Jan 142012

MoneyWeekMoneyWeek is packaged as the financial sister of The Week and is published by Agora Press and claims itself to be Britain’s best selling financial magazine which it probably is. Is it as it proposes to be, an independent and informative tool for investors and savers and an unbiased reporter of economic and financial news? It depends on how you read it

I read it most weeks and usually feel suitably depressed afterwards but a little more informed each time. It’s aimed at reasonably intelligent, reasonably wealthy and reasonably well financially educated people so it suits me well. Its not as high brow as the Financial Times or the Economist which I occasionally dip into, and like The Week is designed to get the information over to you as quickly and as easily as possible and it succeeds in doing so.

Having been a reader now for over a year I’m starting to see which are the essential parts of it and which are a bit suspect or not worth spending time on. You could just read the first page, which is usually written by the excellent Merryn Somerset Webb , Editor-in-Chief  or occasionally by John Stepek, Editor, then turn straight to the back page and read Bill Bonner’s entertaining and rather dark musing’s on his regular last word page. It’s worth mentioning that Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Press.

The stuff in between is a mixture of market commentary, educational articles and tipsters. The latter I particularly dislike, it’s a pity that MoneyWeek feels it needs to host and promote some of these as I suspect like most tipsters they are about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

If you subscribe to MoneyWeek you’ll also get a plethora of email newsletters and invitation to join various tipsters newsletters. Now theres some good stuff here but you need to filter out the hideous tipster adverts and those awful invitations to join exclusive clubs and offers that are once in a lifetime opportunities (don’t worry you’ll get plenty of opportunities to join their once in a lifetime deals!) Don’t be tempted to join paid-for newsletters promising trading systems that work, none do consistently, investing unfortunately is about avoiding losing money and getting lucky, but thats another article or more likely a book!

The very best email newsletter is by John Stepek and I always look forward to reading his daily email. If you read nothing else John will make your subscription to MoneyWeek worthwhile. John’s strength is in explaining exactly whats going on in the world of economics and politics in a precise, simple to understand and illuminating way. He cuts straight to the meat and his advice always seems sound and reasoned.

It’s also worth subscribing to Bill Bonner’s Daily Reckoning despite the tipster’s adverts. He’s a good read and will direct you to places unbeknown to you and of great interest if like me you are tired of UK politics and yearn for some radical ideas to shake things up. However my advice to Bill would be to make it a bi-weekly as sometimes it can get a bit repetitive (I suspect he does it to please his advertisers), but hats off to him for managing to produce what he does

The other sections I look at are the ‘best of the financial columns’ similar format to The Weeks best articles section, the best blogs, sometimes the cover stories are interesting and the profiles of big players especially if they are of the maverick kind.

The question as to whether MoneyWeek is useful to an investor depends on which parts you read, I’ve outlined the parts I think you will useful to understand how things work in the economy and how the politicians screw it up. The magazine is both an independent view sadly interspersed with the usual snake oil merchants with axes to grind and fees to make, and as long as you understand which is which its a publication I would highly recommend is part of an investors regular research and education. Its not going to be the be and end all, since I’ve been reading it theres been a section called the core portfolio, MoneyWeek’s core recommendations and every week its been Gold, Japan and Defensives (Blue chip dividend paying staple goods kind of thing….) If I’d gone with that last year I’d likely be about flat, possibly up a bit depending on how lucky I was. In other words not bad. I do note though that in the weeks when it looks like those recommendations have had a bad run the core recommendations seem to disappear  , then re-appear a few weeks later when things look rosy again! You could of course save yourself some money and just read the website , some articles are not available but the best usually are. Hmmm thinking about it I might just do that now….

 Posted by at 2:44 pm

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