Weekend reading: The cheerful way out of debt

What caught my eye this week.

While I’ve made the case for running a big interest-only mortgage in recent years, overall I still loathe debt.

The first thing I tell almost anyone who asks me about their finances? Get rid of the non-mortgage debt.

It’s always surprising to me how much debt some people have. Especially those earning a reasonable salary.

Sure, you can make a case for not paying off student loans, or even for financing a car versus buying new. (But better not to buy new!1)

Generally though, debt drags you down. It turns compound interest into your enemy. Debt is mentally dispiriting, too.

Celebrate good – and bad – times

Perhaps my perma-downer on the Big D is why an article celebrating being in debt at The Money Principle caught my attention.

Of course the author, Maria Nevada, urges you to ‘demolish’ debt ASAP.

But rather than bemoaning the state of your finances that made such emergency action necessary, Maria suggests you think positively about how this episode will enhance your life story:

Things started to happen once I pulled away from the misery debt brings and found reasons to celebrate it.

I felt empowered, not downtrodden.

I felt hope, not despair.

Paying off our debt became the meaning of my life, not its destroyer.

Do you wish to pay off your debt and live the life you want?

You can do it. But you must resist the pull of negativity and focus on the reasons to celebrate your debt. Learn to celebrate your debt, not in the new age ‘I love everything about me and my life’ way, but as a set of opportunities you may never get again.

Do read the full article – especially if you’re facing a debt challenge.

The only way out of debt is up

After 14 years writing Monevator I’m finally appreciating how big a role stories play in motivating most people about money – and everything else for that matter.

I came to financial independence via a compound interest calculator. This anonymous site was partly founded on the back of that.

But I’m unusual. Most people want to see a human face, and to hear a story. They want abstract concepts about money turned into a narrative, and an arc.

For an example, look no further than the great job my co-blogger has done on charting his path to early retirement and beyond.

I’ve a close friend who has long struggled to turn monthly budgeting and half-arsed saving into a financial plan.

That’s despite – or maybe because of – plenty of lectures from me over the years.

But recently I happened to tell her about how I met The Accumulator, and how different he was in those days.

TA was a high-spender, and in hock. Extremely different from today.

My friend was visibly intrigued. A couple of days later she emailed me about online investing platforms.

I’ve never found a way out of debt

Some readers will feel that ‘celebrating’ debt is at best a mental delusion, and at worst a cop-out.

I hear you. But then I’ve never been in debt, and I’ve always had savings – right back from when I took my first paper round as an 11-year old.

Yeah – go me!

But really, who is more likely to inspire somebody who is up against it right now?

A person who could save without ever really thinking about it? Or someone who strove and found ways to turn their finances around?

I think the answer is obvious.

So three cheers for wherever you start your journey to being good with money!

And have a great weekend everyone.

From Monevator

Survival of the fittest when it comes to ESG returns – Monevator

How much do I need to retire? – Monevator

From the archive-ator: Don’t waste money buying expensive gifts – 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!2

UK prices soar at fastest rate for almost 10 years… – BBC

…with used car prices up 27% on a year ago – ThisIsMoney

…and rents rising at quickest pace in 13 years – BBC

Higher interest rates could weigh on housing market, says Nationwide – Guardian

HMRC chief insists new data grab will bring taxpayer benefits [Search result]FT

Banks will have to repay transfer scam victims under new law – Which

British Land to turn empty shopping centres into online delivery hubs – Guardian

Calculating ‘safe’ withdrawal rates for the years ahead [US but relevant]Morningstar

Products and services

RCI bank launches ‘green’ 14-day notice account paying 0.55% – ThisIsMoney

Six ways banking apps can help you stay on top of bills and services – Which

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

Tired of being snooped on as you work from home? Try a ‘mouse jiggler’ – Amazon

Want to be a DIY Venture Capitalist? Sign-up via my link and we can both get £50 towards our budding empires – Seedrs

Homes for sale priced near the UK’s £270,000 average, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Everyone’s a renter – A Teachable Moment

America is booming, but inflation is pissing off Americans – Ben Carlson

Cashflow is everything – Meaningful Money

Crypto in the classroom: Lucy Kellaway on the kids’ new craze [Search result]FT

Three tips from a side-hustling couple who make $3m a year – CNBC

Do you have too much stuff but not enough space? – One Frugal Girl

Wrestling for money – Humble Dollar

The UK’s boom-less recovery – David Smith

The stock market is not the economy – Compound Advisors

Spending – Indeedably

Frugal versus cheap – The Frug

Deviation mini-special

Larry Swedroe: Tactical allocation has not beaten index investing – T.E.B.I.

It’s hard to argue for high active share funds – Morningstar

Factor investing deep dive [Video/podcast]Alpha Architect

Naughty corner: Active antics

Portfolio turnover isn’t a sin – Albert Bridge Capital

Case study: buying and selling SThree – UK Dividend Stocks

The rise of ‘media-first’ professional investors – Neckar’s Insecurity Analysis

The case for UK equity income investment trusts – ThisIsMoney

Should you invest in a start-up? [Search result]FT

Investing lessons from a 1906 classic – Novel Investor

Covid corner

Booster jabs to be added to England’s Covid pass for travel – Guardian

Austria to impose mandatory vaccinations from February – CNBC

‘Child of Delta’ spreads faster but is less symptomatic – CNBC and Independent

Kindle book bargains

Talking to My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis – £0.99 on Kindle

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

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

Environmental factors

The planet has a human poop problem – Slate

Investing in UK energy storage – DIY Investor

Off our beat

No more side quests – Josh Brown

How to quit your job well and without regrets… – Fast Company

…or how to have staying power if you don’t want to quit – Guardian

Singapore’s tech-utopia is a surveillance state nightmare – Rest of World

Abandoned former USSR sites, in pictures – Guardian

And finally…

“Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!”
– John C. Bogle, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

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At least that’s usually true, when a global pandemic hasn’t sent secondhand prices soaring.
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”.

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