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Weekend reading: Revealing thoughts

What caught my eye this week.

I enjoyed Indeedably’s post [1] this week about his self-imposed silence on hitting a major financial goal:

In the end, I opted not to mention my arbitrary financial milestone to anyone in real-life.

Instead, I joined my kids on the couch for a game of Super Smash Bros, while icing my busted toe with a bag of frozen peas.

The lockdown kitten leapt onto my lap and settled down for a nap.

Shallow and vain creature that he is, he had already forgotten about his fleeting stolen food victory and recent water gun defeat. Now he was content to be friends, for at least as long as I was willing to stroke his fur.

I gave another wry chuckle. We were a fine pair!

It doesn’t get much more shallow, vain, and fleeting than celebrating arbitrary round numbers contained in a spreadsheet.

As a private individual who’s nevertheless run a financial blog for over a decade, I relate.

Money’s too tight to mention

I generally prefer to live financially incognito, here and in real-life. But it does cause some issues.

My Bohemian investor [2] habits for example eventually had some of my friends asking questions – not unkindly – as the years wore on.

Even as they upgraded their hedonic treadmills with the latest bells and whistles, I was still living like graduate student [3].

Where, a few prodded gently, had it all gone wrong?

De-cloaking to buy my flat [4] mostly alleviated these concerns, albeit at the cost of more questions. I usually change the subject!

(Most of my friends are supremely disinterested about both my investing and this blog, so they won’t read this. I return the favour by not reading their books, playing their games, or listening to their music. Hah!)

Family is even trickier. You’re liable to be offered help you don’t need for one thing, which makes you feel guilty.

I eventually had to share some numbers with my mum to stop her worrying.

Family also bring the issue of whether and how you should help who. I haven’t really got a strategy for that one yet.

Something got me started

Finally, as a writer, there are you lot, the readers.

What should you know? How much context is useful, how much voyeuristic or self-indulgent? Or is it maybe misleading not be more candid?

My co-blogger The Accumulator made a splash when he came out [5] as Financially Independent last year. Lots of congratulations went his way, which was great. And almost nothing snarky – ditto.

But best of all, it was suddenly clear how inspiring and helpful it was for many Monevator readers to see him hitting that goal.

They took it as further evidence and motivation. They could get there, too.

If you don’t know me by now

I do sometimes wonder if I should be more candid about my finances.

I thought it when TA posted about hitting his FI number.

I often think I should when I see people struggling with the slog, and doubting [6] whether this whole saving and investing malarkey really works.

(Spoiler: it really does.)

I even found myself this week alluding to previous investing success in a draft that I’m writing about one of my biggest investing failures.

If you only read about an investor’s bad days, you might well question why you’re reading him or her at all. So maybe it isn’t entirely vanity or insecurity that makes me want to sneak in a few disclaimers? We’ll see.

What about you? How much do you share with your friends, family, and co-workers?

And why?

Let us know in the comments below, and have a great weekend.

From Monevator

As Interactive Investor targets EQi, should we fear platform consolidation? – Monevator [7]

Best global tracker funds: how to choose – Monevator [8]

The beginning of the end of the Covid-19 crisis – Monevator [9]

From the archive-ator: A landlord is someone who borrows money on your behalf – Monevator [10]


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 [11]

London average house prices top £500,000 for the first time… – ONS [12]

…while housing transactions hit a 13-year high [Search result]FT [13]

UK retail sales suffered record fall in 2020 – ThisIsMoney [14]

AJ Bell funds arm hits £1bn in first-ever AUM report – CityWire [15]

New York emerges as winner as Brexit pushes swaps trading from London – Reuters [16]

Interactive Investor swoops for rival EQi… – Sky News [17]

…while the UK’s IG Group has acquired US platform TastyTrade – MarketWatch [18]

Police discover a cannabis farm in London financial district – Reuters [19]

London Metal Exchange to propose closure of historic trading Ring – Sky News [20]

Netflix’s business model is now self-sustaining – New York Times [21]

Some Bitcoin bits

Graph of searches for word Bitcoin between 2015 and 2020

UK has woken up to Bitcoin again [In time for Doomsday [22]?]Google Trends [23]

How to make millions in Bitcoin – The Belle Curve [24]

Bitcoin is a faith-based asset – Bloomberg [25]

What explains Bitcoin’s resurgence? – New York Magazine [26]

Elrond and the new crypto spaces [Warning: nerdy]Marginal Revolution [27]

Products and services

Britons buying from EU websites hit with £100 customs bills – Guardian [28]

New lender Perenna claims it will offer 30-year fixed mortgages – ThisIsMoney [29]

Households urged to brace for £80-a-year hike in energy bills – Guardian [30]

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200 – Freetrade [31]

NS&I boss apologises for customer service amid rise in withdrawals – Guardian [32]

How investment platforms could evolve to add more value – Alex Graham [33]

Homes for a healthy lifestyle, in pictures – Guardian [34]

Comment and opinion

You turned $300k into $3 million. Now what? – A Wealth of Common Sense [35]

Inheritance tax: an overview – DIY Investor (UK) [36]

Higher inflation is coming and it will hit bondholders [Search result]FT [37]

Can money buy happiness? – Rock Wealth [38]

Pitfalls of the inflation narrative – Klement on Investing [39]

Why we go wrong managing money – Humble Dollar [40]

Seven years of financial independence – Getting Minted [41]

Reducing a portfolio to one ETF – Fire V London [42]

More adjusting of an investment strategy – Quietly Saving [43]

Stocks for the long run? Maybe not [Research]SSRN [44]

Active corner

Investing lessons from Nomad’s Nick Sleep – The Undercover Fund Manager [45]

Bubble trouble mini-special

Investing in a bubble – Verdad [49]

Happy new year! Bubble yet? – The Brooklyn Investor [50]

This is nuts, where are the profits [Search result]FT [51]

How we know we’re in a risk-on environment – All-star Charts [52]

Pockets of the market are in a bubble. It’s okay just to say it – Late [53]

Are retail investors now bullying Wall Street? – The Irrelevant Investor [54]

When investors forget fundamentals, the market is broken [Paywall]WSJ [55]

The stock and crypto market are the ultimate platform and game – Howard Lindzon [56]

Bursting bubbles – Bennallack [57]

Why bubbles are good for innovation – A Wealth of Common Sense [58]

The pandemic and politics

Lockdown could continue in England until summer – Guardian [59]

Early hints new UK variant may be 30% more deadly – BBC [60]

UK’s R number drops to between 0.8 and 1 – Sky News [61]

Why won’t vaccinating the vulnerable end lockdown? – BBC [62]

At best, travel bans to stop infectious diseases merely delay the inevitable – Slate [63]

South African virus variant may resist antibody drugs; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine seems to work vs UK variant – Reuters [64]

The rise of the coronavirus cranks – Quillette [65]

Joe Biden has a shot at being a boring president. Let’s hope so – The Atlantic [66]

‘No plan, no Q, nothing’: QAnon followers reel as Biden inaugurated – Reuters [67]

Kindle book bargains

Don’t have a Kindle? Buy one [68].

Remote: Office not required by David Hansson- £0.99 on Kindle [69]

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – £0.99 on Kindle [70]

The Organised Time Technique: How to Get Your Life Running Like Clockwork by Gemma Bray – £0.99 on Kindle [71]

The Wealthy Retirement Plan by Vicki Wusche – £0.99 on Kindle [72]

Off our beat

Clean the tiles, not the floor – Raptitude [73]

Why the cost of shipping goods from China is soaring [Podcast]OddLots [74]

Empty office buildings are still devouring energy. How come? – Fast Company [75]

And finally…

“Rather than seeking superior portfolio performance by chasing high-risk stocks (‘return-free risk’), investors should seek out ‘boring’ companies which have predictable returns, and superior fundamental financial performance, and take advantage of their persistent undervaluation relative to those returns to buy and hold them.”
– Terry Smith, Investing for Growth [76]

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  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”. [ [80]]