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Weekend reading: The toll

Weekend reading: The toll post image

What caught my eye this week.

I had hoped 2018 would see a return to a more regular content schedule on Monevator. But a family funeral put paid to that.

Sitting in the crematorium, I was struck as ever how money didn’t get a look in during the service. The readings talk about an active family life, the arc of a career, a few funny anecdotes and perhaps a sad one. There’s nothing about financial legacies, let alone more mundane money matters.

I’d like to know whether even Warren Buffett’s memorial service will mention his beating the market? I doubt it will dwell.

This is a very trite observation. There’s plenty of other everyday life essentials that get short thrift at funerals. Who wants to talk about money at such a time? (In my experience only undertakers, but that’s another matter.)

And I do think money sneaks in around the edges of the story. When a parent is praised for providing for a family or giving the kids a good start, that’s partly code for earning and spending on them (and much more, of course.)

Equally, someone may enjoy a fruitful career, but few can do it for the anecdotes alone. Show me the money, as they say.

I usually go away from these events pondering whether I’m too obsessed with saving and investing money. I know money can’t buy love. What would I do with it if I knew exactly when I was going to die?

Outside of their jobs, their mortgage, a company pension, and the usual cash savings, I don’t know that either of my parents spent any time thinking about money. It certainly didn’t guide their life decisions. The financial lessons I got from my father were about frugality, not compound interest or P/E ratios.

Money was managed, but it wasn’t actively multiplied. That was a very different mindset from some of the parents I later met through friends and girlfriends.

I don’t know where the balance is.

Investing and all the rest comes naturally to me. I don’t feel like a scrooge when I pursue my active investing – I imagine I feel the same enjoyment my uncle did when he was doing something in the greenhouse listening to Test Match Special.

What’s more I don’t get the impression most of my friends and family who care less about money are spending their time writing poetry or planting oak trees or visiting aged relatives. (Often they’re just spending!)

And yet…I wonder.

Excuse the maudlin note, though I feel it doesn’t hurt to ponder these things now and then. Feel free to share any thoughts on how you weigh up spending your time and money now – versus shepherding it for the future – in the comments below.

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

Shake up for UK banks comes into force [Search result]FT

Retirement incomes soar 30% in five years, as markets boost pension pots – ThisIsMoney

Just Eat 50p payment surcharge branded a rip-off – Guardian

£11bn smart meter rollout to be investigated by government watchdog – ThisIsMoney

Amazon Fresh undercuts supermarkets by up to 25% – ThisIsMoney

Bath revives plans to impose a tourist tax – Guardian

You need to be a 90th percentile earner to buy your own home in London – ThisIsMoney

Don’t listen to analysts if you want to make money on the stock market, report finds – Telegraph

Same returns, different emotions – Morgan Housel on Twitter

Products and services

Monzo introduces overseas ATM fees, so here’s other options – Telegraph

AA hikes online easy-access rate to 1.32% for new savers – ThisIsMoney

Looking for an online broker ahead of the ISA and SIPP deadline? – Here’s some help

New 1.2% savings account for those who ‘actively avoid the internet’ – Telegraph

Housebuyers benefit from profit squeeze on mortgage lenders – Guardian

Comment and opinion

10 things that investors can expect in 2018 – A Wealth of Common Sense

The patterns that weren’t there – Of Dollars and Data

The three levels of financial independence – Financial Samurai

The buy case for US equities has improved – Musings on Markets

You can’t assess a share without reference to its price – The Value Perspective

Stats that shame the UK financial advice profession – TEBI

Borrowing £2m to buy equities: Two years later – FireVLondon

One-year investment performance is a terrible metric – UK Value Investor

Why emerging markets are still good value – Wisdom Tree

Time for market timing? – Simple Living in Somerset

Breakeven rates refresher lesson [Geeky]The Macro Tourist


Bitcoin investors struggle to cash out new fortunes [Search result]FT

Please millennials, do not save in Bitcoin – Pragmatic Capitalism

The secret lives of dorm room cryptocurrency miners – Quartz

Q&A with Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum [Podcast]Forbes

How Coinbase could disrupt traditional brokers – VentureBeat

Good luck spending your KodakCoins – Bloomberg

Off our beat

We all need a bigger f*ck it bucket – Abnormal Returns

And finally…

“Never seek the wind in the field — it is useless to try and find what is gone.”
– Jeffrey Archer, Kane and Abel

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”. []
{ 46 comments… add one }
  • 1 Ollie C January 12, 2018, 8:24 pm

    I got a chronic disease in my 20s (two decades ago) that has profoundly limited my life choices. Luckily I started saving and investing early. It’s an odd feeling to be thinking along the same lines as someone much older, with questions like “How much do I need?”, “How long does it need to last?”, “What’s the right balance between saving/investing and spending?”, “How much should I work now?” but these are questions we should all be asking before we’re forced to by circumstance (especially that brute age) and while we (hopefully) have the benefit of time ahead of us. It all comes down to the fact that personal finance is always very personal, and although we can’t plan for total uncertainty we can usually plot a sensible path, maybe down the middle, and hope for the best. A famous psychotherapist, DW Winnicott, wrote about how parents should aim to be “good enough” and abandon any futile attempt at perfection. Perhaps it’s ok to be “good enough” investors?

  • 2 Marcus Lang January 12, 2018, 9:44 pm

    Love the round up and looking forward to the return to content… Interesting to see a section on Cryprocurrencies. In the spirit of investing passively, and accepting market returns, I’m interested in buying an index of cryptocurrencies with small % of my portfolio (e.g. 2%, and mainly for the diversity). I’ve looked at the market, and I don’t think such a thing exists, but I guess there is a DIY Route. Has anyone looked at this? This would make a really interesting Monevator article if you manage to make the return to content

  • 3 LukeM January 12, 2018, 10:14 pm

    @Ollie C – There are plenty of folk round here who are happy being ‘good enough’ investors – that’s the reasoning behind passive investing after all.

  • 4 Hospitaller January 12, 2018, 10:26 pm

    As Roy Batty said, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

    For sure, there is a degree of self-interest in my investing; I would much prefer not to have a needy old age and I would prefer to leave my kids with a helpful chunk. But I think I do investing mainly just because I find it a really interesting hobby.

  • 5 Scrooge January 13, 2018, 3:00 am

    I find avarice and a sociopathic tendency drives my interest in money. Would that explain my lack of social contacts?

    But seriously,sometimes I do question my financial purpose….is Financial independence possibly an excuse for excessive focus on investment?

    Also the ‘vicarious’ guilt of knowing many do not have the knowledge, motivation or opportunity to pursue financial independence to any significant extent.

  • 6 Lord January 13, 2018, 3:54 am

    I constantly fear becoming so enamored of the future that I neglect the present. By that I mean that I have to be very careful to not get sucked into extrapolations of my savings, dividends, investments to come that I forget to do things and enjoy life now. I have made conscious efforts to do new hobbies and pastimes to get me through this stage – learning new skills, new sports etc.
    Savings and investments serve a purpose, and you can decide how much time you dedicate to it. You can make it a learning experience and process in itself, working and learning more excel tricks, making economies, splurging, becoming more conscious of the decisions you make and their expected effects or value to your life. I appreciate the way of thinking that this kind of concern over savings and time value of money introduces. If I buy a car, what is it’s value over time, what’s the opportunity cost, how will I benefit, or how much longer will I have to work for my bastard of a boss if I do buy it, etc. By going through these thought processes you’re not in autopilot consumption mode like most people. It’s certainly beneficial to your quality of life, and the security and confidence that comes from having savings is to me far more important than having a BMW.

  • 7 Learner January 13, 2018, 4:28 am

    It ought to be fairly easy to construct a portfolio of cryptocurrencies and rebalance whenever you feel like it with a simple spreadsheet. Prices and market cap figures are readily available and there are numerous exchanges to choose from, offering conversion between dozens or even hundreds of tokens. Trading fees in the 0.05-0.25% range.

    Probably wise to use multiple exchanges – or hold your assets offline – given the relatively high risk of theft, fraud, or good ol’ trading-while-insolvent in this industry!

  • 8 Financial Samurai January 13, 2018, 8:07 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts during the funeral. It is interesting that nothing about money was mentioned. I guess that would sound distasteful. I’m struggling with spending and investing as well. I have been kind of stressed out lately the market going up every single day here in the United States.

    I’m stressed because I want to hold onto my cash, but I also want to benefit from a bull market to the maximum. I wish I didn’t have all this cash lying around after I sold my rental house last year.

    Investing money is stressful because every single decision you make could be the bad one.


  • 9 JimJim January 13, 2018, 8:46 am

    Coming from a working class Yorkshire background, frugality was the lesson drummed into me at every purchase and every bill on the doormat. Marrying into a middle class household I began to appreciate the power money had.
    I always keep my frugal roots near to me and check myself when “lifestyle creep” starts to erode savings I need to travel. Travel is my biggest expense now (and has been since marriage) as I get to the age I feel sure I can pull the perpetual lifestyle trick off with another 7.6 years to work before then. (unless disaster happens)
    I don’t want my funeral to be a sad thing with the underlying message being “he wasted his life stashing it away and did nothing” (there is always a subtext to a good funeral) But I think that will not be the case with the way we live now.
    The best investments I ever made were: The view from my garden, a job I enjoy and the people I call friends. These are all enhanced by having enough cash and time to enjoy them.

  • 10 John B January 13, 2018, 8:47 am

    @Sam market timing will stress you whether you are in or out of the market, as every day you look at the indexes, and think is it today I should buy or sell. And the next day you will check if your decision was right, and curse/cheer. All those micro-decisions are hard emotional work. Fewer decisions will mean less stress, best to accept that you might make 100 investing decisions over your lifetime, some good, some bad, and just ensure each only affects a fraction of your portfolio. So with a large lump like a house sale, invest over 6 months, but only decide once a month.

  • 11 John B January 13, 2018, 9:08 am

    A 50 yo friend was regretting one bad financial decision, not buying a house in Oxford, and was considering buying in Witney, all he could afford, but would have destroyed his social life as he couldn’t drive. 6 months later he was dead from cancer. He had many friends, but would have had fewer if he’d been a homeowner. Good financial decisions can be bad social ones.

    His death was one of the reasons I wanted to get on with FIRE before I was 50, to get on with life, but its also why I wanted a large pot so I can perhaps afford to buy in pricey Oxford and see my friends there more. Good financial decisions can lead to good social outcomes, but delayed gratification may never come.

  • 12 Chris January 13, 2018, 9:08 am

    Just a short note to say, sorry for your loss. It’s natural to reflect on your own situation during such times.

    On money, I feel like I’ve shepherded enough and will likely reduce my savings rates in 2018 and spend more on experiences as well as hopefully going part time.

  • 13 Brod January 13, 2018, 10:55 am

    Well, my motivation is mainly making a reasonable provision for my wife, who’s 15 years younger than me. The kids (4 and 5), well, we’ll educate them as well as we can and then as adults they can take care of themselves. Maybe a little handout.

    We bought an ordinary family and forever house in an ordinary London suburb, deliberately not stretching ourselves, and we’ve nearly paid it off after just 5 years.

    I went from the private sector to the public and I’m accumulating a small Civil Service pension and when it hits £7k in a few years I’ll retire at 55 (my wife can earn the daily bread) and I’ll look after the kids. At 67, that’ll give me about £15k inflation linked in today’s terms to pay for the essentials comfortably and my SIPP to pay for extras and to pass on to my wife. Without making further SIPP contributions, it should nicely cover her current 60 more years of life expectancy (!)

    But we don’t stress it. I still have my wine, Crystal Palace season ticket and our visits to Ecuador every two years for my wife to see her family and me to do some serious thinking on the beach

    So in a nutshell, everything in balance. Enjoy the present as you may not get to the future, but plan for what happens if you do get there.

    Having nearly not made it, I know that you can never know what life will throw at you so I enjoy it while I can.

  • 14 FI Warrior January 13, 2018, 11:26 am

    Helping care for an extremely fragile parent in midwinter wondering if this is the time, it does make you wonder what it’s all for and if you have your balance right, we can only do our best and try to be kind to ourselves and others.

    My relationship with money would be considered obsessive by average standards in UK society today, but then the bar here is set so low that anyone who bothered to read the small print on their bills (just to avoid being ripped off) would be in the same category.

    Philosophically I see money as crucial only in so far as it’s a life-saver, a life insurance policy and eases most aches and pains in life, a lubricant providing comfort vs the chaffing of every-day hassles. An early wake up call was knowing a friend when in my 20’s who urgently needed an operation to remove a serious tumour in his brain and being shocked that he had to wait 6 months on a list. (This was a couple of decades ago, before the NHS was in meltdown, so today affording to go private could really mean life instead of death) He lived, but it was by no means a certain outcome back at that time.

  • 15 ermine January 13, 2018, 11:58 am

    Sorry to hear of your loss 🙁 Times like that are a reminder to take some time out to reflect on what matters in life, in the end it seems to be more about who you spent your time with on the journey than what you spent money on, after a certain amount of income has been reached.

    The financial lessons I got from my father were about frugality, not compound interest or P/E ratios.

    That’s the foundation on which the rest is built IMO, so good for your parents!

  • 16 The Rhino January 13, 2018, 12:21 pm

    I was thinking People -> Health -> Wealth if you wanted to prioritise. If you re worried about the quality of your eulogy you could use the rhino memoirs approach to life. Aim to get at least one thing in per year that you think would make a good chapter? It can be challenging but it’s never boring. 2017 delivered in spades!

  • 17 Neverland January 13, 2018, 12:31 pm

    Money buys freedom of choice. Once you have about £3-4 million investable assets plus a home working is really optional. That is a nice place to be frankly. Some people could live comfortably on less obvs. After that if you’re a slave to hustling, saving and investing it’s an choice not a necessity. But because you have “**** you” money you can get off the treadmill any time you want

  • 18 JakMak January 13, 2018, 12:32 pm

    @Marcus Lang There are within the Crypto space, a platform called ICONOMI has a variety of actively managed funds, another alternative which I am invested in is Crypto20 which passively invests in the top20 coins with weekly rebalancing, it’s a closed ended fund so you cannot currently invest but it will be tradeable on exchanges at the end of the month. Obviously both these investments are within crypto rather than a traditional vehicle which may put off traditional investors.

  • 19 The Accumulator January 13, 2018, 2:01 pm

    I think we need to break the link between money and life experience. This notion that if you’re not spending to the hilt then you’re somehow letting life pass you by. YOLO and Live Every Day Like It’s Your Last are disempowering creeds. I’ve grown considerably as a useful human (erm, work-in-progress) because I’ve learned to invest in relationships, skills and health at the same time as the financials. As opposed to caving into the impulse of the day because, y’know, I might be dead tomorrow.

    Sure if you live out of bins like that Swedish tramp who turned out to be a secret millionaire then you’ve probably got the balance wrong. But – Investor – I think you’re spot on with your pottering around in the greenhouse analogy. You do it because you love it. And we can’t all love sky-diving.

    The book Your Money Or Your Life has a great section on the way different people view money. As in it’s taboo for some, a means to an end for others, all consuming obsession for Scrooge McDuck. As a child I was taught it’s wrong to talk about money. I guess a lot of people in the UK are. Well maybe more of us would be doing better if money talk wasn’t treated like sex education in the 1950s.

    Thinking more about money is a good thing – it liberates you from fear, worry, ignorance and life traps.

  • 20 The Rhino January 13, 2018, 3:16 pm

    I prob wouldn’t lump YOLO with live every day like it’s your last. 2 very different ideas in my book.

    I’ve wondered a bit about the implications of YOLO Vs heaven Vs reincarnation in terms of what sort of a life it tends you to lead?

    Still wondering..

  • 21 The Rhino January 13, 2018, 3:18 pm

    I have a feeling that properly internalising YOLO is fundamental to living well. But it’s definitely a philosophical work in progress..

  • 22 The Accumulator January 13, 2018, 4:34 pm

    Neverland – are you courting controversy with the £3 – 4 million? That’s not remotely necessary given the average income in the country.

  • 23 dearieme January 13, 2018, 4:58 pm

    The FireVLondon piece was fascinating. It hadn’t occurred to me to mortgage our financial assets rather than our house – perhaps because we never did have much in the way of financial assets until too late in life. I take it that one can’t pull this sort of stunt with S&S ISAs?

  • 24 Jura January 13, 2018, 7:30 pm

    As a long time lurker, a thought provoking post indeed. I have a tendency to be frugal and sometimes to sacrifice the present for the future. My wife is the opposite. I work in intensive care and every day I see people – in their 20s, 30s, 40s, who have their lives cut short or at the very least changed forever by serious illness. There is truth to the phrase ‘the greatest wealth is health’. And while statistically the chance of a catastrophe such as this befalling any individual is very small, that is little comfort if you are the statistic.

    My plan is to (hopefully) move to working part time in a couple of years to have time with my family while they -and I- are young, rather than work full time towards an early retirement which would still be many years away and might never happen.

  • 25 Marcus Lang January 13, 2018, 7:30 pm

    Thanks for the tip @ JakMak, I’ll take a look…

  • 26 William III January 13, 2018, 8:34 pm

    Great comment.

  • 27 Alan January 13, 2018, 8:36 pm

    Great article – much appreciated And the accumulator’s comment on being a “useful human” is spot on.

    I guess the thing with money is on one side of the coin it’s literally a roof over your head and food on the table… and the other it’s an unhealthy obsession with the future while forgetting to stop, smell the roses and enjoy the present.

    Love an article that makes you think

  • 28 Mr Optimistic January 14, 2018, 7:16 am

    It’s a bit odd that I always wanted to have a financial cushion to ease any future difficulties and stop me worrying about the future and vicarious events, so here am reviewing my investments and worrying what to do about the future and it’s vicarious events. Investor know thyself!

  • 29 Sacadoh January 14, 2018, 9:16 am

    I am overly frugal. I was having a chat with a female friend who was separated from her husband as a result of his financial profligacy. As she was telling me about his recent gym membership and insistence on buying Under Armour t-shirts (£60) I was regarding my own clothes – £6 jeans £2 t-shirt and a £3 charity shop winter shirt I couldn’t help reflect that both he and I had money issues. He was spending silly money he did not have and I was being unnecessarily frugal with myself. It is possible my wife might have left me if I had tried to enforce my frugality on her & I can see many ways we compromised too much when younger – on holidays and house purchases.

    There is a happy medium somewhere, but it is not the average person, who spends and borrows mindlessly, and has little financial literacy.

  • 30 bob January 14, 2018, 12:20 pm

    The EBI article is a prescient reminder that the dogged pursuit of active management strategies by advisors is often detrimental to their clients interest.

    I work with 4-5 people who are currently transferring pension pots of around £1 million out of the corporate final salary scheme. They are being quoted (and in at least 2 cases, proceeding with advisors who are charging) a 2% transfer fee plus 1-2% in annual management fees.
    These are guys in their fifties with only a few years working left who are not chasing stellar returns – for fear of the ridiculous tax implications if nothing else. Nor to they want a high-risk portfolio of exotic assets.
    One told me his advisor said of the £20k transfer fee “I’ll make that back in a couple of months”


  • 31 TahiPanasDua January 14, 2018, 12:23 pm

    To say everyone is different is a bit hackneyed but true nevertheless.

    Investing for me is simply a most enjoyable hobby. In my version, it interacts interestingly with much of the gamut of life, including finance, economics, industry, politics, psychology, etc. It does, however, inevitably bore others to death. I no longer do it to make more money per se. We are both retired and live on about 60% of our investment income without consciously economising. We aware of our good fortune and spend a proportion of our income to help others.

    As an example of my perversion, I recently got intense satisfaction and much fun helping a middle-aged niece to rationalize her directionless company pension arrangements and separately transfer her outrageously expensive (2.7% charges) and underperforming OEIC to a Vanguard Life Strategy ISA at 0.37%. That was enjoyable. It was no chore.

    It takes all types! Some would say I need to get a life but I think I’ve already got a good one.


  • 32 Factor January 14, 2018, 5:06 pm

    “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product” – said by Jigme Singye Wangchuck the then king of Bhutan in 1979.

  • 33 Neverland January 14, 2018, 5:26 pm


    What I said was ” Once you have about £3-4 million investable assets plus a home working is really optional […] Some people could live comfortably on less obvs.”

    With £3-4m and a safe withdrawal rate of c. 2% you should have more than £1,000-1,200 a week net of tax without too much funky tax planning. Regardless of age and need that is ” enough” for any family to last a lifetime.

    This also includes a large margin of safety for the equity component of your financial fortress to take a hit like a hurricane, which experience shows does happen with depressing regularity.

    Like I said, you could probably get by on a lot less if you are: older; single; only go on cheap holidays; cycle everywhere; home-brew/match-bet/dumpster-dive/whatever.

    For what its worth John Goodman agrees with me:


    The difference between Goodman’s USD 2.5m and my own figure is the lower cost of living in the US (ex-healthcare) and Goodman has a shorter life-expectancy as a psychotic criminal, rather than a family of armchair passive investors.

  • 34 Mike January 14, 2018, 7:30 pm

    ‘… (am I) too obsessed with saving and investing money?’ Just accept it’s your hobby really. Well, isn’t it? As it is with Warren B.
    But perhaps one can become obsessed and not spend enough – again as with Warren. Try spending a chunk now and then, it’s therapeutic.

  • 35 Mr Optimistic January 14, 2018, 8:58 pm

    @Bob. Fidelity Retirement Ltd charge £2500 to advise on a DB transfer and owing to their restricted advice channel it towards a Fidelity SIPP ( which you could subsequently transfer away from). I canvassed a few IFA’s and found them a somewhat tricky bunch. Their objective seemed to be to get the funds into vehicles managed by them at, yes, 0.5 -1% annual fee which then invested in expensive OEICs.

  • 36 Mathmo January 15, 2018, 2:34 am

    TI – sorry for your loss and thanks for sharing your insights.

    A little bit (and long may it remain little and remote for you and your fine readership) of death is a good thing: reminds you of the ultimate destination and reminds you to enjoy the journey. Otherwise it’s too easy to leave your head in the sand and not focus on what is important.

    I enjoyed the market timing pondering this week. On both sides: are they overpriced or is the equity risk premium just right? Who knows? The thing I learned this year is that you can wait a long long time for the inevitable…

    As for millenials saving in bitcoin. I think they should. The lessons they buy when young will last a lifetime. Lord knows 1999 taught me plenty!

  • 37 Hannah January 15, 2018, 10:14 am

    My condolences for your loss. I also was at a relative’s funeral this week, and finances came up in the eulogy for very different reasons. My relative had been widowed in the 1970s and was left with precious little with which to look after her children. The speaker noted with pride the thriftiness and ingenuity my relative had to make ends meet.

    I suppose that the praise was really directed at her creativity and dedication to her family, and the financial aspect was just a way of expressing it. In many ways, money management is an outworking of many other traits that are more likely to be mentioned at a funeral (as you mentioned) – such as provision for loved ones/good causes, intelligence, etc.

  • 38 The Investor January 15, 2018, 10:54 am

    @all — Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and the interesting perspectives, especially those who’ve shared stories of personal loss or situational changes. (In particular, I personally related to @JohnB’s late house buying friend. This has echoes of why I’ve finally decided to buy in London, despite for the apparent over-valuation. Sorry for your loss John.)

    I’m going to try to be a bit more consciously thankful for what I’ve had/got in 2018. One of those is a community that can share such stories and fears — perspectives that at the risk of sounding trite do remind us we’re not alone. 🙂

  • 39 The Rhino January 15, 2018, 12:30 pm

    @TA – just to expand on the YOLO, LEDLIYL (these acronyms are getting silly) issue.

    LEDLIYL is an excuse for hedonism or something pithy to use in a honda car ad. I don’t think its supportable by anyone who is sensible.

    YOLO, for people who aren’t into supernatural beings, is just a statement of fact. I think the default human setting is some sort of combination of YOLO on a rational level and IGTLF (I’m Going To Live Forever) on a subconcious level? Thats what I observe in the way people carry on (myself included). Thats what I was getting at with the effort to properly internalise YOLO – get it into your reptilian brain as well as the prefrontal cortex? The best (only) attempt I’ve seen at achieving this is the momento mori aspect of stoicism.

    On a purely pragmatic level, I can see enormous value in the religious approach of side-stepping the issue entirely. The problem is, if you’re not religious, then thats just not on the menu barring some sort of psychotic ‘born-again’ type episode? I don’t think you can choose to have them, they just happen (rarely).

  • 40 Aliya January 15, 2018, 4:10 pm

    I call myself rational frugal, I not not spend at all, I spend on what matters to me. Also I still do shop, not crazily but on sales. We travel but cheaply. Etc

  • 41 Simon January 15, 2018, 5:50 pm

    The ultimate behavioural problem, no? For myself, I was brought up with a strong Protestant save-till-you-drop ethic, with visions of eating cardboard in old age whenever I got my wallet out. This, even though you know you cannot take it with you and I have a great horror also of a single penny going to “the State”. I always had a feeling that, once I started spending, then a barrier would be destroyed and there was no end to what might happen. Then I met a woman who was a great deal younger than me … and I was miraculously cured.

  • 42 Survivor January 15, 2018, 10:01 pm

    ‘… and I was miraculously cured.’

    Me too …..then a few years later, we divided the house, she got the inside, I got the outside

    Had to go back to saving though & told the next one I don’t have anything worth taking 🙂

  • 43 Aidan January 16, 2018, 12:23 am

    You could probably get by on a lot less: No patronising qualification required.

  • 44 Neverland January 16, 2018, 8:08 am


    How much you can get by on is obviously related to how much you want to spend

    This is a well trodden argument in early retirement blogs, purely down to personal perspective e.g. https://firevlondon.com/2015/05/30/minimum-salary-required-in-london-500k/

    People say “oh I can get by on less” and then when they hit the number they said they would retire at they do the famous “one more year”.. and then “one more one more year”


    1. Sequence of returns risk, this is a huge elephant in the room

    2. Once you get off the treadmill its pretty hard to get back on at the same pay level for most

  • 45 Steve January 17, 2018, 9:05 pm

    “how you weigh up spending your time and money now – versus shepherding it for the future”

    Now that is a tricky one. My first natural inclination is to save and save. And yet that cannot go for ever because sadly we all have limited time down here. And then what is to be done with the hoarded treasure? Now, I have largely dealt with the issue of not ending up gifting the government lots (I do not like UK politicians of any colour and am distinctly undelighted at the notion of any of them “taking back control” – better by far that things stay not wholly in their control, methinks, for they lack any sign of reliable wisdom). This tax mitigation (all done on the basis that if the HMRC website effectively tells you how to do it, then it is de facto fine) has been done through a combination of trusts, qualifying AIM investments and ensuring that in my will all my residual wealth goes to charities (and not to the government) if my beneficiaries have themselves all expired. But that still leaves some problem of how much to leave behind and how much to spend. To try to ease myself around that emotional problem, I set up a separate portfolio to pay for cars, a boat and a few other things on a bucket list. I manage that separately, with target time frames for when to spend for an item. The fact that the main portfolio is never drawn on helps me to spend the other stuff.

  • 46 raluca January 21, 2018, 6:02 pm

    Pain is pain, whether you are rich or poor, whether your parents die in a palace or a hovel. Money doesn’t help with the pain, that’s true. But money helps with everything else. Money stops life annoyances from sapping your energy, money gives you time to grieve, money makes you capable of helping and caring for your family. Lack of money makes every bad situation worse, always.

    We lost my husband’s mother when we were 24, to cancer. He was left an orphan, his father wasn’t in the picture and with 2 younger siblings to take care of. Even now I thank my lucky stars that we only had to deal with the heartbreak and not with money problems as well. By then we were 1 year out of university and both had ok jobs. We were saving money even before, but afterwards we went a bit crazy with saving, even though we were also financially supporting the siblings. It’s probably not healthy, but money for me means safety. My mother-in-law was left unable to pay her bills, she depended on her children to take care of her and each other. I never want to be in that position, so I need to save and invest all the time.

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