Feb 182016
 

Expensive Diamond Sells for Record Price

In 2014 Hong Kong real estate mogul Joseph Lau bought his daughter, Zoe, a rare 10 carat blue diamond for $32.6 million! But when his other daughter, Josephine, found out she understandably became jealous and asked him for an expensive diamond too. He couldn’t help but feel guilty and obliged to buy her something special as well. But Zoe’s diamond is one of a kind. So he planned to buy Josephine an even bigger and more expensive diamond.

In late 2015 at a Sotheby’s auction, Mr. Lau was the top bidder on an insanely rare 12 carat “blue moon” diamond. He paid in Swiss francs equivalent to US $48.4 million, which set a new record for the world’s most expensive diamond ever sold! And he bought it for his little princess. Maybe it’s just me but I think somebody is trying a little too hard to win the world’s greatest dad award. 😛

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Some people are not convinced that spoiling his daughter with a fancy vivid blue diamond ring is the best parenting move he could have made, especially considering that Josephine is only 7 years old. 😀 But next to sound judgment, diamonds are the rarest things in the world, at least according to De Beers. 😛 Since Mr. Lau has an estimated net worth of $10 billion, I can’t blame him for wanting to splurge on his family once in awhile.

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Apr 252015
 

I recently read a study suggesting that there is a correlation between the cost of engagement rings and the duration of marriages. Researchers looked at 3,000 U.S. adults who had been married at some point in their lives, and found that subjects were more likely to end up divorced if they had spent large sums of money on engagement rings and weddings.

For example, male participants who spent $2,000 To $4,000 on engagement rings were 30% more likely to end up divorced than guys who only spent between $500 to $2,000.

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Similarly, people who spent $20,000 or more on their weddings were 3.5 times more likely to end up divorced than people who spent $5,000 to $10,000.

The authors of the study believe the correlation between high wedding and engagement ring costs and high divorce rates is probably due to the financial stress placed on couples who are overly determined to have the “perfect day,” regardless of their actually ability to afford it. 😕

The diamond and wedding industry has done an excellent job promoting their businesses over time. Before the second world war, only 10% of engagement rings contained a diamond. But by the year 2000, about 80% of rings did. In 2012 alone, Americans collectively spent roughly $7 billion on diamond rings. 😯

Here’s my analysis on all this. People who want expensive rings and fancy weddings are generally more materialistically demanding in the first place. Later on in the marriage they’re more likely to live in expensive neighbourhoods, drive fancier cars than their friends, and shop at high end stores. These kinds of behaviours usually lead to debt and other money problems, and we all know how financial stress is often the primary contributor for divorce.

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Mar 142013
 

I got a call earlier this week from a fellow who works for a diamond brokerage firm. I gave them my contact information when I went to a resource conference earlier this year. He wanted to tell me that their Vancouver office is holding a seminar later this month about investing in diamonds. Fancy colored diamonds in particular. I thought it could be interesting so I agreed to attend. I plan to learn more about what their company does, and the diamond business in general. It should be fun 😀 After our phone conversation I poked around the internet a bit to learn more about this rare commodity and found out that many investors view colored diamonds as a form of alternative investment. I love learning about alternative investments because it broadens my perspective as an investor.

13_03_coloreddiamonds, diamondsI’ve only done some preliminary research on the topic but from what I’ve found out so far the price of an average grade, colored diamond have doubled to tripled over the last decade or so. Minimum investment through a broker is about $10,000 depending on what you’re looking for. You can invest in diamonds in other ways too, like buying them from established online wholesalers or various retailers. But because of the markup in stores many investors buy rare diamonds through brokers. There’s also news about a diamond investment fund or ETF but I don’t know much about those.

At this point I don’t know if investing in diamonds is a good idea yet.  They say diamonds are forever. But are they a dependable long term investment or do they simply represent a silly market where rich people pay for overpriced shiny rocks that don’t have much intrinsic value in the real world? Well that’s what I’m going to find out 😀

I’ve gathered a few Youtube video links below about investing in diamonds in case anyone is interested. Sorry about the poor quality. Please keep in mind that these clips may be very biased so as any prudent investor should do, take any promotional talk you hear with a grain of salt and always do your own research before making important financial decisions. That’s exactly what I’m going to do in the next few weeks, more research.
Are diamonds a safe investment? 4 min
Diamonds – Investor’s new best friend 2.5 min
Investing in rare colored diamonds 8 min

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Random Useless Fact: The Average teacher salary in Switzerland in 2010 was $112000 per year

Jan 172013
 

I don’t drink coffee so it has never occurred to me before how big this industry is. Apparently after crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world. People drink over 500 billion cups of it each year. That’s a lot considering there’s only 7 billion people on this planet. Starbucks is a growing company that is expected to make $1.9 billion this year of after tax profit. The company is currently valued at $40.4 billion. Even if they stopped growing forever, anyone who bought the stock today can expect to make a 4.7% return on their investment ($1.9÷$40.4) Not much, but better than nothing! If you did the same calculations for Tim Hortons you would make about 6%.  This year I’m going to invest more in relatively defensive stocks that provide coffee, soft drinks, snacks, and other consumables that people can’t seem to get enough of.

Here’s my watch list for 2013. I plan to start buying some of these names soon.

Canadian Stocks

  • Canadian Utilities Limited (CU) *Electric, gas, and steam company*
  • Emera (EMA) *Another utilities company. This one has a great dividend growth record*
  • TransCanada (TRP) *Pipelines. Very recession proof*
  • Tim Hortons (THI) *Doughnuts and coffee, om nom nom ヽ( ̄д ̄;)ノ*
  • Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (RBA) *A speculative way to invest in the auction business*
  • Bird Construction (BDT) *In construction and general contracting business. 4.9% dividend yield*
  • Canadian National Railway (CNR) *Railways. A great way to play the agricultural industry. Bill Gates is its largest shareholder owning over 10% of the entire company*
  • Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) *Another railway company. Good CEO. But currently overpriced*

 

US Stocks

  • The Walt Disney Company (DIS) *Steve Jobs’ estate is still making over $100 million a year from Disney’s dividends*
  • Coca-Cola Company (KO) *Buffett’s favorite company, enough said*
  • PepsiCo (PEP) *Very global. Very diversified. Maker of Pepsi, Frito Lay, Doritos, Tropicana, Quaker, and Gatorade. With a growing middle class with more disposable income in developing countries how can you possibly go wrong investing in Pepsi?*
  • Starbucks (SBUX) *Opening 3,000 new stores in the Americas by 2017. China to become 2nd largest market in 2014. This company is growing like a weed. Better get in sooner rather than later.*
  • Kimberly Clark (KMB) *They make the tissue you see in public washrooms everywhere. Very stable business model*
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) *Increased its dividends for at least 25 consecutive years*

I already have shares in McDonald’s which owns the McCafé brand of coffee. Once I also buy Tim Hortons and Starbucks I’ll have part ownership to pretty much the entire quick service coffee business in Canada, haha (⌒▽⌒)and exposure to many other countries too. Canadians bought 1.5 billion cups of coffee last year, making it the nation’s most popular beverage. So every time someone buys a coffee from these lucrative chains a very small amount from that transaction will eventually be paid back to me either in dividends, or stock value 😀

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Random Useless Fact:

getting back into stocks and investing in coffee

source: CBC