Mar 302014

Remember in Marvel’s The Avengers movie when Tony Stark (Iron Man) bragged about being a “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.“? Well I think Bill Gates is like the real life version of that :)

14-03-pickupline bill gates

How many times have we heard negative connotations towards money like the following phrases? Money is the root of all evil, money corrupts, money can’t buy happiness, etc. Interesting how it’s usually the poor who says these things. Which is most likely why they’ll stay that way because if they associate money with negativity, there’s less incentive to go after it :?

But just because someone is rich, doesn’t mean he or she is greedy or vain. According to the latest numbers by Forbes, Mr. William H. Gates III is the richest person in the world today with a net worth of $77 billion as of March 2014.

But what’s even more impressive is how he has already donated over $30 billion over his life time so far. This means that if he had kept all his money from the beginning, he would have a net worth of over $100 billion dollars today! Which would probably be the first time in history for anyone to break the 12 figure net worth barrier.

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Jan 182014

According to the 2014 B.C. Assessment, the title of the priciest house in B.C. this year goes to 3085 Point Grey Rd. Vancouver. The 30,600 sq-ft, two-storey house has 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms 8-O It was custom built in 2008 and construction is finally complete this year! And the price? A mind blowing $54.2 million! The owner, also the person who commissioned building this property, is none other than Chip Wilson, founder and ex-CEO of the popular athletic apparel company Lululemon :) Known for his business prowess, billionaire status, and philanthropic activities through his charity in Ethiopia, he’s certainly more than just a Chip off the old block :D

14-01-yogasnow, yoga, priciest house in B.C.

However last year he made a public comment about some of his customers that many people took offence to. Since then the yoga pants that he invented have become the butt of the internet jokes :D And before that incident Lululemon faced public relation problems with their black Luon yoga pants because the material used to make them was too sheer, making them overly see through. The company decided to do a complete recall of the product when the problem was exposed :D Most investors want businesses to disclose their financials and be transparent, but what Lululemon did was sheer incompetence, as they took transparency to a whole new level :D The once proud and beloved success story that grew out of Vancouver is now getting quite a bum rap :D

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Jan 152014

Last year a painting by artist Barnett Newman was sold at an auction by Sotheby’s. It set a new record price. The piece is called Onement Vi. It was painted in 1953 and it measures 8.5 feet by 10 feet. The reason this canvas is so coveted is because it’s the last remaining piece of the Onement series (1 of 6.) In 2012 another painting in the same series sold for $22.4 million. The remaining 4 pieces are currently owned by museums. Talk about exclusivity :)

Here are a few pictures of what the oil painting looks like.

14-01-bluepainting, expensive painting

Isn’t it brilliant? :D The flow of the surreal blue paint is almost mesmerizing. The deliberate blue brush strokes and the slightly different shades of blue really comes together well. I love how the carefully placed slightly blue-er blues around the edges of the blue canvas really brings out the entire blue-ishness of the blue painting. A few strokes of deeper blue gives it that final vibrant blue finish, without making it too overwhelmingly blue. Wow, what a masterpiece! :) 6 blue stars out of 5! :P

So how much do you think it sold for at the auction?

Six bidders had to fight over this one, but in the end a telephone bidder speaking Italian ended up paying $43.8 million to be the proud owner of this painting. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Apparently a picture can also be worth a lot of money ;)

Whether the artwork is actually worth that much money is debatable :? But as an investor I can certainly appreciate the financial opportunity of fine art. If the other canvas in the same series sold for $22.4 million in 2012 then these paintings have gone up in value by almost 100% in just one year. What a fantastic return! :D Okay, it’s decided then. I’m going to invest in some fine art :) I probably can’t afford anything from a Sotheby’s auction but I’ll keep my eyes open for something more affordable.

Random useless fact: Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nov 032013

In 2011 Asia overtook North America as the region with the most High-Net-Worth-Individuals in the world. A HNWI is someone who has at least $1 million of investable assets, not counting primary residence. But last year in 2012 there were more new millionaires in North America than in Asia and we pulled into the lead again according to a study by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Fantabulous! :D We now have a total of 3,730,000 HNWI on this continent. We’re number 1 :) And Asia follows closely behind in second place with 3,680,000 HNWIs. Europe is ranked 3rd with 3,400,000.

However Asia is set to retake the top spot again by as early as 2014, the report’s researchers predict. Oh man, it seems to be a neck-and-neck millionaire race between us and Asia. C’mon fellow North Americans. We can’t let them out rich us :evil:  By the way the Asian countries in this study include Australia. Sorry my Aussies friends, you guys are involved in this matter whether you want to be or not ;)

One of the reasons for the large influx of new Asian millionaires over the last decade is because of high wage inflation in most Asian countries. Right now the Asian region, including Australia, is growing their economy faster than us Westerners. Below are charts showing income growth in China and Australia.13-11-asian-wage-inflation

Can you imagine working in China where your wage increases by over 10% EVERY year! Holy habanero sauce! Similar deal in Australia where if you made $1,000 a week in 2012, then chances are you’ll be making over $1,100 a week today! What?! 8-O That’s very improbable for the average North American worker. So unfortunately for us the long term trend does not look promising for Canadians and Americans :( Hopefully we can find new ways to improve our competitiveness and create more millionaires!

Random Useless Fact: The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana


Oct 102013

The U.S. government is nearing its maximum borrowing capacity. If Congress can’t agree on a budget soon they won’t be able to raise the debt ceiling which could mean disaster for the economy. I don’t think anyone is expecting the US to default, but there will probably be a lot of uncertainty in the next week.

But one thing we can do in the meantime to protect ourselves against the risk of hitting the debt ceiling is to buy some insurance. So earlier today I went out and bought an ounce of gold for $1,400, and a 10 ounce bar of silver for $250. My purchase was from the VBCE in downtown Vancouver. They are a walk-in bullion and currency exchange business. They accept cash or debt card. You don’t need to show I.D. unless you’re buying a lot of gold/silver.


I chose to buy gold because in uncertain times, gold usually does well. It’s currently trading at around $1,300/oz USD. I don’t think there’s much room for it to drop from here. This is my reasoning. First, we know that gold has been a store of value for thousands of years and that’s probably not going to change in our lifetime. So if gold can never drop to $0 then what is the lowest it can go? To tackle this question, have a look at this excerpt from a Globe and Mail article published a couple of months ago.

“Many major gold miners have since started reporting what they call their ‘all-in’ cost of production.
Last quarter, Barrick’s amounted to $919 an ounce, while Kinross’s totalled $1,072 an ounce
and Goldcorp Inc.’s hit $1,279 an ounce. …Big names like Barrick and Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd.
have embarked on campaigns to either sell
or scale back their highest cost development and exploration projects.”

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