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Weekend reading: Could you write for Monevator?

Weekend reading logo

What caught my eye this week.

I was delighted to welcome a first post from blogger Finumus to Team Monevator this week. What a coup!

I’m hoping for many great posts from Finumus in the months (dare I say years) ahead. Trademark hot takes from the eyes of a seasoned operator.

That, however, is the rub. Like all of us around here, Finumus is no newbie. Everybody writing for Monevator has to some degree already won the game.

The Accumulator declared himself financial independent six months ago.

I’m the same, the way most readers measure it. (I’ve my own perspective on things so… not quite yet. But nearly!)

Lars Kroijer is a former hedge fund manager. Let’s just say he didn’t lose it all in Vegas.

The Greybeard and The Details Man – should we ever see them again – are notoriously in de-accumulation mode.

As for Finumus, well, when you make £1 million on a single stock you’re presumably not pinning your hopes on the State Pension.

The point is myself, TA, and our other semi-regulars are no longer hard-scrabbling up the slopes. Our snowballs have been rolling for years.

It could be you

This means we’re vaguely looking for a new, regular contributor. Possibly even two.

Are you a Monevator fan who can write a witty-ish and informative article every couple of weeks or so?

Are you pursuing financial freedom? Will you never miss a deadline?

Do people say you’re funny, in a good way?

Then we would like to hear from you.

As a potential contributor to the site, it would be ideal if:

(1) You’re nearer the start of your financial journey. We don’t want Monevator to lose touch as we retire to our superyachts (/dinghies).

(2) You’re a maven for personal finance. You’re shuffling cash around the best savings accounts, amassing huge tallies of credit card points – all that. It’s a blind spot for Monevator, and I’d love to correct it.

(3) You’re not a man. I welcome approaches from all genders and I certainly won’t be selecting on this criteria. But Monevator hasn’t got an all-male writing lineup by choice, so at the least please don’t let that dissuade you if you’re not.

(4) You’re very familiar with our style and content. A regular reader!

That’s ideally, not a list of must-haves. And anyway, for a variety of reasons many excellent would-be contributors won’t prove right for us. So please don’t take any rejection to heart.

I get half-a-dozen firms a day asking to submit guest articles (or asking what we charge for paid posts). Sorry, we’re not looking for promotional stuff. We want a fresh independent voice to bring value to our readers.

If this sounds appealing then please contact me via this form with a short explanation of what you’re about – preferably with some links to your previous work – and we can take it from there.

Have a great weekend!

From Monevator

What can investors do in the face of low returns? – Monevator

The secrets of the ISA millionaires – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Here’s a great way to boost your income in an hour – 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

Home sales surged by a quarter in February as buyers raced to beat stamp duty deadline – ThisIsMoney

CGT got another reprieve on [anti-climatic] Tax Day – FT Adviser

EV start-up Arrival secures record IPO for a British firm with $13.6bn float on Nasdaq – Business Green

The real deal? The case for and against much higher inflation – Reuters

Hours of work mini-special

Spain is looking to trial a four-day work week – Time

Working one day a week is the secret of happiness [Told you, FIRE-ees]Guardian

10 ways office work will never be the same again – Vox

Products and services

Vanguard debuts first ESG ETF in Europe – ETF Strategy

Buying a £5,000 bike from Poland has become a Brexit nightmare – Guardian

BlackRock cuts fees on $7.6bn style ETFs to near-zero [US, but watch iShares in UK]Yahoo Finance

Mortgage hope is on the horizon… unless you want to buy a flat – Guardian

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

John Lewis reveals locations of eight more stores set to close – ThisIsMoney

New £50 note featuring Alan Turing to enter circulation in June – Guardian

City centre flats for sale, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Martin Wolf: the return of the inflation spectre [Search result]FT

Five investing powers – Morgan Housel

Inflation matters more for the stock market than interest rates – AWOCS

Are we really ready to trade returns for ESG? – Behavioural Investment

Insecurity and high house prices drive young to risky investments – CityWire

The risks coming home to roost for the bond market – Humble Dollar

Do we become better investors as we age? – Larry Swedroe

How to build wealth in your 50s – Banker on FIRE

The problem with portfolio optimisers – Morningstar

CAPE fear [On an interest-rate adjusted CAPE ratio]Humble Dollar

Naughty corner: Active antics

A beggar’s life – Enso Finance

Robinhood traders are patsies – Klement on Investing

The top-performing UK funds and trusts since 1999 – ThisIsMoney

Interest rates, earnings growth, and equity value – Musings on Markets

How big can Smithson Investment Trust get? – IT Investor

Past peak mania special second mini-special

The worst type of sell-off – The Irrelevant Investor

Tech bubble or rotation? – The Big Picture

The excess of everything – John Street Capital

Non-compete – The Reformed Broker

Covid corner

Why you can’t compare Covid-19 vaccines [Video] – Vox via YouTube

The common cold can boot out Covid [for a bit]BBC

Vaccines required investors who were long-term greedy [Search result]FT

France claims UK will struggle to source second vaccine doses – Guardian

Past infection increases vaccine response six-fold – BBC

We are all either desperately lonely or desperate for alone time – Guardian

Kindle book bargains

How to Own the World [Newer, 2019 edition] by Andrew Craig – £0.99 on Kindle

Business Adventures: 12 Classic Tales from Wall Street by John Brooks – £0.99 on Kindle

Money Saving Book: Simple Hacks for a Happy Life by Holly Smith – £0.99 on Kindle

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth – £0.99 on Kindle

Remember, a Kindle is not just for Christmas.

Environmental factors

Bitcoin is a filthy technology with a massive carbon footprint… – Bloomberg

…or is it effectively a battery, enabling greener energy? – Nick Grossman

Off our beat

Mark Carney: “We are seeing a crisis in values”Guardian

And finally…

“All I can say is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims– and as far as possible one must refuse to be on the side of the pestilence.”
Albert Camus, The Plague

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{ 57 comments… add one }
  • 1 NewInvestor March 26, 2021, 8:09 pm

    Hey, it’s great to hear that you’re recruiting, looking to get fresh perspectives. Nothing wrong with your current content but I understand your desire to move things on.

    And I look forward to reading whatever comes forth. Do you edit the other contributors to any great extent, or simply weed out typos and anything that you think sails too close to the wind?

  • 2 The Investor March 26, 2021, 8:40 pm

    @NewInvestor — Everything gets edited, more or less. 🙂

  • 3 Matthew March 26, 2021, 10:08 pm

    A woman’s perspective would be interesting, I think it’s one of those fields where women are not usually naturally as intersted or are socially conditioned not to be (i.e. mathematics, risk taking, the ego of active investing, surviving in a macho culture, as well as them feeling like a breadwinner, and their spending sacrifices (I think retail is largely aimed at women), and how their relationships with partners are different for them being the breadwinner, etc).
    I’ve heard that in some families (esp in Japan) men don’t run their families budget and the wife gives them some pocket money out of their wages to spend, and that this works well, although I couldn’t imagine taking my eyes off the road like that.

    So a woman who overcame that would give an interesting perspective. Might have different priorities too.
    There are female fund managers who are a steadier hand than men, some might have found investing themselves or have been taught it by parents.
    Although I wouldn’t have the chop to become Matthewina lol.

  • 4 Tyro March 26, 2021, 10:31 pm

    Re the comment above – ‘A woman’s perspective would be interesting’. Just a note of caution here that TI also suggests a preference for more coverage of personal finance, and having a new female contributor taking that on might well reinforce the sorts of stereotypes noted (and exposed!) in Matthew’s comment – I can just see the male contributors discussing asset allocation, SWRs, inflation vs deflation, crypto, etc, etc, while the new female is left with comparing credit cards or pondering whether Waitrose beats M&S.

  • 5 Brod March 26, 2021, 10:51 pm

    Oh, Waitrose every time surely? I’ll ask my wife what asset allocation is…

    Matthews post reminded me of my late father. He at least had the excuse of being born in 1930.

  • 6 Matthew March 26, 2021, 11:55 pm

    I would say that my comment was more open minded than others
    Women accept that there are differences between them & men, one feminist told me that trans cannot claim to know what it’s like to be a woman, and that they are wary if them using loo facilities etc in case they do harbour male mentality still, hormone differences, societal pressures, etc.
    Even then you cannot deny we are raised in different environments which must shape us differently

    There’s nothing stopping women becoming mechanics, engineers, bankers, etc, just as there’s nothing stopping men from becoming nurses, teachers, fashion designers, wedding planners, etc.
    We typically have different tv interests, different ways of communicating, different ways of handling emotion, etc

    Children not told what to play with will -usually – gravitate to gender relevant toys, but there is always exceptions and they belong in a different category than typical male/female, and are arguably most interesting

  • 7 Dotted Scot March 26, 2021, 11:56 pm

    It is (or was) traditional in Scotland, too, for men to bring home their pay-packet, wait for their wives to open it, and then be graced with their pocket money for the pub. It was a matter of pride to many to bring home an “unopened pay-packet.” Skip ahead to 2021, and I am in fact the half of the household fascinated by FIRE, and very much at the beginning of the journey, having only opened a Vanguard Account in February–and having a tough time ironing out the wrinkles, thanks to maiden-name-vs.-married-name confusion. As it happens, I am more interested in asset location than in Waitrose vs M&S, both of which are ruinous to the grocery budget.

  • 8 The Investor March 27, 2021, 12:33 am

    @all — I really hesitated to mention that I’d be happy to introduce a bit more diversity into the mix here, and already my (almost) worse fears are coming true. There’s a reason I try to keep all that off this website.

    This week I invested meaningful (to me) money with a female VC general partner who has been in that role for a decade.

    These generalisations are absurd she unhelpful in 2021.

    The only reason I mentioned it in my piece was because a couple of female bloggers have said to me over the years they feel that Monevator is very male – readers and writers.

    As it happens there are quite a number of women reading, judging by their subscription emails, and also commenting under gender-less pseudo-names, perhaps to avoid any preconceptions.

    Anyway I am happy to hear from anyone who feels they have something useful to say and is confident they can say it well. That’s all. 🙂

    Let’s not have a weekend discussing whether this or that sex is better at the other for some pseudo scientific reason that will seen inoffensive to some and mortifying to others.

    Check out the working hours mini special links! They’re worth discussing.


  • 9 E&G March 27, 2021, 1:06 am

    You beat me to it Dotty Scot – Matthew obviously isn’t from a working class Scottish family. In my case in the west, my grannies stood outside the yards waiting for their husbands and left them with enough from their pay packet to get half cut in the pub. And my parent’s (now in their 60s) generation largely kept that tradition going – and to this day my dad still has to ask for spending money when it costs a big note or more.

    Which is a nice segway into a broader point about content on Monevator… As a regular reader I’m a fan of the site but my biggest bugbear (with it, and largely with the wider FI blogosphere) is how detached it is from the lives of normal people. There’s not much content for the modern day equivalents or the 2.4 children and 1.5 average to moderately well paid jobs households that must surely make up a broad swathe of (at least the potential) readership. Falling into that group I find the whole bleating about the hardships of hitting LTAs, AAs and CGT allowances all a bit offputting and of another world far removed from where most aspiring FIRErs must surely live. Would be good to see those more ordinary perspectives reflected in future guest contributions.

  • 10 mr_jetlag March 27, 2021, 6:11 am

    @E&G #9, agreed, but credit to TA and team for recognizing that they are somewhat removed and looking for new blood. I’m sadly (happily!) unsuited for the role, as like them I’m shuffling towards the finish line with the tape in sight, but it would be good to hear from the next generation with new perspectives and new tools to reach FI.

    TA, have you considered putting the call out on the FIREUK subreddit or other forums? Some enthusiastic young FIRE practitioner there could be your next scribe.

  • 11 G March 27, 2021, 6:11 am

    I too would value a broader range of perspectives. I’ve occasionally forwarded articles to female friends, and they didn’t always go down terribly well. Sometimes to the extent of requiring some considerable explanation of the hidden, often non-financial, nuance I’d seen in them. I don’t do it anymore.

    Similarly, while the site has plenty of introductory content, it’s clear that many of us are further down the path towards their financial goals possibly making it less accessible or relatable to those who are earlier in their journey. Every generation has a different mix of headwinds and tailwinds – and I get a Generation X/early Millenial feel from here rather than a Generation Z one – and it would be good to hear those voices.

  • 12 JimJim March 27, 2021, 8:03 am

    Thanks for the links again @TI, Mark Carney had a point and I may buy the book on the back of it.
    I do hope you recruit to broaden appeal, it would be refreshing and add a facet to this website that would perhaps bring in early financial trajectory readers. I can only hope that the bear pit of the commentators is not too fearful a place for them. Accessibility is perhaps the key, MMM has that in spades, however I don’t think his style totally translates into a British (predominantly) audience.
    Scots were nor the only ones to hand over pay packets, it was a common practice in the Yorkshire town I grew up in, you only tore the corner of the pay packet to check it (Kalamazoo). Traditionally, your first pay packet went to your mother in it’s entirety.

    The piece on top performing assets in This Is Money interested me as I am overweight in mid and small caps and have been for some years, but who knows where this will go now.
    Anyway, thanks again. I hope we can keep things civil, and not quash any new contributors with too much heated argument.
    I will now spend a happy hour trying to decipher the “pint of milk” speech. it seems a worthy waste of time.

  • 13 BBlimp March 27, 2021, 9:01 am

    I think the desire to cover personal finance is interesting. It’s very well covered elsewhere but no reason it couldn’t be here as well.

    Re; the John Lewis closures… I stopped shopping in John Lewis about three years ago… I think they are trading off a brand name they built up in the 90s. I haven’t found the service to be that good – and certainly once I started using competitors I realised other companies have caught up. The people both in store and who delivered my super duper washing machine from currys could not have been more helpful – swapping the washing machine and dishwasher round so the doors opened fully without any complaint ( a small tip perhaps). I also bought my new tv from currys… first one had issues with sound they rushed out and replaced it at a time convenient to me.

    On a related note, and I guess it depends on which store, but I find M&S is far superior to Waitrose. The M&S ‘face mask guard’ on the doors at Canary Wharf and Westfield Stratford always give a friendly smile and welcome, the stores are fresh and full of wide range food. I find the respective Waitrose’s there to be drab and the service quite poor. I asked a member of staff once why there was no Sunday Times at Waitrose Westfield for the fourth week in a row. He explained to me that they had an issue with the delivery people leaving them outside Marks. I suggested if this was a known issue it might make sense to go and collect them each Sunday morning. He looked at me like I had two heads. To me it said it all – I bought an iPad, got a subscription to Apple News, switched to Morrison’s delivery for the branded goods and Marks for food and never looked back

  • 14 Al March 27, 2021, 9:29 am

    I certainly be interested to hear from other investors about their ‘investment journeys’. I think Morningstar used to have a regular feature where a different person would write about their investing. They would feature a whole variety of ‘ordinary’ people at different life stages. I always read that with interest. That might run the risk of individuals espousing philosophies that contradict this site (‘I invested in tulips and now I’m FIRE’). But you could chose people who are trying to follow the Monevator way. Or you could put a short comment of your own at the end – ‘this was shrewd’, ‘have you considered trying this’, ‘don’t mortgage the house and invest in kippers’. You’d then get some different voices with the benefit of Monevator mentoring! The Telegraph also used to do a regular money feature interviewing famous people on their attitudes to money, investment decisions, and financial life lessons. I also found that fascinating – although I could relate less to Rod Stewart’s life and his purchase of a flock of albino alpacas for his retirement hairpiece. I agree there is a slight danger of any specialist blog becoming somewhat detached from the everyman (or Scottish housewife), and that’s partly a result of success in the area. I suspect that for many Monevator readers they are more likely to achieve FIRE by torching their house and claiming on the insurance; their aim is not financal independence but simply to get some tips on saving and investing to make that brown pay packet go further. Time to wake up the wife and ask for my pocket money…

  • 15 jim March 27, 2021, 10:38 am

    A lot of successful relationships I see are built upon the bloke letting the woman manage the money and receiving beer tokens. My mother does it with my stepdad, my partners mam and dad did it.
    Not for me tbf but probably quite common among us working class, thats if the family want to have enough left over for the weekly shop!

  • 16 Marion March 27, 2021, 10:41 am

    I must speak out in defence of transwomen after Matthew’s ill informed, fear inducing comment. Your feminist friend knows nothing, and typifies the abuse and discrimination that trans suffer in their everyday lives. Transwomen are frequently subject to attacks while trying to quietly live their lives. My eldest daughter is a transwoman.

    I have followed Monevator from the beginning, a time when there were very few UK financial blogs. Up to then I had been bumbling around with saving for over 15 years, making all sorts of mistakes. I tried with The Motley Fool and MMM but couldn’t translate it to UK ordinary life. The Investor and the Accumulator sorted me out – a big thank you to you both.

    I’m one of the ordinary ones who just happened to have an interest in saving and spreadsheets, and never wanted to suffer from financial problems (nowhere to live, employment recessions, no one to help in a crisis) again. Having savings means freedom. It worked.

  • 17 EcoMiser March 27, 2021, 10:55 am

    I can confirm that in the North East of England also it was traditional for the wives to have control of the household finances. But that was in the days when being a housewife was a full time job.
    @Al #14 true financial independence (never having to work again) may be beyond those with little brown pay packets, but having enough to say, take a ten year sabbatical at 30, may not be. 😉

  • 18 Koala123 March 27, 2021, 10:55 am

    I am a woman who reads this blog, investor since 2009 and sufficiently interested but what I don’t have is the time to blog because I have a child to look after. It’s a squeeze on leisure time that’s the problem, not disinterest.

  • 19 Bill G March 27, 2021, 10:55 am

    Fresh voices bringing new perspectives will be very welcome. This blog opened my eyes to passive investing but I retain other deeply held assumptions that need challenging. I have half-forgotten what it is like to be young and at the start of the journey to financial independence.

    Telling someone to save and not spend is never going to go out of fashion, but the specifics will. There is no value in advising someone to chase overtime when they are actually in receipt of a hazily calculated bonus. Or telling the same person to go contracting for a big upfront salary increase when IR35 has made firms wary of employing freelancers.

    So a big Yes Please to your initiative.

  • 20 Keith March 27, 2021, 11:01 am

    @G (11) “ I’ve occasionally forwarded articles to female friends, and they didn’t always go down terribly well.”
    Indeed – the one about how to have a cheap wedding went down like the proverbial lead balloon with my OH. Fortunately for Monevator she recalls that one as the work of MMM (or “your Mr Mustachio fellow”). On the headline point, I get so much from the comments sections that occasional longer pieces by regular participants who don’t appear already to have their own blogs would be very welcome – e.g. AlCam, Vanguardfan, and ZXSpectrum48 (something on EM bonds please!) always contribute interestingly to discussions.

  • 21 Bob March 27, 2021, 11:16 am

    I welcome new contributers but fear (wrongly I hope) it will be a hard slog. The quality of the articles has set a high bar. Even the comments below the line stun me with knowledge and perception. I think many readers, like me, feel they could not meet the standard

  • 22 Ducknald Don March 27, 2021, 11:24 am

    @Keith the wedding thing is interesting as there is a correlation between the amount people spend on their wedding and the likelihood of divorce. Note that I’m not suggesting you bring that up at the dinner table tonight.

  • 23 DavidTheHedgehog March 27, 2021, 11:40 am

    Here’s my application
    “Bought Vanguard Lifestrategy Fund, did nothing. The end”

    Not sure I’m going to make the shortlist.

  • 24 Bob March 27, 2021, 12:01 pm

    @Davethehedgehog.Now soon to be a series on Amazon bearing no resemblance to your story starring Ryan Reynolds

  • 25 Dotted Scot March 27, 2021, 12:53 pm

    Early (or any) retirement on the little brown pay packets (or their modern day equivalent) is an interesting challenge. My financially responsible grandfather never collected his government pension, as he had a bad war, smoked like a chimney, and suffered a fatal heart attack at 64. I like to think it is possible for anyone in work to achieve FI before 65 through frugality and a sane investment strategy. I see a Tesco stocker makes £13,368 a year. Well, invest £1,000 of that a year from age 16 and s/he can retire—at 65, so maybe not. (My grandfather’s trade no longer exists, so I can’t compare it.) Still, presumably the hard-working stocker can still work his/her way up to management?

  • 26 Neverland March 27, 2021, 12:56 pm

    Since this blog has basically become the personal finance section of the Daily Telegraph recruiting some new contributors would probably be a good idea

    I would suggest Ms ZiYou

    While she wasn’t climate change friendly (i-must-visit-every-country-on-the-plant-like-i-am-stamp-collecting) her #fuckthepatriarchy approach was refreshing and ahead of its time considering the current government

  • 27 The Investor March 27, 2021, 1:04 pm

    Hi all, just to say we’ve already had quite a few responses (but don’t let that stop you!) so if you do contact me and don’t hear back for a few days it probably won’t be because we didn’t get the message. 🙂

    I’m going to batch them all together and then have a deep dive, and will get back to everyone after that. Perhaps in a week? Thanks for the interest!

    Also, cheers for bringing the comments back onto topic.

  • 28 Foxy March 27, 2021, 1:17 pm

    At the risk of sounding like an active fixed-income enthusiast (trust me, I’m not), @ZX please?

    I’d be interested to hear from someone with deep knowledge whilst being active in the industry about the current risks he sees in this investing climate, expected returns, pessimistic SWRs and liability driven portfolio building.

  • 29 Grff March 27, 2021, 2:09 pm

    Mmm hope it’s better next week. What have you done. Sorry.

  • 30 Anoym lurker March 27, 2021, 2:10 pm

    Hi Monevator,

    Thanks for the site. I will be purchasing the book when/if it is ever published.

    Has anyone got any idea if Vanguard might start offering life strategy etfs in the uk? I have an isa with youinvest and their fund fees are a bit much but etf/share fees are quite reasonable.

  • 31 Carlos March 27, 2021, 2:40 pm

    With you and TA so far along your investing journeys, I have wondered how Monevator will continue to be relevant to those with plenty of accumulating still to do. I’ve been concerned you may lose interest altogether – I hope not!
    Finding a writer who is nearer the start of their journey is an excellent idea. The ideal Monevator is one that is relevant to people who are making their very first investment as well as to those close to or at FI. Good luck!

  • 32 Matthew March 27, 2021, 5:21 pm

    @Marion – I’m personally cool with people’s choice to be trans, but a pure male boss with no conception of either would find it hard to weigh up women’s toilet privacy vs trans rights.

    Also this lady was making the point that women go through hormones, periods, social pressures, etc, that men could never understand – I can’t argue with that, although you could say that both men and trans face circumstances that women don’t.

    Re: people giving paypackets to wives up north – how did this start? If men are expected to be masculine in order to attract a wife then they all collectively handed over control, almost becoming like a pet.

    Good point, @dotted – fire or saving generally was not concievable/rewarding. Also I suppose payment by BACS transfers changed things a bit, also I the only liquid I buy on a friday night after work is more of the Four Star variety.

    My wife lets me keep my money but expects me home within 10 minutes of finishing work.

  • 33 The Investor March 27, 2021, 5:32 pm

    @Matthew — Can you leave it out please, as I’ve already asked? There are innumerable other places on the Internet to discuss this. No good will come out of discussing it here, whatever anyone thinks, and it’ll almost certainly just spiral into unpleasantness; indeed it has already for some readers.

    *Anyone* is more than welcome to read and write about anything financially-related on this site, provided they’re competent to do so.

    Fair warning: I am going into deleting mode from here and will delete anything sex/gender related, from anyone, from any direction. Thanks.

  • 34 Ash March 27, 2021, 5:49 pm

    @ The Investor – Thanks for these regular weekend reading articles and the fantastic blog! I wondered if you’d consider adding an “active” dropdown choice to go along with passive investing on the investing tab. I’m guessing that would create work…the necessary wordpress metadata, etc. I can also imagine it might go against the grain in terms of the sites raison d’être but a nice section for crypto, discounted funds, general finance research, big data trends etc. especially writers who may be more interested in that type of research/contributions based on today’s post.

  • 35 Brod March 27, 2021, 6:29 pm

    @TI – to attract new/younger readers, can I suggest a sort “start here” section – why passive, why index funds, pay yourself first, etc. Appreciate this would take a bit of a redesign, but a bar underneath the Monvevator logo with 4 or 5 sections that appears on every page might be a quick win. Appreciate you’ve mentioned a (imminent?) redesign a few times and the pain it’s causing you, so hope this suggestion is not out of place.

    I also second the poster regarding issues with AA, LTA, VCTs, etc – not the world I live in but que sera. I guess it shows the success of Monevator? 😉

  • 36 Factor March 27, 2021, 7:30 pm


    Personally, thanks to yourself and @TA, I am entirely happy with Monevator as it is, and I certainly don’t want any change whose consequence will be an unintended degree of dumbing down, be it in content or comment. For me, that could be the push that comes to shove!

    Monevator stands out from the crowd precisely because it is different, and drawing on the “wisdom” of that crowd will only result in this blog becoming one of the crowd. Count me as a devout “remainer”.

  • 37 windinthefens March 27, 2021, 8:06 pm

    It would be good to see a contributor who is relatively early on in their investing journey another reason other than diversity- the young, and those with less in the way of assets have arguably more to gain from learning about index investing than the better off and older readers. If you can only invest small amounts, you should be even less keen to finance an active manager’s Ferrari than if you have more capital. Furthermore, if you are young you have more years to repeatedly finance their status symbols. With financial advisers now being paid directly by clients (rather than ad infinitum by commissions) it is a bigger disincentive for clients with less money. If having new blood gets younger people reading this site, bring it on! I would have gained so much had this site been here 20 years ago.
    I shudder to think how much I lost in active fees in my thirties- and thanks to that miracle of compounding the amount I lost is increasing every year!

  • 38 Learner March 27, 2021, 11:05 pm

    nth’ing support for some voices not on the DB pension / BTL / family wealth glide path, or at least starting out. What can ordinary people do to improve their lot, regardless of whether FI/RE is the goal.

    Appreciate the ‘How to build wealth in your 50s’ link (and the related 40s piece linked from there).

  • 39 David March 28, 2021, 8:32 am

    I think Monevator has a few blind spots where we’ve seen rants over the years, and that isn’t always very inclusive. A few that spring to mind are on the topics of having children, leaving inheritances, supporting Brexit, people who get into consumer debt, and people who claim compensation after purchasing dodgy financial products. When somebody pushes back the response has sometimes been: it’s my blog so put up or shut up. I’m happy to hear there will be more diversity of opinion because it will make Monevator an even more interesting and valuable resource.

    Having said that, I still think you should ban you know who rather than arguing with him every time (and I assume it’s a man).

    With tax allowances frozen for at least 5 years and assets at sky high valuations, it’s surely the ideal time to pivot towards frugality or other strategies to make the money go further (social capital, alternative living, and other non-mainstream approaches). Money only gets you so far, as numerous financial bloggers have eventually realised once they hit their number. You once described yourself as the bohemian investor but your personal posts have become rarer over time. Maybe a new writer could share more on the life lessons side of things.

  • 40 The Accumulator March 28, 2021, 10:53 am

    It’s OK to have differences of opinion isn’t it? The world would be dull and likely worse off we all thought alike. I do find it frustrating sometimes that not everyone on the planet agrees with me, but I do learn a lot from hearing other perspectives too.

    One of the things I fear most is becoming set in my ways. Getting stuck with ideas and opinions I picked up somewhere along the way and no longer questioning them. So +1 for hearing from as many voices as possible – it’s the best method I’ve found to keep challenging my assumptions.

    @ Learner – “nth’ing support for some voices not on the DB pension / BTL / family wealth glide path”

    Hi! From someone not on that path 🙂

  • 41 The Investor March 28, 2021, 11:03 am

    @ Learner – “nth’ing support for some voices not on the DB pension / BTL / family wealth glide path”

    Hi! From someone not on that path

    That *was* an odd statement.

    We have written one BTL article, from memory, in 13 years.

    I’ve got zero in the way of DB pensions.

    As for family wealth, whilst I consider myself wholly lucky in my draw on the ovarian lottery, I left home for a 200m+ train journey with literally my bedding in a big suitcase and not a lot else. And I have no kids and advocate for massive inheritance tax.

    So, yes. Um? 😉

    Perhaps @Learner and one or two others are confusing the writers of the site for those who comment beneath the articles? 🙂

    Thanks for all the feedback, will catch up on some more this evening. (Somebody stole an hour of my day!)

  • 42 Far_wide March 28, 2021, 11:28 am

    Being in quarantine at the moment I decided to invest the 99p in “How to Own the World” on your steer. Thanks for that, certainly thought provoking enough for 99p.

    Bit of a strange one though e.g. It professes to be for beginners but then identifies a spreadbetting account as a useful tool for investing (!). Also, I suspect the person who wrote it must have benefited previously from a commodity boom, but following his advice of having decent commodity exposure ‘to fight inflation’ would have been disastrous in 2010-2020.
    It also tries to ride both horses of liking passive trackers but also Fundsmith et al, without ever really landing on which.
    Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the author’s strong view on inflation being far higher than the official statistics. He uses the shadowstats website to ‘prove’ this. Whilst I think there is a nugget of truth there, I feel personally this element is overplayed somewhat.
    Overall, he sort of casts his hands in general directions without every really rigorously analysing anything and being overly convincing. I suppose it’s difficult to achieve more in a book you can get through on a quiet afternoon (admittedly racing past the “aren’t ISA’s good” section and others like it).
    Anyway, thanks for the tip on that one, food for thought.

  • 43 Genghis March 28, 2021, 11:46 am

    @Far_wide I read how to own the world a few years ago and thought the same. Some good discussion but not for me in terms of implementation. Craig’s book from last year is basically him flogging his own OEIC. I won’t be buying any third book.

  • 44 weenie March 28, 2021, 2:15 pm

    Always thought this website catered to all but having pointed a couple of my friends here, as complete beginners, they found it all rather daunting and didn’t linger long (or revisit, sadly).

    Looking forward to reading articles from fresh contributors from a younger generation who are early on in their FIRE/investing journeys – I too get the feeling that most readers here are from GenX or earlier, so a little further down the line in their financial journeys, a bit more long in tooth!

  • 45 Learner March 28, 2021, 2:33 pm

    @TI, yes that comment was misdirected in hindsight. Mea culpa. Far more the commenter vibe than most posts, which wasn’t the topic.

  • 46 Andrew March 28, 2021, 4:09 pm

    For UK readers MoneySavingExpert has personal finance sown up. Is there really much Monevator could add in this area?

  • 47 The Accumulator March 28, 2021, 4:11 pm

    @ Weenie – yes, agreed. I think we could do a much better job for absolute beginners. The material is there on the site but scattered to the four winds. The Investor did an investing 101 series years ago. If we could pull it together in a beginners section and simplify it by another few degrees that would help.

    That’s the problem with blogs, it’s so hard to find anything that wasn’t written recently.

    Speaking of the journey – I was definitely writing simpler posts a decade ago. It feels like the financial literacy of the Monevator readership has grown along with my own over the last 10 years.

    That does make it hard to know at what level to pitch our posts. Perhaps it’s a question of frequency e.g. one beginners post to every hardcore post. Two accumulation posts to every decumulation post – that sort of thing.

    @ Learner – no worries! It’s a shame the LTA is more complicated than quantum gravity – then it probably wouldn’t generate so much comment 🙂

  • 48 ermine March 28, 2021, 4:43 pm

    Well, that Grauniad article on one day of work a week was basically clickbait but maybe they have some point. As someone who has banged the drum that work is overrated as a source of meaning maybe I’ll give a little ground:

    In the specific case of the pandemic, I am working about that much. And yes, in the absence of being able to get together with people recreationally to do interesting stuff, getting together with folk to assemble a product I had CAD designed for them was a pretty decent substitute. I get to do something creative with other people, which in and of itself feeds a different aspect of the soul than purely creating in isolation.

    That’s the good news. The bad news is that I am an old git at the end (past the end?) of my working life. My younger self would have damned me to life of penury is he had taken that approach. That chart you printed showing Americans get paid five time as much as Chinese workers show that that sort of working pattern is unsustainable, you can’t build a life on it. Water will find its own level, and that chart shows where the differential is going. Such a work pattern is only there for

    – those that don’t need the money
    – those who are exceptionally gifted at something
    – ordinary people if there were a serviceable welfare state eg a universal basic income which would then make work elective

    I don’t see it catching on in the current environment 🙁

  • 49 Zero Gravitas March 28, 2021, 10:46 pm

    Would be genuinely interesting to read someone in there 20s/early 30s who has managed to get their proverbial together and start on this journey at a life-stage when many of us will wish we had taken the trouble.

    Someone above makes a comment about needing a ‘start here’ page or something similar. I like this flow chart from the reddit sub /ukpersonalfinance https://flowchart.ukpersonal.finance/

    Could something similar be of use here with hyperlinked monevator articles?

    BTW, I am sure I have seen numerous referrals from that reddit sub to this site. I wonder if the demographics of reddit skew younger?

  • 50 The Investor March 28, 2021, 11:18 pm

    Thanks for the comments all — an interesting read.

    Regarding the new voices, well one person’s dumbing down is another person’s perfectly-pitched entry level content. We all have to start somewhere. But equally I understand the fears. This would be very much additional, rather than instead of. Probably on a new day – say Monday – so if people really don’t want to read about personal finance or from younger/new investors they can skip that day. 🙂

    With all that said, I don’t see why we can’t find new people who can bring a lot of value to the site for everyone. I’m still learning every week. And as has been agreed, the site is weak on personal finance. So maybe we can do something there.

    I’ve had a big response in my in-box, anyway, for which much thanks. So fingers crossed. 🙂

    Regarding alienating rants and whatnot from me (it’s not really @TA’s bag) well that’s going to happen from time to time. This is a blog, not a national newspaper of record.

    Regarding the political rants of the past, I stand by them all. Regarding the extremely oblique asides that there might be a case for not having kids, say, especially but not only financial (unless of course you really want them and can bring them up well, in which case knock yourselves out for the first couple, but don’t expect a medal from me for having more than that) the fact some people have even noticed and had some sort of issue with it shows how mainstream the alternative view of life is. So I think British culture will survive the odd snipe from here.

    And who know? Maybe I’ll meet the right (un)lucky lady and she’ll change my mind about everything. 😉

    @BBlimp — I tried Morrisons delivery the other day for the first time. It was completely excellent, agreed. Will use again. But I still get a little thrill in Waitrose. Though in my local the customers are everything awful about the successful middle-class consumer that I suppose I to have become. Not even eye contact let alone a thank you when you move a trolley out of the way, etc. Nor when you let them drive past in their SUV rather than stopping for you at the crossing. 😐

    @Al — I think we’d want more a couple of regular voices, but interesting idea.

    @Bill G — I agree. I dated a 20-something a few years ago who paid for everything with her iPhone. Never took cash out. I thought it was bizarre, and mildly teased her about it. And that’s been me for the past 12 months. So I was an idiot and could have ditched the hassle of cash far sooner if I’d been more open-minded.

    @Keith — Haha, I think MMM’s reputation will survive intact.

    @Bob — Cheers, we’ll try though!

    @DavidTheHedgehog — That is an intrinsic problem right there with starting a passive investing blog. I don’t recommend it! 😉

    @Dotted Scot — I think it’d probably be mathematically possible, but in practice pretty impossible. You’d need to start very young and you’d have to be incredibly future orientated to save a meaningful amount of that sort of low salary (and I am someone who saved a lot of a middling London salary). Without wishing to be presumptive, I suspect that sort of person wouldn’t end up stocking shelves at Tesco. But who knows, maybe we’ll be surprised by a story in 2075 of a Tesco stocker with a £5m bequest… 😉

    @Neverland — Try going onto the dating apps if you want to see climate-unfriendly cognitive dissonance. All 95% of posters seem to do or want to do is travel everywhere. It’s pretty tedious, and an auto-reject from me. Which I’m sure is to their good fortune haha.

    @Foxy — I did sound out @ZX a while ago, but either didn’t hear back or he wasn’t up for it. Can’t remember which. I guess if you’re a super successful quant you do have a lot of opportunities come your way… 🙂

    @Anoym Lurker — It’s quite easy to mostly replicate with a couple of ETFs though? Most of the rebalancing can be done with new money. Albeit more work/risk of getting in your own way, I appreciate.

    @Carlos — Cheers, let’s hope we end up with something like that!

    @Ash — Yes, we possibly could. The Accumulator adds all his posts to Investing and Passive Investing, too, whereas mine usually only get investing… and he gets all the backlinks from my active articles saying do what he does instead. You’re right it’s a bit against the grain. Maybe when we have that active membership wall we could do something like that.

    @Brod — Yes, an excellent suggestion of exactly the sort of thing we need to sort out.

    @Factor — Cheers, appreciate your generous words anyway.

    @windinthefens — I think there’s lots of ways a new writer can bring value, yes. The big snag with their generation when it comes to financial blogs though is they’re probably mostly watching something, not reading, at least compared to ‘our’ days. 🙂

    @Learner — No worries, cheers for your input. 🙂

    @David — Yes, I guess I’ve just said that again. But it is kind of foundational. Believe me, you don’t do something like this website to self-censor more than we already do. As for frugality, you could be right, though personally I expect a pretty huge boom for the UK over the next few years that will be pretty good for the sort of people who read Monevator. It’s more the bottom 25% on the economy ladder I feel concerned for, and this site will never cater for them in a major way. (I couldn’t if I wanted to, but regardless that really would blow up the site. And they almost certainly wouldn’t be reading anyway. The demographics of our readership are pretty attenuated. I think we can get younger versions of people like us, but not people hugely unlike us in terms of education, aspiration, reading levels, etc.)

    @Weenie — Yes, as @TA says it’s fine if your journey coincides with the bloggers. It’s where it doesn’t that it gets difficult. We have posted some bonkers articles about minutia that are incredibly useful if you’re 10 years in or fine-tuning, but would be like hieroglyphics if you’re starting out. Plus there’s all the unavoidable terminology etc. (And I’m always batting the use of acronyms back and forth with @TA — it’s difficult to remember how alienating it all is when you’re new.)

    @Andrew — I think there’s room for angles, approaches, intersections with real-life. I agree we’re not going to be super-comprehensive in that way.

    @ermine — Well I don’t think I ever said one day a week was best for a 20-something building their career. 😉 My argument was it’s hugely helpful for the retired and triple so for the early retired, for all kinds of reasons (including, I say again, the feeling that getting some cash for doing something generates in a capitalist society, like it or not.) Anyway I appreciate the movement on this. @TA seems to have undergone a similar thought revolution, though we’ll see how well it pans out when his early retirement rubber hits the road… 😉

  • 51 Matthew March 29, 2021, 6:12 am

    @TI – the bottom 25% of society is the hardest to help, if they are on low incomes then the sacrifice to save might be more than what is reasonable, and if they would get universal credit in retirement then any pension they recieve is effectively massively taxed by the withdrawal of the universal credit. Although you could also say anyway that if they are working then it’s for even smaller peanuts than you think because the difference between the universal credit award and their wages is small, but on the other side of this extreme taxation is an extreme rebate on their universal credit if they do make extra pension contrbutions, since they would be reducing their income in a means tested system.

    They also have intergenerational problems getting into work – ie parent says to kid “if you work I’ll lose my benefits, you had better pay me what I lose”, or looked down upon as stupid for working at all, and if these people are renting they are that much more supported by/ sucked into the welfare system. If the system tapered off more slowly with earnings (ie universal income) it’d punish work less but be more expensive, but also a slower tapering off means more people in the system, which itself is a demotivator.

    The best way to help these people become something is I think to promote Sipp investing to them so that they can work & aspire without losing benefits, they will have to prove their pension contributions to HMRC.

    Or encourage investing to buy a home of some sort so that they won’t be elegible for benefits anymore and have a stake in owning something in society.

    Or get them into professional jobs – simply sending them off to uni isn’t enough, they need more careers advice and support to stand a chance against rich families who know how to target the graduate jobs. But they still might not be the most optimised candidates, but at least it should be enough of a pay gain to springboard them out of the system.

  • 52 EcoMiser March 29, 2021, 12:54 pm

    I think the bottom 25% are quite well catered for at MoneySavingExpert and its forums, whether those drowning in debt, or the aspiring savers (over £13million reported saved in ten years, in response to one challenge). There’s also a surprising number of apparent millionaires contributing to the debates, and frequent references to this site, particularly the Brokers Comparison page.
    I’m not sure there’s much could be added here in terms of Personal Finance, although the basic tenets always bear repeating, and a different viewpoint for a different audience, and all that.

  • 53 Rosario March 29, 2021, 4:51 pm

    Getting very close to the end of my 30’s I (just) fall into the age range for potential new contributors. I’d love to read articles from people my age and aimed at those towards the middle of their journey to FI.

    For what its worth I think that a newbies area would be useful on the site but there are lots of other blogs that cater to this already. Immediately I’m thinking of Bankeronfire with whom I’ve discussed via his comments the reason’s he has targeted his articles towards the beginners. He did cite one reason being the presence and successes of this blog in the more advanced space as one reason.

    I also agree the bottom 25% are catered for on the MSE forums.

    I suppose my point is that I quite like that this blog occupies a certain niche and ideally I wouldn’t want it to stray too far from that. A few differing angles and perspectives would be fine, just please don’t dumb it down too much. I think the level the site is pitched at is a large reason for its success.

  • 54 ZXSpectrum48k March 29, 2021, 5:15 pm

    @TI. I don’t remember you ever sounding me out but I’m probably senile so that might just be my fading memory.

    I did think about setting up a blog last year when I was on sabbatical. Recycling all the stuff I wrote on asset allocation, fixed income, fx hedging etc from when I was an investment strategist. Over an 8 year period I’d written over 5,000 pages. I quickly realized that is already more than enough for any one lifetime and I’m just too lazy. The blog would have had a splurge of posts followed by an eerie silence as boredom took over. You (and TA) deserve huge respect for stamina above everything else.

    The other thing is anonymity, legal risk and compliance. Some financial bloggers seem to be able to write all sorts of investment strategy, stock recommendations etc despite no regulatory certification by claiming it’s “education” or “entertainment”. Someone like myself, however, who is regulated, would open themselves to getting sued. Compliance gets involved for bringing my company into disrepute and I get fired. So the risk-reward is, to say the least, rather poor!

    Good luck anyway. I’ll be watching avidly … from well below the parapet.

  • 55 jim March 29, 2021, 5:24 pm

    Early 30’s here, probably just about fire (without the RE) and have always been interested in personal finance. I remember signing up to ZOPA when it first hit the scene to lend out a 20 quid bonus and wait a year to get it back! I also used to have all the cheap phone deals where you had to apply for a refund every so often. Agree with above that MSE has that corner sown up. Don’t see how it would benefit the blog? More beginner investing articles fair enough but not personal finance.

  • 56 Merlotman March 29, 2021, 10:08 pm

    My son is 24 and I managed to get him interested in the investment world a few years ago. However he is unlikely to be interested in a (primarily) passive investing blog. He has migrated from the naked trader to Stockopedia and has invested successfully over the last few years but people his age have a larger risk appetite. This for both logical reasons (longer investment horizon) and the fact that they want more excitement. Discussions about vanguard LS is not going to float his boat.
    The other issue is community. In order to be engaged he would want to be interacting with many others his age and interest (maybe an extreme example but think wallstreetbets). Another issue is then one of tone/ language
    I believe the strength of the Monevator blog is that it serves a fairly narrow community. Most successful blogs are successful thanks to focus. I am one of the bleaters who wants to know more about LTA, VCTs, EIS and other complex issues which are not well dealt with elsewhere. Having said this I would welcome contributions from younger writers because I know I need alternative perspectives to continue learning but we might just have to accept a more on active investment styles. I am less interested in personal finance issues as these are well covered elsewhere.

  • 57 The Investor April 5, 2021, 10:24 pm

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. (@ZX — followed up your comment on this weekend’s WR).

    We’ve had approximately 5-10x people get in contact as I expected about writing for Monevator. I appreciate everyone who took the time, and we’ll obviously only be able to trial a handful at most. I’ll try to get back to everyone this week.

    For now we’d best consider the opportunity closed though (unless you’re truly an incredible fit and you’ve literally just read this post, in which case get in touch… but it’s only fair on those who already have that I start making some progress on a shortlist now! 🙂 )

    We should have some solid new talent here, is the good news. 🙂

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