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Weekend reading: The nothingness of money

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What caught my eye this week.

I think we can all agree that money is not the most important thing in this life.

Equally, I suspect most of us believe money is one of the most important things in our lives. Simply because of how it enables us to do the other things.

I’ve been wrestling (often in the mud) with this conundrum for much of my working life. For me the path has mostly been to earn less (so less stress, and more life) and to save more (because I didn’t earn enough to save less while still hitting my financial freedom goals).

Others I respect, such as my co-blogger and the rarely-spotted RIT, took a different approach. They both sucked up many years of work stress at the same time as saving hard. They wanted to get out sooner than average, and they started saving later than me.

So you can turn these dials in various ways, particularly if you earn mega-bucks.

But most people will choose less stress as well as less saving… the conventional path to retirement at 67.

Being and nothingness

This week the marmite-y website More To That exposed what drives these choices from a different angle:

There is just one certainty: One day our time will be up, and we have no idea when that day will be.

Equipped with this knowledge, people decided that they didn’t want to spend their entire lives thinking about money.

They wanted the Nothingness of Money to start earlier than the last few moments of their lives, so they could spend at least a few decades living without the attentional drain of their finances.

They devised a tool that helped elongate the Nothingness of Money, and its invention ushered in a new way of thinking about financial freedom.

That tool was called retirement.

The full article will either make you think a lot or else seem trite.

I was left a ponderer, but then I always have been skeptical of the power of money – particularly for a money blogger!

At least the More To That vision of retirement looks more fun than most existential musings do:

Have a great weekend everyone!

From Monevator

The time value of money – Monevator

How unmarried couples can protect their finances – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Know your own risk tolerance – Monevator


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

Bank of England surprises markets by holding rates at record low – CNBC

U-turn over access rules re: pension age rise from 55 to 57… – ThisIsMoney

…and the rationale – Which

New York’s Mayor Elect to take first three paycheques in Bitcoin – The Block

Luton man left shocked as his house is ‘stolen’ – BBC

UK average house price hits record £270,000 high… – Guardian

…while return of super-rich to London fuels house price surge – Guardian

Boris Johnson can’t escape the economic costs of Brexit [Search result]FT

The OBR’s scary forecast on [bad scenario] UK interest rate rises – David Smith

Is rampant house price inflation about to decline? – ThisIsMoney

Products and services

Who made more: you or your house? [‘Fun’ interactive tool]New Statesman

Money coaching app Claro offers FSCS-protected 2% on first £3,000 saved – ThisIsMoney

BOE rate hold means more time to secure a cheap mortgage – Guardian

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

Half of the UK’s energy suppliers have gone bust this year – ThisIsMoney

How to super-rich buy their homes [Search result]FT

What you can expect to pay to buy the freehold of your flat – ThisIsMoney

How has coronavirus affected house prices? – Which

Homes with an air source heat pump, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

The power of passive investing: time to relearn lessons [Search result]FT

Why 84-year-old Winning The Loser’s Game author Charlie Ellis owns no bonds – Humble Dollar

There’s no such thing as enough money – Incognito Money Scribe

11 things every stock market investor should know – Darius Foroux

Momentum is building for 24/7 stock markets – A Wealth of Common Sense

Two books to live by – Humble Dollar

How one 27-year old makes $10,000 a month as freelancer on FiverrCNBC

Hot streaks in your career don’t happen by accident – MSN

Smart beta: sometimes smart, sometimes not [Search result]FT

The value of nothing: capital versus growth – American Affairs

Corporate culture mini-special

Does a fund manager’s culture and brand matter? – Behavioural Investment

Corporate culture as an intangible asset – The Evidence-based Investor

Naughty corner: Active antics

Inflation and stock market returns: a deep dive – OSAM

“I picked that stock, so it won’t go down”Klement on Investing

The recovery in European value stocks may have further to go – Verdad

Moonshots – Foxy Monkey

Bill Miller: a value investor’s education – Neckar

Covid corner

America has lost the plot on Covid – The Atlantic

Where are we at in the UK? – BBC

Kindle book bargains

Exponential: How Accelerating Technology Is Leaving Us Behind by Azeem Azhar – £0.99 on Kindle

Happy Sexy Millionaire: Unexpected Truths about Fulfilment, Love, and Success by Steven Bartlett – £0.99 on Kindle

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Fall of WeWork by Reeves Wiedman – £0.99 on Kindle

Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis – £0.99 on Kindle

(What do you mean you haven’t got a Kindle? Get £20 off one today.)

Environmental factors

A SIPP can be a great way to save the planet… – DIY Investor UK

…but markets can’t fix climate change on their own – The Evidence-based Investor

Off our beat

Fitness: one step at a time – Humble Dollar

Arc – Indeedably

The same stories, again and again and again – Morgan Housel

Can data die? Tracking the Lenna image – The Pudding

The new science of metabolism – Guardian

The Metaverse: brave new world, or capitalist hellscape? – ETF Trends

And finally…

“Mortality makes it impossible to ignore the absurdity of living solely for the future.”
– Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It

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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”. []
{ 15 comments… add one }
  • 1 mr_jetlag November 6, 2021, 10:24 am

    I was fortunate enough to be raised thrifty and as a result have lived before my means for the last 20 years. This means money only holds attention sporadically and doesn’t drive many of my day to day decisions, which ironically has enabled me to grow my earning potential by being willing to take more risks. The day to day feeling of retirement (am FI but not RE) will, I suspect, be more familiar to those on this blog and less of a shift in thinking than for those trapped on the money/consumption hamster wheel. Still, good article and not trite at all IMHO.

  • 2 ermine November 6, 2021, 11:25 am

    Which didn’t get the memo on their pension age rise from 55 to 57 article, did they?

    So, if you can continue working, it’s well worth doing so you can enjoy the best retirement possible for you.

    Money is not the only thing you can run out after 55…

  • 3 Chris November 6, 2021, 12:05 pm

    OMG – what a way to start the weekend. Cheer up everybody.

  • 4 Al Cam November 6, 2021, 12:42 pm

    Re: “The full article will either make you think a lot or else seem trite.”

    I guess I understand why you use “trite” but IMO the fact that the More to That post caught your eye is telling. I think this might indicate the development of MONEVATOR towards a “whole journey” (WJ) FIRE blog from an accumulation focused resource. I view this as a very positive move not least because – even just a handful of years ago – WJ sites were rare and UK-centric WJ ones were even rarer.
    Or then again, I may just be over-thinking this?

  • 5 TheCatfordCat November 6, 2021, 1:23 pm

    The link to the ThisIsMoney article is on what to expect to pay to buy the *freehold* on your flat. If it’s “your flat”, you’re already the leaseholder.

  • 6 The Investor November 6, 2021, 1:44 pm

    @TheCatfordCat — Oops, thank you! Brain failure, fixed now. 🙂

  • 7 John Wilkinson November 6, 2021, 4:11 pm

    May I recommend to readers. Safe Haven by Mark Spitznagel. The conclusion is great but maybe impossible for the average investor.
    Will make you think.

  • 8 WhiteSheep November 6, 2021, 8:54 pm

    Re: “Can data die?”

    I worked with the Lena image (not sure why it is called “Lenna” in the article) when I was a student at university. It was cropped to the face and I had no idea of its origin or that it was a nude. When it came to publishing some simulations we had done with it, somebody mentioned that it was copyrighted and contested so we replaced it with a different image (which meant I had to redo some of the work on the simulations). That was more than 20 years ago.

    Quite surprising to hear that the image is still in use. Especially if it is predominantly used for research. I would have thought it would be quite straightforward to alert the relevant journals and departments – certainly much easier than for some other corners of the internet.

  • 9 xeny November 7, 2021, 8:52 am

    @WhiteSheep – she encouraged Playboy’s editors to use that spelling so her name was more likely to be pronounced the way she wanted. See https://www.wired.com/story/finding-lena-the-patron-saint-of-jpegs/ and search in the text for editor

  • 10 Barney November 7, 2021, 2:11 pm

    Agree, money is not the most important thing in your life, as long as you have a regular supply. It’s finding the balance.

    Michael Caine, when asked why he keeps working when he could easily retire, replied that he was frightened of losing the lot and returning to his roots.

    That may be why, having been the highest paid woman on TV at the time, Cilla Black continued to do the Tesco voiceovers. Still, I suppose “Every little helps”

    And no matter how big or small the event, it wouldn’t be pukka journalism if the property value was omitted he wrote, from the study of his £900k mid terraced home.

  • 11 ZXSpectrum48k November 7, 2021, 2:12 pm

    @JohnWilkinson. Spitznagel’s Safe Haven is a very good book. I’m even invested in his fund to a modest degree. It’s incompatible, however, with orthodox economic theory and, by construction, the mantra promoted by passive investing blogs. It’s also virtually impossible for retail investors to replicate. People should read it though just to challenge preconceptions.

  • 12 Andrew Preston November 7, 2021, 2:31 pm

    I always have a little smile when Cilla Black’s name appears, mainly due to a comment attributed to her, which goes something like…..
    ‘…. I’m an ordinary person, really. Once those electric gates clang shut, I’m just like anyone else… “.

  • 13 John Wilkinson November 7, 2021, 4:56 pm

    @ZXSpectrum48K. If I may ask how did you invest in his fund?

  • 14 Lawrence Yeo November 7, 2021, 8:52 pm

    Lawrence from More To That here. Glad you enjoyed the piece, and thanks a lot for sharing! =)

  • 15 Dean November 8, 2021, 5:25 pm

    The More To That article was astounding. Someone I knew and cared about had a terminal diagnosis. They then gave a cash gift to someone else. The deeply affecting part of which was not the gift, but the recognition to them and the recipient that money no longer had any relevance for them at all. The hard point for human beings is achieving that almost Buddhist like recognition of the relationship we should have with material things relative to “what truly matters”. This, as the article notes, tends to only be achieved when time catches us up and we get advance warning of immediate death (ie the when).

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