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Blind Date for Investors

Blind Date for Investors logo

Younger readers may want to watch this YouTube taster before forging into what follows. Because we all need more 30-year-old cultural references in our media diet, right? On the other hand, anyone short of time or sleep may want to sit this one out altogether. No offence taken!

Blind Date for Investors: an unreality TV show

*Perky theme tune and cheesy TV voiceover*: Hello lolly-lovers and welcome to another episode of Blind Date for Investors. Yes it’s the show that plays Cupid to the cash-strapped. That finds stranded assets a home to be biased about. That has sexier returns than Ann Summers after Valentine’s Day. Now please give a big round of applause for your glamorous host, Scylla Black!

Glamorous Scylla Black: Oh thank you! Thank you my lovelies. Alright settle down. Yes that includes you at the back waving your SIPP application form! Better luck next time poppet. Because we’ve already lined up a very special investor for this evening’s show! *applause* A young lady with bright prospects and a savings rate to die for! *gasps* Well to dine out for anyway. Ladies and gentleman, please give a lovely Blind Date for Investors welcome to tonight’s fortune hunter!

*perky theme tune plays again then camera pans to Scylla with contestant*

Scylla: Hello my lovely – please tell us who you are and where you’re from.

Investor: My name is Jane and I’m from Croydon!

*crowd applauds*

Scylla: Crikey I haven’t heard such applause about Croydon since that one time I was on a train that pulled out of Croydon station. Well anyway how are you doing Jane? Nervous? Cash burning a hole in your pocket? *raises eyebrows, crowd applauds* Looking for a partner for life?

Investor Jane: Hi Scylla! I’m just so excited to be here! I’ve been dreaming of a seven-figure fortune ever since I saw Cinderella as a little girl!

Scylla: And what little girl wouldn’t, poppet? Her figure! Her shoes! The handbags!  The panda poo face masks!

Jane: *nervous laugh* Well, that’s all lovely but what I’m really looking for is financial independence! I want a contestant who can bring some FIRE into my life.

*crowd cheers and applauds*

The contenders

Scylla: FIRE eh? We have a hot one in tonight folks! Better get the fire extinguishers ready… Okay Jane, let’s meet the three gorgeous prospects who are looking to win you over.

*Curtain draws back on the other side of a screen from Jane to reveal three investment strategies – um, somehow incarnated as ruddy young men in their 20s. Crowd applauds, rightly enough at such wizardry*

Scylla: I know audience, aren’t they gorgeous? *puts a hand on Jane’s shoulder* Jane love, I’ve taken a peek at our prospects and you are in for a treat! Honestly, if I wasn’t wedded to my annuity I’d be compounding with them myself.

Crowd: Oooo!

Jane: Um…

Scylla: Don’t worry, don’t worry – they are all yours doll. Okay, so let’s get started. Number one, please tell us who you are and where you’ve come from.

#1: Hi Scylla, my name is Ian and I’m from Cambridge!

*crowd applauds*

Scylla: Hello Ian! Not the most exciting name ever but we’ll let that slide in the pursuit of financial bliss. So Ian love, why do you think you’re the one for our Jane?

Ian #1: Well Scylla I may not be the most exciting strategy here tonight, but I’m proven to be the most reliable. Together Jane and I could ride out the volatility, diversify our assets, and enjoy many happy returns.

*crowd applauds*

Scylla: I see. Well as I always say to my husband I love a humble man – and he has a lot to be humble about. Right, let’s hear from our next contender. Number two, who are you?

#2: Hello? Hello is this thing on? Oh right. Yes… I’m Chris and I’m from, well, Halifax.

Scylla: Welcome Chris! You sound a bit nervous chuck. Don’t get out much?

Chris #2: Hah, um, well no. I tend to just hang around in the background doing my thing.

Scylla: I see – but I’m not sure Jane is looking for an air-conditioning unit Chris. What else have you got to offer?

Chris #2: Reliability Scylla. I am rock-solid and I will never let Jane down. I mean, provided she doesn’t get carried away and tries to keep too much of me in one place. Even I have my limits, you know.

Scylla: Intriguing Chris. Some might say scintillating. Not me, but hey – there’s someone out there for everyone. Okay let’s turn to our last contestant. What have you got for me number three?

#3: Oh I’ve got the lot Scylla! My name is Abel and I’m from London!

*Abel jumps off his stool and does ten press-ups. Crowd goes crazy*

Scylla: Oo-hoo! I see we have a live wire in tonight. Clearly you’re not shy of selling yourself love so I’m almost scared to ask – but why should Jane pick you?

Abel #3: Have you ever felt the pump of double-digit returns Scylla? Why should Jane trudge along with Ian or Chris – no offence lads – when she could be off to the races with me? By the time we’re done Jane, your ISAs will be so stuffed the regulators will be calling for a change in the law.

*crowd cheers and applauds*

Scylla: Alright, calm down. This is a family show. Not my family mind, my kids are too busy TokTik-ing to follow their old mam’s career. Ungrateful ingrates. Anyway let’s get tonight’s matchmaking underway!

*perky theme tune*

Question one: Me and volatility

Scylla: Alright Jane I can see you’re excited to get going. So what’s your first question going to be?

Jane: Well Scylla, my friends all make fun of me at the fairground because I go wobbly on the rides. So contestants, if we went on a date to Alton Towers what would you do to steady my nerves?

Scylla: Good question Jane. Sensible. Not sure you needed to appear on national TV to deliver such a downer but let’s see what Number One says. Ian, how will stop Jane feeling nauseous when things go bumpy in a bad way?

Ian #1: Well the thing with riding the rollercoaster Scylla, is that for all the ups and downs, at the end of the journey you’re back to where you started and ready to climb to greater heights next time. And with my strategy – regularly investing across diversified index funds – we’ll hold hands and ride out the volatility. Maybe we’ll even distract ourselves with some candy floss on the way.

*One cheer because they let The Accumulator in tonight. Polite claps from the rest of the audience*

Scylla: Hmm, some fans in tonight. Not many but a few. Okay, just one. Anyway same question to number two.

Chris #2: Jane, I couldn’t agree with you more. Life is full of uncertainty but you can sleep at night with my strategy – cash kept in a high interest savings account – and save your excitement for elsewhere. Personally I get my thrills from doing Sudoku puzzles. But I hear Wordle is all the rage now–

Abel #3: –sorry to butt-in Scylla but I can’t believe my ears. Jane, you’re a young woman going places and you’re contemplating bedding down with these two corpses? I don’t think so. With my active investing strategy we’ll shoot for the moon and who cares if we hit a few bumps along our way? Pick me Jane and you’ll be getting a very different kind of sleepless night!

*Jumps out of his seat and does 20 sit-ups. Crowd goes crazy*

Scylla: Alright calm down, we’ve still got two more questions to go. Well Jane, we’ve got a feisty Number Three but – *holds back excited Jane* – no love get back into your stool, you’ve got to deliver all your questions before you can take a peek! What are you gonna ask next poppet?

A question of cost

Jane: Wow! I know which contestant is revving up my returns already Scylla! But fair enough, here’s my second question. I love a bargain and I’m always looking to save a penny. If I decide to invest your way, how will you help me to save even more? Let’s start with Number Two.

Chris #2: Jane, I don’t like to blow my own trumpet or toot my own horn–

Abel #3: –too right, nobody wants to see that mate…

*crowd laughs and cheers*

Chris #2: Ahem, I believe this is my allocated slot Number Three. Alright so as I was saying, I’m not a boaster like a certain other strategy around here, but when it comes to keeping costs low you can’t beat a cash savings account. Because there are no costs! And if we tuck ourselves up together inside a cash ISA then you’ll get to keep all that lovely interest for yourself. Which will leave more money for us to spend on date night with a two-for-one meal deal from M&S!

Abel #3: Excuse me while I yawn myself into a coma.

Chris #2: *splutter*

Scylla: Please, let’s keep it civil! My tricky ticker can’t take all this aggression. Okay Number Three, better out than in I suppose. How will you help Jane with her cost question?

Abel #3: I won’t Scylla!

Scylla: Eh?

Jane: Eh?

Abel #3: I refute the whole premise of this inquiry and instead I’d like to put to you *rummages in a briefcase, pulls out some paper* this colourful graph showing a big slope going up and to the right with lots of other curves going down into the abyss, printed against the backdrop of a bright balloon floating across the Serengeti. Jane, when you’re gawping at this lot do you really think you’ll care about my 1.25% in annual charges plus a 10% performance fee over a 6% hurdle on top of a wide-range of undisclosed transaction costs and taxes that legally I have to include here in small print? Of course you won’t. Again, that’s a photo of the Serengeti, Jane. The Serengeti! 

Jane: I love lions and zebras! Scylla can we stop now? I’ve made my choice.

Scylla: I’m right with you love but unfortunately we have to plough on to the bitter end. We haven’t even heard yet from Ian and his pensive investing into intense funds thing. 

Ian #1: Thank you Scylla – though you mean passive investing into index funds. And my correction is important, because while I admit my funds aren’t intense, they are intensely cost-competitive! *laughs to himself, looks out at audience, audience shrugs although one person guffaws* Oh this is ridiculous. Scylla, Number Three makes all these promises but he has no evidence to back it up. Whereas I’m here to tell you that the vast majority of active strategies like his fail to beat the market over the long-term. Jane, you say you want a seven-figure sum to achieve FIRE, but if you go with Number Three then it’ll be you that is paying for his sports car

Abel #3: –Jane, Jane, sure but it’ll be you and me both in that sports car babe!

Ian #1: Yeah right. Far more likely you’ll underperform me and then shoot off with your profits in your Aston Martin to leave poor Jane in the lurch. Cad! Bounder!

Abel #3: Boooorringgg…

Chris #2: I’m still here, you know. I’m much more interesting than you think!

Ian #1 and Abel #3 together: Pffft!

Many (/some) happy returns

Jane: Oh Scylla. Who should I believe?

Scylla: It’s every girl’s dilemma pet. We’ve all read our Jane Austen and our Tim Hale. But remember you still have one question left. Better make it a good one.

Jane: Alright calm down Janey, deep breaths…Scylla my last question is this…Everyone wants to believe in happy ever after once they make an investment. So my question to each contestant is what can I expect if I commit to you? Let’s start with Number Two, Chris from Halifax.

Chris #2: I’m very glad you asked Jane because my returns have been attracting quite a bit of attention of late. How does 5.2% tax-free in a cash ISA sound to you? Remember this is with zero risk.

Jane: Well that does sound very nice.

Ian #1: Scylla, if I may? I don’t believe Number Two is telling us the whole story. He’s misleading Jane by not bringing inflation into the picture.

Abel #3: Yeah not to mention he can’t usually get it up like this. *crowd cackles* Returns from cash were barely above the horizontal for a decade! 

Scylla: Hmm, fair points. What have you go to say for yourself Number Two?

Chris #2: Yes, well, it’s true interest rates were near-zero for a long time but that was then and this is now. Also like I said nobody ever lost money with me!

Ian #1: Well perhaps not in nominal terms but what about after inflation? Why don’t you share your real returns?

Chris #2: Ahem. Well. After inflation, UK investors have enjoyed a *mumble mumble mumble*

Scylla: Eh? Speak up love!

Chris #2: Alright, fine, yes in real terms cash has lost about 1% over the past 20 years. But over the past 150-odd years you’ve made 0.9% a year! That’s not too shabby I’m sure you’ll agree.

Jane: Oh dear, that’s no good – I don’t want to achieve FIRE on my 150th birthday.

Chris #2: *weeps*

Jane: What about you Number One. Can you promise me any better?

Ian #1: Well, no promises Jane, that’s charlatan talk. But esteemed financial writer The Accumulator on the Monevating website *one audience member cheers* tells us UK shares have delivered more than 5% a year after inflation for the past 50 years. And only a little less over the past 20 years!

Jane: But I don’t want to own only UK shares. There’s more to life than GB News, Ian.

Ian #1: Quite right, and you shouldn’t just own equities either. But happily The Accumulator also estimated expected returns from a diversified portfolio of index funds across various equities and bonds, and he found you can look forward to over 3% a year for the long-term. Remember, this is after inflation. A much prettier picture than the 1% from Number Two, I think you’ll agree?

Chris #2: Sure, sure – if you don’t mind waking up one day to find a quarter of your portfolio has been evaporated by a simultaneous bond and equity crash.

Ian #1: Well that’s an exaggeration– 

Abel #3: –YAAAAAWWWWN! Sorry Scylla, apologies Jane. But why are we listening to these two bozos debate the difference between 1% and 3%? I’ve found more loose change down the back of my sofa. Jane, have ever heard of Warren Buffett? Or George Soros?

Jane: Yes I have.

Abel #3: Yeah well those guys didn’t get out of bed for 1%–

Ian #1: –I’m projecting 3%–

Abel #3: –whatever mate! It’s a rounding error compared to the 20% annual returns that Warren Buffett puts up. And George Soros did 30%!

Chris #2: Excuse me Number Three, I know I’m dull but I must have missed your name?

Abel #3: Huh? It’s Abel! Abel Active.

Ian #2: I see. So it’s not Warren. Nor, it seems, George. 

Abel #3: Um, no? Like I said it’s Abel–

Chris #1: –ah, I see where you’re going Number Two. Yeah Abel, instead of quoting the returns from Buffett or Soros maybe you could tell us what returns YOU have achieved over the past ten years? Specifically, did your active investing antics beat the market?

Scylla: That’s a good point Mr Fancy Pants. Never mind the 20% earned by some old duffer in Omaha. What our Jane needs to know is whether your expensive active funds did the business?

Abel #3: Well… Okay no, we lagged the market by 2% a year. But it has been a very unusual period with incredible distortion from Central Banks! And we prudently positioned our portfolio for the global pandemic at the bottom in March 2020, meaning our investors were safely protected from *checks notes* um stock markets then near-doubling as they bounced back over the following 12 months.

Jane: Yikes!

Abel #3: We didn’t do as badly as some Jane! Besides, have you seen my sports car?

Decision time

Scylla: Well Jane it’s time to make your mind up! I know it’s a lot to take in – I just met my Harry in a motorway services station lavatory and I’ve never regretted it. Ho hum, simpler times! But let’s have a recap.

*Music. Cheesy voice returns and intones: So Jane, will you pick Number One, with his diversified assets that will really put a return in your portfolio? Our will you pick Number Two, who has gone from nought to 5.2% faster than you can say “yeah but inflation peaked at 11% in 2022”? Or will it be Number Three, who idolises Warren Buffett but whose own portfolio is as limp as a salad buffet? Jane, the decision is yours!*  

Jane: Oh dear, when you put it like that.

Scylla: I know love… and we started off with such high hopes.

Jane: Can I pick Bitcoin?

Scylla: …

*Music theme as the credits roll*

The end. Thanks for making it this far. It seemed like a fun idea when I started. Maybe add your favourite investing chat-up lines in the comments?

*Kerfuffle. The Accumulator bursts in*

The Accumulator: Okay that’s enough. You’re fired! 

The Investor: Sorry old bean. Wrong show!

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • 1 Griff June 18, 2024, 2:04 pm

    Enjoyed that, very witty, can you do blankety blank next, that’s nearer my ISA gains for the last few years.

  • 2 Metallor June 18, 2024, 2:05 pm


  • 3 Tom Grlla June 18, 2024, 2:28 pm

    Takes me back… Just remembered, cheesy voice = ‘Our Graham’!

  • 4 BBBobbins June 18, 2024, 3:07 pm

    Like the clue in the initials. Spotted from there how it would pan out. What about @TheInvestor – a bedrock of Ian but the spicy action from Abel? Surefire hit with the ladies?

  • 5 Paul_a38 June 18, 2024, 3:10 pm

    Does the nurse know you are on the Internet?

  • 6 Spinone June 18, 2024, 4:31 pm

    I must know who Jane picked. I must!

  • 7 Michelle June 18, 2024, 5:34 pm

    I don’t often read investing articles these days – but this one was so hilarious I just had to. Loved it. Ah, you can’t beat the classic game shows….

    As for investing chat-up lines – how about another classic…

    “Do you compound here often?”

    Perhaps followed by the even cheesier…”Because I think we’ve got some serious interest accruing between us…”

    I’ll get my coat now ….

  • 8 tetromino June 18, 2024, 5:52 pm

    “Cilla”. Unless you’re deliberately going for some link to Greek mythology?

  • 9 flyer123 June 18, 2024, 9:07 pm

    This was hilarious and entertaining. Keep’em coming. We definitely need such a lighter one at this time.

    The name-play with Abel and comparing returns with Buffett was also timely

  • 10 The Investor June 18, 2024, 11:05 pm

    Thanks all, definitely too kind.

    @tetrimono — Yes, deliberate. Changed it at the start and wondered if it would go anywhere (was thinking of turning Graham in Charybdis) but in the end it just remained as a weak anti-libel shield… 😉

  • 11 JDW June 19, 2024, 9:58 am

    Lorra Lorra blinda data!

    Love it.

    Genuinely lolled (sorry, is that what TokTik kidz say? I feel well old at 38 sometimes) at the one audience member clapping bit!

    Would #3 (Pain and Unable?) with a sports car even have heard of Buffett? Number #2 would surely, big cash pile?

    Anyway, I’m off to remind myself after growing up near Croydon why I don’t visit that often these days, football aside.

    Thanks again, cheered me up and nice to forget politics for a bit!

    Is that a LifeStrategy fund in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

  • 12 JP June 19, 2024, 3:31 pm

    Thank you for an entertaining read! Ah, makes me feel old!

    I had a friend who actually went on Blind Date (the one asking the three questions). Some time later met up in a pub with them and some other friends whom they had not met. I stupidly said to the other friends beforehand, may be best not mention Blind Date as they may be a bit sensitive about it. Queue one friend a short time later, in a serious tone, after they had got chatting on a completely unrelated topic ‘I just want to ask you three questions ……’ I was never very sure my friend caughtened on!

  • 13 weenie June 20, 2024, 10:30 am

    Love it, a very entertaining read.

    Eeeh, them were the days, with good old Cilla and her lorra lorra laffs, and our Graham with the recap!

    Following today’s format of TV, Jane will obviously go for Abel and there will be the obligatory explosive follow-up, ‘what happened next’ show!

    3-2-1 next? Would Jane get Dusty Bin?

  • 14 Vilehackwriter June 20, 2024, 11:10 am

    To complete the picture of an early 1990s Saturday night, your next production should be Investor Gladiators…

  • 15 BBBobbins June 20, 2024, 11:24 am

    @JP you can’t leave the anecdote there -inquiring minds want to know the full story of the Blind Date debacle. I always assumed it was for people that a) wanted 15 mins of very Z list fame for future dating market purposes or b) just wanted a bit (lorra?) of a laff and a free holiday.

  • 16 JP June 20, 2024, 2:50 pm

    @BBBobbins – what can I say! They got roped into one of the early shows before it was well established and did it for a laugh I think. Without saying too much, it didnt end in a lifetime romance!

    Good for them Id say – sometimes life can be way too serious.

  • 17 BBBobbins June 20, 2024, 3:22 pm

    @JP. I agree on the fun bit. It’s easy to forget it was before the all pervasive reality shows full of models/actors whatever trying to build TV careers.
    I remember watching the first series of the UK Apprentice and idly wondering – I bet if I had a crack at this I could do it vaguely competently (as I’m sure everyone else did) but then Mitchell and Webb had it nailed

  • 18 JP June 20, 2024, 4:21 pm

    Loved the youtube item. Its wasnt so much like that in the old days!

  • 19 BBBobbins June 20, 2024, 9:12 pm

    Right on cue here’s a lady who ticks all the Monevator dating boxes, yet at the same time doesn’t sound a barrel of laughs. Tricky this financial compatibility thing.


  • 20 BeardyBillionaireBloke June 20, 2024, 9:13 pm

    > train that pulled out of Croydon station
    Those of us near enough that we’ve been there know East and West Croydon stations.


  • 21 weenie June 21, 2024, 1:16 pm

    @BBBobbins (19) – when/if I’m back on the dating game, seriously that will likely be a question to ask! Whilst not quite ‘looking for a man in Finance, trust fund, 6′ 5″, blues eyes’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl-350cA8ko), certainly my criteria has changed a lot since I was last dating!

    Perhaps not quite a question to ask on the first date, perhaps date 2, before the ‘ooh, getting a bit serious’ date 3!

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