What caught my eye this week.
The question of ‘enough’ is a perennial one in the circles this blog moves in.
Seriously! We can barely check into a Personal Finance and Investing Blogger Cult Meeting before a heated debate breaks out over how much is enough given sustainable withdrawal rates, official inflation versus lifestyle inflation, ‘one more year’ syndrome – or even whose round it is.
(The argument that buying a round of drinks will tack three months onto a future retirement date is an entry-level Jedi mind trick for the likes of us).
In the latest outing for one of the most popular-but-vague words in finance, Ashby Daniels at Retirement Field Guide deployed ‘enough’ towards finding wider contentment, writing:
Enough is a term that has very little quantitative definition, but much subjective definition.
Often, we can’t tie a specific number to enough, but we know when we are there. It’s subtle and yet definitive. It just hangs there waiting to be acknowledged or ignored.
But the important point is that we know it exists. It’s just a matter of whether we want to pay attention to our inner voice or ignore it completely.
Here’s a funny example that backs up Daniels’ point.
Long-time readers will know I’ve an on-off fascination and struggle with Bitcoin, and cryptocurrency more generally.
Back in December 2017 I um-ed and ah-ed about whether Bitcoin was in a bubble – and whether it was even a real financial asset.
A lot of digital data has flowed under the bridge since then, but the future of crypto is not what I’m thinking of in this post today.
Rather, it’s about what I did next.
You see I decided I wanted to own a bitcoin.
I could always see a possible future for bitcoin, especially as a store of value, and every day it survives the case is reinforced.
And I see owning Bitcoin as like making an investment into the part-ownership of a digital payment solution of the future.
But I have absolutely no idea how to value the stake accurately – and nor does anybody else as far I can tell.1
So I decided I would own one bitcoin. There will only ever be 21 million of the made-up blighters, and 18 million of them are already out in the wild (or lost). Owning one out of 21 million seemed meaningful if the boldest predictions came true, but it wouldn’t kill me if the price crashed again.
This was a regret minimization approach to ‘enough Bitcoin’.
I’m not bitter
I built up to owning my notionally-shiny single bitcoin in fractional dribs and drabs during the second half of 2019 and early 2020, through more than half-a-dozen buys at much lower prices than today.
So of course when the Bitcoin price took off later this year, I was miffed that I hadn’t bought two, five, or even 10 or more bitcoins.
But I was more relieved that at least – at last – I owned one of them!
And when the price of the ephemeral asset fell $2,000 in 24 hours this week, I was a little surprised to lose a meaningful wodge of
paper digital wealth so quickly.
However since I only owned one bitcoin, the impact of the dive was lost in the noise of my overall portfolio.
My conclusion? I have enough Bitcoin!
What if FIRE doesn’t work? – Monevator
Currency risk and ETFs, trackers, and other funds – Monevator
From the archive-ator: Gagadom and the Grim Reaper: suppose they come early? – Monevator
Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!2
UK to face worst recession in 300 years as Covid crisis continues – Newsnight
Private pensions ‘set to lose £96bn’ from switch from RPI inflation measure – Guardian
Global stocks close in on best-ever month [Search result] – FT
Flat sellers could still face holdups despite safety form change – Guardian
Sir Philip Green’s TopShop empire Arcadia Group faces collapse within days – Sky News
Move over millennials – The Irrelevant Investor
Products and services
NS&I rates plummet: what are the best alternatives? – Which
How to buy a [German] Bitcoin ETF – ETF.com
Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade
Who will miss coins when they’re gone? – New York Times
Mortgage lenders increasingly shun the self-employed – ThisIsMoney
What is securities lending, why do ETFs do it, and is it risky? [Search result] – FT
Glass houses for sale, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
Secondhand no longer second-best for UK’s ‘circular economy’ consumers – Guardian
Live it up – Humble Dollar
Why active funds will continue to underperform – The Evidence-based Investor
Are investors at risk of a ‘green bubble’? – ThisIsMoney
When you double your money in five years after since starting to invest – Much More With Less
Operating under the influence: The British Brewing bubble of 1885-1913 – The Lookout Investor
We begin our lives as growth stocks, but end our lives as value stocks – Of Dollars and Data
What happens to small caps after a huge monthly gain? [US but relevant] – AWOCS
Trends that end – Humble Dollar
Early retirement isn’t boring. Brexit and Covid are – Simple Living in Somerset
Naughty corner: Active antics
The best-performing investment trusts of 2020 – IT Investor
Michael Mauboussin: Why value investing still works [Search result] – FT
FOMO is back… but what if this is the start of a bull market? – Howard Lindzon
Running the slide rule over litigation financing small cap Manolote Partners – SharePad
Note: Any comments on Covid should only go on our special thread, please.
What the world can learn from the Covid-19 pandemic [Search result] – FT
Latest data shows Covid back under control in UK – Covid Symptom Study
Why even a small thanksgiving dinner [or Christmas…] is dangerous – FiveThirtyEight
AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is 70% effective on average, early data show – Stat
Why the Oxford/AstraZeneca data has scientists scratching their heads – Nature
Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine ‘dose error’ explained – BBC
How did they make the Oxford vaccine so quickly?: behind the scenes – BBC
North Dakota Covid mortality rate highest in world, with 1 in 1,000 residents dead from the virus – Newsweek
Sweden’s population is losing confidence in the country’s Covid strategy – MarketWatch
Inside the Great NBA bubble experiment [Basketball, but interesting] – GQ
BOE: Bank notes pose ‘low risk’ of spreading Covid – Guardian
Kindle book bargains
Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money by Ken Honda – £0.99 on Kindle
Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and then Took on the West by Catherine Belton – £1.99 on Kindle
Fight the Fear: How to beat your negative mindset and win in life by Mandy Holgate – £3.59 on Kindle
The Finance Book: Understand the numbers by Stuart Warner – £4.19 on Kindle
Off our beat
50 years of video game revenue visualised [Infographic] – Visual Capitalist
Why Reddit will now pay workers the same salary no matter where they live – CNN
Don’t fear the robots, and other lessons from a study of the digital economy – New York Times
“Traders should never be allowed to run banks.”
– Terry Smith, Investing for Growth
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- Note I’ve bolded the word ‘accurately’. I have heard all the arguments about the cost of hashing or comparisons with the total value of gold or the number of millionaires in the world, and so on. They can’t all be precisely right… [↩]
- 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”. [↩]
- This is the ‘with ads’ option, which sends marketing messages to the sleep screen. You pay £59.99 currently to get a Kindle without ads. [↩]