Finance Blogging Round-up – 2020

In 2020, over 100 new articles or definitions have been published on this website. That’s actually more than in 2019!

However, I fully appreciate that this website doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There’s a huge sea of choice, and I really appreciate that you have taken the time to visit this and revisit time and time again. It makes a huge difference to my readership figures.

That’s why I occasionally pull together a curated guide which links to other interesting websites and topics in this space.

Finance blogging as a profession

It’s easy to become quite focused and introspective on Financial Expert, as the content of my own website is the only medium over which I have creative control. That being said, it will enrich the experiences of visitors to Financial Expert to see more content from a fellow entrepreneur or two.

Blogging is a vocation rather than a profession. While its true that several travel bloggers do manage to generate enough income to sustain their travels (discover more here) the truth is that most online writers are poorly compensated for their time.

From my ten years as a part of this industry, I would estimate that less than 1% of bloggers (by volume) are full-time professionals. The reminder either are run as a ‘side hustle’, or purely as a hobby (learn more about online blogging here).

Topics which have excited me in 2020

Blockchain continues to be an incredibly exciting area. My guide to investing in bitcoin was well received. Although I didn’t offer an endorsement of bitcoin as an investment opportunity, I’m glad to have shared a beginners guide to such a commonly misunderstood topic. If you’d like to check it out, it’s the second part of our free advanced investing course.

Property have seen an interesting year. In the UK, house prices have actually surged in the course of the pandemic. Churn of tenants in rental properties have stalled, although the loss of income for many tenants has lead to many rental payments being missed. Citizens advice has created a very helpful guide for tenants (which is also useful for landlords) to explain the rights of tenants in this unparrelled situation.

The stock market has also had a dizzying year. Global indices such as the FTSE 100 fell sharply in February as the world came to grips with the severity of the pandemic and its economic impact. However, lead by seemingly impervious tech stocks, the US stock market in particularly has seen a strong recovery since. Even amongst the lockdowns and chaos, some companies have seen huge increases in turnover and profits.

Peer to peer lending has seen transformative change. Since I wrote my first guide on peer to peer lending in 2019, the industry has seen intense consolidation, restructuring or firms turning away from the retail investor.

Ratesetter, a Peer to Peer lender which I personally use, has indicated that it will use private capital from banks to finance future loans rather than cash from individual investors. This has come as a disappointment as I felt that every aspect of the Ratesetter platform and service was executed to very high standard.

Zopa has actually become registered as a bank. This may cause early investors in P2P to emit a giggle, because you may remember that the earliest platforms took pride in having ‘cut out the middleman’ – referring to banks!

Funding Circle continues to operate, however the recoverability of its business loans took a hit at the start of the year, and have continued to struggle. The founder has been very frank about the performance of some of the loans, but does draw attention to the fact that P2P business loans have actually fared reasonably well considering that this is a period of financial distress, and drew favourable comparisons to stock markets which lost more than 20-30% during Feb/March 2020.

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