Mar 072015
 

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it of course. 😀 But I bet Moses never got a chance to enjoy a 100 year old vintage tea that costs $600,000. This round disc of tea, which weighs 375 grams, is raw compressed pu’erh (a type of black tea.) It was recently imported into North America for the first time by a vintage tea wholesaler based in Vancouver. 😀 This tea is said to be the most valuable of vintage teas in the world. Wealthy hipsters in Vancouver can finally get their hands on some expensive tea to go along with their expensive Vancouver bungalows. 🙂

15-03-puerh-tea-vintage-tea-600000-vancouver

Brewing this $600,000 tea’s first pot would cost about $150,000, including the depreciation from breaking up the disc. It’s like driving a new car off the lot. Personally it’s a little out of my price range so I’m just going to move oolong, because there’s nothing for me to tea here. 😀

Vintage Tea

Pu’erh is known as the “king of teas” in some parts of China. It’s been drunk by emperors and monks. It’s even said that wars have been fought over. Much like a fine wine or Scotch whiskey, vintage tea becomes better with age, gaining a richness and complexity in flavour as it matures. This particular tea dates back to around 1910.

Many people collect tea the same way they collect art or vintage wine. $600,000 for a 375 gram tea cake works out to a price per weight ratio of $1,600/gram. Let’s see if this tea has been a good investment over the last century. If we assume the vintage tea was originally $1/gram 100 years ago then we can easily calculate its average annual return.

($1,600/$1)^(1/100 years) = 1.077

So this tea cake has increased in value by 7.7% every year on average over the last 100 years. Not as good as the stock market over the same period but it’s still a decent return regardless. 😎 As an alternative asset class I can see myself investing in vintage tea, or maybe even vintage tea cups. 😉 Large chains such as Teavana and Quebec-based David’s Tea are becoming more popular across North America. Tea consumption in Canada is expected to grow 40% in the next 6 years, according to Agriculture Canada. Maybe I’ll just pick up some Earl Grey and store it in a cool and dry place. I’ll wait 50 years, pass it onto my grandchildren, and give them instructions to sell it after another 50 years. 🙂 Why limit my investment time horizon to just a lifetime when I can go multi-generational? 😛

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Random Useless Fact:

42 years ago a Big Mac was only $0.65. Today it’s almost $5.00. #foodinflation

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Jun 042013
 

The world of personal finance can be so complex that it cannot be accurately represented with any rules or strict guidelines. This is why it’s so hard to give financial advice. Unless we know absolutely everything about someone else’s finances and personality, it’s nearly impossible to give them proper guidance and tell them what they need (not want) to hear. We can be as honest as humanly possible with our sincerest suggestions, but to think that we know what’s best for them especially if we haven’t been in their shoes, may be a bit vain. So I believe there is simply no such thing as universal rules when it comes to financial management. Every time we come across one of those “Top 10 Rules to investing,” or “…to get out of debt,” or “…to plan for retirement,” or whatever else, we must look at it as only rough guidelines, and nothing more 🙂

The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Rules are meant to be broken anyway. I break generally accepted personal finance “rules” all the time, like choosing to pay high bank fees instead of keeping the minimum balance in my account, or buying a car when I still had student loans, or using consumer debt to buy a $2,250 souvenir, or not having an emergency fund, or agreeing to purchase a property when I have no savings. Lately I decided to carry a $5,000 credit card balance, which is arguable another no no in the personal finance community, except I think I can be forgiven this time because my interest rate is only 1.9 percent 😀

13_06_transferbalancejpg, break all the rules, credit card balance transfer

Once in awhile I get these cheques from my credit card lender, TD. I can use them to spend on anything I wish. This was my last chance to get in on the deal because after this month they will not be sending out any more of these blank cheques :*(  With no time to lose I wrote $5,000 on one addressed to myself 🙂 and deposited it into my CIBC account. This works out perfectly because I need money for my farmland downpayment so by happenstance I’m now $5,000 closer to buying that property 😀 There IS a 1% transfer fee, so I paid $50 for this service but I think it’s worth it in the end 🙂

Following mainstream rules like credit card debt is bad, but student loan debt is good, will limit our options to raise capital and create wealth. By being more agnostic to what others say and focusing on our own situations we can achieve so much more 😀 There’s no such thing as rules, only suggestions.

If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere.” ~Marilyn Monroe

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Random Useless Fact: 3 – 4 cups of green tea each day can boost your metabolism by 4% which burns 50 to 100 extra calories a day.