned and deserved? I’m all for leveling the playing field, as long as I don’t have to drop whatever opportunities I’m able to secure for my own kids. “The Reformed Broker [34]

Off our beat

For some reason, Dan Carlin is giving away his nuclear war history lesson for free [Podcast]Hardcore History [35]

DIY genetic testing firm 23andMe faces new challenges – Fast Company [36]

The cost of a free lunch – Raptitude [37]

That Google Memo: Four scientists respond – Quillette [38]

Brian Cox has anecdotal data on climate change’s Barry Blimps – Twitter [39]

Thieves return bike with ‘awesome’ apology note – Telegraph [40]

And finally…

“As Fama put it, ‘Life always has a fat tail.'”
– Roger Lowenstein, When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management [41]

Like these links? Subscribe [42] 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”. [ [44]]
  2. $1 billion start-ups. [ [45]]

Offer: Head to RateSetter [46] to earn higher interest – and a £50 sign-up bonus – or learn more [47] about this offer. Remember investing money with P2P lenders like RateSetter [46] or Zopa [48] involves more risk than with cash savings.