24.9.17

Cambio

Cada vez que Apple realiza alguna actualización de software, mi vida es peor. 5 aplicaciones muy usadas han dejado de funcionar en el iOS 11, incluyendo la que utilizaba para escribir los artículos en dos plataformas diferentes. Pero no solo ha sido Apple, sino también Google Finance quien ha avisado que a partir de mediados de noviembre dejará el seguimiento de carteras (portfolios). Tras el lógico enfado inicial, he intentado buscar soluciones y sustitutos. Por ejemplo, Bloomberg tiene una excelente herramienta gratuita de seguimiento de carteras (enlace aquí).

Sin embargo, tras reflexionar un poco más, me di cuenta de que el ser humano tiende a dar por fijas cosas que no lo son. Por ejemplo, un taxista compra una licencia haciendo un esfuerzo y piensa que tiene la vida resuelta porque por lo menos, con su trabajo, saldrá adelante. Es decir toma como estático algo que es dinámico pues existe un claro riesgo regulatorio. Por cierto, en este mismo sentido, resulta un auténtico desvarío quitar la licencia a Uber en Londres por algunos casos puntualísimos. Los servicios de masas funcionan en base a estadísticas que premian a los buenos y sacan del sistema a los malos.



Además de temas regulatorios (máxima atención porque los políticos bien procuran que tengamos alta dependencia de ellos; estoy seguro de que los romanos cuando escribieron que el hecho de no conocer la ley no era un eximente para no cumplirla, no se encontraron con volúmenes complicadísimos e ilógicos de leyes y reglamentos), hay que tener en cuenta aspectos personales y vitales. Lógicamente, no se puede prever todo, sin embargo tener analizados algunos escenarios de crisis básicos y no dar en general las cosas por sentadas, puede ser nuestra mejor ayuda para una vida plena.

21.9.17

Kevin Hassett


Kevin Hassett is Trump's new economic advisor (link). This economist has been politically involved in the past. You can check his profile here.

One of his most famous books is Dow 36,000 and, as Krugman rightly points out, it is full of basic errors (critic here). So, even if he advocates for the free market, we wonder if he is a good technical pick or a biased wannabe politician.

15.9.17

What is going on with the Bitcoin?

Sometimes, a couple of images tells a story better than words. Here we show the long-term chart of BTC paid in EUR, a strong currency right now. It clearly trends upwards, but once in a while it scares buyers with a sharp counter movement:

If we zoom up last year:

So, when you hear that Bitcoin is dead at 2500 EUR, that is not clear at all. We have seen similar patterns in the past.

2.9.17

Reflexiones sueltas tras este verano

He tenido un verano muy viajero, de recuerdos, he vuelto a sitios que hacía años no visitaba, lo que me ha permitido ver los cambios con un poco de perspectiva.

Comencemos el recorrido por España. Aunque algunos se quejen (por ejemplo de los atascos en Mallorca), la realidad es que no he visto grandes motivos de preocupación. He podido comer en uno de mis restaurantes favoritos con no excesiva antelación en la reserva, he podido aparcar en mi cala favorita en pleno agosto... Seguimos siendo buenos en la gestión turística y el servicio. Y, para mi sorpresa, los precios no son excesivos comparado con la competencia. No es de extrañar que se sigan batiendo récords (sí, se escribe con tilde pese a ser llana acabada en s, cosas de la Academia).

Continuamos con París. Les he visto algo más abiertos hacia el inglés. Lo intentaron pero es una batalla perdida pese a la belleza de su lengua. Tras el Brexit, si no es por Irlanda, ¿debería haber sido eliminado el inglés como lengua oficial de la Unión Europea? Realmente, el inglés se ha convertido en el "esperanto" del mundo. Nos hace a todos los no nativos jugar en campo contrario siempre, pero, como contraposición, a muchos de los angloparlantes les vuelve vagos (¿ratio de nativos en inglés que hablen otra lengua correctamente?, por cierto, recuerdos Tyler) al no necesitar hablar otra lengua. Pero volvamos a París. Entré por Orly y salí por Charles de Gaulle. Estando entre los 3 países más turísticos del mundo, me imaginaba un nivel aeroportuario excepcional. No, no, no. Muy malas experiencias en los dos casos. En Orly, increíbles demoras de handling, de equipaje y para coger un taxi (había taxis esperando, una cola gigantesca de gente pero el sistema que utilizan es desastroso y genera un automático cuello de botella), y en CDG no mucho mejor. Aquí no está claramente definido dónde estás una vez facturado, por eso, no hacen más que machacarte los oídos diciendo que se vaya a la zona de control de pasaportes nada más facturar (no es obvia su localización). El sistema de altavoces no para. No hay ni 10 segundos de silencio. Para moverte dentro de la terminal 2, tienen un complicado y lento sistema de autobuses interno por la plataforma (lo cogí para ir a la "Sala VIP", entrecomillado por ser lo menos parecido a una sala de relax). Menos mal que todavía tenía en la memoria la visita al Palacio de la Ópera y los excepcionales cócteles de la noche anterior... Pese a todo, París sigue siendo París.


Y, para terminar, la grata sorpresa que me ocurre últimamente cada vez que visito la Europa del Este. Kiev eficientísimo, aeropuerto rápido y agradable, gente muy amable, a la que le cuesta sonreír, pero deseando agradar. Volé con Ukraine Airlines, boarding pass en el teléfono. Precios razonables para comer o beber en el avión. Llegué a Tbilisi y en 15´estaba fuera del aeropuerto en el taxi.

31.7.17

Inspirational stories of people who early retired

Some writers recommend NOT to retire early because it is very difficult to do it in the proper manner. To early retire is a very serious decision and whisful thinking needs to be avoid. However, here we have chosen some happy stories that are very motivational. We hope you like them:

24.7.17

EURUSD follow up

On April we wrote the following piece of advice: link. We saw a "trap" at the end of 2016, so we decided to bet on a temporary climb of the euro. We were right. Now we are outside the former range and 2 things could happen:

- We can see another trap, but now on the upper side of the range (therefor a bearish movement for the EURUSD). In just a few weeks we will know.

- We can see a pullback to the former resistance (lower red line) and then a movement to the upper red line.

We expect the second is going to happen for a few months. We don't think the EUR will structurally recover from the peak, in fact, in the long run we are betting on the USD, but everything takes time and the bearish movement could start next year.

16.7.17

Early retirement, we are awfully sorry but...

...what we have heard about the 4% rule doesn't work anymore. Another way of seeing the 4% rule is "you can retire when you save 25 times your annual expenses" (link). For instance, if you think you need 4000 USD (or euros or pounds...) a month, you need 1.2M USD.


However, according to our updated simulations, the number is not 25x but 55x. We know, much worse. For instance, in the previous case we would need 2.6M USD.

Early retirement is a fair dream, however we cannot wishful think and fool ourselves. The amount of money we need if we don't have a pension is much higher than what we have been told. Remember: inflation exists and in the long run it matters a great deal.

7.7.17

Hipotecas a tipo fijo

En el diario El Mundo, aparecía este interesante artículo sobre el fin de los tipos baratos: enlace. El futuro no está escrito, pero en ocasiones las personas tendemos a tomar como estructural lo que solo es coyuntural. Muchos no han vivido tipos de interés del 15% habituales en las hipotecas de nuestros mayores y se creen que los intereses SIEMPRE van a estar baratos. 

Aquí les adjuntamos la tabla del artículo:


Realmente 20 años al 2 y pico por ciento es un propuesta de financiación poco mejorable. 

¿Recuerdan que hace unos meses escribíamos un artículo titulado Nos han dado aire..., aprovechémoslo? Una de las formas de hacerlo, especialmente para los hipotecandos con hipotecas más altas que el precio de la vivienda (tanto por la bajada de precio de la vivienda, el uso de hipotecas multidivisas o ambas), es blindando el pago mensual. El banco, que no está aflorando estos agujeros negros pues no se ha dejado de pagar la mensualidad, sabe que si los tipos subieran a un 4 o 5%, habría serias posibilidades de impago ante lo límite de la situación, por lo que el paso a una hipoteca fija podría en el futuro aliviar la situación, aunque ahora resulte más duro.

28.6.17

El timo de la gasolina

Llevamos unos últimos años con precios de petróleo bajos históricamente - también de gas natural del que ya hablaremos, posible origen de las tensiones en Oriente Medio. Sin embargo, como vamos a intentar demostrar, los precios que pagamos los consumidores no son en absoluto proporcionales.

Ya sabemos que un gran porcentaje del precio corresponde a impuestos, sin embargo, con las bajadas tan abruptas NO ES EN ABSOLUTO JUSTIFICABLE el gran diferencial.

Aquí tienen el gráfico histórico del precio del petróleo en amarillo, donde pueden observar una bajada desde 121 en el 2012 a 27 en el 2016, 4 veces menos (-77%). Sin embargo, la gasolina en ese mismo período se movió de 1.5 a 1.1 (-27%).

Además, ya es bastante obvio el gran ensanchamiento entre la línea amarilla y las otras dos, no "capturando" el precio de la gasolina la bajada del petróleo.

20.6.17

Cryptomator

Each day it is more common to find storage "in the cloud". The idea is to outsource the storage of our files, photos, etc... and leave it to a trusted third party such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Onedrive, Box, etc. To upload and download the files we use internet. To make sure nobody except us and our designated people has access to our content, we sign in with our passwords. Until here, everything is normal. But what if someone hacks the passwords or if someone cracks the cloud we are using?

We have 2 solutions for the above. For the first problem, we add another layer of safety, what is usually known as 2nd Verification Step or 2 Factor Authentication. The idea is that we have to have something physical with us to enter into our cloud, such as a token sent to our mobile through SMS or a number linked to our Google Authenticator App. For the second problem, we can locally encrypt the files we upload, so, even in the unlikely event of hackers copying our files, they wouldn't be able to read then.


Cloudfogger used to be a good option, but now it is not available anymore. Another possible option could be Cryptomator, very compatible and extremely easy to use. You can find their web here.

6.6.17

Uranium

Uranium may be an interesting investment because the demand of electricity is going to increase in the next years and the world still bets on nuclear power. There is a nice balance between the production of uranium and its use right now, but a sharp increase in the number of nuclear plants must lead to higher prices for this commodity.

Demand side

Nuclear power capacity worldwide is increasing steadily, with over 60 reactors under construction in 15 countries (mainly in Asia and Russia), several plants increasing their capacity and others implementing life extension programs. The WNA 2015 Nuclear Fuel Report reference scenario (post Fukushima accident) shows a 26% increase in uranium demand over 2015-25. Demand thereafter will depend on new plant being built market. However, with electricity demand by 2040 expected (by the OECD's International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook 2015 report) to increase 70% from that of 2013, there is plenty of scope for growth in nuclear capacity.

Supply side


Right now it is felt a nice equilibrium between the supply and demand sides with 90% of production coming from mines and the rest from recycling weapons. In any case, it is very common to use long-term contracts for uranium and, as we see on the chart, there is a premium of around 10 USD/lb between the spot price and the long-term price. Some countries such as Russia and China have bypassed the market buying directly Canadian and African mines to avoid any shortage of uranium in the future.

29.5.17

Ethereum

It is the "new thing", the new bitcoin? Not exactly. Ethereum is a platform based on blockchain, but while the bitcoin blockchain is used to track ownership of precisely the digital currency called bitcoin, the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application. While all blockchains have the ability to process code, most are severely limited. Ethereum improves this. Instead of giving a set of limited operations, Ethereum allows developers to create whatever operations they want. This means developers can build thousands of different applications that go way beyond anything we have seen before (smart contracts):
Ether is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the desired transactions. Ether can be trade independently.

19.5.17

In search of cashflow: perpetual bonds


A perpetual bond is a bond that only pays coupon, it will never return the principal. Some people call them "perps". As it has no maturity date, you can consider it equity.

There are 3 main considerations when we consider buying a perp:

1. How safe is the issuer. Government bonds from important countries should theoretically be safe (not so sure anymore). Also big reliable companies in defensive sectors. Beware of banks, though. Under the Basel-III requirement, an international capital standard, perpetual bonds or AT1 securities are more of a quasi-equity obligation. If an issuing bank incurs losses in a financial year, it cannot make coupon payment to its bondholders even if it has enough cash. Moreover, if the equity capital of the issuer falls below 6.125%, the entire investment of bondholders would be either written down or converted to equity.

2. Currency. You want to receive the payments in the strongest currency possible. Avoid emerging market currencies.

3. Interest rates. The price of these bonds strongly depends on interest rates. To calculate the price we just divide the annual coupon by a discount rate. For example, if a bond has a coupon of 8000 USD a year and we use a discount rate of 4%, the price of the bond should be 200000 USD. However if interest rates go up to 8%, the bond price is half the previous one.

It seems a very risky investment, but it doesn't have to be. If the coupon is high enough and the issuer is a reliable company that pays in dollars, in a few years the coupons will pay for the initial investment, and after that the investor and his inheritors  just receive some nice cashflow forever.

13.5.17

A little bit of macro. Countries

Which countries are cheaper to invest in the stock market? And sectors? Thanks to StarCapital we can rank countries and sectors. In the long term and in general, the lower the entry price, the higher the future returns. Check out the following:


We can see that Russia is extremely cheap, so it might make sense to place some small amount of our investing money in a Russian ETF, such as RSX. As you can see this ETF as biased towards the energy sector. Another option could be RSXJ (Small caps) and less oil and gas, obviously. 

Russia is a risky country and its currency has suffered a huge decline in the latest years, therefore only expert investors who know how to manage their risks should think of this market. But also, remember, that buying stocks of a "safe" country at desorbitan prices can be as risky, if not more, as Russia.

3.5.17

Japanese yen or gold, the same?

Check the following chart, gold in yen terms:
Since 2011, the chart moves in a horizontal range, which, taking into account the huge volatility of both products, is very curious.

The explanation many analysts have found is that yen and gold are considered safe havens. However yen has not proven to be good at keeping value over the years. Other analysts think the reason JPY and gold move together is because both depend on real interest rates in USA. And that might be true if no other factors are involved. When the oil prices shake, gold moves, but not necessarily the yen. Same thing happens when a big collapse or a war is foreseen beyond the horizon.

If the above is true, that doesn't mean that we can take practical advantage of this correlation, unless we happen to understand the driving forces of gold besides interest rates.