Good reads from around the Web.
One of my richest friends got a huge headstart in life in the form of money running into the millions.
I’ve never heard him explicitly acknowledge his good fortune in this respect, and I don’t really expect him to bang on about it.
It’s obvious someone who starts life with millions is better off than the vast majority who don’t.
Assuming you’re able-bodied, do you constantly acknowledge your precious inheritance of four working limbs?
Do you fall to your knees at the end of a jog or even a walk to the shops and thank the heavens for your good fortune?
Or is it so obviously a boon that it’s not worth remarking on?
Don’t get me wrong – long-term readers may recall I believe in high inheritance taxes and curbing inter-generational wealth transfers to whatever extent is practical (and, on the other side, in taxing earned income less heavily).
But if you’re born into money, I can understand it’s your reality.
Why bemoan it?
Born into more than just money
What’s interesting is that while my friend doesn’t talk much about the material boost money has given him – or even about the profitable business risks I am certain it’s enabled him to take – he does often cite the financial example of his parents and grandparents as precious.
He’s a strong investor in his own right, and he often credits that to seeing and hearing how the previous generations compounded their money.
And he’ll cite aphorisms and habits picked up from his parents concerning the “stewardship” of wealth.
Corny? I don’t think so.
If you consider how often lottery winners or sports stars go from millionaire status to bankrupt, you’ll see that such an upbringing is indeed a valuable inheritance.
Somehow I suspect my friend’s grandparents weren’t teaching him that the best thing to do with your spare cash is to prop up a failing sports team, invest in a luxury nightclub, or only buy sports cars when they’re brand new and you already have two in the garage.
Common sense investing advice
I was thinking about all this as I read a blog post by US investment professional David Merkel on managing your own financial path into and through retirement.
The article doesn’t say anything earth-shattering, and I don’t agree with all of it. (He talks more about active investing and assessing businesses than most people need to bother with these days).
But it does come across as solid grandfatherly advice that might substitute for the fireside chat that perhaps you never had.
Tellingly, Merkel also acknowledges the downsides of being of grandfatherly vintage:
Retirees need a defender or two against slick guys who will try to cheat them when they are older. Those who have assets are a prime target for scams.
Most of these come dressed in suits: brokers and other investment salesmen with plausible ways to make assets stretch further.
But there are other scams as well – retirees should run everything significant past a smart younger person who is skeptical, and knows how to say no when it is necessary.
This is so true, as anyone who listens to the unending tales of Home Counties 70-somethings getting ripped-off on Radio 4’s MoneyBox will know.
The whole post is well worth a read on a wet Saturday afternoon, whether you’re managing hundreds, thousands, or a few modest millions.
From the blogs
Making good use of the things that we find…
- Actually, few people panic in market sell-offs – Vanguard
- The evolution of a passive investor – diy investor (uk)
- The Trinity Portfolio [Scroll down past ad] – Meb Feber
- Do you speak VC? 30 terms all bluffers should know – Medium
- An interview with Mario Gabelli [Podcast] – The Big Picture
- How patient an investor are you? – Humble Student of the Markets
- Do you believe in unicorns? – The Value Perspective
- Which return premium weighting works best? [Geeky] – Alpha Architect
- Exploring hedge fund returns (or lack of) [Academia] – CFA Institute
- Driving home the insanity of modern life – Mr Money Mustache
- 10 ways to slash your home energy bill – The Escape Artist
- 20 years in, the coffee craze gets to Suffolk 😉 – S.L.I.S.
- You are (almost) not indispensable – Adventures in Capitalism
- Are you determined to be free? – Retirement Investing Today
Product of the week: Paying 2.25% a year interest and another 0.2% to support nurses who care for those with terminal illnesses, Yorkshire Building Society’s two-year Marie Curie Bond narrowly beats Coventry’s Poppy Bond in leveraging your savings for a good cause, says The Telegraph.
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
- A UK investor sticking with Smart Beta funds – Telegraph
- Active investors are desperate for the jackpot – ETF.com
- Ranking passive versus active funds: Mid-2015 scorecard [PDF] – SPIVA
A word from a broker…
- Why BestInvest is adding gold to its ready made portfolios – BestInvest
- Emerging markets look like great value – ThisIsMoney
- Cure for low commodity prices staring us in the face [Search result] – FT
- Bill Bernstein: Gold equities are cheap and interesting – Morningstar
- Short vs long-term investors [Nice graphic] – New York Times
- John Lee: Stockpicking and the stop-go conundrum [Search result] – FT
- The Eros 6.5% retail bond has crashed 50% in two weeks – ThisIsMoney
- Is Bitcoin making a comeback? – New York Times
Other stuff worth reading
- An overview of the changing income tax regime – Telegraph
- Should under-30s battle for London property or think different? – Guardian
- Savills (arguably best record) says house price growth to slow – Guardian
- Daft things idiots do on social media that help scammers – Guardian
- Bloke earns £1,200 a month for having adverts on his car – ThisIsMoney
- A positive view of the UK’s auto-enrollment pensions push – NPR
- The growth of robo-advisers is slowing – The Economist
- Why specialist longform sites (like Monevator) are becoming extinct – Vox
Book of the week: Tren Griffin at 25iq has distilled everything he’s learned from super-investor Charlie Munger into 500 words. But if you want more of Munger’s wisdom, Griffin’s Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor is now available from Amazon.
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- 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”. [↩]