Some good money reads from around the web.
I was going to focus this week on the truly bonkers ruling from the European Court of Justice regarding gender discrimination  and financial services:
Taking the gender of the insured individual into account as a risk factor in insurance contracts constitutes discrimination.
This isn’t so much a case of political correctness gone mad as political correctness gone to visit Alice in Wonderland!
- Go to any old person’s home, or take your own oldest relatives a piece of cake this weekend. Generally you’ll see women, because women on average live five years longer than men.
- When was the last time you heard about ‘girl racers’ crashing into a tight corner on a country lane? Overwhelmingly the worst young drives (under 25) are young men.
These are facts, not opinions or biases. Insurance is about weighting facts to balance risk and reward for both those seeking insurance and those providing.
If it impacts the insurance business, then this ruling can only mean more expensive car insurance for everyone – except for young boy racers, who’ll now find it more affordable to run a car into a wall. And it can only mean lower annuity payments for everyone. What nonsense.
However I’d rather focus on a clever verdict than this sort of silliness, and it was provided by Felix Salmon, writing for Reuters.
Investing can be exciting, especially when it’s done wrong.
You follow the markets rising and falling, you obsess about your retirement-fund balance, you rotate out of this and into that, you read books and magazines and blogs to try to learn more about what to do. You might even, in a moment of weakness, find yourself watching CNBC.
Budgeting, by contrast, is like going on a diet: it’s a drag, and it’s hard to get any pleasure or excitement out of it. But the latter is much more likely to get you well-set in retirement than the former.
Well said, even if somewhat ignored by myself with some of my money. So please do read my co-blogger The Accumulator’s take on passive investing  for boring strategies that should form the bulk of your saving plan.
Finally, a reminder that you only have one month from today to use up your ISA allowance for 2010 to 2011.
You can put £10,200 into ISAs in total, with a maximum £5,100 going into cash. The deadline is 5th April. There is no reason to delay !
Money and investing blog posts
- Picking mutual funds: Don’t just look for winners – Oblivious Investor 
- Developing systems that work – Get Rich Slowly 
- Economic growth and UK house prices – The Finance blog 
- The power of the coupon compels you – Consumerism Commentary 
- Consistent saving as important as what you withdraw – Portfolioist 
- The energy conundrum – Simple in Suffolk 
- Interview with Richard Beddard, UK investor & blogger – iii blog 
- How small a house will you live in? – The Digerati Life 
- Latest Graham & Doddsville newsletter – The Heilbrunn Centre 
- Why value stocks have high higher expected returns – Swedroe/Moneywatch 
- Are Vanguard index funds hiding fees? – CBS Moneywatch 
- Soros and economic reflexivity – The Psy-Fi blog 
From the mainstream media
- Bricks & Slaughter: Property is a risky asset class – The Economist 
- A cheaper way to buy technology shares – The Motley Fool UK 
- Exotic ETF risks exposed by FSA [China tracking errror 18%!] – FT 
- The future is uncertain for global investment trusts… – FT 
- …especially given some are increasing charges – Merryn/FT 
- Looking for tradeable risk on/off patterns in the market – FT 
- Mervyn King: UK at risk of another financial crisis – Telegraph 
- Ideas for new part-time/extra income streams – Telegraph 
- Buying cheaper than renting [until a 1% rise in rates!] – Telegraph 
- Average age of first-time buyers on track to reach 44 – Telegraph 
- Shared ownership schemes are still a stretch – The Guardian 
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