What caught my eye this week.

I love this time of year. No, of course not the short, dark, dreary days. I spent a lot of my childhood in sunnier climes and the Seasonally Affected Depression is real.

But rather the sense of nothing pressing to do.

Granted this is a privilege, albeit the result of my choices.

I deliberately don’t have kids dragging me all over the place. I’ve literally made it my business not to have a stressful work life. I’m very grateful for my wider family life, but once Christmas is over it’s a week of limbo and I relish it.

There are pros and cons to this rather ascetic way of living, certainly. I can see for some it might appear a bit barren.

But it suits my unusual temperament, and importantly it isn’t hurting anyone.

Winter wonderland

That said, I have developed some seasonal routines.

For example I tend to do a bit of midwinter purging of junk and clutter. And while I don’t commit to strict New Year resolutions, I do try to think a little more about what I might do better next year.

Currently I’m minded to eat meat only twice a week, work harder to see farther-flung friends, and hunt for more ultra long-term holds for my portfolio.

We’ll see.

On the purging of junk front, I also love resetting my massive investing spreadsheet.

My sheet starts with ‘my number’ at the top of the top sheet. That’s driven by various sub-sheets that calculate the shifting value of my portfolio in real-time. These also remind me where all the skeletons are hidden what is on which platform, and throws out interesting statistics about my shifting exposures and returns.

Zeroing it all ready for a new year is for me a special kind of slightly Rain man-y pleasure.

I see some of you are scoffing at the back?

Yes of course a year is an arbitrary orbit of the sun. Indeed, neither the world nor the markets are magically transformed on 1 January. (Although in retrospect 2022 sure looks that way.) I agree it’s all mental accounting and biases.

But hey, I’m a (mental) human and I am biased. And I can’t wait to delete the negative numbers and reset the counters.

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart

Many years ago I met the best-selling author Robbie Burns of Naked Trader fame. We talked about investing.

Robbie was dismayed about my Buffett-y habit of averaging down on my losers:

“Why would you want to stare at your failed trades all day? It’s depressing. I get rid of them.”

I thought Burns’ advice was ridiculous at the time. But now I think it’s more wise than not.

Sometimes you have to learn a lot of complexity to realize some simple truths.

In 2023 I’ll feel happier about my active investing – and I suspect I’ll do better accordingly – because I (hopefully) won’t have to keep seeing (and reacting to) how I’m lagging the market year-to-date over an arbitrary time period in a portfolio that can’t sensibly be said to be winning or losing over anything less than at least five years, at least not without luck looming large.

Agreed: this is intensely stupid. But it’s hard won self-awareness too.

I’ll be working on that flaw in 2023, as I cook my beans instead of a pork chop and try yet again to tie down some much busier friend for a weekend away.

Maybe you’re a sensible passive investor and you already have more time to devote to the most important things in your life?

Regardless: what will you be doing more or less of, investing or otherwise?

Let us know in the comments below. And happy new year!

Ten of the best from Monevator in 2022

A semi-random selection of some of my favourite posts of the past year, with a bias towards the older and more likely to be forgotten ones…

How do zero commission brokers make money? – Monevator

Paying for care in the UK [Six parts, links at top]Monevator

How to spend money – Monevator

The rising cost of living: how to maintain your quality of life – Monevator

Passive investing: what is it and how does it work? – Monevator

Quantitative tightening and you – Monevator

FIRE update: one-year anniversary – Monevator

Mortgage risk: a checklist – Monevator

Fixing your financial posture – Monevator

Don’t currency hedge your equity portfolio – 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.

Stock and bond markets shed more than $30tn in ‘brutal’ 2022 [Search result]FT

UK houses prices down for fourth month in a row; longest run since 2008 – Guardian

New Year’s Eve parties hit by strikes and cost of living – BBC

MBE for Gymshark founder who launched £1.25bn empire in parent’s garage – Guardian

Workers over 50 encouraged to end early retirement – BBC

Government extends Mortgage Guarantee Scheme to end of December 2023 – GOV.UK

Liz Truss regime’s ‘moron premium’ still looms over UK economy [Search result]FT

Products and services

Barclays: two Best Buy cash ISAs paying 4.1% (two year) and 4% (one year) – This Is Money

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

UK banks to ease pressure on mortgage holders as late payments set to surge [Search result]FT

How to save money in the sales – Which

Hate that jumper? Here’s what to do with unwanted Christmas presents – Guardian

What are your rights if your flight is cancelled? – Which

Andy’s money-saving Deals of the Week – Be Clever With Your Cash

The best dream homes for sale, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

Needs, wants, and why we always feel unfulfilled – Pragmatic Capitalism

Taking it personally – Humble Dollar

At 90, Burton Malkiel of Random Walk… fame still sings the same tune – Think Advisor

Contrast – Indeedably

What is horizon risk, and why does it matter to you? – Rock Wealth

Same old same old – Humble Dollar

Build a buffer into your retirement plan – Random Roger

Investing basics: a balanced portfolio – Vanguard UK

Money lessons from The White LotusA Wealth of Common Sense

(Sane) 2023 forecasting mini-special

2023 predictions – Fortunes and Frictions

Take your 2022 losses while you can – Of Dollars and Data

Naughty corner: Active antics

A deep dive into Fundsmith [Podcast]Maynard Paton

Notes from Nick Sleep on short-term vs long-term thinking [PDF]IGY Foundation

Workers rush to offload start-up shares as valuations plummet [Told you; search result]FT

High returns from Turkey ETFs remind us to look at what’s been hammered [Podcast]ETF Trends

How a CFO preps for an earnings call – The Secret CFO via Twitter

Kindle book bargains

Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing by Jacob Goldstein – £1.19 on Kindle

Dead in the Water: Murder and Fraud in the World’s Most Secretive Industry by Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel – £1.29 on Kindle

Environmental factors

The Senegal man on a mission to plant five million trees – BBC

Why Alaska’s Beluga whale populations are dwindling – Hakai

Army of islanders to protect gecko the size of a paperclip – BBC

Off our beat

Thinking tools to improve your life – Neckar’s Minds and Markets

Three years on, what most surprised experts about the Covid pandemic – Stat

Let’s agree and accept that life and success is not fair – Freddie deBoer

Ukraine unplugged – The Atlantic via MSN

ChatGPT robs you of the benefit of thinking – Young Money

The surprisingly profound power of Thank You notes – The Atlantic via MSN

Scientists are arguing about publishing alternatives to peer review – Experimental History

All success is a lagging indicator – Ryan Holiday

And finally…

“A cheap index fund is basically investing in its purest form. There’s no fat or indulgence. This is why it will likely never go out of style.”
– Eric Balchunas, The Bogle Effect

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every Friday! Note this article includes affiliate links, such as from Amazon and Interactive Investor. We may be compensated if you pursue these offers, but that will not affect the price you pay.

The post Weekend reading: New Year’s leave appeared first on Monevator.

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