≡ Menu

Weekend reading: Happy New Year!

Weekend reading

Reflections on the year just gone, and links to some of its highlights on Monevator.

With a sprightly 2011 bowling through the front door even as 2010 is stretchered out the back, I’m reflecting it on a good 12 months for UK investors:

  • The All-Share index is up 12% on the year1, or 15% with dividends. Take that bears! Optimists like me were rare for most of 2010.
  • We’ve got a Coalition Government and a Central Bank striking a balance – however acrimoniously – between cuts and stimulus.
  • Europe threatened to blow up, but the countries that matter didn’t, and Germany and France are now on notice.
  • Lord Young was right: If you’ve not lost your job, you’ve never had it so good. Mortgages are very cheap, and UK house prices haven’t crashed like they should have – they’ve actually risen in London. UK PLC recovered, at least compared to what most expected in 2009.

There were disasters, of course, from the BP oil leak to formerly high-flying FTSE companies going bust and shareholders losing the lot (see Rok and Connaught).

High unemployment, especially among the young, remains a big worry, and a personal disaster for those affected. We better hope it’s not structural, and do something about it if it is.

Personally I expect reducing benefits will help in the medium term, but then I’m often called a right-wing old duffer in waiting by my overwhelmingly Labour voting friends.

Please Sir, I’d like some more

Sensible investors would happily take 15% returns every year. Such a result in 2011 would hardly be outrageous given current valuations, improving sentiment, and stronger growth.

As ever though, emotions and stock market volatility makes short-term prediction a mug’s game. Anything could happen.

2011 will certainly not be plain sailing, for all the well-known reasons – Europe’s woes, weak US house prices and state indebtedness, and tax increases and spending cuts in the UK.

Then there are the ‘unknown unknowns’ – perhaps an emerging market meltdown, a new conflict, or a big terrorist attack in the West (I fear we’re overdue the latter).

As for the longer term, the truly huge issues – energy transition, over-population, and environmental concerns – still lurk in sight but generally ignored, like wrinkly Grandmas poised to steal a toothy kiss. Agreements on deforestation reached in Cancun in December are a start, but biodiversity (including that in the sea) should be at the top of the agenda for everyone’s sake, especially the poor.

Finally on the future, despite the futility of making short-term predictions I’ve written up my outlook for specific asset classes in 2011 in a separate post to go live next week. Please do pop back to check it out.

My 28 favourite articles from 2010

Now a confession: I am engaged in year-end hedonism this weekend, and so I’m not around to do my usual Saturday morning media wrap.

Instead, I’m going to offer up 28 articles posted on Monevator in 2010 that I humbly submit are still worth reading if you missed them.

Before I do, I am sure most of you will agree that my new co-blogger The Accumulator was a great addition to the site in 2010. He began blogging in September, and he has already fully established his voice here, which is quite a feat given he spends most of his time trying to shave 0.01% off the annual charges on his index holdings. You can find all his passive investing articles here.

Here’s my pick of my own from 2010, split into a few categories:

Portfolio management

Investing, risk, and wealth preservation

Motivation for armchair investors

Careers and earning money

Comments on markets

Investment strategy and data

Other searingly insightful thoughts on investing

Finally, I hope you tried out Monevator’s compound interest calculator, the millionaire calculator, and the mortgage calculator. I know there are lots of calculators out there, but I was was pretty pleased to add these and their fancy graphs to the site in 2010.

Here’s to a safe, happy, and profitable 2011!

Subscribe for free to get your Weekend Reading links every week.

  1. As of 29th December, which is when I’m penning these words. []

Receive my articles for free in your inbox. Type your email and press submit:

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • 1 Moneycone January 1, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Love your Oliver Twist reference!

    I think 2011 will be an equally good year from an investors perspective.
    .-= Moneycone on: Best Of MoneyCone 2010 And One Last Roundup =-.

  • 2 Faustus January 1, 2011, 3:58 pm

    Keep up the good work Monevator and wishing another successful year for 2011.

    This blog remains one of the very best for UK investors and I always enjoy browsing the articles.

  • 3 couponboa January 1, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Happy to find the annual sum up. Happy New Year 2011!

  • 4 Doctor Stock January 3, 2011, 7:05 am

    Yes, what a great year for investors despite the uncertainty at times. Best to you and your in 2011.
    .-= Doctor Stock on: Using Weekly Technical Charts =-.

  • 5 The Investor January 5, 2011, 12:35 am

    @Dr Stock – Thanks, you to.

    @Faustus – Haven’t heard from you for a while, lovely to see you’re still around.

    @couponboa – Very best to you too.

    @Moneycone – We’ll see, have to admit I am getting worried that everyone seems to be so positive, suddenly. 🙁

Leave a Comment