Westminster wallies: a golden false start to 2021

It only took fourteen days for my prediction to come true. Rule-makers turned rule-breakers. Quelle surprise. The politician in question was undoubtedly under surveillance by journalists hoping to generate an easy headline, unlike the rest of the Toms, Harrys and Dicks that are flouting the rules without such scrutiny. Whether you’re a hypocritical government official or not, is it so hard to stay indoors? It’s the middle of winter, dark for sixteen hours a day and there’s sod all to do anyway!

BoJo is rallying the troops, literally. Yet also metaphorically with his return to military-style rhetoric as he plans to give the nation a shot in the arm, literally. His army of vaccinators have been moaning about the litigious BS that was required to become qualified. I can entirely empathise – imagine having to re-do that long list of qualifications. Every. Single. Year. News that we can expect a return of the serenade of pots, pans and hands being clapped on Thursday evenings was met with snarky retort by my colleagues, struggling against a tidal wave of new Covid patients: “can’t they wash their hands instead?!”

Gold hunt

The furore over the latest surge in Bitcoin’s price continues. Yet instead it’s gold that’s seemed a bit more attractive after the shenanigans of 2020. Not that I’m a doomsayer, but the events of last year have definitely gnawed at the tiny (irrational) part of my brain that would want to be ready for sweeping changes to the way our lives run. I’ll probably hold off on buying gold for the time being though, especially as the price remains near its August (all-time) high. It is £170/t’oz cheaper than then though. Perhaps a doubloon or two wouldn’t go amiss?

If you’re not intrigued by my non-starter gold hunt, then perhaps a sovereign quest takes your fancy? (See what I did there?) Sovereign Quest is a new site that amalgamates the writings of select personal finance bloggers in the UK, Europe and Antipodes. It’s a sterling piece of work by Indeedably, himself one of the foremost financial bloggers in the country, so you should definitely head on over if it hasn’t crossed your radar already.

Inflating inflation

One of the perennial arguments for gold is its inflation-counteracting capabilities. I’ve looked at the evidence before and come out…unconvinced. I have, however, been fairly open about my concerns regarding the actual rate of inflation. This (admittedly US-centric) article that I came across in one of Dr. FIRE’s Wednesday reads has given me pause for thought on the matter.

As with any good scientist, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong by new data, and will definitely take the article’s points into consideration. I still remain sceptical over how representative the CPIH/RPI are of the true change in cost of living for the average Joe, though agree that hyperbolic descriptions of the ‘true’ level of inflation are unhelpful.

Whether inflation is 1%, 2% or 5%, however, it doesn’t detract from the fact that there is no hope of getting your money to hold its value in any bank account. Investing is not just a way of growing your money, but one of the last bastions for trying to stop it depreciating at the hand of inflation. Yeah, yeah I’ve said it before. But I’ll say it again because it’s important. That’s what the good folks over at Monevator do, telling you not to touch your global index tracker fund at every conceivable opportunity. They seem to be doing ok…

All the best to everyone for the year to come.

TTFN,

Mr. MedFI

One thought on “Westminster wallies: a golden false start to 2021

  1. Thanks for the shout out MedFi, you’ve pumped up my tires pretty good there!

    I’ve often wondered about the allure of holding gold. It is an asset, but not an investment, in that it doesn’t generate income and any capital appreciation can only be realised upon disposal. Which makes the opportunity cost of foregone investment returns pretty high.

    For mine, investing in a diversified share portfolio (both across industries and geographies) provides a more attractive inflation hedge. Generally commanding a risk premium over the real interest rate, while also throwing off free cash flow that can be consumed or reinvested.

    Of course markets don’t always go up when we want them too, and in some cases they can go down a lot and for an extended period of time. However, parking a material portion (even a small portion) of our net worth in gold feels like it is down the prepper end of the Pollyanna spectrum, along with hoarding canned goods and shotgun shells in preparation for the zombie apocalypse!

    To each their own of course, but gold (and Bitcoin) does seem to have a way of bringing out the irrational in otherwise sensible investors.

    Like

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