Financial Tips – Italy in September, Part One


This is part one of a two (or three) part series on a recent trip to Northern Italy.  Just some random snapshots of food, travel and experiences, along with some aspects of personal finance and investment thrown in. Earlier this month, my boss and I had to go for a week of meetings with our new subsidiary in Northern Italy.  We traveled on a Saturday, arriving later in the afternoon, with a whole Sunday to kill before the start of our mission on Monday morning.  We figured we’d drive around nearby Lago di Como (Lago = lake) on a Sunday, eat somewhere, eat some more, drive some more, perhaps to Lugano in Switzerland, and retire early. Suicidal Drivers Since we had 4 people to drive around for the week, we requested a larger … [Read more...]

Mid Week Reading – Apropos of Nothing in Particular

Redneck Dishwasher (Totally unrelated photo, gleaned from some long-forgotten email...)

I had a little fun in the last roundup gleaning quotes from fellow PF bloggers, I though I'd add another one from the dynamic duo at Control Your Cash. "Why not reduce rates on the salaried masses to put them in line with whatever Buffett’s definition of “rich” is, instead of the other way around? Instead of creating prosthetic limbs for amputees, Buffett wants to break the right arms of the able-bodied." (Warren Buffett Is A Hypocryte, Part I) One from Rob Bennett, guest posting at Invest it Wisely:  The Biggest Unknown Risk of Stock Investing.  What is it? It's that of becoming a "failed buy-and-hold investor".  But it can't be, you say.  Just emulate what Uncle Warren does, and you'll laugh all the way to retirement.  … [Read more...]

Caffe’ Ristretto: A Brief Look At Debtor’s Prison


Note:  I started this coffee break series to tide readers over between longer blog posts. I'm having to travel more recently, and rather than leave the blog populated by guest posts (of which I'm getting a rash of offers in the mail, mostly from bingo parlors in Hong Kong) or worse yet, content-less.  Caffe' Ristretto (as explained by Wikipedia) just means a shot of espresso with less water, and less resulting coffee oils. The taste is supposed to be more nuanced. For me, I'm not that nuanced. It's just good coffee. Lucky for us we don't have debtors' prisons any longer. Or do we?  This from the Wall Street Journal: Welcome to Debtors' Prison, 2011 Edition Some lawmakers, judges and regulators are trying to rein in the … [Read more...]

Not The Usual Round Up of Random Links

Random Doodle #28

A short edition for this week. Gotta pack, make sure my passport is the right one, and all my papers and files are in order. By the time you read this, I might be in the air somewhere over the Aleutians on an Asiana Airlines flight on the way to South Korea.  I've never flown Asiana before, I'm curious what their service will be like.  If it's anything like other Pacific rim airlines (think Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines) it will be miles ahead of any generic US carrier, where the planes and the flight attendants are old and worn-out. On Investing... Here's one from Monevator, not only because there is a cool quote about stalagmites: Financial Goals:  Sticking To The Plan When The Funk Comes To Visit. I drew more … [Read more...]

Centavos Model Portfolio: The market, it burnsssss ussss..

USA Financial Service Model Portfolio of Penny Mining Stocks - September 2011

Time for another update to the Centavos Model Portfolio of penny mining stocks.  The picture has not gotten any better from the last update (Model Portfolio Haz Sad Face) back in May.  It may strike readers as a little strange to post an update on very volatile equities strange after a hard down day like yesterday, especially as you can see from the portfolio snapshot, the return column is swimming in a sea of red.  But it’s only a paper loss, natch. (click on the spreadsheet for a larger view) A couple of notable changes since the last update: Added some more shares Coral Gold, doubling the position to 4,000 shares. Hathor Exploration is being courted for an acquisition by Cameco, one of the larger uranium mining companies out … [Read more...]

Career Tip Number 11: Words Are Important

Totally unrelated picture: ceiling fresco at Beuggen castle church, Rheinfelden, Germany - photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Words are important.....Well of course they are. Everyone knows that, at least in theory.  In theory… I keep seeing and hearing so much ineffective communication (not to mention not a few badly written blog posts), that it sure seems that theory is being roundly trounced by shoddy practice. Words are important. A simple enough maxim, one that a mentor friend is fond of repeating when dropping little pearls of wisdom here and there. Forget about for now the latest fads in neuro-linguistic programming and reading/interpreting body language. What are they saying, focus on the words, beyond the words, help me understand. What's it mean? It means choose words carefully.  When you're writing a message (text or email or fax or letter), … [Read more...]

Caffe’ Corto: A short take on Gold Mining Companies And Valuations

Inspired by the very popular Len Penzo’s  “100 words on...” series,  and by the article I read today on Yahoo finance, here's a short take on gold mining companies and the Centavos Model Portfolio. The Centavos model portfolio that I've showcased on this blog is drowning in a sea of red ink (Last update in May:  "Centavos Model Portfolio Haz Sad Face".... sad face? Wait till you see the sorry mug in the next update), as various metal commodities like uranium and tungsten and thermal coal have headed south along with the general market.  Even with the dollar price of physical gold bullion nuzzling up past all-time highs, gold and silver and other mining stocks have taken it in the shorts. Along comes this article from the … [Read more...]

Random Travel Notes about Italy, and Random Links

The Colleoni Chapel - Bergamo, Italy

  Pretty cathedral, huh?  Actually, it’s a chapel tacked on the the main cathedral in Bergamo in northern Italy.  It seems that one of the prominent citizens of the city, a certain Bartolomeo Colleoni, a noted and successful condottiero, wished to leave his own legacy by building a chapel.  Tired of talking zoning permissions with the city fathers and religious leaders, he simply had his private soldiers knock down part of the main cathedral, and commence construction on this gorgeous piece of architecture. (Brief aside on Condottieri, for those who many not be familiar with the term.  In Renaissance times, Italian city-states conducted extreme politics by outsourcing the dirty, icky work of fighting battles to … [Read more...]

How I Make Money By Losing Money

Mongolia Bonds?

The following is a guest post of sorts by Fred Carach, author of FORTY YEARS A SPECULATOR This article is re-posted with permission from Fred’s blog. I have been at this game for a very long time. I made my first investment in the stock market in 1961 and I have never been out of the market since then, not even for a single day. I don’t believe in sure things. What I do believe in is risk-reward ratios and that is the concept that I build my life around. I think that believing in certainty in the world of investing is an exercise in delusional thinking that will destroy you. The higher the tolerance for uncertainty, the greater the rewards. At this point the “I refuse to lose my money crowd” will proudly point to … [Read more...]

Are Financial Newsletters Worth The Money?

Totally unrelated photograph of old farm implements on Brownsea Island, Poole, U.K. (** see note below)

For a year or so, I’ve subscribed to a couple of financial newsletters from Casey Research, Big Gold and The Casey Report.  I recently fired them, or rather, didn’t renew my subscription. I first came across Casey Research during the course of my day job. One of their free reports, The Daily Dispatch, was posted on Stainless Steel News and Nickel Prices, a bit of a wonky site that, as the page title has it, is dedicated to the daily price of nickel, industrial grades of stainless steel, and to a lesser extent, other commodities. Casey’s Daily Dispatch was featured along with a bevy of other reports like CommerzBank’s Daily Commodities.  The sources of the reports would vary, but Casey’s would invariably be of consistently … [Read more...]