What caught my eye this week.
One reason I found it pretty easy to rent for so long is that I’ve always done very well for landlords.
My last landlord in particular was a star. He sensibly recognized that his initially fully refurbished property was kept in good shape for the many years we rented it. By the end we mostly chatted over email rather than going through the agents. The rent, which was high-ish when I first moved in, was only raised once in a decade.
He was also flexible in moving me to a one-month rolling contract when I started looking for somewhere to buy after my housemate bought a property and moved on.
And when I completed rather out of the blue and moved, he just let me pay to the end of that month instead of asking me to pay the next month as he was entitled to given the lack of notice, which saved me (and cost him) £1,750.
I was therefore pretty sympathetic to the post at My Deliberate Life defending amateur landlords against some nasty accusations in The Guardian.
The author, a landlord, writes:
I’m not trying to make out like I’m some kind of saint. Obviously I’m in it for the money and it does give a good return. And a lot of these services I’m legally required to provide and rightly so.
But don’t paint me as some kind of demon, or parasite, or ‘feudal incubi’ (whatever that is). I am not any of those things.
The very long post is well worth a read for a pretty balanced recap of the state of the UK housing market.
Personally I think the scales were tipped in favour of buy-to-let landlords for far too long, and that combined with very low interest rates this has taken a generational wealth gap to dangerous levels. The recent tax changes seem to be addressing this.
But in my experience the average buy-to-let landlord is no more a social parasite than an investor in an index tracker funds.
Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Lyxor ETFs: Very low cost, but be aware of some wrinkles – Monevator
From the archive-ator: How to enjoy life like a billionaire – Monevator
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
UK economy stagnating according to 0.1% GDP growth figure – BBC
Interest rate rise in May is no longer odds-on – ThisIsMoney
Use inheritance tax to tackle inequality of wealth, says OECD [and me] – Guardian
Is it time to reform inheritance tax? [Search result] – FT
Prince left no will. As a result his estate is a mess – The Washington Post
What happens when the NIMBYs battle the YIMBYs? – ThisIsMoney
Stamp duty cut helps nearly 70,000 first time buyers [Search result] – FT
Beware of scammers posing as HMRC demanding cash – ThisIsMoney
Bear Grylls puts survival skills of the wealthy to the test [Search result] – FT
We need to update our rhetoric… in the US at least, the argument for cheap funds appears to have been won – Morningstar
Products and services
The US entrepreneur who wants to launch a Long-term Stock Exchange [Q&A] – NewCo
Leeds Building Society launches new cash ISA link to Bank of England base rate – ThisIsMoney
SSE/Npower merger could reduce competition and increase bills, says watchdog – ThisIsMoney
Refusing a smart meter could cost you £111 a year due to poor deals – ThisIsMoney
We’re on our knees, says TSB boss as IT crisis drags on – Guardian
Why a 1% chance that Bitcoin could hit $700,000 is worth betting on… – Fortune
…although Bitcoin could equally be the biggest pump-and-dump scheme in history – Recode
Homes for sale in former chapels, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
The limits of retirement simulation – The Retirement Café
The myth that markets get prices right won’t die – Bloomberg
Investing: Past, present, and future – CFA Institute
ThisIsMoney podcast debates the Bank of Mum and Dad [Podcast] – ThisIsMoney
Investment trusts for the grandchildren – DIY Investor
Safe withdrawal rates: An inconvenient truth – YoungFIGuy
Will you move during retirement? – Vanguard blog
Merryn S-W: Fund managers and the struggle to be average [Search result] – FT
Do you even know what’s going on in your pension? – The Escape Artist
When your emergence fund cash call comes – SexHealthMoneyDeath
Morrison’s recovery is underway, but is it in the share price? – UK Value Investor
Beware the rise of the loss-making IPO – The Value Perspective
A deep dive into Amazon’s valuation – Musings on Markets
Yes, we’re in a tech bubble. So what? – Research Affiliates
Kindle book bargains
Side Hustle: Build a Side Business and Make Extra Money – Without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau – £0.99 on Kindle
McMafia: Seriously Organized Crime by Misha Glenny – £0.99 on Kindle
The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.– £0.99 on Kindle
ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by David Fried – £0.99 on Kindle
Off our beat
How bacteria are changing your mood – BBC
Extroverted, conscientious, and disagreeable forty-somethings earn more – HBR
Open, closed, and privacy – Stratechery
Nassim Taleb: Beware the big errors of Big Data – Wired
The real reason you want an iPhone X – Hackernoon
The BBC has made a 16,000-strong sound library freely accessible. Have fun! – BBC
“There was a balance. It wasn’t because humans lived in balance with nature. Humans died in balance with nature.”
– Hans Rosling, Factfulness: 10 Reasons We’re Wrong About The World
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- 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”. [↩]
- I believe the discount shows up at checkout, but check carefully as there’s no special landing page! [↩]
- Thanks Snowman! [↩]