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Weekend reading: The blogger bringing sexy back (as well as health, money, and death)

What caught my eye this week.

Long-time lurkers around these parts may remember the cult FIRE [1] blog Sex Health Money Death.

That’s ‘cult’ as in the author carved out a niche for himself, you understand, not in that he carved anyone up for unsavoury ends…

Indeed Sex Health Money Death was the first early retirement blog I can ever remember conceding that quitting work to aimlessly kick about the house all day in your early 50s might not quite live up to the marketing hype.

Laconic posts about lonely trips to the gym and banter-less hours stretching out every afternoon were typical of this unique voice in blogging. Fans even looked past the fact that there was never any sex – a classic bait-and-switch.

Alas Sex Health Money Death eventually chucked in both the blog and retirement, and went back to work.

But now he’s back! His first recap [2] reports that:

I certainly didn’t want to moan about retirement in a blog, but maybe I could share some of the challenges and what positive things I have found to come from them.

Off the top of my head, in the last year I’ve learned loads about pensions and developed a hard-won withdrawal strategy that I’m finally comfortable with; I’m way fitter than I’ve ever been; I’ve massively expanded my cooking repertoire; I’ve discovered Youtube DIY videos and saved hundreds of pounds in repair costs; I’ve learned a bit about gardening; I’ve read more books than I ever have; I’ve worked hard to increase my social circle; in any given week I average 15,000 steps a day, double what I used to do when working; I make time for audiobooks and podcasts; my golf handicap….nah, you don’t want to know about that. 

In short, a good retirement takes effort, as does a good blog and a healthy sex life. Although on reflection perhaps I’d rather hear about that golf handicap first.

Welcome back SHMD! And have a good weekend everyone.

From Monevator

The Slow & Steady Passive Portfolio update: Q2 2022 – Monevator [3]

Crowdfunded valuations and some investment trust NAVs still need to come down – Monevator [4]

From the archive-ator: When to buy insurance – Monevator [5]


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]

Average standard variable rate mortgage in UK tops 5% for first time since 2009 – Guardian [7]

China economy shrinks on zero-Covid policy – BBC [8]

More bank closures named by Barclays [9] and by Natwest and RBS [10] – Which

Tech talent shortage is crimping UK tech sector growth – BBC [11]

US inflation hit 9.1% in June, far worse than anticipated – CNBC [12]

Spain announces free rail journeys from September until end of year – Guardian [13]

[14]UK retail sales fall at fastest rate since lockdown – BBC [15] [graph from Yahoo Finance [16]]

Products and services

Zopa Bank launches Best Buy easy-access account paying 1.5% – ThisIsMoney [17]

How much could you save on car insurance by paying annually? – Which [18]

Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Terms apply – Interactive Investor [19]

How to switch bank accounts – Be Clever With Your Cash [20]

Is a hub shared by several banks really the answer to mass branch closures? – ThisIsMoney [21]

Homes for a heatwave, in pictures – Guardian [22]

Comment and opinion

The era of Great Exasperation arrives for investors [Search result]FT [23]

Luck vs skill – Kevin’s Newsletter [24]

The US yield curve is inverted again – Morningstar [25]

How to feel rich even if you can’t get rich – Financial Samurai [26]

If this is your first bear market, there’s no need to panic – Washington Post [27]

Neglected investing ideas – Humble Dollar [28]

Why are so many middle-aged people leaving work? – Prospect [29]

The upside of downside – Compound Advisers [30]

Why a higher fiduciary duty helps everybody [US law but relevant] –  Morningstar [31]

Commodities never belonged in your portfolio – Washington Post [32] [via Abnormal Returns [33]]

Position size matters, especially with volatile allocations like Bitcoin – Elm Funds [34]

This time it’s different (/worse) mini-special

The market risks are growing – DIY Investor (UK) [35]

Limits to growth and declining living standards – Simple Living in Somerset [36]

An update on ‘country risk’ for investors in 2022 – Musings on Markets [37]

Crypt o’ crypto

The cryptoland adventures of Alan Howard [of Brevan Howard fame; search result]FT [38]

Leading lender Celsius files for bankruptcy, withdrawals still suspended – Ars Technica [39]

Crypto isn’t really a hedge against equity risk – CFA Institute [40]

Naughty corner: Active antics

On bullshit in investing – Noahpinion [41]

The best infrastructure trusts to shelter your money from inflation – MoneyWeek [42]

Why this week’s high US CPI print was not a shock – Calafia Beach Pundit [43]

Some hedge fund strategies delivered good returns in the rotten first half – Institutional Investor [30]

The [admittedly wild] data suggests the US is not in recession. Yet. – Peterson Institute [44]

The implosion of the once-booming SPAC sector – ExecSum [45]

Covid corner

Infection levels reach new record UK high for the pandemic, estimates show – Independent [46]

Tim Harford: a riskier approach to new vaccines will pay off [Search result]FT [47]

Kindle book bargains

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone – £0.99 on Kindle [48]

Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor – £0.99 on Kindle [49]

Mother of Invention by Katrine Marçal – £0.99 on Kindle [50]

Be Careful What You Wish For by Simon Jordan – £0.99 on Kindle [51]

Environmental factors

How to buy great fashion that doesn’t cost the earth – Guardian [52]

Fires ravage Portugal as another blistering heatwave scorches Europe – Axios [53]

The ULEZ effect: diesel car ownership down by a quarter inside the zone – ThisIsMoney [54]

Humans need to value nature as well as profits to survive, says UN report – Guardian [55]

Tory leadership contenders skip ‘game-changing’ climate change briefing from Sir Patrick Vallance – iNews [56]

Off our beat

The $100 trillion global economy in one chart – Visual Capitalist [57]

Will these new algorithms save you from quantum threats? – Wired [58]

She thought a job was waiting for her in Europe. Then she met her trafficker – Vice [59]

Why Sri Lanka is having an economic crisis – Noahpinion [60]

How to use a walnut to repair scratches in old wooden furniture – Lifehacker [61]

Web3 is about saving us from totalitarianism as much as it’s about crypto – Dror Poleg [62]

And finally…

“In general, it is easier to make money owning businesses with strong franchises than ones with weak franchises.”
– Anthony Bolton, Investing [63]Against the Tide

Like these links? Subscribe [64] to get them every Friday! Note this article includes affiliate links, such as from Amazon [65] and Interactive Investor [66]. We may be compensated if you pursue these offers, but that will not affect the price you pay.

  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”. [ [71]]