What is happening with 2 of the apparently best currencies: Norwegian krone and Canadian dollar?

Let us compare them with the euro and the US dollar respectively.

After a minimum point of 7.3 in 2012, the krone started sinking until EURNOK=9.7 at the beginning of this year, but after that it strengthened and now it is trading around 8.9. So far, the historical range is approximately [7-10].

Somehow, something similar has happened with the Canadian dollar. Why? Because NOK and CAD are correlated with the price of commodities, particularly oil. In 2011 CAD reached 0.94 and again the USD peaked at the beginning of 2016 (1.46). Since then the CAD has been going up and now it trades at 1.33.

If you want to bet on oil and perhaps better fiat currencies, NOK and CAD could be an option.


Ray Dalio at the FED, October 4th

The full speech can be found here, however, we have extracted its main ideas:

Abnormally slow growth
Future investment returns very low
Monetary policies less and less effective
End of long-term debt cycle
QE close to the limit. Worst country Japan, then Europe, USA and China
There is a limit as to how negative bond yields can go
Gold more attractive than bonds with negative yields
Most similar period 1935-1945

This speech is a must-read paper for everyone interested in understanding the financial world we are living.


Healthcare REITs

"Looking for a safe haven?" was the title of a recent article on a newspaper. It recommended 7 healthcare REITs (Real Estate Investment Trust).

Check out the following list of REITs related to the healthcare system, but first, please, read How to choose a good REIT, it is a very brief post.

Ventas VTR (P/B=2.67)
HCP (P/B=1.97)
Care Capital Properties CCP (P/B=2.39)
Omega Healthcare Investors OHI (P/B=2.12)
Medical Properties Trust MPW (P/B=1.85)
Welltower HCN (P/B=2.39)
The Universal Health Realty Trust UHT (P/B=4.67).

I understand that we can pay a little more for the know how, management, etc..., but all of these REITs are clearly overpriced. There are better solutions in other countries. The US healthcare REIT train has already passed...


Nos han dado aire..., aprovechémoslo

Todos conocemos empresas e individuos que, de forma casi milagrosa, han podido salvar los muebles después del inicio de la gran crisis económica mundial. Están tocados y sus patrimonios en muchos casos en números rojos, sin embargo no quiebran porque mantienen un flujo de caja positivo, a diferencia de otros que se han quedado por el camino.

Los tipos de interés están en el entorno de cero y el petróleo barato, lo que es un gran alivio. Muchos respiran pensando que la situación va a quedar estática para siempre. Mucho nos tenemos que no va a ser así, pese a que la popular Carmen Reinhart (quién es, aquí) en recientes declaraciones parezca explicar que los tipos de interés se van a mantener bajos por años. Por el momento, la producción de petróleo se ha estancado/disminuido por lo que el precio por barril ha subido (uno de los activos que más ha subido porcentualmente este año):
Nos han dado algo de tiempo para intentar sanear los números, vendrá otra oleada en algún momento y habrá que estar preparado. Solo una última anotación: sanear puede implicar asumir la pérdida.


British pound

In July, we wrote a post about the future of the EURGBP or EUR/GBP (post here). So far, we've been absolutely right as we can see on the chart below:
We all have read that against the USD the situation is more dramatic for the pound, but nothing to worry about. As we explained in the case of Argentina, the British stock market is doing great because either British people prefer to own shares of a company to their currency or foreign investors find good deals in international British companies traded in the UK.


There is always room for individualism

Even in the worst circumstances exceptional individuals can separate themselves from the crowd and the establishment and show their abilities. Just as an example, when we think of architecture during the communist years in the Soviet Union, we immediately visualize brutal buildings. However, even during this period, certain architects were able to outstand their fellow architects and create master pieces like the Palace of Ceremonies in Tbilisi (by Victor Djorbenadze).

But even following the directives of the Commusnist Party, there is room to express one's thoughts. Check this wonderful building in Kaliningrad by Yulian L. Shvartsbreim:

Human beings are social, no doubt about it, however we are also individualistic and without the people that didn't follow the herd, our development would have been much slower.


Precio y valor percibido

Decir que no existe relación entre valor (tómese aquí como grado de disfrute) y precio es un poco exagerado. Sin embargo, una cierta e ineficiente relación no puede llevarnos a decidir nuestras opciones de ocio.

A mí me encanta viajar y esto cuesta. Curiosamente, los viajes más maravillosos ni de lejos han sido los más caros.

Un restaurante de 120 euros el cubierto puede ser una ganga o un robo. Recuerdo con absoluta deleitación las cenas en el Diverxo cuando aún no tenía estrellas Michelin. Era "caro" y era muy barato.

De igual forma que cuando invertimos intentamos hallar valor para un precio, en nuestra vida diaria hay que realizar un balance honesto sobre el binomio disfrute/pago. Si el hotel de 5 estrellas tiene un gran restaurante, quizás no haga falta alojarse en el hotel de precio desorbitado pero sí disfrutar de su comida.

En este ámbito, uno de los temas más controvertidos es el viaje en business class pagado por uno mismo. A veces el precio es el doble, el triple o 4 veces el precio de turista. Corresponde a cada uno pensar si no puede encontrar una mejor utilización para su dinero.


When the stocks go down...

A stock has gone down 30% (0.3), how much does it need to go up to get even? Of course it is going to be more than 30%. The formula is y=x/(1-x) where y is percentage up, and x percentage down. So, to answer the previous question, the stock needs to go up 0.3/0.7=0.43 or 43%.

We have graphed this equation (thanks fooplot.com):

As we can see, after big falls it is very difficult to recover: 70% down needs an upward movement of... more than 230%!! 



The rand (ZAR) is the currency of South Africa. It takes its name from the Witwatersrand where Johannesburg was created. Despite the big international fuss favorable to Mandela, during the last decades the country has not been targeting on the right direction. It is also true that it depends on the commodity markets and the World slowing down didn't help at all.
As you can see on the chart above, the USD has been going up for the last five years until debasing the rand to half of its value. However, this year the rand has strengthened against the dollar to exactly the first Fibonacci stop. If we had to guess, the USD should now continue the upward movement for the next years. If true, today's price could be a good entry point. 


Early retirement. Budget

Our blog is quite ecletic: we talk about currencies, politics, the stock market... However the main purpose of all of it is finding the right tools to become happy and free as fast as possible, usually through early retirement. Sometimes the trees don't let you see the forest, and once in a while we need to keep our motivation to avoid losing focus on the real target.

So, first of all, let us recommend you two excellent websites to feed our hearts and minds with the right setups: 

Now that we are on the mood, we have to become more sensible. When we look for early retirement on internet, most of the webs we find are related to income and savings because it is where the money is. But we, on the other hand, want to highlight the importance of being accurate with our future expense budget. The inflation is a very important factor that affects both future income and expenses, so for now we are going to leave it out of the equation. Healthcare is another difficult issue to forecast and we will leave it for a future article.

With this post, we just want to answer the following question: if I retire tomorrow, how much money do I need to live happily? From here, we can start building the right plan. Most of the people don't have "an amazing job" that allows them to save and invest big. They will have to either delay the early retirement or reduce the monthly budget (there are some experts on living with almost no money like Early Retirement Extreme).

We need to use the right tools to find out our personal monthly budget, and luckily there are plenty of free ones such as calculators like Tim Ferriss's (link here) or spreadsheet templates like Vertex42's (link here). We just have to fill them in and start building our future.


Korean ETFs

Around us we see KIA cars, Samsung TVs, LG fridges... Korea seems to be the future. In fact in our last trip to this country we found the perfect combination of modesty, hard work and ambition in most of the companies we visited.

If you think it is worth it to invest in Korea, probably the best way to do it for retail investors is through an ETF (fund traded real time that buys a share of the full market at once). We have selected 2:

-EWY, the biggest and most liquid one. Expense ratio: 0.62%. Main sectors: 41% technology, 13% financial services.
-FKO, with an algorithm to choose the stocks. Expense ratio: 0.8%. Main sectors: 18% consumer cyclicals, 18% technology, 15% industrials.


Erdoğan, Putin and the euro

The euro, bad as it is, has behaved much better than the currencies of the countries around the Eurozone. For example, here we show EUR/TRY (Turkish lira) and we can check the euro has been strengthening against the lira for the last 10 years:
Another important case for the World's economy is the Russian ruble. It has suffered a strong attack that forced its Central Bank to strongly increase its interest rates to 10%. Somehow it has worked and the exchange has moved from 90 to 70:
For the moment, the euro is still the best of 2 evils.


Diversificación con crowdfunding inmobiliario

Los bancos a punto de llegar a intereses negativos, lo que, en vez de subir el consumo, está llevando la venta de cajas fuertes a records históricos, las buenas bolsas con PER altos, sin tanto dinero como para comprar una vivienda..., ¿dónde podemos colocar algo de dinero?

Una opción es utilizar estas nuevas empresas de crowdfunding inmobiliario. Cada uno, en la medida de sus posibilidades, aporta dinero para un proyecto inmobiliario de cierta envergadura hasta muchos pocos hacen un todo y se puede poner en marcha. Nosotros hemos encontrado dos nuevas startups con esta filosofía: PRIVALORE y HOUSERS.

Privalore tiene el valor añadido de centrarse en el bienestar de los ocupantes de de la vivienda, tanto desde un punto de vista de salud como de confort. Su web es privalore.es

Housers tiene una web donde explica perfectamente cómo se pagan los beneficios de la inversión, su fiscalidad, etc... Su web es housers.es

Para terminar una nota de advertencia: son empresas nuevas y cada uno debe realizar las verificaciones financieras y legales para asegurarse de que son empresas serias. Toda inversión tiene sus riesgos y esta no es una excepción. Su valoración les corresponde a ustedes.



Are bitcoins absolutely anonymous? The answer is no. In bitcoin, a payment transaction consists of an origin address, destination address and payment amount. These transactions are grouped into blocks and stored on a decentralized ledger called blockchain. The blockchain is public and can be monitored (fortunately transactions cannot be linked to individuals) and through some data mining software it can create a user's profile.

To create perfect anonymity a new protocol has been added to the bitcoin one to avoid revealing any data from the transaction. Each user can convert non-anonymous basecoins into anonymous zerocash coins or zerocoins.

Here you may visit z.cash where you can learn more about this new protocol which is about to start its experimental beta phase on 7th September. Also visit zerocoin.org for a broader explanation.


3 apps para diseño de interiores

Casi todos en alguna ocasión hemos tenido que decorar una casa o apartamento y habría sido de gran ayuda ver de antemano cómo iba a resultar. Ahora existen unas apps muy sencillas de utilizar que nos permiten ver en 3D nuestra futura casa amueblada.

Una de estas es la súper conocida Home Design 3D:
Otras opciones son Amikasa que ofrece la posibilidad de crear habitaciones en 3D usando muebles, suelos y colores de pared de marcas reales, o Roomle también con versión web sin descarga.