The Fire Cemetery (January 2021 Edition)

Here lies a list of blogs now deceased, moved on to fairer lands…

On life support (>6 months since last post)

  • Big Blue Money – Formerly Big Blue Money, now renamed to Coffee Money, posting intermittently
  • Rockstar Finance – Was back under new management, but with a very barren site. Doesn’t seem to have added any posts for some time.
  • Frugal Student – Posting from August 2016 to March 2020, mainly about investing.
  • Left FI – Blogged from May to August 2019, with a bit of a hiatus before a further flurry back in May 2020.
  • The Canny Contractor – Started posting about their dividend growth portfolio in Q3 2016, with their most recent post in April 2020 covering Q4 2019.
  • The English Investor – Last post in July 2020 titled “The English Investor is back”
  • The Saving Journey – Starting in October 2017, with frequent monthly updates, their blogging peters out up to May 2020.
  • Want Less – Started blogging way back in June 2015, but blogging has slowed in the last two years, with the last post in July 2020.
  • Fire Fans – Posted seven times, five in Dec 2019, one in Jan 2020, and a final one in Feb 2020.
  • Financial Anvil – Also started in Dec 2019, lasted one month longer, March 2020.
  • Psyfitec – A potential competitor, blogging on psychology and finance. They started in Feb 2009, and have had a few short hiatuses along the way, so I suspect their March 2020 post won’t be the last.
  • Baldrick’s Early Retirement UK – First post 5th March 2020, last post 23rd April 2020.
  • Financing Freedom – First post 4th April 2020, last post 25th July 2020.
  • Money by choice – First post 17th April 2020, last post 10th July 2020.
  • Plan on Fire – Started posting 15th June 2020, last post 28th July 2020.
  • Prudent Programmer – Pages comes up with safety warnings, but is accessible. First post September 2019, last post August 2020.

In the morgue (dormant for >1 year)

  • Finance Your Fire – Marc participated in lots of the FIRE blogging scenes Thought Experiments etc, but last posted in August 2019
  • Fire in London – First post in Nov 2016, last in December 2018
  • Deliberate Living UK – First post 2017, last from Wephway was in January 2019
  • Sex Health Money Death – Jim first posted in August 2015, and the last post was August 2018. At that point he was close to retiring, so he may well have blogged his last.
  • Under The Money Tree – One of the original few, now dormant since December 2017
  • UK Girl on Fire – First post April 14th 2019, last on July 31st 2019. A fair amount of indeedably inspired work on their site.
  • The Finance Zombie – Last post in February 2019, infrequent prior but had been going since the 25th of September 2014.
  • Bangkok 2 Blighty – Another big name, they started posting in April 2018, last post in October 2019.
  • Your Freedom Pot – Started blogging in Feb 2018, with monthly updates to July 2018, then nada.
  • Girl vs Money – Another short blog, with a few personal finance posts from July to September 2018.

Dead and buried

  • Mr Squirrel – Another titan, sorely missed
  • The Fire Engine – About a month of posting
  • Some Things Don’t Change – Been gone some time sadly
  • Financially Free by 40 – the latest addition, Huw’s last post was in mid-2018. The domain is now up for grabs.
  • Grizgal on Fire – Last posted on the 8th of October 2019, their website is now dead.
  • Liberate Life – Last posted on 11th September 2019, before deleting their website
  • Chuffed 2 bits – Last posted in November 2019, the disappeared from this plane of existence. Now redirects to a completely unassociated blog.
  • Next Chapter FI – My records show they last posted on the 2nd of January 2020, before puffing into void.
  • MsZiYou – Feminist FIRE fan, who at one point was podcasting as well as blogging. Close to FIRE and changes in life circumstances led her to close her blog.
  • Mess and Marigolds – Last posted on October the 15th 2019, their blog (mainly about cleaning with a bit of saving) started in September 2016. Domain now dead.
  • Ready Steady Retire – Posted for about two months, from November 7th 2019 to December 21st 2019. Another dead domain.
  • FIDdom – Bec started posting way back in November 2017, with her last post on the 17th of November 2019. 18 months to two years seems to be about average for survival time.
  • Fretful Finance – Blogged from December 2nd 2018, with the most recent update on January 25th 2020. Also now deceased.
  • Formerly Skint – Weekly money diaries started in January 2018 and dried up in January 2019. Now ‘parked’.
  • Make Save Invest Money – Leon was posting from December 2017 to January 2019, and then appears to run out of steam. Now another dead link.
  • Money Doesn’t Talk – Wasn’t blogging long, maybe six months?
  • Liberate Life – Blogging for about a year, now dropped off my radar and with a dead site. Last post September 2019

Crossed the finishing line:

These bloggers finished their FIRE journey or completed goals, and signed off with distinction:

  • Young FI Guy – One of my favourites, a titan, gone but not forgotten
  • Fire the 9 to 5 – A fairly big poster, first post February 28th 2018. They had retired early, and posted a sign off blog entry in November 2020. Hope they’re enjoying their time.
  • Pursue Fire – Dan started in July 2018, last post in January 2020 winding up the blog.

The Lazarus circuit

These are bloggers who have returned from the edge, touched the void, etc:

  • Sparklebee – After a six month hiatus returned to posting with the news they quit their job and were truly on countdown to FIRE!
  • Early Retirement Guy – Now redirects to MatchedBettingGuy, where he continues to blog.
  • Little Miss Fire – LMF changed sites in 2019 and blogging was patchy after the swap. First post sometime in 2018 I think. As of October to December 2020 is back posting regularly.
  • 3652 Days – Fairly infrequently updated, but going since December 2015, so often dips into the three-six month warning zone.
  • Middle Class Hustlers – Holy smokes! Blogged for about a month in 2018/9, then back with three posts in two days in January 2021.

If you can think of any more please leave a comment below, and I’ll periodically return to update.

I am indebted to /u/reckless-saving over on /r/FIREUK, who makes this post so much easier by producing a similar weekly curated post.

Full English Accompaniment – Embracing change

I am increasingly frustrated by state and institutional approaches to long-term planning. Working in the NHS means I’ve long known the government takes a quick fix strategy, rather than actually calculating the most effective long-term solution. I naively assumed that this would not be the case for industry, or industrial planning. Proper industrial & financial planning has worked for so many countries, surely we would look at five-ten year plans in the UK. I was wrong, and it makes me sad.

What brought this to the forefront of my thinking? Government announcements this week about strategies to help with housing. Since the 1950s there has been low levels of housebuilding in the UK, and much of the UKs property market is underutilised. What is the Governments strategy? Fanfare-laden ‘Generation Buy’, a tagline for a plan to remove the financial risk restrictions imposed after the 2008 housing bust-up (1). 95% mortgages here we come. BoJo told the Telegraph he wanted to “create a “Generation Buy” of young people enabled to engage in the world of capitalism by investing in their own home” (1). I mean the only reason they can’t invest in their own home at the moment is the disequilibrium of house price/ earnings, but much easier to create further debt and financial risk than either a) increase earnings or b) decrease house prices. Plus the tory bedrock are satisfied as their house prices continue to increase after the COVID lockdown uptick (2).

All the while the world burns. Literally in some places. You’d be forgiven for missing the massive toxic waste spill that’s occurred in Kamchatka this month (3). Huge swathes of seabed sterilised. Only coming to light after surfers come ashore blind due to chemical burns. That doesn’t matter though. Much more important things going on that deserve column space, like mineral firms potentially becoming pawns in geopolitical battles (4).

Thankfully a few people pay attention to natures warning signs. Crusty suits and stuffy politicians may be avoidant of new ideas, but the market isn’t. Plenty of investors and companies, including among the FI community, are putting funds into change. DIY Investor UK is a great example, investing in a fossil free portfolio that follows his convictions (5). Gentleman’s Family Finances documents his experiences with Abundance, a platform that enables you to invest in bond/loan-type products for sustainable projects (6, 7). Both Abundance and rival Clim8invest are currently raising money through Seedrs/CrowdCube (7, 8). Where the is interest, there is a market.

I am left with a speck of hope. People will vote with their feet, and if enough people invest or spend sustainably then progress will follow the money, not Governmental plans. Change will happen.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

N.B. This is likely to be the last Full English for some time, for NHS/ personal reasons. The UK FIRE Blog RSS tracker will remain here for your weekly fix of posts: UK FIRE Blog Feed

News:

Opinion/ Comment/ Blogs:

References:

  1. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-generation-buy-mortgage-deposits-b754599.html
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/uk-mortgage-approvals-at-12-year-high-as-house-prices-keep-rising
  3. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/07/asia/russia-kamchatka-toxic-marine-life-death-intl/index.html
  4. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/04/us-invests-british-miner-fight-chinese-control-rare-metals/
  5. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/10/fossil-free-portfolio-update.html
  6. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/10/05/literally-investing-in-abundance/
  7. https://www.abundanceinvestment.com/
  8. ww.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/10/04/us-invests-british-miner-fight-chinese-control-rare-metals/
  9. https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/timeseries/dgd8/ukea
  10. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-8786339/Rate-cuts-come-fast-brutal-NS-blow.html%E2%80%A8
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/sep/27/bank-of-england-rate-setter-backs-negative-interest-rates
  12. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/cineworld-close-cinemas-after-no-time-die-delayed-b772792.html
  13. https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-bans-sale-crypto-derivatives-retail-consumers
  14. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/money-makeover/money-makeover-33-nine-buy-to-lets-can-retire-40/
  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54370026
  16. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-54432739
  17. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/achieve-financial-independence-170047857.html
  18. https://earlyretirementinuk.blogspot.com/2020/10/end-of-month-report-september-2020.html
  19. https://sparklebeeblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/01/monthly-update-sep-2020/
  20. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2020/10/03/september-2020-plus-other-updates-2/
  21. https://firelifestyle.co.uk/2020/10/03/financial-update-19-summer-is-over-october/
  22. https://playingwithfire.uk/september-2020-big-spending-alert/
  23. https://awaytoless.com/monthly-spending-september-2020/
  24. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/savings-september-2020/
  25. https://firevlondon.com/2020/10/04/sep-2020-update-on-a-zero-month-and-on-q3/
  26. https://pathtolife2.com/2020/10/05/financial-independence-update-september-2020/
  27. https://sassenachsaving.home.blog/2020/10/05/september-net-worth-and-goals-update/
  28. https://www.moneymage.net/2020-september-savings-report/
  29. https://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-september-2020/
  30. https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-27/
  31. https://adotium.co.uk/2020/10/03/autumn-2020-report/
  32. https://moneygrower.co.uk/third-quarter-dividend-income-2020/
  33. https://obviousinvestor.com/p2p-lending-portfolio-update-september-1st-2020/
  34. https://southwalesfi.co.uk/2020/10/09/fees-and-fire/
  35. https://averagemoneymanagement.wordpress.com/2020/10/09/cost-vs-value/
  36. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/10/10-years-of-fundsmith-equity/
  37. https://bankeronfire.com/office-puppet-show
  38. https://indeedably.com/millionaire/
  39. https://moneybulldog.co.uk/do-you-really-need-pet-insurance/
  40. https://littlemissfire.com/how-to-get-paid-to-walk/
  41. https://lifeafterthedailygrind.com/lifestyle-inflation-how-luxuries-become-necessities/
  42. https://sassenachsaving.home.blog/2020/10/11/the-true-cost-of-having-children/
  43. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2020/09/conservatory-design-build-part-3.html
  44. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2020/10/best-and-worst-performing-stocks-through-the-pandemic.html/
  45. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/10/09/padawan-recency/
  46. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/21-year-old-net-worth-and-fire-plan-update-2/
  47. https://diseasecalleddebt.com/what-are-the-financial-concerns-of-relocating-for-love/
  48. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/10/02/month-end-september-2020/
  49. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/10/07/home-improvement/
  50. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/10/09/will-covid-affect-your-future-spending-patterns/
  51. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/10/ocado-portfolio-addition.html
  52. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/09/ceres-power-full-year-results.html
  53. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/09/green-homes-grant.html
  54. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2020/10/01/your-future-self/
  55. https://monevator.com/the-slow-and-steady-passive-portfolio-update-q3-2020/
  56. https://monevator.com/low-cost-index-trackers/
  57. https://monevator.com/are-you-ready-to-spend-all-your-money/

The Full English Accompaniment – Negative interest rates

Life’s turning into a real tough place to earn a return. Lots of talk from the BoE over the last couple of weeks about the potential for negative interest rates in the UK (1, 2). I’m not fully sold on negative interest rates. Japan has been trying it for several years with minimal effect (3). Feels slightly like a last roll of the dice from desperate men. This video from The Plain Bagel has a good explanation of how and why they’re supposed to work (4):

Couple that with NS&I, the last bastion of inflation-beating/equalling interest rates on savings announcing a cut to it’s interest rates, and things aren’t so rosy (5). Premium bond rates are also getting a haircut (6). Can’t really blame NS&I. They were tasked by the government with raising money through national savings. They were so wildly successful their IT systems have failed to keep up (7, 8).

So savings interest is getting chopped, and the stock market is looking bubbly. Speculation and individual stock manias appear to be driving at least a proportion of portfolio returns (9). The sustainability of the current run is debatable. Taken together I have concerns about the viability of my FI plan. There was an interesting article in the Telegraph this week, discussing whether the 4% rule for pensions will stack up in the era of low interest rates and volatile returns (10). Plenty of FI-ers plan using the 4% rule, based upon those ‘long-run averages’, to return necessary FI goal numbers. If we’re heading into a further decade of 1% returns on bonds/ savings, people will have to take more ‘risk’, diversify into property or equities to try and maintain their required 4%. Will house price increases or BTL supply those returns, or will it all come down to bull markets? The future is looking murky, and we continue to live in interesting times.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

P.S. I appear to be particularly miserable/ morbid/ grumpy today, so sorry about that.

News:

Blogs/ Opinions:

References:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/sep/17/bank-of-england-keeps-interest-rates-at-01-but-warns-on-economic-outlook
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54314971
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/080716/why-negative-interest-rates-are-still-not-working-japan.asp
  4. https://youtu.be/pX3_3NMZa0k
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/sep/21/nsi-savings-rates-premium-bonds-prizes-direct-saver-investment-account-isas
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54232018
  7. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/saving/article-8775437/NS-plunges-meltdown-Delays-rates-tumble.html
  8. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ns-amp-i-says-sorry-for-poor-customer-service-as-it-slashes-rates-2bmk7pvsl
  9. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4375276-macroview-newton-physics-and-market-bubble
  10. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-low-interest-rates-killed-magic-4-retirement-rule-vbbvvdt3c
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/20/leak-reveals-2tn-of-possibly-corrupt-us-financial-activity
  12. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-8750989/Nvidia-hits-bid-block-deal-tech-giant-Arm.html
  13. http://astrobiology.com/2020/09/phosphine-detected-in-the-atmosphere-of-venus—an-indicator-of-possible-life.html
  14. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237839
  15. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/44999445?_set_bev_on_new_domain=1600083186_IvH1VwA96IkDx8UK&source_impression_id=p3_1600083186_IFtPoKvH1zXUopRm
  16. https://www.winkworth.co.uk/properties/sales/goldhawk-road-shepherds-bush-w12/SHE121014
  17. https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-83955202.html
  18. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2020/09/15/milestone-reached/
  19. https://www.firemusings.org/updated-cost-of-coffee-cake-cookies/
  20. https://pathtolife2.com/2020/09/17/financial-independence-update-august-2020/
  21. https://southwalesfi.co.uk/2020/09/18/why-dividend-stocks-arent-as-good-as-they-sound/
  22. https://moneygrower.co.uk/10000-in-cumulative-dividend-income/
  23. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2020/09/18/ideas-for-meal-planning/
  24. https://www.moneymage.net/6-reasons-to-batch-cook/
  25. https://www.muchmorewithless.co.uk/ration-challenge-meal-plan/
  26. https://playingwithfire.uk/living-and-working-abroad-can-you-get-to-fire-sooner/
  27. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/millionaire-interview-series-6-educatorfi/
  28. http://thefijourney.co.uk/wp/2020/09/20/project-2235-september-2020-update-a-new-normal/
  29. https://indeedably.com/explain-money-to-me/
  30. https://sassenachsaving.home.blog/2020/09/26/musings-on-turning-fifty/
  31. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/09/plug-power-portfolio-addition.html
  32. https://averagemoneymanagement.wordpress.com/2020/09/25/blocking-out-the-noise/
  33. https://www.foxymonkey.com/beat-inflation/
  34. https://drfire.co.uk/the-long-tail/
  35. https://bankeronfire.com/build-wealth-with-the-80-20-rule
  36. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/09/19/trading-up/
  37. https://medfiblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/24/flight-distance-a-p2p-story/
  38. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/09/worldwide-healthcare-trust/
  39. https://www.mouthymoney.co.uk/beware-dodgy-sellers-targeting-wannabe-influencers-to-peddle-rubbish-goods-online/
  40. https://sparklebeeblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/september-activities/
  41. https://monevator.com/should-you-use-cash-to-bridge-the-gap-between-your-isas-and-your-pension/
  42. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-daddy-what-did-you-do-in-the-great-pandemic/

The Full English Accompaniment – Spectres of our past

Just when you thought it was safe to peak out from under the covers, 2020 brings back that myopic decision to smash you in the face. A tetherball hit with venom and fury smacking the back of your head.

Image Source: The Thick of It

No, it’s not the impending second lockdown due to people getting too boozed up and handsy…

Brexit’s back in the news baby (1, 2).

Let’s distract the news cycle from that second wave and The Thick of It level of government with another joyous occasion. Spinning how the government has signed deals it’s not read and agreed to things it now wants to renege on. I mean mother beeb can put out good news articles about future trade deals (3), but it doesn’t detract from the fact BoJo& Co are looking at violating international law and breaking up the union. It just distracts.

Image source: The Thick of It

I’ve more or less tried to keep Brexit off these pages. I never thought it was a good idea, but there were glimmers of hope amongst the dung shovelled by greedy media-hungry political dilettante’s acting as the face of out. Maybe it could have been a grand vision. I had hoped we might see a Commonwealth trading block, bound together by shared history, serving to both compensate for our historic violence and crimes, and build prosperity for the future. Instead we’ve got this shower-of-shit government.

So I’ve started re-stocking the larder with long dated food. We’re re-tightening the proverbial household waistband; should MrsShrink lose her job. We’re parking cash for the rainy day and not sinking it into the vagaries of the market; expanding our emergency fund. 2020 has been a tasty warm-up for 2021. It’s going to be a long ride.

Image source: The Thick of It

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News/ Blogs/ Opinions:

References:

  1. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54099257
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54093220
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54116606
  4. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/10/stock-market-futures-open-to-close-news.html
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/06/tesla-could-be-the-most-dangerous-stock-on-wall-street-investment-researcher-says.html
  6. https://www.reddit.com/gallery/ioyq50
  7. https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-09-06/big-tech-bubble-could-be-rivaled-by-china-s-food-and-beverage-sector
  8. https://www.joe.co.uk/comedy/someone-has-used-freddos-to-prove-that-minimum-wage-in-the-uk-should-be-18-hr-248521
  9. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/portfolio-update-21-august-2020-105404e/
  10. https://zerotofreedom.org/my-portfolio-review-september-2020/
  11. https://firevlondon.com/2020/09/06/august-2020-eat-tech-to-help-out-your-returns/
  12. https://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-august-2020/
  13. https://www.moneymage.net/2020-august-savings-report/
  14. https://firelifestyle.co.uk/2020/09/10/financial-update-18-is-it-september-already/
  15. https://sassenachsaving.home.blog/2020/09/12/august-2020-net-worth/
  16. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2020/09/selling-xaar.html/
  17. https://thehumblepenny.com/how-to-start-a-business
  18. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/09/china-investment-trusts-come-of-age/
  19. https://indeedably.com/business/
  20. https://bankeronfire.com/higher-taxes
  21. https://medfiblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/exam-hustling/
  22. https://gettingminted.com/dividend-cut/
  23. http://www.cantswingacat.co.uk/2020/09/11/low-interest-premium-bonds/
  24. https://theescapeartist.me/2020/09/12/when-you-want-to-help-people-you-tell-them-the-truth/
  25. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/tesla-bubble-bubble-bubble-pop/
  26. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/from-dinky-to-sitcom/
  27. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/09/bg-positive-change-fund-update.html
  28. https://monevator.com/put-150-years-into-your-retirement-calculator-and-smoke-it/
  29. https://monevator.com/dont-wait-to-open-your-stocks-and-shares-isa/
  30. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-what-gives/

The Full English – The Working From Home Collapse

A big theme among the associated press/ copywriters this week has been working from home. Indeedably provided us with a fab view take on what’s going on, and what it’s like to be in That There London (as opposed to us provincial capitals) (1). When lockdown first kicked off and people moved to working from home I believed it was a flash in the pan. As a species we’re primed to dislike change, especially as we get older and higher up the ranks. It would be a few months, and then we’d all be back. But the longer this ‘new normal’ goes on, the more I think that we’re seeing a transformative change.

Neither I or MrsShrink have worked from home. It’s difficult to work from home as a Doctor. You can’t perform a physical examination. As a psychiatrist, I can’t assess the subtle interpersonal behaviours which form part of our reviews. The NHS, notoriously slow in it’s monolithic tech, won’t allow most IT solutions for security reasons. MrsShrink meanwhile, off in manufacturing, is managed by gammon-types with grey suits, grey hair and grey skin. They struggle to understand the role IT plays in their zombie company on a good day, never mind working from home. Reminds me of the Japanese IT Security Minister who had never used a computer and didn’t understand the concept of flash drives (2).

My view is therefore coloured by my experience. For most professional office jobs the story is different, and the narrative coming out of press offices says so. Google and Natwest have both told staff to stay home until next year (3, 4). Barclays are a bit more old-fashioned, but have still said a return to office will take time (5). BoJo & Co of course want everyone back in the offices, because a large proportion of our economy is structured upon those offices and the surrounding service infrastructure (6). They don’t want that to change. But people do. Commuting is miserable, and working from home means less spent on the commute and more time with family (7). For the top brass it’s an opportunity to flex/ impress with your home environment (8).

The Agrarian Revolutions, Inclosures Act and Industrial Revolution all saw massive shifts in the way people lived and worked. We’ve gone from serfdom, through shifting to villages and working on manorial lands, to living in cities/ towns working in factories/mines. The last century has seen industrial production offshored, and those productive factories replaced by service factories. Transport infrastructure has improved, but we still travel to hubs of work. Is that about to change, and if so, what’s the fallout?

For companies it offers the opportunity to lay off layers of staff and automate (9). For the worker it cuts the commute to a crawl, enables greater family time, saving cash, and geoarbitage. As an NHS worker we geoarbitaged early. I get paid the same wherever I am in the UK, so why live somewhere with a high cost of living. Now more people get that opportunity.

The fallout? House prices outside of the South East skyrocketing, as people move to lower cost of living, less polluted, less commuted areas. Commercial property? I wouldn’t touch REITs right now. If all those offices close what will the buildings become? And then there’s town and city centres. Most high streets were already hearing the grim reaper’s call. Will they transform, shorn of their officeworkers into shopping and nightlife centres. Or is this the final call? That service infrastructure left empty, sandwich artists placed on Universal Basic Income. If we’re about to see wholesale change in our working lives it’s worth thinking about what will happen to what is left behind.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News:

Opinion/ Blogs:

References:

  1. https://indeedably.com/ghost-town/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/15/japan-cyber-security-ministernever-used-computer-yoshitaka-sakurada
  3. https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-to-keep-employees-home-until-summer-2021-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-11595854201
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53484767
  5. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53579428
  6. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jul/31/coronavirus-companies-defy-boris-johnsons-planned-return-to-work
  7. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53580656
  8. https://news.efinancialcareers.com/uk-en/3004187/bankers-lifestyles-pandemic
  9. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/29/lots-of-companies-are-saying-they-have-operating-leverage-thats-just-code-for-firing-people.html
  10. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-8560157/Now-City-watchdog-tells-banks-reject-loans-took-break.html
  11. https://www.businessinsider.com/bernie-sanders-calls-elon-musk-a-hypocrite-over-stimulus-tweet-2020-7?r=US&IR=T
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/28/worlds-largest-nuclear-fusion-project-under-assembly-in-france
  13. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53563601
  14. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/07/30/monzos-losses-rise-114m-banking-app-warns-slowing-growth/
  15. https://www.forbes.com/sites/vineerbhansali/2020/07/29/what-locust-swarms-tell-us-about-robinhood-kodak-and-covid-mania-in-the-stock-market/
  16. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-8552729/Five-key-areas-capital-gains-tax-reform-impact.html
  17. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/3-months-in-thoughts-doubts-panic-perspective/
  18. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/07/31/vcts-for-financial-independence-part-3-making-it-work-for-you/
  19. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/07/29/holidays-in-the-sun-are-not-a-human-right-people/
  20. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2020/08/01/july-2020-plus-other-updates/
  21. https://firevlondon.com/2020/08/02/july-2020-shambles-and-zombies/
  22. https://moneygrower.co.uk/july-stock-purchase-a-polarised-market/
  23. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/income-expenses-savings-july-2020-1869-saved/
  24. https://earlyretirementinuk.blogspot.com/2020/08/end-of-month-report-1st-of-august.html
  25. http://www.cantswingacat.co.uk/2020/07/30/july-income-report/
  26. https://pathtolife2.com/2020/07/30/financial-independence-update-july-2020/
  27. https://averagemoneymanagement.wordpress.com/2020/07/31/freetrade-diary-7-july/
  28. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/july-20-net-worth-and-monthly-update-23-569001-36-89-fi/
  29. https://monevator.com/freetrade-how-to-build-your-portfolio/
  30. https://monevator.com/the-agony-of-alpha/
  31. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/07/tesla-new-addition.html
  32. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/07/smithson-closes-in-on-2-billion/
  33. https://bankeronfire.com/not-fade-away

The FIRE Cemetery (July 2020 Edition)

Here lies a list of blogs now deceased, moved on to fairer lands…

On life support (>6 months since last post)

  • Early Retirement Guy – First post 2014, most recent was the 18th of January 2020, with an annual net worth update from Guy after an eventful year
  • Big Blue Money – Formerly Big Blue Money, now renamed to Coffee Money, posting intermittently
  • Finance Your Fire – Marc participated in lots of the FIRE blogging scenes Thought Experiments etc, but last posted in August 2019
  • Mess and Marigolds – Last posted on October the 15th 2019, their blog (mainly about cleaning with a bit of saving) started in September 2016.
  • Ready Steady Retire – Posted for about two months, from November 7th 2019 to December 21st 2019.
  • Little Miss Fire – We’ve been here before, and sad to see. LMF changed sites last year, and the new one appears to have been left while their spirits company takes the focus. First post sometime in 2018 I think? Last post 17th December 2019.
  • FIDdom – Bec started posting way back in November 2017, with her last post on the 17th of November 2019.
  • Bangkok 2 Blighty – Another big name, they started posting in April 2018, last post in October 2019.
  • Fretful Finance – Blogged from December 2nd 2018, with the most recent update on January 25th 2020.
  • 3652 Days – Fairly infrequently updated, but going since December 2015, so I suspect their post from January the 19th 2020 won’t be their last.

 

In the morgue (dormant for >1 year)

  • Fire in London – First post in Nov 2016, last in December 2018
  • Deliberate Living UK – First post 2017, last from Wephway was in January 2019
  • Sex Health Money Death – Jim first posted in August 2015, and the last post was August 2018. At that point he was close to retiring, so he may well have blogged his last.
  • Under The Money Tree – One of the original few, now dormant since December 2017
  • UK Girl on Fire – First post April 14th 2019, last on July 31st 2019. A fair amount of indeedably inspired work on their site.
  • Fire the 9 to 5 – A fairly big poster, last wrote on July 22nd 2019, first post February 28th 2018. They had retired early, so hopefully they’re off doing better things.
  • Formerly Skint – Weekly money diaries started in January 2018 and dried up in January 2019
  • Make Save Invest Money – Leon was posting from December 2017 to January 2019, and then appears to run out of steam
  • The Finance Zombie – Last post in February 2019, infrequent prior but had been going since the 25th of September 2014.

 

Dead and buried

  • Young FI Guy – One of my favourites, a titan, gone but not forgotten
  • Mr Squirrel – Another titan, sorely missed
  • The Fire Engine – About a month of posting
  • Middle Class Hustlers – Lasted about two months
  • Some Things Don’t Change – Been gone some time sadly
  • Financially Free by 40 – the latest addition, Huw’s last post was in mid-2018. The domain is now up for grabs.
  • Grizgal on Fire – Last posted on the 8th of October 2019, their website is now dead.
  • Pursue Fire – Dan started in July 2018, last post in January 2020 winding up the blog.
  • Liberate Life – Last posted on 11th September 2019, before deleting their website
  • Chuffed 2 bits – Last posted in November 2019, the disappeared from this plane of existence
  • Next Chapter FI – My records show they last posted on the 2nd of January 2020, before puffing into void.
  • MsZiYou – Feminist FIRE fan, who at one point was podcasting as well as blogging. Close to FIRE and changes in life circumstances led her to close her blog.

 

The Lazarus circuit

These are bloggers who have returned from the edge, touched the void, etc:

  • Sparklebee – After a six month hiatus returned to posting with the news they quit their job and were truly on countdown to FIRE!
  • Rockstar Finance – Is now back under new management, but with a very barren site.

 

If you can think of any more please leave a comment below, and I’ll periodically return to update.

I am indebted to /u/reckless-saving over on /r/FIREUK, who makes this post so much easier.

The Full English Accompaniment – Uncoupled from earnings expectations

I wish I had bought into Tesla in March. So does everyone who didn’t. Well… most people. From a low of $361, it’s now up around $1,500. I seriously considered it, but stuck to my portfolio plans, and have now missed out. Meteoric doesn’t quite cover it.

Tesla

Image Courtesy of Google Market Summary

So I missed out, and I’m disgruntled. Fear Of Missing Out, FOMO, has been cited as a major reason for moves in the Nasdaq over the past few months. Entitled millennial’s wanting to not miss the bandwagon with their US stimulus cheques, so the trope goes. There’s a nice piece in this week’s Wall Street Journal (1), demonstrating that FOMO ain’t a new thing. From the tulips to the South Sea Bubble, most generations will get a little FOMO. We tell ourselves we’re intelligent investors, and we won’t get caught up in this hype.

Instead, we will try to intellectualise a position. Tesla does make sense in our head, as well as our gut, because reasons. It justifies a $300 billion dollar valuation, the greatest of all automotive manufacturers, at >60 times it’s earnings, because reasons (2). It’s beating sales expectations, and expanding it’s factories (2). It’s piggy-backing a rise in Chinese EVs, following a move in China towards a predominantly electric vehicle market (3). We must be right, as (confirmation bias) Piper Sandler, a proper legit firm, reckons that Tesla is worth $2,322 (4). We can make it make sense.

Last week I mentioned the TQQQ in my news. For the uninformed, the Invesco QQQ (ticker: QQQ) is an ETF that tracks the Nasdaq 100 index (5). It’s done very well with the rise of tech, thank you very much. TQQQ is a Powershares ETF triple-leveraged QQQ, just in case your risk tolerance wasn’t sated. The QQQs and the Nasdaq are again interesting this week, as following their colossal climb, we’ve seen a short, sharp drop. The options market is looking pretty negative. Valuations have been climbing, creating larger and larger multiples on the price/earnings outlooks. As the earnings come home to roost, there’s bets that the valuations are too high (6).

So, on the one hand, FOMO and other psychological biases and influences are pushing certain stocks higher. On the other, people are betting against these biases continuing, and reality (whatever that is), asserting itself on stock market prices based on valuations.

The Gestalt Market

This is basically the core philosophy of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (7).

“…asset prices reflect all available information. A direct implication is that it is impossible to “beat the market” consistently on a risk-adjusted basis since market prices should only react to new information.” (7)

Either some of the people amongst those on the bandwagon know something the others don’t, and the out-sized pricing is justified, or they don’t, there’s no info, and market forces will re-assert themselves via a fall in price.

This theorem has plenty of criticism laid on it, by lots of big names. It doesn’t account for behavioural psychology. It doesn’t account for the various anomalies caused by small neglected stocks, or bubbles. The claims of Paul Samuelson, that the market is “micro efficient”, not “macro efficient”.

As I’ve been slogging my way through The Intelligent Investor, a comment from Benjamin Graham has laid this bare:

“Corporate accounting is often tricky; security analysis can be complicated; stock valuations are really dependable only in exceptional cases.” (8)

If corporate accounting in the ’70s, when Ben Graham wrote, was “tricky”, corporate accounting in 2020 is downright shady. My mate is effectively the CFO of a moderate SME. He’s an honest man. He’s spent the last three years tearing his greying hair out as he uncovers deeper and deeper accounting errors by his predecessor and relays them to the owner. How many companies out there are sitting on mis-carried noughts and odd write-downs? This is stuff the market cannot know.

Instead I find myself thinking of the market as the sum of all knowledge and cognitive biases. The sum of wisdom and collective financial thought. Not just knowledge, but also hunches, gambles either way, suspicions and beliefs. You can gamble for or against Tesla or TQQQ. There is likely to be someone out there doing the opposite. Given money and investment follows interest, science imitates and replicates art, we end up at the sum total of belief. We may like to intellectualise and make the company financial data (the science!) echo or challenge the news, but ultimately that is our own bias. The gestalt market doesn’t care. Your beliefs are gristle to it’s mill.

Have a great week,

The Fire Shrink

Fancy a free share? Sign up to Freetrade using this link, and we both get one.

News:

Blogs/ Opinion:

References:

  1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/from-1720-to-tesla-fomo-never-sleeps-11594994422
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jul/18/tesla-valuation-elon-musk-profit
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltaylor/2020/07/16/tesla-inc-share-price-boom-might-not-be-all-it-appears-to-be/#478ac7272a28
  4. https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/tesla-stock-price-street-high-target-piper-sandler-raise-musk-2020-7-1029393184
  5. https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/061715/what-qqq-etf.asp
  6. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4358915-qqq-selling-may-only-begun
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient-market_hypothesis
  8. Benjamin Graham. The Intelligent Investor (Revised Edition). 2003. Chapter 12, page 318.
  9. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/p-epr070220.php
  10. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53392148
  11. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-8535085/230bn-commercial-property-crash-Treasury-watchdog-sounds-alarm.html
  12. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53400721
  13. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-8530101/Government-faces-17bn-bill-fix-age-discrimination-pension-blunder.html
  14. https://www.forbes.com/sites/soonyu/2020/07/14/how-one-fintech-unicorn-became-a-fashion-destination/
  15. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanlewis/2020/07/10/modern-monetary-theory-goes-mainstream/#5fdf246621e5
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/jul/14/nespresso-coffee-capsule-pods-branding-clooney-nestle-recycling-environment
  17. https://southwalesfi.co.uk/2020/07/17/5-tips-to-f-i-r-e/
  18. https://igniting-fire.com/2020/07/17/why-you-need-a-raspberry-pi/
  19. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/2-year-blogging-anniversary-and-38th-birthday/
  20. https://monevator.com/find-the-best-online-broker/
  21. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-is-cash-kaput-post-covid-19/
  22. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2020/07/garden-update-summer-2020-six-on.html
  23. http://bankeronfire.com/the-low-effort-high-impact-way-to-do-well-at-work
  24. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/07/personal-assets-trust-full-year-results.html
  25. https://theescapeartist.me/2020/07/19/every-time-you-see-a-small-business-someone-made-a-brave-decision/
  26. https://asimplelifewithsam.com/2020/07/19/june-review/
  27. https://sassenachsaving.home.blog/2020/07/13/june-2020-net-worth/
  28. https://www.thefrugalcottage.com/30-frugal-living-tips-that-will-save-you-thousands/
  29. https://www.moneymage.net/5-reasons-childfree-and-happy/
  30. https://playingwithfire.uk/covid-19-in-the-uk-its-still-an-emergency/
  31. https://theenglishinvestor.com/and-the-english-investor-is-back/
  32. http://www.cantswingacat.co.uk/2020/07/16/neverspoons-boycotting-wetherspoons/
  33. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2020/07/16/fail-to-plan-plan-to-fail/
  34. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/07/mello-virtual-welcome-to-the-new-age/
  35. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2020/07/15/when-can-we-stop-worrying-about-sequence-risk-swr-series-part-38/
  36. https://www.finumus.com/blog/bye-to-let-its-not-1994-any-more
  37. https://indeedably.com/deliberate/

The Full English – User error

Sadly this a bit of a limited Full English, as my long-suffering phone, on which the draft was stored locally, decided on Thursday it would prefer to emulate a house brick. Minimal news links, no wafty text, mainly UK blogs.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News:

Opinions/ Blogs: (After last week’s craziness it’s a bit briefer today)

References:

  1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-09/triple-leveraged-tech-etf-has-exodus-after-200-surge-from-lows
  2. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-8506319/House-prices-forecast-fall-5-year-11-2021-Cebr-warns.html?_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D&amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thisismoney.co.uk%2Fmoney%2Fmortgageshome%2Farticle-8506319%2FHouse-prices-forecast-fall-5-year-11-2021-Cebr-warns.html
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jul/12/precious-metal-the-gold-standard-investment-when-a-crisis-hits
  4. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/07/mystified-tesla-bears-on-wall-street-admit-there-appears-to-be-nothing-that-can-stop-the-stock-right-now.html
  5. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/07/h1-2020/
  6. http://moneybulldog.co.uk/is-it-worth-booking-a-holiday-in-2020-or-even-2021/
  7. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2020/07/ted-baker-disaster.html/
  8. http://www.cantswingacat.co.uk/2020/07/09/coronavirus-stamp-duty-changes-what-do-they-mean-for-you/
  9. http://bankeronfire.com/the-really-boring-and-highly-effective-way-to-get-rich
  10. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/fancy-fintechs-fishy-fun/
  11. https://medfiblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/10/emergency-fund-2-0/
  12. https://tuppennysfireplace.com/change-investing-gold-mutual-funds-investing-habits-financially-frugal/
  13. https://lifeafterthedailygrind.com/brainwashed/
  14. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-corona-crisis-round-two/
  15. https://monevator.com/the-uks-worst-stock-market-crash-1972-1974/
  16. https://moneygrower.co.uk/second-quarter-2020-dividend-income-importance-of-dividend-cover/
  17. https://playingwithfire.uk/fire-101-financial-independence-retire-early-in-the-uk/
  18. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.wordpress.com/2020/07/11/1859/
  19. https://gettingminted.com/returning-to-normal/
  20. https://theescapeartist.me/2020/07/12/youre-only-as-strong-as-your-weakest-link/
  21. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/07/ishares-msci-world-sri-fund.html
  22. https://monethalia.com/matched-betting-mistakes/
  23. https://firevlondon.com/2020/07/12/how-much-should-you-save/
  24. https://indeedably.com/instinct/

 

 

 

 

 

The Full English Accompaniment – Why a seismic economic shift won’t happen.

The end of the month fell since the last Full English. That means a link-fest below. To save time for all the other writer’s out there I only have a few short thoughts today.

A YouGov/ New Economics Foundation poll published in the Guardian this week demonstrated that 31% of people want to see big changes to the global economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with only 6% wanting no changes (1). I take any poll or news-worthy statistic with a pinch of salt, especially those espoused to support lefty claims in a lefty rag. However it makes sense, we’ve all experienced big changes through lockdown:

  • Less commuting and more working from home
  • Supply chain changes, less in the shops, more available locally
  • A push to support local businesses
  • Less spending for the sake of it on consumerist tat (because the shops have been shut).

Why not take this opportunity to change things? The Government is already bankrolling huge sectors of the economy. Now is the perfect time to do the big rejig. Perhaps switch towards:

  • renewable, green energy and policies (2)
  • home-working supported by massively improved infrastructure
  • on-shoring industries to support rapid supply chains.

But we won’t. For two reasons.

  1. Inertia (3)
  2. Management.

People do not like dramatic change. Individually we may find it exciting and exhilarating. The potential. The opportunities.

That requires you to get up and do something about it. And we’re fundamentally lazy, stupid, panicky animals. We are much happier doing things the same way we’ve always done than having to learn something new. It requires effort, and motivation. Motivation on a national scale is a challenging construct.

The top level management are also not going to be on board. They have a vested interest in the status quo, it’s how they got there, it’s how they get power/money/fame (delete as appropriate). Why would they risk that?

Plus when have top-down restructures worked well? The Government’s management of the COVID tracking system says enough here.

So, like Soho’s pubs, we’ll soon be back to where we were before. Minus a few tens of thousand dead.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News:

Opinions/ Blogs:

References:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/28/just-6-of-uk-public-want-a-return-to-pre-pandemic-economy
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanmichelson2/2020/06/30/how-to-rebuild-the-economy-and-create-jobs-with-clean-energy-innovation/
  3. https://indeedably.com/inertia/
  4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53222765
  5. https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2020/07/04/a-latin-american-economic-tragedy
  6. https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-8475855/No-road-tax-cheaper-run-E-car-recharge-finances.html
  7. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jun/30/tesla-shareholders-urged-to-oust-elon-musk-over-55bn-pay-deal
  8. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jul/01/uk-annual-house-prices-fall-for-first-time-since-2012-coronavirus
  9. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jun/29/central-banks-could-face-political-pressure-to-allow-high-inflation
  10. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-28/the-future-of-inflation-is-the-biggest-question-in-finance?amp_js_v=a3&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-06-28%2Fthe-future-of-inflation-is-the-biggest-question-in-finance
  11. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53272411
  12. https://www.moneymage.net/2020-june-savings-report/
  13. https://www.onemillionjourney.com/portfolio-update-19-june-2020-100347e/
  14. https://firevlondon.com/2020/07/04/june-2020-disadvantage-month/
  15. https://awaytoless.com/monthly-spending-june-2020/
  16. https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-24/
  17. http://quietlysaving.co.uk/2020/07/01/june-2020-plus-other-updates/
  18. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.com/2020/07/01/month-end-june-2020/
  19. https://playingwithfire.uk/june-2020-life-spending-and-investment-update/
  20. https://www.thefrugalcottage.com/dividend-income-june-2020/
  21. https://moneygrower.co.uk/june-stock-purchase-the-new-economy/
  22. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/june-20-net-worth-and-monthly-update-22-569037-13570-89-fi/
  23. https://sparklebeeblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/monthly-update-jun-2020/
  24. https://pathtolife2.com/2020/07/02/financial-independence-update-june-2020/
  25. https://www.moneyforthemoderngirl.org/i-did-an-antibodies-test-plus-saving-side-income-and-learning/
  26. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2020/07/investment-review-june-2020.html
  27. https://firelifestyle.co.uk/2020/07/01/financial-update-16-june-2020-going-up-up-and-away/
  28. https://earlyretirementinuk.blogspot.com/2020/07/total-portfolio-37113-1688-debt-0-0.html
  29. http://www.cantswingacat.co.uk/2020/06/30/june-income-report/
  30. https://monevator.com/the-slow-and-steady-passive-portfolio-update-q2-2020/
  31. https://drfire.co.uk/q2-2020-report/
  32. https://igniting-fire.com/2020/06/29/2020-q2-update-long-days-short-weeks/
  33. https://firevlondon.com/2020/06/29/help-wanted/
  34. https://www.firemusings.org/time-to-change-the-car-part-1/
  35. http://thefirestarter.co.uk/dont-faint-its-a-blog-post/
  36. https://thefifox.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/why-everyone-should-start-a-blog/
  37. https://hustleescape.com/anchoring-and-adjustment/
  38. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.com/2020/07/04/8-great-things-about-working-from-home-during-the-lockdown/
  39. https://playingwithfire.uk/hi-im-the-new-girl-expat-financial-mistakes-learnt-the-hard-way/
  40. https://monevator.com/financial-planning-software-wide-of-goal/
  41. https://youngmoneyblog.co.uk/apprenticeships-are-we-failing-disadvantaged-young-people/
  42. http://bankeronfire.com/hunters-farmers-and-financial-independence
  43. https://indeedably.com/better-days/
  44. http://diyinvestoruk.blogspot.com/2020/07/powercell-portfolio-addition.html
  45. https://www.foxymonkey.com/day-trading/
  46. https://earlyretirementnow.com/2020/07/01/passive-investing-bubble/
  47. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/06/blue-whale-growth-fund-the-next-big-thing/
  48. https://www.muchmorewithless.co.uk/lockdown-spending-habits/
  49. https://www.finumus.com/blog/school-fees-are-now-very-expensive-or-are-they

The Full English – Strength in Unity

This blog is mainly apolitical, and this post is not intended to be politically biased. With that in mind I’ll start this post with a statement:

Boris Johnson will not lead the UK to growth through Brexit.

How did I come to this conclusion?

I’ve been reading a lot of posts through the Way Back Machine on Slate Star Codex (1). I’m late to the SSC party (many thanks Indeedably for the pointer), but there are a lot of parallels of thought. Relevant to this point, is the 2014 essay ‘I can tolerate anything except the outgroup’ (2). It’s particularly pertinent with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

Scott Alexander essentially makes the point that we define ourselves as part of a tribe. Those definitions are often built upon stereotypes. Those stereotypes, that definition, and that tribe provoke more intense feelings than race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality alone. The concept that you are more likely to have intense negative feelings towards someone outside of your, essentially political, tribe has been validated again more recently. A 2017 Stanford study found that political identity is that which we hold most dear (3).

Boris Johnson built his current political success through a combination of his previous irreverent populist persona and alignment with the Brexit campaign. Cummings further drove that campaign and the subsequent political party direction towards populism. Defining themes included that Westminster and the political elite were not hearing the ‘man on the street’, ‘taking back control’ and investing in UK-centric policy (4, 5).

In doing so they created a new political schism. The ‘outgroup’ were centrist and included the existing ‘political elite’. The new division was Leave/Stay, and BoJo was a strong enough persona to unite people behind him. Corbyn, for all the positives he may have, was indecisive on the a difficult question, but one through which people began to define their tribe.

Johnson and Cummings won their battle. They created a large enough tribe with a strong enough identity to not only result in Brexit, but also in the 2019 election win.

But a telltale sign of the future comes from that 2019 election win. Boris Johnson’s manifesto was essentially a bit of everything, sort of business as usual, and without any great rallying points (6). If the great defining point of their tribe up until now has been Brexit, taking back control, railing against the political system and instigating policies for the UK people, where was the definition in this manifesto. Or even currently?

The current cabinet core rose to power through defining themselves as an in-group. Mostly by defining an out-group, and then denigrating them. Lots of ‘they aren’t listening to you’, ‘they didn’t do this’, ‘yes but, no but’. Those defining characteristics are becoming irrelevant. They have reached the top, and now the reasons for the tribe are gone.

Boris Johnson’s response to COVID-19 has been good evidence of this. At times he has been statesmanlike. At others he has been nowhere to be seen. The UK’s outcomes and conduct in fighting COVID-19 will be reviewed in the future, likely with lots of inquiries that result in bugger-all.

Ultimately when the current government has tried to unify the country, in my opinion, he has lacked a methodology. BoJo’s MO is to divide, deny, distract and with Cummings, define a foe.

There are no more internal foes.

Good political leaders are defined by their ability to unite people behind a cause. The greatest, by their ability to unite without criticism or negative connotation. JFK (and to a less public but more politic extent LBJ), Thatcher, Obama… all could bring people together who previously would not have stood so.

The current government has brought people together, but there was no further plan, and the methodology to bring those people together was negative, not positive.

Either we see a re-invention of the Conservative party, into a new political tribe built upon Johnson’s foundation. Or the tribe splinters, to the next strong unifier.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

News:

Opinion/ Blogs:

References:

  1. https://slatestarcodex.com/
  2. https://web.archive.org/web/20200618075102/https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/
  3. https://news.stanford.edu/2017/08/31/political-party-identities-stronger-race-religion/
  4. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/06/uk-brexit-guide/482730/
  5. http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/briefing_newdeal.html
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50524262
  7. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-22/boe-s-bailey-says-he-d-shrink-balance-sheet-before-raising-rates?_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQFKAGwASA%3D&amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-06-22%2Fboe-s-bailey-says-he-d-shrink-balance-sheet-before-raising-rates
  8. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/06/22/andrew-bailey-warns-markets-bank-england-will-reverse-money/
  9. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53148678
  10. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53164304
  11. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/25/imf-global-financial-stability-markets-disconnect-risks-a-correction.html
  12. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53183504
  13. https://techcrunch.com/2020/06/23/zopa-granted-full-uk-bank-licence/
  14. https://www.reddit.com/r/UKPersonalFinance/comments/hdax3m/is_there_a_financial_vehicle_that_i_can_use_to
  15. https://life.spectator.co.uk/articles/are-we-heading-for-hyper-inflation-or-deflation/
  16. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qj4ka5/covid-19-broke-the-economy-what-if-we-dont-fix-it
  17. https://www.itinvestor.co.uk/2020/06/european-opportunities-trust-whacked-by-wirecard/
  18. https://youngmoneyblog.co.uk/credit-covid19/
  19. https://www.ukvalueinvestor.com/2020/06/quality-companies-sustainable-growth.html/
  20. https://drfire.co.uk/double-down-pivot-or-start-over/
  21. https://sparklebeeblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/25/net-worth-analysis/
  22. https://indeedably.com/inertia/
  23. https://firelifestyle.co.uk/2020/06/26/garden-explosion/
  24. http://fiukmoney.co.uk/the-power-of-mrs-fu-money/
  25. https://simplelivingsomerset.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/priapic-solstice-perambulations-in-pursuit-of-weed/
  26. https://lifeafterthedailygrind.com/is-your-life-getting-better-or-worse/
  27. https://monevator.com/weekend-reading-is-your-isa-keeping-up-with-the-joneses/
  28. https://monevator.com/bond-prices/
  29. https://monevator.com/lars-kroijer-onavoiding-covid-19-losers-ultra-low-interest-rates-and-dividend-cuts/
  30. https://theescapeartist.me/2020/06/26/i-hereby-declare-this-pandemic-over/
  31. http://eaglesfeartoperch.blogspot.com/2020/06/hedge-gap-in-filling-by-underplanting.html
  32. https://gentlemansfamilyfinances.com/2020/06/27/climbing-mount-fi/
  33. https://hustleescape.com/hanlons-razor/
  34. https://www.thefrugalcottage.com/the-next-investing-workshop-is-nearly-here-limited-spaces/
  35. https://medfiblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/ethical-investing-fifty-shades-of-green/
  36. http://bankeronfire.com/a-matter-of-time
  37. http://bankeronfire.com/when-your-money-makes-more-money-than-you
  38. http://bankeronfire.com/weekend-bonus-edition-low-risk-corporate-bond-investing