What caught my eye this week.
You really ought to read You Are Not A Monte Carlo Simulation , an excellent post over at the Flirting With Models blog.
The article tackles a subject a lot of us struggle with – the mathematics behind the distribution of returns that mean the same investment can have a positive expected growth rate and yet wipe out most people who put money into it.
Sounds complicated, right? Fear not, the article makes it all pretty simple. (Not least thanks to some super crisp graphs that made me nostalgic for my Investing for Beginners  series.)
As the author, Corey Hoffstein, notes:
Under the context of multi-period compounding results, “risk aversion” is not so foolish.
If we have our arm mauled off by a lion on the African veldt, we cannot simply “average” our experience with others in the tribe and end up with 97% of an arm.
We cannot “average” our experience across the infinite universes of other potential outcomes where we were not necessarily mauled. Rather, our state is permanently altered for life.
Don’t get mauled by a misunderstanding!
From the archive-ator: Five reasons why you’ll love index investing – Monevator 
Note: 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.1 
UK interest rates stay on hold, but Bank of England hints at rise – Guardian 
Six reasons why the High Street is in crisis – BBC 
(Some) salary sacrificing pensioners face income cut due to tax relief errors – Telegraph 
Mortgages most affordable since the mid-1990s, says Halifax – Guardian 
Aviva scraps controversial plan to cancel its preference shares [RNS] – Investegate 
A rebel bank, printing its own notes and buying back people’s debts – Guardian 
Smart Beta investors are even bigger performance chasers than active fund owners – Pension Partners 
Products and services
Hargreaves Lansdown wins £15m tax rebate in dispute over fund discounts – ThisIsMoney 
Eight steps to choosing a financial advisor [Search result] – FT 
How to tackle your interest-only mortgage shortfall – Guardian 
Natwest trials payments of up to £500 to customers who refer a friend – ThisIsMoney 
Considering equity release but worried about inheritance? – Telegraph 
Comment and opinion
Some alternatives to evidence-based investing – The Reformed Broker 
Boosting returns with rebalancing – ETF.com 
15 years of semi-retirement: A real life case study – Get Rich Slowly 
Why the UK bull market could have a long way to go – UK Value Investor 
Should you invest in an ISA or top-up your pension? – ThisIsMoney 
Why we don’t want children – Young FI Guy 
Reform council tax to close the inter-generational wealth gap [Search result] – FT 
Easy pickings in stock markets don’t last for long – The Irrelevant Investor 
Why are money managers paid so much? – Cullen Roche 
Vanguard’s dominance is not guaranteed – Evidence-based Investor 
People don’t value to financial advisors for their investment advice – The Financial Bodyguard 
Larry Swedroe: Why financial trends persist – ETF.com 
Giant allocators love illiquid assets, but what about the risks? – Institutional Investor 
Rethinking the case for European stocks – The Macro Tourist 
Printing blue passports will be £120m cheaper when done in EU – Guardian 
Kindle book bargains
Make Your Bed: Small things that can change your life… and maybe the world by William McRaven – £1.99 on Kindle 
The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-control and How To Master It by Walter Mischel- £1.99 on Kindle 
Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar – £1.99 on Kindle 
The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Maths Genius and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich – £1.99 on Kindle 
Off our beat
50 big companies that were started with little or no money – Hackernoon 
Facebook is fundamentally bad and Mark Zuckerberg should shut it down – Vox 
What is Fortnite? – Digg.com 
“Stocks are the things to own over time. Productivity will increase and stocks will increase with it. There are only a few things you can do wrong. One is to buy or sell at the wrong time. Paying high fees is the other way to get killed. The best way to avoid both of these is to buy a low-cost index fund, and buy it over time.”
– Warren Buffett, The Snowball 
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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”. [↩ ]