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Weekend reading: Portfolio income tabulated by Under The Money Tree

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

The past few years have seen many British investing blogs come and go. I’ve always tried to send a few readers to the more promising ones, but only a handful ever made it to their one-year anniversary.

One recent arrival that I hope goes the distance is Under The Money Tree.

Written by a mid-30s finance professional who wants to escape the City while he’s still young enough to laugh at those cooped-up there, Under the Money Tree only posts weekly, but like Monevator his posts are longer, and his writing is of a high quality

This week’s article is on how much income your portfolio will produce. It takes this well-worn theme for a new spin with some handy tables that let you easily see how much capital you’ll need to fund your idea of a lavish (or otherwise) retirement.

I also like his idea of working out how much capital you’ll need in order to generate sufficient income to pay for specific expenses, post-retirement:

Of course such a table shouldn’t be taken as gospel. It’s more a motivational tool than something to carve into the brickwork above your PC.

I’m young enough to have paid bills before mobiles and broadband were invented, and I’m sure there will be other currently unimaginable bills that will need to paid when I retire. (The weekly delivery of special material for my domestic 3D printer, perhaps?)

Other bills may go away. Car insurance could plummet in an era of self-driving cars, for instance.

Go check out the full post, and leave a comment if you’d like to encourage Under The Money Tree to keep up the good work!

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: An interest rate of just 1.35% is enough to make Tesco’s easy access Internet Saver account a table-topper, says ThisIsMoney. But beware the 0.6% bonus component that ends after a year.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

Active investing

  • Mark Slater looks for Growth At A Reasonable Price – ThisIsMoney
  • Active management in bafflingly good health [Search result]FT
  • Seven tips for would-be traders (if they really must) – N.Y. Times
  • The US oil boom won’t hold prices down forever – Bloomberg
  • How billionaire fund managers happen – FT Alphaville

Other stuff worth reading

  • British house price heat map – Telegraph
  • The unspoken retirement risk is mental infirmity – MarketWatch
  • HMRC to collect unpaid tax from bank accounts – Guardian
  • Some young bankers trading 90-hour weeks for startups – Bloomberg

Book of the week: Financial pundit Josh Brown has a book out about his rival pundits, Clash of the Financial Pundits. I suspect it’s well worth a read, given Brown’s always-funny aura of jaded and bemused.

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every week!

  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT 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”.” []
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • 1 Under The Money Tree May 10, 2014, 10:45 am

    Thanks for the blog love Monevator! To be honest your site has been a valuable source of inspiration for me of the last few years and is a goldmine of great information, truths and motivation.

    “something to carve into the brickwork above your PC” – i like this!

    I’ll do my best to last the distance….though the frequency might drop off when i retire to my beachside shack in Costa Rica 😉

  • 2 JT2028 May 10, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I dont agree the concept that you are limited to spend the income part of the portfolio investment. The total values of portfolio is the capital growth + dividends. If you invest in an Unit Trust with an Acc option, you could always sell a portion to spend, rather than forced to choose the same Unit Trust with an Income option. Actually, the tax benefits may be better as the first is treated as Capital gain whereas the latter as an income tax.

  • 3 Ben May 10, 2014, 1:52 pm

    MoneyTree guy is just yet another “wizard” who would be nowhere without BTL. And this advice is now worthless as property rose absurdly between 1997 and 2008 but will not be repeated.

    A financial genius who doesn’t include BTL repairs in costs on 4 properties because they are “irregular”. My word.

  • 4 Jon May 10, 2014, 2:03 pm

    “The one number to beat if the you want to retire early” by the Monevator dated 15/2/2008 is one of my all time favourites.

    Monevator does mention BTL in this article as one source of income, although I believe Monevator himself has no BTL or even own’s a property. Many members in my family have a BTL portfolio and they don’t understand why I’m all invested in stocks, ETFs, bonds. Shares are a “Gamble” is the common view amongst them.

    Good for them for generating an income from BTL but I guess I’m wired differently. I want to generate the most passive type of income possible and BTL just seems too much like hard work.

  • 5 oldthinker May 10, 2014, 3:19 pm


    I would disagree with both sides’ arguments. A balanced portfolio of stocks/ETFs/bonds is no more of a gamble that a BTL portfolio: the risk factors involved are different, but these differences more or less cancel each other overall in medium to long term. As for BTL seeming too much like hard work, full management service from a reputable agent takes care of that. I spend no more time on looking after my BTL portfolio than I do on looking after my passive portfolio of ETFs. Some of my BTL properties are in a town 100 miles away from where I live, and I have not even been to that place for over 10 years.

  • 6 Ben May 10, 2014, 3:57 pm

    BTL Leverage + govt support + zero input => profit

    Couldn’t be further from a liberal market. The cost to the next generation will be huge. Still all choices are valid when it’s “just business”.

  • 7 Neverland May 10, 2014, 4:04 pm


    I kind of agree with you, as the Moneytree blog is flattered by two tiers of rentierism

    – a job in the protected banking system
    – riding the london house price bubble

    It still has some interesting points on financial planning to make though

  • 8 dearieme May 10, 2014, 9:19 pm

    The first lesson for me is that you can get home phone and broadband for £16p.m. Just wait until my current contract expires!!

    The second is: by what magic does his car function without repairs and fuel costs?

    The third is: yeah, I had considered investing in utilities and whatnot deliberately to offset those costs. But how to do that for Council Tax has got me puzzled, and I’d better solve it before the mental infirmity sets in.

  • 9 Ben May 10, 2014, 9:43 pm

    Neverland – there are far too many “finance” blogs in the UK which consist of:

    * some crappy mkt avg investing for a few tens of K

    which is utterly eclipsed by

    * bumper paper profits on govt backed BTL pre-1997 “investments”

    Basically if everyone did this the world would implode.

    Monevator isn’t one of these, thank goodness! 🙂
    Canadian couch potato is also +really+ good.

  • 10 Neverland May 11, 2014, 12:37 pm


    One of the main lessons I take away from personal finance blogs is that most investors post rationalise dumb lack as investment genius

    There is a great Dilbert strip on the subject that goes something like:

    Egg headed evil CEO ” I have an MBA but every time I invest in the stock market I lose money”

    Pointy haired evil but stupid manager “I bought gold because it’s shiny and portfolio doubled last year”

    …and I can’t remember the rest of the strip – but you get the picture

  • 11 Under The Money Tree May 11, 2014, 10:23 pm

    @JT2028 – I believe that the income part of an accumulation fund is treated as income and should be declared on ones tax return as so.

    Unless i’m struck down by a bus I will of course be funding my retirement by some sort of drawdown. However being 36 and still very much in the accumulation phase I like to keep things simple and motivate my saving/investing by looking at how much income I am currently generating.

    @Ben – Ironically I have funded a large part of the purchases of two buy to let properties by selling down shares held within my ISA accounts. In fact my first 2 ISA allowances (and sizeable chunk of BTL1 deposit) was funded by working two jobs over the summer holidays (abattoir by day, pizza delivery by night). To be honest I regret the ISA withdrawals as they’d be worth a lot more than the properties are now.

    @Jon – I fully see where you’re coming from. While BTL offers the opportunity to leverage your position to some extent, a good quality income portfolio should outperform a BTL property in the long term.

    @oldthinker – A fair point. However I believe if you choose your properties [location, tenants, agents] wisely, and are willing to re-invest a proportion of your income back in them then you should have a relatively hassle free landlord experience. Over the last >10 years its worked for me….

    @ dearieme – I never stated that the above expenses were the totality of my spending….i wish they were! fyi we drive the same [crappy] car my wife passed her test in >15 years ago. The daily commute to the station adds 6 miles a day (though we try and cycle as much as possible) so mileage is minimal. It’s insured 3rd party only (true it might catch fire but nobody is ever going to steal it!). Replacement tyres are always 2nd hand from the scrap yard (last one cost £15). It’s the annual rail fare (not applicable in retirement) that makes me cry each year.

  • 12 Lumen May 12, 2014, 4:11 am

    @ Under The Money Tree, I very much appreciate your blog as being new to the financial jargon world, your writing is very well thought out and in-depth enough for me to learn something new in each post.

    @ the Monevator team – I never leave comments but I wanted to say thank you for your illuminating website which allows me to constantly learn about the nuts and bolts of financial planning. Other sites tend to use very complicated language which can be offputting for a newbie (incidentally I also like Simple Living in Suffolk but the usage of so many as yet unknown acronyms is way too high for me). Just wish I knew about your site and investing before re-locating to the US (temporary visa, will be back next year!). I am putting the investing off as not sure about the tax implications but will be using your website to learn as much as I can in the meantime. So thank you again and keep up the excellent work!

  • 13 DianaW May 12, 2014, 6:47 pm

    A jargon list written by someone who knows all of these terms would be invaluable to the rest of us. Producing that might even be so boring that it puts its creator off using the jargon…!

  • 14 Curlew January 6, 2024, 11:23 am

    One recent arrival that I hope goes the distance is Under The Money Tree.

    Alas, in abeyance since December 2017. Shame.

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