What I Read This Month (May 2017)

BooksReading is one of my favourite activities. You can even list it as my hobby. I read books, articles, blogs and often I feel the need to share it with people.

So every now and then I’ll list all the articles I call “gems” and send them to you. Actually, I may list a few other resources as well if they’re too good (such as the Shopify e-shop builder)!

Usually, the links on this post will be business, personal finance and in the concept of life-hacks related. Let’s start!

Oh, I almost forgot. We met with some members of the FI London Facebook group in May, at a park in London! It was great. I met people who not only talk about finance and stuff but have actually achieved financial independence around the age of 40 and live a happy life.

If you’re around next time you should join us, we meet once per month or so somewhere central.

Warren Buffet on indexes after S&P is at an all-time high:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/12/warren-buffett-says-index-funds-make-the-best-retirement-sense-practically-all-the-time.html

I’m normally against reading the news but this is an all-time classic. S&P 500 hit a new all-time high and what’s better from receiving investment advice from Warren Buffet. The S&P is a US index which consists of the 500 biggest American companies.

So imagine you can own a little bit of every big profitable company at a very low cost. Warren Buffet confirms the fact that this is one of the best and hands-off investment strategies out there. Buy S&P 500 and buy it consistently through good and bad times. Your future self will thank you for this passive investment.

Don’t let Facebook Make You Miserable:

So true… The article discusses how people post the life they’d want to have on Facebook, not the life they actually have. The person behind it is a data scientist who also studied the private searches people make on Google in parallel.

If you feel down, stop looking at your Facebook feed. Your friend who’s posting swimming pool photos is also Googling how to treat their E.coli bacteria 🙂

Vanguard launches a platform for direct investing (including ISA):

https://www.vanguardinvestor.co.uk/home

I was very excited to find out about this. Vanguard, the company which set the foundation of low-fee passive investing finally opened for the public here in the UK. You could previously invest in their funds through other trading platforms like TD Direct and Halifax, but now they offer their own platform directly to consumers!

The fee? 0.15% which is probably less than most of the platforms out there. I’m also very optimistic because the very low fees are going to push costs down of other platforms as well. No wonder why Hargreaves Lansdown shares dropped 7% on the day of the announcement!

Given their 40 year history, Vanguard is here to stay. Halifax Sharedealing is still slightly cheaper (£12.50 per year plus £2.00 per regular investment) but good to know Vanguard exists as an alternative.

Zopa launches new Innovative Finance ISA, 15th of June

I wrote a Zopa review for investors recently about this excellent peer-to-peer lending platform called Zopa. They’ve just announced they are launching their ISA very soon, on the 15th of June to be exact!

That’s great news because the earnings from the interest would be fully taxed otherwise, but inside ISAs the interest is tax-free.

Further reading: http://blog.zopa.com/2017/05/25/introducing-the-zopa-ifisa-and-zopa-core/

Brewdog book

This is a book that was recommended to me by 2 different people. It’s the story of how a little brewery in Scotland succeeded (through Crowdfunding) to become one of the most successful and expanding beer producers in the UK.

It’s more of a business book that outlines the different strategies that worked for them. As a friend puts it: “…He keeps going on about radical business techniques that worked for them, but it was actually largely down to timing, luck and personality. If most people tried to do what they do, they’d probably struggle. I think it was more about marketing their own brand than teaching people legitimate business techniques…”. Nevertheless, it intrigued me.

Smarter Investing

Smarter Investing is one of the most decent books about investing. It’s a best seller written by Tim Hale and I’ll be definitely reading this one soon.

 

 

 

Shopify as an e-shop platform:

I still remember the pain I had to go through back in 2004 when I set up my parents’ online website. My parents asked me to build an e-shop for their clothing store this time, and after a little research I found out this Shopify platform.

Apparently, you can build a website with e-shop and a blog with a few clicks. They will provide everything… domain, hosting, product catalogue builder, a template for the look n feel etc. Pricing-wise, it starts from 29$ per month.

Peanuts compared to how much it would cost to hire a web development company or build it myself (yes! I value my own time!). I still need to convince them we need excellent photography if they want to actually sell online. If you have any tips, please share!

So that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed my ‘distilled’ reading list. Stay tuned!

Yours,
Foxy Michael

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