Gemfinder Q3 2019 – Is it all Doom & Gloom now?

The Gemfinder is a collection of articles, books, videos and podcasts that I find interesting. The content is published every quarter and it’s evergreen. This means that at any point in time you can go back and read all previous gemfinder articles without missing out on ‘recency’. 

Gemfinder Q3 2019

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that the sentiment around us is all negative. Since the beginning of 2019, I’ve seen all sorts of headlines and predictions. Pick your favourite.

  • London Property falling
  • Trump’s trade war with China
  • Global growth weakening
  • GBP at an all-time low (1.10 against the EUR)
  • Negative bond rates and yield curve inversion

Not to mention the elephant in the room, Brexit!

Other more sector-specific worries include the end of contracting (IR35 legislation) and the car manufacturing dropping 10% year-on-year. Is it all doom & gloom now? Shall I start piling up cans of food, ammo and gold?

The truth is… I’m worried too. We’ve been riding a 10-year bull market. The political uncertainty, the rise of extremism in Europe and the wealth gap that capitalism has created (both here in the UK and in the US) have made me doubt that the music will go on forever.

The market is probably the only participant that’s not worried. It’s at an all-time high as if nothing is happening. Isn’t that weird? Everyone saying a recession is at the door when shares, gold, bonds, property are up at an almost all-time high.

But if I learned something from the Stoics it’s that we should not worry about things we cannot control. Instead, let’s focus on things we can control. Like:

  • How much we save
  • Becoming better versions of ourselves (books, work seminars, podcasts, articles)
  • Investing fees
  • Portfolio aggressiveness

The time to buy pet insurance is not when your pet is injured. It’s before bad things happen. Is your investing profile too high on equities? Are you too concentrated in one currency or asset class (hello property lovers)? Are you spending too much on bills such as mortgage/gas & electricity/car insurance when you can save by clicking a few buttons?

And because none of the above matters if we’re not happy, let’s also focus on building meaningful relationships. What’s the point of having financial freedom if we have no one to spend it with?

And after this small rant, here are some gems I discovered during the last 3 months.

Investing

Financial Independence

MMM decided to help a person save 6,000 per year just by making a few phone calls to drop their mortgage rates, and home/car insurances etc. I think here in the UK it’s equally important to do that. Websites like CompareTheMarket can help switch mortgages, pet insurances, gas & electricity suppliers etc. The end product is the same! Just cheaper!
How to make $1000 an hour – Mr Money Mustache (7 mins)

What a masterpiece by Housel. Indeed, when you start treating time, relationships and autonomy as currencies a whole world opens up. This is why having the option to achieve financial independence is a true gift.
Financial advice for my new daughter – Collaborative fund (4 mins)

I often talk about financial independence, the state of being able to support your lifestyle without having to work for it. However, FI is not binary. There are different states, from drowning in debt, to have savings for unexpected bills, to being able to finance your luxuries using your investment income etc. Place yourself on this list.
The spectrum of financial independence and dependence – Collaborative fund (5 mins)

An astonishing piece of 8 years of location independence from Rob Dix. His journey is very inspiring. Going through side-hustle gigs to launching almost 4 companies in 8 years is amazing. It’s 12,000 words long and I certainly read it in 4 parts but if there’s something you can take from it it’s this: If you have a long-term goal in mind and your actions are steered towards this goal then you’ll get there in often unexpected ways.

Working hard is obviously a requirement but being ‘special’ or talented is not. One of my favourite quotes is: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. The goal has to be tangible. Something like I want to be able to work 100% remotely from my laptop. Not “I want to make 5,000,000 pounds”. Great read.
Location Independence – Rob Dix (54 mins)

A great post showing what life after FI looks like. I enjoyed that it reads from a UK perspective and all the positiveness FI can offer to someone who’s actually done that.
Since I haven’t done since I retired early (and few I have done) – Fire the 9 to 5 (5 mins)

Investing

Why is Airbnb more valuable than the biggest publicly traded hotel chains on NYSE? In the technology world we value the intangibles assets more than the tangible ones such as factory and equipment. Speaking of intangibles, what would you rather have? A good degree from Anytown university or an Instagram account with 1 million followers?
When everything that counts can’t be counted – The Reformed Broker (11 mins)

The history of capital markets since 1920 by decade. Dalio advocates gold allocation as a return enhancer and diversifier.
Paradigm Shifts – Ray Dalio LinkedIn (30 mins)

Diversification between asset classes

Diversification, also known as the only free lunch in investing as described by the legendary Ray Dalio again. Diversifying between asset classes, geography, sectors and currencies is the most important thing in order to invest well. Now the good thing about today’s world is that’s so easy to diversify compared to 30 years ago. Index funds such as the FTSE Global All-cap do most of the heavy lifting for us including smaller companies, different sectors and geography. Then you may choose a mix of bonds, property and perhaps gold to make your portfolio all-weather proof.
Diversifying Well Is the Most Important Thing You Need to Do in Order to Invest Well – Ray Dalio LinkedIn (7 mins)

We always say don’t try to time the market. But expectations driven staking can be beneficial. It’s not only how much risk you can bear but what the market can offer to us based on different valuations.
What Gamblers Can Teach the Buy-and-Hold Crowd – Elm Funds (7 mins)

What we do really when trying to become FI is to run a pension fund of one or two! That’s a scary task and in fact, even harder than institutions have it. That’s because as individuals we have to care for risks that can wipe us out, such as having enough money to reach 95 years old, although we may never reach it. So a lot of it should be kept as insurance which will be passed to future generations, (or wasted). It’s much harder than we thought!
You are a pension fund of one (or two!) – Early Retirement Now (16 mins)

The difference between amateurs and professionals. Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility. Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.
The difference between amateurs and professionals – Farnam Street (3 mins)

Another Howard Marks memo. Should the fed cut rates? What are the implications for the stock market when your mortgage and debt interest payments become cheaper? US but very applicable.
Oaktree capital new Howard Marks memo (20 mins)

The latest Vanguard report on future market returns and recession expectations. The risk of a recession 40% and non-US returns expected to beat the US stellar performance. Nothing unusual here really.
Vanguard market outlook (8 mins)

80% of people cannot beat the market. Imagine trying to convince one of these people that they couldn’t be in the top 20% when they are used to being in the top 1% (or better).
The seduction of above average – Of Dollars and Data (4 mins)

The below video sparked my interest. So far, automation increased productivity while also creating jobs for more people. People used to specialise further. But with the rise of software, AI and the world being more and more automated, humans have no place to specialise deeper. Sure, there are more programmers needed but are the jobs being lost creating more jobs elsewhere? This video will make you think deep.

Why automation is different this time

Podcasting

I have previously reviewed the How to Own the World book by Andy Craig and I highly recommend it even for people who already know their investing stuff. This podcast is like a very small summary of the book and it’s entertaining as well as full of wisdom.

Morgan House whose articles I keep featuring in Gemfinder posts is guest at the Long View podcast by Morningstar. They talk about a range of topics such as behavioural mistakes, Morgan’s entry into finance, fees, uncertainty and opportunities!
Morgan Housel – The Long View, Morningstar Podcast (47 mins)

Books

Living off your money book

Living Off Your Money

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for people who want to manage their money when financially independent or in retirement. This book deserves a separate book review post.

Although I’m still reading it, the first 3 chapters convinced me that McClung has worked so much on bringing us the best strategy for withdrawing money from a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

Living Off Your Money - Amazon Link

Superforecasting (Tetlock, Gardner) book

Superforecasting

Super-Forecasting is a book about making better predictions. I actually didn’t know there are people in the world who compete in forecasting and are called super-forecasters.

The book is all about how average people can make better forecasts, regardless of whether they know about the subject or not. I found it a bit dull after reading 54% of it. There are some good points that can improve your forecasting skills and the appendix can give you a good summary. Amazon Link


And finally, who wants to pay taxes??? 🙂 #Monopoly #taxes

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