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Weekend reading: FIRE and forget

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What caught my eye this week.

Something weird happened on Monday. Maybe it was autumn in the air. Perhaps it was the mounting fears about Brexit inflation pushing up the price of a packet of Pringles.

But for a moment the British newspapers caught FIRE.

First The Times ran a (pay-walled) interview with The Escape Artist.

As fellow blogger Fire V London captured and reported on Twitter it even made that newspaper’s venerable leader:

(Click to enlarge)

Next – within hours – The Daily Mail. It recapped The Times’ interview with T.E.A. (and properly linked to both it and T.E.A’s blog, unlike the rather ungenerous Times) before interviewing Ken Okoroafor of The Humble Penny.

Then, finally, The Guardian posted its own somewhat bemused take on ‘the Fire movement’.

I don’t know, maybe I’m an old punk who saw what Nevermind did to my little corner of music, but I was a bit unnerved by this sudden, synchronized interest from the newspapers

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they join you – and then someone finds a new way to tax you!

Not to mention I’m a grouch about the FIRE acronym, too.

Then again, it was all forgotten by Tuesday. Stand down.

Have a great weekend.

From Monevator

All about inheritance tax – Monevator

From the archive-ator: If you want to make easy money, do something hard – 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!1

Average EU migrant contributes £2,300 more to UK public finances than average UK adult [Fiscal impact report]Oxford Economics

Church of England pulls out of Wonga rescue effort – Guardian

Amazon may open as many as 3,000 cashier-less convenience stores by 2021 – Bloomberg

Buy now, pay later — the new debt trap for millennials? [Search result]FT

London has only one property on sale for less than £100,000 – Guardian

From trillion dollar markets to trillion dollar companies – Political Calculations

Products and services

Interactive Investor could scrap exit fees ahead of FCA ban – Money Observer

Dire Straits back-catalogue investment venture launched – Guardian

How to check the performance of your robo-adviser – ThisIsMoney

Ratesetter’s £100 bonus effectively boosts your expected annual return on £1,000 to 14%  – Ratesetter [Affiliate link]

The cheapest ways to get a new Apple iPhone XS – ThisIsMoney

Only 20% of Britons hold ethical investment products, study finds – Guardian

National Savings & Investments to cut rate on its Direct Isa from 1% to 0.75% – ThisIsMoney

Comment and opinion

Does your income bring you joy or happiness? [Search result]FT

Don’t take investment advice from billionaires – A Wealth of Common Sense

Simon Lambert: The £750 exit fees to move my ISA – This Is Money

Saving is for the poor. Investing is for the rich – Nick Maggiulli via Twitter

Eight reasons why stock-picking is much harder than it looks – Jonathan Clements

Don’t be too quick to write-off The Holy Active Empire – Jamie Catherwood

The Bizarro World of UK financial advice – Young FI Guy

Understanding the psychological challenges of investing – Market Fox

Bleeping bleep! On turning $1m into $64m via compound interest – Per Diem

Long-term [active] investing is simple, says Merryn Somerset-Webb [Search result]FT

Lessons from the financial crisis have not been learned – The Value Perspective

Also: Fool me three times and I give up – Morgan Housel

What one analyst learned from being fired in the financial crisis [Search result]FT

Some bonds are better diversifiers than others [US but relevant]Morningstar

Kindle book bargains

Saturday-only: Two Michael Lewis classics are Flash Deals – The Big Short and Flash Boys.

The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better To Live More by Chris Guillebeau – £0.99 on Kindle

Small Change: Money Mishaps and How to Avoid Them by Dan Ariely – £0.99 on Kindle

Your Money or Your Life: A Practical Guide to Getting – and Staying – on Top of Your Finances by Alvin Hall – £0.99 on Kindle

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo – £0.99 on Kindle


Pound plunges as Theresa May admits “impasse” in Brexit negotiations – Independent

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sees “no explanation” for EU rebuff [Except, you know, everything the EU stated before and after the Referendum…] – BBC via Twitter

I mean, even Baldrick gets it – Tony Robinson via Twitter

But John Redwood remains sanguine. Slash a parody of himself – via Twitter

President Macron says Brexiteers lied Brexit would make UK wealthier – Guardian (Context)

Beware of Brexiteers now saying “We told you so” – Me on Twitter

Legal action to revoke article 50 referred to European court of justice – Guardian

Off our beat

On ecstasy, octopuses reached out for a hug – New York Times

And finally…

“There are tons of times in your life when you do not want to be using a Vulcan brain. Life is for living, and Spock was pretty damn boring, except for the time he got high sniffing plants on a strange planet. But making money the boring way is really the only way to do it. Save the Kirk in your for enjoying what it can bring you later.”
– Robbie Burns, Trade Like A Shark

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{ 58 comments… add one }
  • 51 Anon September 24, 2018, 5:14 pm

    @hosimpson – I understand what you’re saying with the examples you’ve provided, but disagree that a person cannot be FI/RE unless their other half is also.
    There are a multitude of scenarios that ‘could’ occur, irrespective of whether half a couple is still working, whether they’re drawing a DB pension (company goes bust) or state pension (country has a financial collapse), even if they’ve hit the lottery jackpot (spend, spend, spend), that could mean they consider paid employment again to improve their financial situation.
    Taking your argument to the extreme, nobody could call themselves retired until their final day on earth, as there’s always the possibility of something going wrong.

  • 52 Matthew September 24, 2018, 5:50 pm

    Some of these iffs and buts are insurable – if the person can afford income protection for their partner or an annuity for themselves and/or ppi, then at that point they are safe

  • 53 SemiPassive September 25, 2018, 9:31 am

    Anon, you would be FIREd if, for instance, you moved out into a different property and covered 100% of the bills and living expenses yourself.
    If your partner came with you and spent none of their earned income on the household bills and living costs, but directed it entirely into motorbikes and sportscars then you would be FIREd yourself.
    They would be a dependent, like a child or house spouse.

  • 54 hosimpson September 25, 2018, 10:03 am

    @ Anon – I must have expressed myself poorly. I wasn’t aiming to point out the contingencies, but merely saying that a person cannot be financially independent if the family as a whole is not financially independent.
    If your wife works for The Man because she wants to, that’s fine and (to some people, apparently) perfectly normal. If not, then the family in question is simply living on a single income, and the non-employed spouse is a homemaker. There’s nothing wrong with being a homemaker. And there’s nothing wrong for one of the spouses to contribute to the family’s finances by supplying capital rather than paid labour; in the olden days that used to be called a dowry.

  • 55 Brod September 25, 2018, 11:27 am

    To be honest, I’m slightly regretting my rant which opened this particular can of worms. I don’t think it’s a useful exercise, and more likely to cause rancor or offense.

    The people I highlighted earlier are entitled to call themselves FIREd. I am entitled to call them part-time workers/stay-at-home Dads/contractors/part of the gig economy/burned or dropped out or whatever seems appropriate, while acknowledging the effort and foresight that’s gone into putting together a large stash of FI/FU money which contributes in many ways to the family budget. I think I’d just wanted a little more honesty (or maybe less machismo – calling yourself FIRE’d is a lot better for the image (if you need that sort of thing) than saying you’re part-time and the stay at home parent to some people.

  • 56 Anon September 25, 2018, 11:38 am

    @hosimpson (& #54, #53) – food for thought, thanks.

  • 57 Anon September 25, 2018, 11:44 am

    @Brod – I think you’re right, that’s it’s up to the individual how they classify themselves/others.

    I don’t look after kids, I don’t work part-time, and have no side-hustles. My time is my own to do as I please. Maybe, by the definition of “independent”, I’m not strictly FI as I have a spouse who still needs to work, but I certainly feel like I’ve RE’d!

  • 58 Fremantle September 28, 2018, 1:13 pm

    Unfortunately pay-walled, but a predictable outcome of the possible impact on the government’s war on landlords



    Landlords withdrawing from the market and those remaining increasing rents to offset increased tax and stamp duty costs.

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