Jan 212013
 

A couple weeks ago I got a nice surprise in the mail when I received a check from my real estate lawyer. The price they quoted me to do the farmland transaction last year was too much and there was apparently a balance left in my account which they’ve returned to me. I thought the invoice they billed me for earlier included the final fees, but I suppose that was just an estimate? Anyway, I’ve heard lawyers are greedy, but these guys seem to be pretty honest 😀 The amount isn’t a whole lot, but it’s enough to treat myself to something nice. I love seafood 🙂 and living in Vancouver, I’ve had my fair share of it 😀 But one item I haven’t had yet was sturgeon roe.

first time eating caviar

first time eating caviar

A sturgeon is a type of fish and roe is a fancy name for fish eggs. There are 26 species of sturgeons in the world, but only 3 live in the Caspian sea, and it’s the roes from these particular sturgeons that have been the historical sources for fine Caspian caviar. And that is what I decided to spend my newly discovered money on. Sturgeon roe has been considered a source of great nutrients and has been known to maintain a woman’s beauty and provide stamina to men (if you know what I mean ;).) In ancient Rome it was regarded as such a delicacy that it was presented among garlands of flowers to only wealthy and powerful patricians (ie: aristocrats and noblemen.)  There are a number of places to find this highly prized roe, but in Vancouver if you want the freshest and best quality foods, there’s only one place to go :0)

first time eating caviar

Found a seafood store that sells sturgeon roe in the public market.

first time eating caviar, seafood city store

different sturgeons produce different caviarsThe largest of the 3 sturgeons swimming in the Caspian sea is the beluga, which can live for over 100 years and grow to become 2,000 pounds, or over 900 kg. That’s a pretty big fish eh (o_O) Its eggs are so special beluga caviar is sold for $8,000 to $12,000 per kilogram today. I could have bought this at the seafood store last week, but I decided it was too expensive, and opted for the much more affordable Asetra roe instead which is roughly only $4,000 per kilogram. In the end I only bought 30 grams of the stuff. The clerk was really friendly and even packaged the goods with ice cubes to keep it cool. I think by weight, this Asetra roe is probably the most expensive food I’ve ever bought. I think it’s worth it though, and the price of the caviar turned out to be the same as the rebate cheque I received so maybe it was meant to be 😉

caviar should be kept cool at all times

There are many different ways you can prepare caviar. If you want to keep it simple, all you need are some blinis or some other kind of good quality bread (cut into slices) and some Crème Fraîche which you can find beside the sour cream at your local specialty food store, or higher end grocery store. Give the bread a toast in the oven, plop on some crème fraîche and caviar, and then you are ready to eat like royalty \(^_^)/ 30 grams of roe makes about 10 to 12 of these canapés if you use the amounts I did (very bottom picture)

simple way to eat caviar

It tasted pretty good. Like rich fish eggs with a hint of sea salt. Not as crunchy as salmon roe, but more creamy, salty, and nutty. It was definitely a unique taste and I enjoyed it, but it was not a particularly memorable flavor at least for me. I’m not a big foodie, but I do think it’s okay to splurge on something gourmet once in awhile 😀

Apr 052012
 

I am thankful I live in a relatively stable economy, have plenty of clean water to drink, a car to drive, and access to high speed internet. Luxuries which most people in the world unfortunately don’t have. According to the globalrichlist.com calculator, I am currently in the top 1% of all income earners in the world (if I factor in my part-time and dividend income as well.) So I consider myself pretty lucky being able to live the lifestyle I want and still have enough savings left over to invest for my future. If you make more than $50,000 USD a year, then cheers (^ _ ^ )o自自o( ^ _ ^ ) because you are also in the top 1%, according to that site anyway. However making a decent living in a wealthy country such as Canada, or the US, does have its drawbacks ಠ_ಠ. There are certain responsibilities and problems that will arise when we make too much money that people in poorer countries simply don’t have to worry about. And a lot of those misfortunes we face are often overlooked by world leaders.  Below are some examples of deeply troubling financially related first world problems, which tend to only exist in the realm of the rich … ಥ_ಥ

All images above were derived from internet memes.  While we may live in some of the richest countries on the planet let this be a reminder that we are not immune from the hardships of this world. I can relate to some of these problems myself. How about you? In a future follow up entry, I’ll post about some non-financial problems we face here in the first world.

Nov 222011
 

Here’s an extensive research on xkcd about how much things cost, including where government is spending tax payer’s money.  There is A LOT of information in there. Below, I’ve copied some of the more interesting facts to me…

– Median household net income in the States = $104.12 per day (A bit lower than I expected.)
– Cell phone avg monthly fee = $77.36 (Seems a bit high, I pay less than $20 for mine)
– Annual cost of cat/dog ownership = $670/$695 (cheaper than owning a rabbit)
– Typical 2007 CEO income = $5,420 per hour (Yes, PER HOUR!)
– Estimated one-year Hogwarts cost (incl. tuition) = $43,000 (That’s a bargain considering what you will learn there :0)

– Flower cost for William and Kate’s wedding = $800,000 (Imagine planning a wedding of that scale)
– Annual cost to run Wikipedia = $18.5 Million (I had no idea)
– Amount needed to live comfortably off investments = $4 Million (Depends on the individual/household)
– Most expensive car sold (1957 Ferrari 250) = $16.4 Million (Who would pay that much for such an old car?)
– Treskilling Yellow postage stamp = $83.7 Million = (Wish I was a stamp collector..)

– Mona Lisa assessed value = $731 Million (Art is a good investment)
– Mitt Romney’s net worth = $210 Million (I would retire if I were him)
– One F-22 Raptor = $154.5 Million (What an accomplishment for the engineers who worked on these)
– One B-2 Bomber = $2.5 Billion (0.o)

– The US’s 400 richest people have a greater combined wealth than the poorest 50% of the country (But some rich people still think they don’t have enough)
– A human life is valued at $8.4 million (How does one go about calculating this anyway?)
– Size of the derivatives market = $439 Trillion (Scary number, considering how un-regulated derivatives are)
– Total US public debt = $10.2 Trillion (That’s about $33,000 per person)
– Total Canadian public debt = $1.1 Trillion (Also about $33,000 per person, coincidence?)
– Total economic production of the human race so far $2.4 Quadrillion (That’s $2,400,000,000,000,000)

Oct 292011
 

Men generally have more money than women. That may not be a surprise since men tend to have higher incomes as well. However, I didn’t expect the difference to be so big. In 2005 in Canada, the median male had $184,964 of wealth, and the median female had $105,470. That makes guys 75% richer than girls on average. And around the same time the median family net worth in the US was $93,100. This of course doesn’t mean Canadians are richer than Americans, our wealth is just distributed differently than their’s.

The good news for younger adults is that our bar has been set pretty low. The median net worth for my gender and age group for example is only $28,203. Although my net worth is higher than that, the median debt to asset ratio for this same group is 0.41, where mine is over 0.70, which means for every dollar I have, I owe someone else more than 70 cents. I know carrying around almost a quarter million dollars of debt in my 20s is kind of risky but I can’t help myself from borrowing more and more because credit is just so cheap and easy to get.

So men apparently have 1.75 times more money in general than women. So here is some quality advice. Ladies, don’t settle for any man who is struggling with his debt because there are plenty of other guys out there who are more financially sound. And guys, don’t marry a girl just because she likes you for your money.

 

Jul 122011
 

1. Make more money than you spend. Continue saving and investing.
2. Make sure your career is interesting and fun to you relative to other jobs. Passion leads to skill which leads to good pay regardless of what industry you choose.
3. Pay off high interest debt, and consolidating your debt.
4. Borrow money to make money. Take advantage of low interest rates. It’s hard to find anyone who has invested in real estate or the stock market indexes for decades and have lost money consistently.
5. Keep your investment fees low to maximize returns. For example consider buying ETFs instead of mutual funds, especially if you live in Canada.
6. Don’t get divorced.
7. Don’t spoil your kids. Support them emotionally, but let them learn the meaning of gratification through hard work by themselves. They will thank you one day when they become independent, and will not feel entitled to ask you for money when you retire.