A round up of interesting or cool stuff I’ve read.
Banker on FIRE wrote (another) great post last week, titled “What is Your Money Superpower?‘
It prompted me to think about my own ‘money superpowers,’ which I’ll share here:
I think my own biggest money superpower is that, from an early age, I’ve taken an active interest in finance.
I read a variety of blogs and books, frequent some of the money-related subreddits (r/ukpersonalfinance is a good one) and even listen to the occasional podcast (Meaningful Money and Maven Money are both excellent).
All this means that I’m always learning and able to keep on top of my finances.
Some 10-12 years ago, I kept any savings I had in a Cash ISA. I was aware of the existence of Stocks and Shares ISAs, but a) thought that stocks were too crazy to invest in, and b) had no idea how to begin anyway.
Cut to present day, and my understanding has increased immensely. I understand the logic of investing your money and the peril of losing money to inflation. I’ve seen the importance of the emergency fund, maximising pension contributions, paying yourself first, automated payments, risk vs reward, etc. All have helped contribute to my financial situation today.
This has even been true with more specific things, like my own pension scheme. It’s a defined benefit scheme that most of the people that I work with seem to have no idea how it works. They are often shocked, but also thankful, when we somehow get onto the topic and I’m able to explain it to them.
Admittedly, I don’t think the average person has to spend as much times as I might do reading blogs, etc. But I think most people will benefit greatly from starting to take an active interest in their finances.
2) Take control
Following on from above; knowledge might be power, but it’s useless if you don’t do anything with it.
So I’ve taken action. Perhaps the most important was simply starting to invest. There are so many funds and providers that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Where should you begin? Vanguard, BlackRock, Hargreaves Lansdown? VWRL, Lifestrategy, Global All-Cap? Equities, bonds, REITs?
But I remember reading some helpful advice at the beginning of my investing life; it doesn’t really matter. Just pick a global index fund and start. You can always change your mind later as you learn more.
At the end of the day, saving for retirement is a bit weird for most people.
“I’d rather spend it now, I might not make it to 60+!” is something that I’ve heard more than once.
Technically, they’re not wrong. They might not make it to 60+. However, statistically most people are more likely to live too long and run out of money in their old age than they are to die young.
So the ability to plan ahead and save money for some time in the distant future is very important. If you start investing early and consistently, leave it alone, and have patience, then time is on your side.
If you keep dipping into your investments, they won’t have time to grow. Before you know it, you’ll be leaving middle age and approaching retirement with the prospect of having to save a huge amount each month to acquire a reasonable nest egg.
Interesting links that caught my eye this week:
- Banker on Wheels – 9 investment lessons from cycling the world.
Excellent life lessons from BoW.
- Wall Street Journal – What to do if you can’t find a job.
- Washington Post – The pandemic is forcing some men to realize they need deeper friendships.
- The Atlantic – Britain’s Vaccine Nationalism.
- Tony Isola – Seven Ways How Not To Die During Your Retirement.
- Larry Swedroe on Evidence Based Investor – Stocks are risky, no matter how long the time horizon.
An important reminder that stocks are not guaranteed to always go up.
- Morgan Housel – The reasonable optimist.
- Quiet FI – Are you a nerd?
This was a really funny read.
- Monevator – Free financial advice: where to get help when you need it.
Another valuable resource from the folks at Monevator.
- Indeedably – Optimism.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Indeedably has planned for the future.
- Accidental Fire – Financial Independence Is All Relative.
- A Wealth of Common Sense – The Beauty of Outsourcing.
I remember (several years ago) feeling surprised when I found out that some of my London-based Uni friends had hired someone to clean their flat once a week. “What a waste of money,” I thought. (Is it obvious that I don’t come from wealth?) However, nowadays I can see the sense in it. Even if I definitely don’t earn enough to take advantage of it!
- First person receives a Covid vaccine. BBC
Fingers crossed this means that a return to some sort of normality is in sight.
- Sign up to Trading212 via this link and we both receive a free share.
- Humble Bundle are offering a pay-what-you-want for a selection of finance books. Pay at least £0.75, £6.10, or £11.40 for the first, second or third tier, respectively. You can also choose where that money goes; to the publisher, to charity, or to Humble Bundle themselves. Honestly, I ended up giving this a miss, but I thought it was worth sharing. Ends in a few days.
Thanks for reading. Hope you’re all having a good week.