The Slow and Steady passive portfolio update: Q2 2021

You’ve probably noticed your portfolio soaring these past few months.

The Slow & Steady portfolio is up more than 5% since last quarter. That’s despite it being 40% bonds.

Property’s 10% quarterly rebound is especially heady. Mind you, I’d estimate my REIT fund is still down around 5% since the eve of the coronavirus crash.

As the world learns to live with Covid, confidence is shooting through equity markets like bubbles in champagne.

What could go wrong?

It’s at moments such as this – with the Slow & Steady’s returns just shy of 10% annualised – that I like to think about how it could all end in tears.

(I’m giving up FIRE, by the way, for a new gig as a professional party-pooper.)

There’s a drumbeat of concern about ‘overheating’ out there. And it’s always better to burst your own bubble than to have someone do it for you.

So let’s scare ourselves silly with some frothy (over-)valuation porn.

But first, let’s bask in this quarter’s lovely numbers. Just for a moment!

Returns brought to you by Don’t-Worry-Be-Happy-O-Vision:

The Slow & Steady portfolio is Monevator’s model passive investing portfolio. It was set up at the start of 2011 with £3,000. An extra £985 is invested every quarter into a diversified set of index funds, tilted towards equities. You can read the origin story and find all the previous passive portfolio posts tucked away in the Monevator vaults.

Valuations of doom

Okay, that’s enough basking. If our returns can’t deliver negativity then we’ll just have to do it ourselves.

Dialling up today’s market valuations and miserly expected returns is a quick way to pee on our fireworks.

One of the few equity valuation indicators thought to have some predictive power is the cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio (aka CAPE, aka P/E10, aka Shiller P/E…).

The Investor has written an excellent piece explaining how CAPE works. He also looked at its limitations and pitfalls.

To cut to the chase, there appears to be some correlation between a stock market’s CAPE measure and future stock returns. How much? You can find material arguing the case either way. But – especially in the US – there’s evidence that a historically high CAPE signals poor market returns ahead.

Right now the US CAPE measure looks lofty.

Brace! Brace! Brace!

CAPE ought to be relevant in other countries, too. But good data is hard to find.

Thankfully, help is at hand from fund manager Research Affiliates.

Donning the cape of data superheroes – look, I’m having fun even if you’re not – Research Affiliates has calculated CAPE ratios for every major world market.

That data is packaged up with Research Affiliates’ 10-year expected returns in a superb CAPE Ratio tool. Thus armed, we can look to see where pockets of opportunity and danger may lie.

++Caveat warning++ This only matters if you lend any credence to CAPE as a metric, you concur with Research Affiliates’ methodology, and you believe passive investors have any business reading such tea leaves. ++Caveat warning ends++

Credit to reader Stephen James for sharing Research Affiliates’s tool. (No sniggering at the back.)

UK stock market valuation

Here’s the CAPE ratio, expected returns, and fair value reading for UK equities according to Research Affiliates:

Squint at the UK’s candlestick (bottom-centre of pic) and you can see that our home CAPE is 13.5. That’s a touch lower than the historical median of 14.3. (Research Affiliates’ UK CAPE time series dates back to 1980).

The black ‘X’ on the red column shows a fair value estimate. It’s bang on the 14.3 median CAPE score, and so just above today’s actual valuation.

(Note: Research Affiliates’ fair value isn’t always the market’s historic CAPE median).

Looming larger than any of that is the 10-year average expected return of 4.9% for UK equities. That’s a real (after-inflation) annualised return.

The green cumulative probability bar (bottom-right) gives only a 50-50 chance of us hitting those heights. There’s a 75% chance of scoring at least 3.4%. There’s only a 25% chance of topping 6.4%.

Still, based on historic data you wouldn’t expect to squeeze more than 5% average return out of UK equities anyway.

The UK looks okay then. But the US does not…

US stock market valuation

After the heroics of the last 12 years, US large cap expected returns are predicted to deliver a median of -0.9%. That’s as bad as today’s negative-yielding bonds!

Research Affiliates believes there’s only a 5% chance of scraping a measly 2.7% annualised over the next decade.

Many Monevator readers will maintain a large allocation to the US. Not least in their global tracker fund.

The Slow & Steady’s allocation to the US is 26%.

(The portfolio is 39.6% allocated to the Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex-UK fund. That fund holds 67% in US equities. 39.6% x 67% = 26.5%.)

Research Affiliate’s median forecast would hurt us if it came to pass.

The US candlestick notches a CAPE of 37. (See the white circle shinnying up to the 98th percentile of the historic range.)

That’s way beyond the CAPE ratio of 30, hit on the eve of the 1929 Wall Street Crash according to this calculation:

The S&P 500’s peak CAPE was 44, just before the dotcom bubble burst.

Look out below

In the US we’re back into nose-bleed territory. Then again, we have been for a long time.

The Investor cited the same US CAPE source back in 2012. It showed CAPE at 23. That seems tepid now, but the US market was considered to be overvalued even then.

Many knowledgeable-sounding commentators warned that US equities were frothy and there was trouble ahead. They’ve been wrong (or just early) for nine years.

I have often doubted the wisdom of sticking to my passive guns when I’ve read about US valuations. But if I’d cut back I’d have missed the main driver of global equity returns for the past decade.

Still, a US CAPE of 38 is scary.

But if you want to see something truly gaga then check out Japan’s CAPE history.

Japan stock market valuation

It’s the historical range of Japan’s P/E10 that makes my eyes bulge.

Beyond the red column, Japan’s slender grey upper shadow extends to an all-time high north of 90.

I’ve read that the Japanese Nikkei index’s P/E ratio reached 70 just before its bubble burst in 1989.1

As super-heated as US valuations are now, Japan’s experience suggests they can keep gathering steam.

High fever

Passive investors aren’t meant to respond to market signals. We avoid action because we know we have no edge.

Despite this I’ve often wondered how I’d react in a market delirium.

If I’d been investing in Japan in the 1980s, would I have scaled back as its CAPE climbed through the 40s and beyond?

I previously told myself: yes. But how easy would that have been? The Japanese economic model was lionised at the time. Some predicted Japan would soon eclipse America.

Now the US CAPE is approaching 40.

I am fully prepared for a decade of low returns. Equities have had a barn-storming run, after all.

But I don’t believe I can use CAPE to predict a bubble and nor should you.

Some like it hot

There’s an internet full of arguments for and against CAPE.

Vanguard research has previously put CAPE’s correlation with future equity returns at around 43%. So there are clearly a lot of other factors in play.

I think that CAPE is a useful indicator. At the very least it helps you gauge what others mean when they mysteriously refer to ‘valuations’.

But so far I haven’t acted on CAPE’s fuzzy signal.

If you want to do something, consider using a systematic technique called overbalancing. I wrote about how it works some years ago.

Even then Monevator’s mail bag was full of worries about markets overheating.

Like frogs in a pan, we just keep on boiling.

New transactions

Every quarter we throw £985 into the global market furnace. Our financial fuel is split between seven funds, as per our predetermined asset allocation.

We rebalance using Larry Swedroe’s 5/25 rule. That hasn’t been activated this quarter.

These are our trades:

UK equity

Vanguard FTSE UK All-Share Index Trust – OCF 0.06%

Fund identifier: GB00B3X7QG63

New purchase: £49.25

Buy 0.221 units @ £223.21

Target allocation: 5%

Developed world ex-UK equities

Vanguard FTSE Developed World ex-UK Equity Index Fund – OCF 0.14%

Fund identifier: GB00B59G4Q73

New purchase: £364.45

Buy 0.719 units @ £506.90

Target allocation: 37%

Global small cap equities

Vanguard Global Small-Cap Index Fund – OCF 0.29%

Fund identifier: IE00B3X1NT05

New purchase: £49.25

Buy 0.123 units @ £399.46

Target allocation: 5%

Emerging market equities

iShares Emerging Markets Equity Index Fund D – OCF 0.17%

Fund identifier: GB00B84DY642

New purchase: £78.80

Buy 38.875 units @ £2.03

Target allocation: 8%

Global property

iShares Global Property Securities Equity Index Fund D – OCF 0.17%

Fund identifier: GB00B5BFJG71

New purchase: £49.25

Buy 20.746 units @ £2.37

Target allocation: 5%

UK gilts

Vanguard UK Government Bond Index – OCF 0.12%

Fund identifier: IE00B1S75374

New purchase: £305.35

Buy 1.69 units @ £180.71

Target allocation: 31%

Global inflation-linked bonds

Royal London Short Duration Global Index-Linked Fund – OCF 0.27%

Fund identifier: GB00BD050F05

New purchase: £88.65

Buy 79.081 units @ £1.12

Target allocation: 9%

New investment = £985

Trading cost = £0

Platform fee = 0.35% per annum.

This model portfolio is notionally held with Fidelity. Take a look at our online broker table for cheaper platform options if you use a different mix of funds. Consider a flat-fee broker if your ISA portfolio is worth substantially more than £25,000. The Slow & Steady portfolio has long since passed that threshold. I’ll explore a move to a flat-fee platform in the next installment.

Average portfolio OCF = 0.15%

If all this seems too much like hard work then you can buy a diversified portfolio using an all-in-one fund such as Vanguard’s LifeStrategy series.

Interested in tracking your own portfolio or using the Slow & Steady investment tracking spreadsheet? This piece on portfolio tracking shows you how.

Take it steady,

The Accumulator

I’ve also read that differing accounting standards explained some of Japan’s wild P/E ratio, though not all of it.

The post The Slow and Steady passive portfolio update: Q2 2021 appeared first on Monevator.

Comparing the cost of electric car ownership

This article on comparing the cost of electric car ownership to a traditional option is by The Dink from Team Monevator. Check back every Monday for more fresh perspectives on personal finance and investing from the Team.

With dual incomes and no kids (DINK), you can have more fun selecting a car. We’ve gone through convertible, Italian sports, and ricer cars. (Don’t judge us! We also save into passive funds, just like you do.)

Now on the cusp of our midlife crisis, we’ve gone for a sensible electric car.

To be honest I didn’t actually do my spreadsheet deep dive until after we’d already bought this Nissan Leaf.

I’m an early adopter at heart. And I really wanted an electric car to get a feel for the technology. The Nissan Leaf seemed a much more sensible way to scratch that itch than raiding my portfolio to buy a Tesla.

A dinky diversion

Before we calculate the cost of electric car ownership, a brief detour on the term DINK.

I had been referring to myself as a TWINK – Twin Incomes No Kids – assuming that was the correct term for our demographic.

My colleague pointed out to me that I am indeed a ‘twink’. But also that it means something quite different and not related to an economic group.

If you Google ‘DINK’, it takes you to Investopedia. TWINK takes you to the Urban Dictionary

So DINK for ‘Dual Income No Kids’ is the right acronym for Monevator purposes. (Or DINKY (DINK Yet). That’s the word for those couples not yet brave enough to tell their parents they’re not getting any grandchildren.)

Back to the cars.

Before I owned an electric car

As I mentioned, we once had an Italian sports car. Unfortunately it lived up to its stereotypes. It needed a lot of maintenance and had an insane service schedule. It felt like constant cam belt replacements.

So one calm, rational Sunday I created a spreadsheet to work out how much that car cost me a month. Turned out that despite being relatively cheap to buy, it was costing hundreds of pounds a month to run.

The spreadsheet also revealed that, by comparison, a stereotypical German sedan – if bought at just the right point in its depreciation curve – was cheaper. Even on PCP!1

That was an eye-opener. The next week I went out and bought a BMW 3 Series. Over the next four years it actually ‘saved’ me money.

The point is I had some experience of running spreadsheets to justify my car purchases.

Even though in the case of our Nissan Leaf I didn’t do the spreadsheet until afterwards.

Settled with a spreadsheet

Having already bought the Nissan Leaf, it’s obviously rather academic for me to create the spreadsheet now.

Still, it’s an interesting exercise that shows the maturity of the electric car market in the UK. Also my article can be a template for anyone else wanting to quantify a car purchase of any kind.

Therefore I’ve performed the comparison of an EV (Electric Vehicle) with a traditional petrol compact car.

What to compare to electric car ownership?

I chose to compare the Nissan Leaf with the Ford Focus. The Focus is about the same size and with the 1.0T EcoBoost model it offers the equivalent 0-62mph performance (in 11 seconds).

Also, the Focus is the fourth most popular car in the UK. It’s easy to find examples with different mileages and ages to compare to electric car ownership.

For its part the Nissan Leaf was the bestselling plug-in electric car until 2020. (It was overtaken by the Tesla Model 3.) So we’re really comparing the top-selling EV and petrol vehicles in the ‘compact’ class.

Based on my experience, I find cars three to four years old have had their initial huge depreciation. But assuming an average 7,000 of mileage a year, they still have lots of miles left in them. Beyond that come big scary services and the psychological barrier around 100,000 miles. That affects their value.

We’ll therefore compare a 2017 Nissan Leaf with a 2017 Ford Focus 1.0T EcoBoost – both with 30,000 miles on the clock.

Comparing two cars from 2017

Remember, we’re not actually buying these cars. We’re purely looking at the market values to quantify any decisions we make. So please don’t get too hung-up on details or minor specs differences.

At the time of writing I found:

A 2017 Nissan Leaf with 29,000 miles for £8,980.
A 2017 Ford Focus 1.0T with 30,000 miles for £8,649.

The initial point goes to the Focus for being cheaper to buy.

 
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus

Initial Price
£8,980
£8,649

Depreciation

Most cars aren’t assets. However they do retain some value. To account for this we need to work out depreciation. This gives us a guide as to how much we could get were we to sell the cars after, say, four years.

I looked for similar 2013 models with 60,000 miles on them. This I based on the average 7,000 miles per year that people in the UK drive and also that cars seem to hold a lot of their value until near the 100,000 miles mark, where it drops off a cliff.

My search turned up:

A 2013 Nissan Leaf for £6,000.
A 2013 Ford Focus for £4,700.

Both had 60,000 miles on the clock.

Based on this calculation, the Ford Focus will depreciate more over the four years:

 
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus

Initial Price
£8,980
£8,649

After 4 years 30K miles
£6,000
£4,700

Expected Depreciation
£2,980               
£3,949

Running costs

Depreciation is not everything. Next we need to consider servicing, road tax, and fuel.

Electric cars are a lot simpler from an engineering perspective. There are fewer moving parts. I’d assumed they would require less servicing.

For example, an electric car obviously doesn’t have have oil and spark plugs to change.

This is actually not the case. The Ford Focus has bigger service intervals. For instance it shocked me to see the cam belt on a Ford Focus is only required to be changed every 150,000 miles.

Over the four years I’ve assumed:

The Ford Focus will have two major £150 and one minor £75 service.
The Nissan Leaf will have two 18,000 mile services, each costing £159.

Now we move on to tax. This is a big winner for the Leaf, as it’s tax-free.

The Focus will cost you £155 a year. That’s £620 in total over four years. 

 
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus

Servicing
£318
£375

Tax
£0
£620

Energy costs

To calculate how much fuel is likely to cost over the four years, I took the listed combined economy of 60MPG for the Ford Focus. Having never bought a gallon of petrol in my life, I then converted that to 13 miles per a litre.

With petrol currently at £1.27 per a litre2 and at 13 miles per a litre, our 30,000 miles over four years will cost £2,930 in fuel.

On the Nissan leaf, you get 80 mile range on 22kw of the usable battery. The typical rate we pay at our local fast charging points is 30p/kWh. We use these charging points about half of the time. However we prefer, of course, to charge at free points like my office. So we effectively pay on average 15p/kWh.

That’s roughly what we pay at home, so it could also apply to those charging domestically.

Each mile in the leaf uses 0.275kWh. So at our 15p/kWh, the same 30,000 miles over four years will cost £1,237 to charge.

It’s interesting to see the cost per mile of petrol against electricity. The Nissan Leaf costs 4p a mile. The Ford Focus costs just under 10p a mile.

 
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus

Energy costs per 30,000 miles
£1,237
£2,930

Petrol versus electric car ownership

To recap, we started with a four-year old car and then assume we sell it after four years having put 30,000 miles on the clock.

On these numbers, a Nissan Leaf works out £3,333 cheaper to own than a Ford Focus.

I’m not saying you should go out and buy a Nissan Leaf. It will not be the cheapest car to run in every situation. What I am saying is to work out as best you can what the true cost of different models is likely to be. Include depreciation, too. This way you can quantify your decision to buy a particular model of car.

 
Nissan Leaf
Ford Focus

Expected depreciation
£2,980
£3,949

Servicing
£318
£375

Tax
£0
£620

Electricity/petrol 30,000 miles
£1,237
£2,930

Total over four years / per month

£4,535 / £95
£7,874 / £164

Your mileage may vary

In the comments to this article, I expected people will say I have cherry-picked examples of each car. That they can get them cheaper. Or their mate Dave will service the car for £50. The listed fuel economy is wrong.

Maybe. Perhaps my numbers do not apply exactly to your situation.

Charging rates in particular will vary hugely depending on what you have available locally, and whether you can charge more cheaply at home.

However by following the process, you can put in values that you think are more accurate. You’ll then get a different but equally valid outcome. 

Once you know the true cost, you do not even have to buy the cheapest car. You can make a meaningful decision if the extra money is worth what the car gives you.

I would happily pay an extra £200 a year for a BOSE Sound System and 360 parking cameras…

A few final caveats

Other important things I have omitted or glossed over are:

Insurance. Ignored because it varies so widely. I believe electric cars tend to be slightly more expensive to insure.
If you have free electricity to charge the car, solar panels or free charging at work, that is a real game-changer.

Repair cost. If something major breaks I assume the Ford is going to be cheaper to repair. However either car of this age and mileage should be pretty reliable. And the electric car has fewer moving parts to break.
I have heard rumours that electric cars go through tyres faster than ‘normal’ cars. However, this could be the same nonsense as electric cars not working when the temperature is below-zero.
The electric charging market is very immature. Charging costs vary massively. It varies from free at one supermarket to 35p per kWh/h plus a £1.50 connection charge at some motorway services. As the market gets more competitive, I would expect charging to get cheaper.
Over the next four years, it seems inevitable that the government will take measures to encourage electric car ownership. However that might not directly benefit existing EV owners. Imagine the authorities bought in a £2,000 car scrapping scheme. In that scenario the Ford Focus could suddenly be the cheaper car, if it met the criteria of the scheme.

In time you will be able to see all The Dink’s articles in his dedicated archive.

Personal Contract Purchase – a form of debt financing.
May 2021.

The post Comparing the cost of electric car ownership appeared first on Monevator.

Weekend reading: Buffett man Ted Weschler’s amazing returns

Warren Buffett is a nifty picker of stocks. In hiring Ted Weschler to help select investments at Berkshire Hathaway, he’s turned out to be a nifty stockpicker-picker, too.

Buffett would hardly have hired a bozo – it was nailed-on that former hedge fund manager Weschler could pluck an Apple or an Amazon from the also-runs.

But new figures prove Ted Weschler has some truly serious investing smarts.

DIY tax haven

Ted Weschler’s returns have surfaced after a huge kerfuffle in the US about Roth IRAs – a kind of retirement tax shelter that’s closest to the UK’s ISA.

It turns out some savvy American moguls have managed to use these mainstream tax shelters to shelter vast fortunes from the taxman.

In particular, tech mogul/bogeyman Peter Thiel has amassed $5bn in his ‘retirement account for the middle class’, according to ProPublica.

Can you imagine if James Dyson, say, was revealed as having a billion pounds in his ISA?

Even million pound ISAs are mostly marketing pornography. A billion pound ISA would be the money shot to end them all.

Well more or less that’s what’s happened in the US.

Check out ProPublica for the details of how Thiel did it. The short version is he was able to stash a few thousand dollars in very cheap unlisted shares in a startup into his Roth IRA, and those multiplied into millions. His snowball supercharged into an avalanche. The rest is compound interest.

What Thiel did wouldn’t actually be possible in an ISA (sorry James!) due to restrictions on what you can hold in the UK vehicles.

If there’s a scandal, it would seem that – from my imperfect vantage point across the ocean – the Roth IRA rules weren’t sufficiently tight in the first place.

Weschler was here

So much, so Business As Usual for the taxes-are-optional uber-rich.

But the controversial $264m that Ted Weschler has similar been outed as having amassed in his Roth IRA is still notable for Monevator purposes.

You see, when ProPublica approached Weschler for comment about how he shoehorned all those millions into an account with tight contribution limits, he was (un)happy enough to tell them.

Weschler says that in the early years of his career he contributed to his employer’s IRA plan. He then converted it to a self-directed IRA, where he could make his own investments, claiming:

Over the ensuing 29 years (through the end date you quote of year-end 2018) I invested the account in only publicly-traded securities i.e., all investments in this account were investments that were available to the general public.

There follows some back and forth in the letter about US regulations and taxes that needn’t concern a humble investing blog in Blighty.

The key point is Weschler was picking from the same sort of stocks as a Reddit punter today. He wasn’t investing in unlisted microcap tech startups at the start of the Internet revolution.

And here’s the money shot:

…each $1 saved as a 22 year old in New York City grew over the ensuing 35 years to over $9,000 – certainly not an expected result, but the sort of example that can hopefully help motivate generations of future savers.

Well, quite. That is an extraordinary return!

In simple annualized terms it implies a near-30% return a year over 35 years.

Weschler smashed the market

I’m sure there were plenty of ups, downs, lucky breaks, and obscure – albeit still stock market-listed – investments in the mix for Weschler.

But to turn $1 into $9,000 in 35 years you have to be doing a lot very right.

The number of other famous investors who done as well over such a long period is not high.

Buffett clocks in at around 20% annualized, albeit he did much better in his early days with less money.

From memory George Soros comes in at around 20%, too.

Peter Lynch achieved about 30% in annual returns for his investors at Fidelity for a dozen years before hanging up his spurs.

Although… Joel Greenblatt, the professor and fund manager who wrote the wonderful You Can Be A Stock Market Genius has a private partnership Gotham Capital that boasts 40% returns.

You’re slacking, Ted!

Could you be the next Ted Weschler?

As this blog’s resident naughty active investor, am I inspired and motivated by Ted Weschler’s prowess, as he suggests we all could be in his letter?

Honestly, yes and no.

I’ve long known it’s possible for a small proportion of people to achieve market-beating returns. And I believe such outperformance is far likelier to be done by directly investing in shares – as opposed to by running or investing in funds, with their contradictory incentives and fee drags, respectively.

The trouble is it’s hard to get truly stonking rich without managing other people’s money, and taking and compounding that fee tithe for yourself.

That’s what makes Weschler’s returns so astounding.

In principle it shows what’s possible – at least if you started in 1985 and you’re either an investing savant or one of the luckiest people on the planet.

For context, if you could put the maximum £20,000 into an ISA every year for 35 years and achieve the same returns as Ted Weschler, you’d end up with…

£785,459,150!

Clearly that fails a few sanity checks as an aspirational stretch goal.

(Although I don’t doubt that – assuming no rule or contribution changes – we will eventually hear about £100m ISAs in my lifetime).

Many happy returns

I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that I’m not clocking up 30% returns annualized, and I’m never likely to, either.

So Weschler’s returns can only motivate me so far.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased with my own record. And I’ve mostly enjoyed nearly 20 years of investing in individual shares. No regrets.

But am I set to turn £1 into £9,000 in 35 years? Reader – I’ll probably need a few more years than that!

People will want to draw lessons from Weschler’s achievement. Without seeing his trades in detail, the lessons are likely to be platitudes.

And of course most people will have a happier life and end up richer if they passively invest through index funds. Even Warren Buffett says that.

But at least I now know why Buffett called up Ted Weschler for the role at Berkshire Hathaway, rather than me!

p.s. We’ve finally transitioned to a new email system. As best I can tell it’s all working great, but I did delete some email addresses that were bouncing. If you have any problems, I’d suggest re-subscribing. Have a great weekend!

From Monevator

How to future proof your kids’ financial future – Monevator

Three months into post-FIRE life – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Returns from alternative asset classes – Monevator

News

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

Happy 50th birthday to the index fund – CFA Institute

Google tightens rules to stamp out scam ads – Which

Britons resume borrowing as the economy reopens – Guardian

US house prices rise fastest in 30 years. Is there a global bubble? – ThisIsMoney

Restaurants and bars forced to shut due to staff self-isolating – BBC

Slough goes bankrupt after discovery of ‘£100m black hole’ in budget – Guardian

Monevator named No. 1 personal finance blog in a UK top 10 – Vuelio

Two and 20 is long dead. Hedge fund fees continue to fall – CNBC

Products, services, and spending

More on the upcoming Green Savings bonds from NS&I – Which

Visiting the factory that turns out two prefab houses a day – ThisIsMoney

Special offer: Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months – Interactive Investor

Festivals 2021: which ones are still going ahead? – BBC

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

Three rural properties on sale with businesses attached – ThisIsMoney

Homes for sale near a football stadium, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

How a little Bitcoin can change your 60/40 portfolio a lot – Morningstar

Magic number – Humble Dollar

How to protect your portfolio against inflation [Search result]FT

Why annuities act like a ‘licence to spend’ in retirement – Think Advisor

Planning for life after full-time work [Podcast]Rational Reminder

We shouldn’t be too worried about the pension time bomb – The Evidence-based Investor

The hidden assumptions of financial calculators – Morningstar

Follow your passion is good financial advice – Incognito Money Scribe

16 unbelievable facts about the markets – A Wealth of Common Sense

EIS and VCTs: higher risks with big potential rewards [Search result]FT

Naughty corner: Active antics

In search of 100-baggers in the start-up space – Meb Faber

Five lessons from owning five shares for ten years – Maynard Paton

15 years of income and growth from UK-listed investment trusts – Getting Minted

Bitcoin is anti-fragile, as China’s mining crackdown is about to prove – AVC

Everything is looking very rosy in the US right now – Investing Caffeine

How ‘evergreen’ private equity funds change things up – Institutional Investor

Covid corner

Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine batches could cause travel issues – BBC

How a misleading stat claims more vaccinated people die – BBC

Britain thinks it can out-vaccinate the Delta variant – CNN

Don’t rush to get your second jab too soon – BBC

UK teens using lemon juice to fake positive Covid tests and skip school – iNews

Life after the 1918 flu has lessons for our post-pandemic world – CNN

Where’s my Lyme vaccine? – Slate

Kindle book bargains

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillbeau – £0.99 on Kindle

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Collapse of Lehman Brothers£0.99 on Kindle

SAS: Leadship Secrets from the Special Forces by various authors – £0.99 on Kindle

Ultralearning: Accelerate Your Career, Master Hard Skills, and Outsmart the Competition by Scott Young – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

Californian agriculture has run out of water – New York Times

Red squirrels and pine martens could lose protection in planning rules review – Guardian

Off our beat

How to remember you’re alive – Raptitude

Past, present, and future time perspectives – Darius Foroux

The distraction-free benefits of five-hour work days – Reasons to be Cheerful

And finally…

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
– Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

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