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Weekend reading: Pause and reload

What caught my eye this week.

Hey there, thanks for stopping by. I appreciate things are a bit quiet around Monevator the past couple of weeks. We are having a summertime hiatus.

My co-blogger The Accumulator is on holiday. Quite the opposite issue here – I couldn’t do anything for the blog beyond comment moderation until Thursday night, as work has piled up with a particular client.

Meanwhile erstwhile contributors The Details Man [1], The Greybeard [2], and Lars Kroijer [3] all seem to have said their pieces for now. Our bench is not so deep these days.

So far so gloomy. The good news is that this could be the calm before the… well, not the storm exactly but at the least what weather forecasters call ‘changeable’ conditions.

Because while I’m busy currently, my professional workload is set to get significantly lighter in a few weeks. I’m not sure how much time will be redirected towards Monevator. But certainly: some.

This is an interesting time for the blog. We’re still standing after 13 years. (Tiny trumpets!) Traffic plateaued years ago though. (Tiny violins!) People come, get the simple message, and leave. Or, starting around 2015, they never leave social media or YouTube to find us at all.

(If you’re wondering where all your favourite independent websites went, it was thataway.)

We’re at a low ebb financially speaking, too. Long-time readers will recall this was always the weakest leg of this operation. Post-Covid-19, that gammy leg has fallen off altogether.

No matter – it all sets the stage for some overdue introspection. (And it means we might FINALLY get our book finished…)

Asset allocation is not the only fruit

I was ruminating about what a passive investing / money blog should aim to do in 2020 and beyond when I came across an interesting post by Robin Powell at Humble Dollar [4].

In his article Robin outlines what people really pay good financial advisors for. It struck me most of his points could apply equally to our kind of investing website:

Good financial planners will play a number of pivotal roles for their clients, none of which is found on the typical job description.

Here are seven of those roles:

Guide. Most people know what they want or, at least, know what they don’t want out of life. What’s often missing is a sense of how they can get there. A planner provides an independent plan, showing possible pathways and the tradeoffs involved in each.

Teacher. Many people’s sense of what drives investment returns comes from the day-to-day noise in the financial media. It’s all about investment products and short-term returns. A good planner shows clients what drives long-term returns and connects this to their life.

Coach. It’s easy to make financial resolutions—to save more, to spend less, to grow wealth, to leave a legacy. It’s not so easy to keep them. At their best, financial planners will ensure goal accountability, keeping clients on their desired path and talking them off the ledge in anxious times.

Organizer. Our lives are busy. Jobs and family commitments leave little time for dealing with the minutiae of insurance, portfolio analysis, rebalancing, cash flow analysis and so on. A good advisor takes care of this complexity and frees you to focus on what really matters to you.

Filter. The problem right now isn’t gathering enough information. Instead, we’re overloaded with the stuff. The challenge is finding the right information for us in a form we can digest. A good advisor becomes a trusted source and an information filter.

Counselor. Few big choices in life are simple. There are always competing imperatives. Planners who can help you cut through the noise and focus on your underlying values are worth their weight in gold.

Sentinel. The best financial planners are not only looking at your circumstances as things stand today, but also what might be coming over the horizon to change all that. And they are mindful of your legacy—the welfare of future generations and how your wealth can keep working beyond your lifetime.

Go read the full post at Humble Dollar [4], especially if you’re in the market for financial advice.

And Watch This Space.

This website is much more geared towards evolution versus revolution in its DNA, so don’t fret if you’re already a fan.

It is, however, time for some modest mutations.

Have a great weekend!

From Monevator

From the archive-ator: What is liquidity? – Monevator [5]

News

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 [6]

‘Eviction day’ looms for cash-strapped renters [Search result]FT [7]

British visitors to France could face two-week quarantine on return – Guardian [8]

Just Eat to stop using gig economy workers – BBC [9]

Landlords must reveal if tenants they try to evict have been affected by coronavirus – ThisIsMoney [10]

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud’s housing firm at risk of insolvency – Guardian [11]

John Lewis’ £35m flagship store in Birmingham will never reopen after Covid closure – ThisIsMoney [12]

[13]

[Click to enlarge the insights]

Housing outlook: Q3 2020 – OBR / Resolution Foundation [14]

Products and services

HSBC hits flathunters with loans clampdown – ThisIsMoney [15]

Why cash has been piling up during the pandemic – The Economist [16]

New crop of ETFs offer creative investing ideas for volatile times [Search result]FT [17]

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade [18]

Will taking a coronavirus payment holiday affect your credit score? – Which [19]

1930s UK homes for sale [Gallery]Guardian [20]

Comment and opinion

Allan Roth: 500,004 reasons I’m not buying gold – ETF.com [21]

Doing next to nothing is a very underrated strategy – A Teachable Moment [22]

The hardest investing questions to answer – A Wealth of Common Sense [23]

How to use an impact/effort matrix for your finances – The Simple Dollar [24]

Do as I don’t – Humble Dollar [25]

The rise and rise of ESG investing [Infographic]Visual Capitalist [26]

Mentally re-framing bull and bear markets – The Big Picture [27]

Larry Swedroe:  More proof that consultants can’t pick winning funds – Evidence-based Investor [28]

Earn while you walk – Quietly Saving [29]

Pedal pushers: when bikes became the vehicle for a bubble – Lookout Investor [30]

Along the curve [Wonky]Breaking the Market [31]

Naughty corner: Active antics

Paper shuffling to fool investors – Novel Investor [32]

How much conviction do you hold in your investment views? – Behavioural Investment [33]

Gold’s role in global asset allocation will keep the price above $1,700 – Bloomberg [34]

Covid corner

Why Britain failed its coronavirus test – The Atlantic [35]

For every three Covid-19 deaths in the UK, lockdown may have caused another two – Sky News [36]

Coronavirus cases now appear to be stable across England – BBC [37]

Antibody prevalence for SARS-CoV-2 following the peak in England [Research, PDF]Imperial [38]

Immunology is where intuition goes to die – The Atlantic [39]

Why it took us (and the WHO) so long to understand the coronavirus – Slate [40]

Even in a virus pandemic, Germans are sticking with cash – NPR [41]

NYC diner traffic still 75% down [Lower cases due to herd immunity or harsh lessons?]Calculated Risk [42]

On pins and needles: Will Covid-19 vaccines ‘save the world’? – McKinsey [43]

Kindle book bargains

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini – £0.99 on Kindle [44]

How to Own the World: A Plain English Guide to Thinking Globally and Investing Wisely by Andrew Craig – £0.99 on Kindle [45]

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi – £0.99 on Kindle [46]

Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann – £0.99 on Kindle [47]

Off our beat

The unraveling of America – Rolling Stone [48]

Helping your pet with post-quarantine separation anxiety – New York Times [49]

How de-globalisers construct false narratives on the back of evident truths – Epsilon Theory [50]

Is there a future for business cards? – Institutional Investor [51]

And finally…

“You must go on a long journey before you can really find out how wonderful home is.”
– Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland [52]

Like these links? Subscribe [53] to get them every Friday!

  1. 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”. [ [56]]