A thousand thankyous

Welcome to the 1,000th issue of MoneyWeek – we couldn't have done it without our readers.

Gold-coloured cutlery © Volodko Marina / Alamy Stock Photo
Gold cutlery: a bit OTT © Alamy
(Image credit: Gold-coloured cutlery © Volodko Marina / Alamy Stock Photo)

Welcome to the 1,000th issue of MoneyWeek (and the tenth done from home!). It’s been quite a ride. We’ve seen a few bear markets. We’ve seen emergency monetary (and now fiscal) policy seemingly change the way markets work completely (see Andrew’s analysis of this madness in this week's magazine). We’ve watched the integration of China into the global economy; been front-row spectators as a 30-year interest rate and inflation cycle has played out; dipped in and out of a couple of commodity bull markets (time to buy again?); and seen technology transform our investing and personal lives along the way.

We have also gathered quite a few readers. The main thing to say this week, then, is thank you to all of you. Thousands of you have been subscribers since the very early days. You’ve seen all the extraordinary events of the last 20 years with us. And you’ve been our inspiration. Our original aim was to make all of our financial lives both simpler and richer by cutting through the self-interested waffle of the world of personal finance advice to get to the stuff that really matters. That has meant getting to grips with the long-term market trends noted above. But it has also meant focusing on less glamorous subjects: the power of compounding; the use of tax wrappers (sometimes the structure of a product matters as much as its contents); the relentless pace of change in pensions regulation; the need for real portfolio diversification (you can’t always be right, so you must always diversify); the best ways to produce a steady income; and the seemingly endless debate about the correct balance between active and passive investments.

We haven’t always got it right, of course (John runs through of our best and worst calls this week). But looking at our first issue (4 November 2000) with its stories about the dangers inherent in the euro, the ballooning in size of the public sector, the need to hold tech stocks for the long term, the rise of cybersecurity as a risk, and the wisdom of holding gold, we have at least mostly been thinking about the right things! And I very much hope we still are. This week we are thinking about valuations. Should US stocks really be so much dearer than European ones? Can money printing defy lockdown economics indefinitely? Are emerging markets really having as good a crisis as it seems? And we are thinking beyond Covid-19 to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria – possibly more of a long-term threat to our way of life.

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But more than ever we have been wondering what you are thinking. So we asked you to tell us how you would invest £1,000 for ten years from now. The best answers (and I’m sorry we couldn’t get them all in) are in this week's magazine. One of my favourites is the idea of buying up old maps. Why? Because in our first issue, under the headline “Chart Your Way to Riches”, we suggested exactly that. The more things change the more they stay the same. Choosing a winner was tough. But we have settled on an idea from A. Dickens: buy solid silver cutlery. We are bullish on silver (for much the same reasons we like gold). But if that doesn’t work out, who doesn’t like to eat with silver (gold cutlery is a bit OTT). And should the doom-mongers be correct and another lockdown lies ahead, what better activity could there be for your kids than polishing it? A pile of excellent investment books is on the way to Mr Dickens. Here’s to the next 1,000 issues.

Merryn Somerset Webb

Merryn Somerset Webb started her career in Tokyo at public broadcaster NHK before becoming a Japanese equity broker at what was then Warburgs. She went on to work at SBC and UBS without moving from her desk in Kamiyacho (it was the age of mergers).

After five years in Japan she returned to work in the UK at Paribas. This soon became BNP Paribas. Again, no desk move was required. On leaving the City, Merryn helped The Week magazine with its City pages before becoming the launch editor of MoneyWeek in 2000 and taking on columns first in the Sunday Times and then in 2009 in the Financial Times

Twenty years on, MoneyWeek is the best-selling financial magazine in the UK. Merryn was its Editor in Chief until 2022. She is now a senior columnist at Bloomberg and host of the Merryn Talks Money podcast -  but still writes for Moneyweek monthly. 

Merryn is also is a non executive director of two investment trusts – BlackRock Throgmorton, and the Murray Income Investment Trust.