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Weekend reading: A world of lunacy

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

One of the many reasons I love the Mr Money Mustache blog is the MacGyver-like way the Mustachioed one has welded an ecological message onto his financial freedom message.

(Well, that and and the swearing. We’re too tame to do it around here!)

Not surprisingly, I loved his latest post where he observes the weird spending habits of an alien race as seen from outer space, and then sees just the same thing back home on Earth:

In one incident, I traveled to a distant suburb with my son to attend a child’s birthday party […]

At the party, every food was an unrecognizable assembly of chemical compounds ripped out of a brightly-colored box, served on styrofoam plates which were promptly discarded into a black plastic bag.

Every gift was a plastic and metal recreation of a famous movie character or vehicle, ripped out of another plastic package. There was a television in the kitchen blaring news and advertisements.

The unhealthy parents drank beer and ate cake, and sighed about not having enough time or money to spend more time taking care of their home, or their kids, or themselves.

All of this took place in a neighborhood with beautiful walking paths and parks, and a modern utopia of a school just down the road. But every weekday at 2:45 PM, an ominous horror begins. An immense and powerful passenger vehicle will ease down the road and come to a halt at the prime spot of the school’s pickup loop.

And the engine will be left running.

As ever, Mr Money Mustache has a plan to deal with it – and to his credit he isn’t advocating the use of tactical nuclear warheads – so go read it.

Live long and prosper!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

  • The Vanguard UK equity income tracker – DIY Investor (UK)
  • How robo-advisers threaten the index fund business – Kitces
  • What exactly is an index tracking or passive fund? – Maven CP

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: Some new hydro-electicity backed bonds are offering 7% a year says The Guardian, but I’d note investors in similar solar mini bonds might have lost the lot recently. This new offer from LoCO2 is in conjunction with well-respected Triodos Bank, which is somewhat reassuring.

Mainstream media money

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 of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Blackrock/iShares cuts its FTSE 100 ETF fees – Investment Week
  • Meb Faber: Fees and taxes trump asset allocation – ETF.com
  • Who is the next John C. Bogle? [Long, deep]Bloomberg
  • Bill Bernstein: Stick to your plan – ETF.com
  • Swedroe: The incredible shrinking alpha [book extract]WM.Com
  • More Swedroe: Active managers are running out of excuses – ETF.com

Active investing

  • The mystery of hedge fund investing – NY Times
  • Gold’s long decline is the real story – Bloomberg
  • 10 shares you can buy-and-hold forever – Telegraph
  • Investing in momentum shares – ThisIsMoney

Other stuff worth reading

  • Are you a mortgage misfit? – The Guardian
  • A place in the sun and a tax-free pension [Search result]FT
  • Early retirement and the paradox of success – N.Y. Times
  • Housel: What’s your investing perspective? – Motley Fool US
  • Meet the world’s most interesting billionaire: Fred Olsen – Fortune
  • Enduring lessons from The East India Company – The Guardian

Book of the week: The Investor’s Podcast interviewed Tobias Carlisle this week in a very ebullient fashion. Carlisle wrote the innovative book Deep Value, which is a rather calmer fare.

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every week!

  1. Note some FT 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”. []
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • 1 ermine March 14, 2015, 1:48 pm

    That compoundingInterests post on cash/rebalancing is really quite remarkable. And easier to implement than a CAPE strategy of determining a cash position.

    That is, of course, only for those with “investment” cash as opposed to emergency fund cash – the liquidity:return polarity. I offer a white handkerchief, rather than a full surrender flag, there’s clearly more to learn. Beats 26 current accounts as a way of putting it to work 😉

  • 2 David March 14, 2015, 3:11 pm

    Hi I had heard that the compensation levels for stocks and share isa were going to match those for savings is there any news on this

  • 3 dearieme March 15, 2015, 10:05 pm

    “Opportunity comes in strange, lumpy, and often nonlinear ways.” Nonfuckinglinear. I don’t know what he means by it. I suspect he doesn’t know what he means by it. Why not just copy Dame Edna and say “spooky”?

  • 4 dearieme March 15, 2015, 11:11 pm

    “That compoundingInterests post on cash/rebalancing is really quite remarkable.” It’s an explanation of the idea called “volatility harvesting”, as achieved by rebalancing. The £15k annual ISA allowance will let lots of people use a rebalancing strategy if they want, combined with harvesting 3%-5% p.a. on their cash pro tem. Of course, the professionals can’t compete with the amateurs when it comes to getting a return on the cash fraction of the portfolio. Given that the ISA allowance is annual, and that the high-paying regular saver accounts tend to last for one year, there’s a case that re-balancing annually is an easy and natural thing to do.

    If the amateurs stick to cheap tracker investments for their S&S, mostly the professionals can’t compete with that either. I’m rather stumped to see how either pros or amateurs can do much with bond returns at the moment though. And as for property, is investing in commercial property in mature economies sensible in the internet age? dunno^2. Commodities? We keep piles of bog rolls in the spare room, and tins of sardines. And a stock of cooking foil: stored electricity, that is! Our agricultural commodities are tins of tomatoes, pears, lychees, and corned beef. It’s all investing and diversifying, innit?

  • 5 JAL March 17, 2015, 1:54 pm

    I just caught up and read the CompoundMyInterests post. I couldn’t resist knocking up a quick spreadsheet to try out various scenarios, and it is an interesting idea. But two things spring to mind:

    1) For the best results you’d need a really volatile stock.. and hope it stays volatile (goes down and up)
    2) Obviously there’s more than a fair amount of churn going on! So once you factor in your dealing fees, or spreads if you take the spreadbetting route, it’s not going to look so attractive

  • 6 UK Value Investor March 19, 2015, 6:28 am

    Hi TI, thanks for the double link whammy.

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