What caught my eye this week.
Today marks a new era for the somewhat United Kingdom. Long live the King. Or at least let nobody begrudge Charles III the 13 years the ONS reckons he’s due.
Likewise, it’s also time for something new at Monevator.
Because today we’re launching a Substack-style membership tier. For a small recurring fee, you can be the proud(ish) recipient of either one or two members-only emails a month. With on-site benefits too.
And by signing up you’ll help keep Monevator going for… perhaps another couple of decades?
More below, or else jump over to our sign-up page to be an early adopter. (With our thanks!)
I’ll level with you. These member emails won’t suddenly transform your life. They’re not going to make you a millionaire in a year or rule your retirement or supercharge your salary.
But if you already know and like what we’re doing around here, then you’ll enjoy them. We’re certainly not embarking on a divergent path as Internet influencers or anything like that.
So why are we doing it? And why do I hope you’ll consider joining?
A bit of background.
Tiny violin orchestra
Monevator has never been a big money spinner, to put it mildly. Cultivating an audience keen on cutting costs and saving for an early retirement is not very compatible with minting the readies.
I began posting in 2007 and for the first five or so years the site was entirely a passion project. Which, given the hours I (and soon enough my co-blogger) put in made Monevator what dating coaches call a high maintenance relationship.
Things did pick up. Advertising and some affiliate sales grew with traffic. But I turned down lucrative requests every day to do paid-for posts or links, and we’ve never gone down the ‘Make Money Online’ path that so do.
Still, we were edging onwards and upwards.
Indeed by summer 2021, if you squinted, we almost looked like a real business. On leaving the workforce, my co-blogger The Accumulator was able to devote himself more to the site – having written his articles during his weekends for a decade – and there was a budget for it too.
I began to daydream about having a designer revamp Monevator so my younger friends wouldn’t laugh at it.
But these halcyon days didn’t last.
I won’t belabour the story: basically a one-two-three punch of the end of lockdowns, a Google algorithm thwack, and the collapse in ad rates hitting everyone from Facebook to, well, us, slashed our inbound search traffic (the transient visitors who actually click on ads) and crashed our income.
Back down the snake we slid, after only just climbing that ladder.
The Accumulator was dialed back again. We’d been making good progress updating the articles that needed it, but that also went on hold.
And the mooted design revamp? Well this is why Monevator still looks like you’ve just woken up the day after Lehman Brothers failed in 2008…
Subscribe and save
You may have noticed many big media sites – let alone indie blogs – shutting down or else getting covered with clickbait in recent years… What This Woman Learned When She Gave Up Wearing Her Bra. How Nigel Farage Keeps Slim Thanks To This One Simple Trick.
The social media platforms long ago gutted most of the alternative online media. YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok have done a number on what was left.
Fair enough, I suppose. We get who we vote for and what we pay for. Perhaps most people can live without verbose wonky articles, and prefer a 20-second video of somebody raving about the FTSE while standing in a bucket of iced water wearing a Superman cape.
Who am I to judge?
However not everybody does. Email subscription platform Substack has shown people will pay to support quality content. This model is appealing to us, because it aligns with what we believe you prefer too. Authentic and trustworthy info – not us selling products, or writing top ten lists for the eyeballs.
One option then was to move Monevator to Substack. (It’d also solve the 2008 chic issue.)
However many of you add a lot of value to our articles via your own comments, and countless more benefit when you do so. That works best on blogs. Besides, I still believe in independent websites.
Hence we decided to instead add subscription and membership features to Monevator.
The perks of being a Monevator member
The result is a little clunky, but it works. You’ll see a sign-in link on the top-right of the Monevator website. When you log-in as a member, you also see a little box in the sidebar, from where you can take ownership of your commenting ‘nickname’ and your avatar displayed alongside comments.
You’ll also notice Monevator has no ads when you’re logged in as a member. This is another benefit to signing up. While I’m grateful for the revenue advertising does still bring in, it’s obviously a more peaceful experience without them.
(Yes, we all know you can use an ad blocker. But too many people do that and we – and other content creators – may have to shut up shop. There’s a cost to making everything free.)
Our membership and subscription emails are delivered with software from Memberful (owned by Patreon). The financial stuff is handled by the ubiquitous payments juggernaut Stripe.
Indeed we don’t process your credit card details at all. So don’t worry about that.
As for those member emails, I’m not going to over-hype them. (Why do I sense buzzers and lights going off, Take Me Out style? Where’s Paddy McGuinness when I need him?!)
The Accumulator’s monthly ‘Mavens’ email will be passive and FIRE-focused. Business as usual but maybe with a slight tilt more towards de-accumulation. (Hey, we oldies can better afford it.)
An additional monthly email – which you get if you sign up for ‘Mogul’ membership – will be by me, and it will be for like-minded active investors and market maniacs.
This is the stuff I first set the website up to share but I’ve stopped posting in recent years. In part because I haven’t wanted to dilute the key Monevator message that’s evolved – that most people should use index funds – but also because I grew tired of writing endless caveats and disclaimers.
So expect heretical emails flagging up interesting stocks and funds, others on market conditions or new strategies – the content will evolve as we find our feet, but it will be unapologetic in being for those who know better but who love the game.
Oh, and it is definitely NOT going to be personal investing advice. Nor will I guarantee Five Stocks To Beat The Market or the like. (If I could promise you that, I’d charge a lot more for it.)
However I will do my best to create a monthly email that subscribers actively look forward to, as we explore together the perplexing challenges of active investing.
Your investing website needs YOU
So that, in too many words, is what our new membership service entails. (Summary here).
But let’s be honest, this is also us asking you to help support the 80% of new content that will still be free – and the more than 2,000 articles we’ve published in the past and continue to update.
We hope you’ll see the monthly tariff as more reasonable in that light.
In fact over the past 17 years I’ve had literally hundreds of people ask me how they can give us a bit of money. This hasn’t happened with anything I’ve been done before (except for being a grandchild!)
You’ve suggested Patreon support, tip jars – even my Bitcoin address at the end of every post.
But I wanted to do it properly. Belatedly, this is our stab.
We probably need roughly 1,000 of you to become members – not all on the cheaper Maven tariff – for us to become relatively safe from Google’s whims or the pressure to turn more articles into affiliate pitches or whatnot. (At least until the AIs rip-off all our content and kill us anyway.)
With enough members, we will be free to create more – and sometimes deeper – articles. As well as revamping more of the good stuff in the archives and making it all more accessible.
Above all we can strive to make Monevator the only place that the average person needs to visit to become a successful – and self-directed – investor, in control of their own financial destiny.
In short, we all win!
Will we achieve escape velocity? I have no idea. But it’s partly down to you.
So please do check out our sign-up page and consider becoming a Monevator Maven or Mogul.
And have a great coronation weekend!
Historical asset class returns (UK) – Monevator
Investment costs: how low can we go? – Monevator
From the archive-ator: Can you commit to your investing strategy for the long term? – Monevator
Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view click through to read the article. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing to sites you visit a lot.
FCA to simplify the UK’s stock market listing rules – FT Adviser
Britons pull £4.8bn from bank accounts on banking fears – This Is Money
JP Morgan acquires failed First Republic, CEO says this stage of crisis over – CNBC
Government plans shake-up to tackle fraud epidemic [Search result] – FT
Mortgage costs for first-time buyers up c. £200 a month on a year ago – Guardian
Forge Global launches index of pre-IPO firms. Could an ETF follow? – Semafor
Rejoin the single market, says Tory MP Tobias Ellwood [Video] – Peston via Twitter
Bitcoin just processed more transactions than ever before – BlockworksThe Covid downturn still lingers downtown – Carl Quintanilla via Twitter
Products and services
Why ‘investing’ in coronation coins is a costly mistake – Which
Britons with valid passports barred from flights over Brexit rules – Guardian
Are Isle of Man and Guernsey-based banks worth it for higher rates? – This Is Money
Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Terms apply – Interactive Investor
Gap between the best and worst annuity rates widen – Which
Open an account with low-cost platform InvestEngine via our link and get £25 when you invest at least £100 (T&Cs apply. Capital at risk) – InvestEngine
Homes for summer socializing, in pictures – Guardian
Comment and opinion
The best-ever quotes from Buffett and Munger’s jamboree – Neckar Substack
Man U and the football South Sea Bubble [Podcast] – ALTIF via Apple
How long will you live? – Best Interest
Succession: does it add up? [Podcast, and beware spoilers!] – ALTIF via Apple
The granny tax: coming to a family near you [Search result] – FT
Escaping the waiting place – Joseph Wells
Find the torture you’re comfortable with – A Wealth of Common Sense
Early retirement devotees rethink after ‘dicey times’ – Yahoo Finance
It never stops raining – Humble Dollar
Five insights from Christina Wallace’s Portfolio Life – Next Big Idea
“Humility is the hallmark of people who are financially successful” [Podcast] – Morningstar
Naughty corner: Active antics
Investing’s big blindspot – Sapient Capital
On vinyl flooring firm James Halstead [Podcast] – Maynard Paton
Selling Hikma Pharma after a 40% share price gain – UK Dividend Stocks
Cancel culture: a new monetary phenomenon – Bond Vigilantes
The Fed will not pivot – Stay At Home Macro
Late-stage VC funding has completely dried up – Crunchbase
Kindle book bargains
The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living by Mark Boyle – £0.99 on Kindle
200 Years of Muddling Through: The British Economy by Duncan Weldon – £0.99 on Kindle
A Journey Through Labour’s Lost England by Sebastian Payne – £0.99 on Kindle
Too Big To Jail: The Greatest Banking Scandal of the Century by Chris Blackhurst – £0.99 on Kindle
UK firms face delays of up to 15 years for solar installations – Guardian
The renewable transition in adolescence [PDF] – JP Morgan
An invasive coral is causing havoc in Venezuala – Reef Builders
Direct lithium extract: a potential game changer [PDF] – Goldman Sachs
Robot overlord roundup
ChatGPT ‘portfolio’ outperforms leading UK funds [Search result] – FT
Why AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton is now scared of AI – MIT Tech Review
The looming threat of AI to Hollywood, and why it matters to you – Vox
A good news story about AI and workers – NPR
AI is a waste of time – The Atlantic via MSN
Microsoft opens Bing AI for public testing; no waitlist – Engadget
Can ChatGPT help investors process information? [Research] – SSRN
Off our beat
The coronation of King Charles explained – Vox
Charles, our mournful monarch: in his pomp but out of his time – Marina Hyde
Here comes… India! – Noahpinion
How technology reinvented chess as a global social network [Search result] – FT
The unexpected wholesomeness of ‘The Boys’ chat groups – Slate
Quantum computing could break everything [Cool graphics, search result] – FT
Brexit: we’re all worse off – The Atlantic via MSN
“I spent a decade eating scones in every National Trust tearoom” – Guardian
When private equity firms bankrupt their own companies – The Atlantic
Vicious traps – Morgan Housel
This is why you can’t wait until later – Ryan Holiday
“Do not spoil the wonder with haste.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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