Winter sucks. It sucks balls.

Canada would be the perfect place to live if it wasn’t for the four months of the year the whole damn country turns into an icicle. We have it all: a beautiful country filled with natural wonders as far as the eye can see; enough extra space to make 1938 Hitler happy; democratically elected governments (mostly) free of corruption; enough wealth that poor neighborhoods are the exception, not the norm; and finally, we don’t have some weird fascination with guns that causes an untold amount of violence.

I just can’t get over the weather. The easy solution is to schedule a couple of winter holidays to break up the drudgery of minus 20, but such vacations are expensive. It turns out EVERYONE wants to leave Canada when it gets cold. Imagine that.

Our shit-ass dollar isn’t helping, either. Back when the canuck buck at far versus the U.S. Dollar, America and Mexico were cheap. I remember staying in a four-star hotel in Las Vegas for $29 per night, plus the $329 resort fee (I’m exaggerating, but only slightly). That’s the kind of holiday I can get behind.

Although this makes my cheap, cheap heart sad, I’m beginning to think that I’m going to just start paying the extra money to go on vacation when other people do. If it’s expensive to go away between Christmas and New Year’s, oh well. If that’s the time we both have off work then I guess that’s when the vacation is happening.

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things off with Roadmap to Retire, who asked 30+ different bloggers for their top investing idea of 2017. If you’re looking for investing ideas, that’s a good place to start.

2. Oddball Stocks wrote about an interesting bank trading at just 44% of book value.

3. Bronte Capital’s blog has some thoughts about averaging down on a losing position, and how it’s (mostly) a sucker’s game. Not sure I agree with his thoughts fully, but that’s the beauty of investing. It’s hard to figure the correct averaging down strategy. Really hard.

4. Here’s a mortgage broker whose whole portfolio consists of real estate (both as a landlord and private lender) as well as cannabis stocks. Yikes.

5. Andrew Hallam asks an interesting question. 1994-2016 was the greatest bull market in the history of Vancouver real estate. Yet how did the average house do against a basket of Canadian stocks?

6. Congrats to Krystal Yee over at Give Me Back My Five Bucks, who managed to save 50% of her income in 2016.

7. Boomer and Echo is giving away a personal finance book to one lucky reader who isn’t me. It turns out I can’t enter any of his contests because I made fun of his terrible stock picks. I have no regrets.

8. Alpha Vulture wrote about a stock called Retail Holdings, which is a liquidation play that is in the process of selling off the company in parts. Here’s the most interesting part of his article:

Chris DeMuth Jr., one of the most popular Seeking Alpha authors, published his thesis on the company last week and called it his top pick for 2017. The market didn’t ignore him, and shares rose 25.8% from $14.70 to $18.50.

It amazes me that a guy on Seeking Alpha can move the price of a publicly-traded company by 25%. Aside: DeMuth and his team are absolute pros at using Seeking Alpha as a marketing tool. Every wannabe hedge fund manager should be paying attention.

9. Janine over at My Pennies My Thoughts weighed in on a thorny issue for many Albertans — the CARBON TAX (DUNN DUNN DUNN). While Janine is right that the tax will only affect the average person in a relatively small way, I’m still not going to cheer anything that takes money from my wallet, especially in the midst of Alberta’s worst recession in 30 years.

10. And finally, Ian Bezek, one of my favorites from Seeking Alpha, weighs in on recent weakness affecting traditional shopping mall retailers. I find this whole issue fascinating. On the one hand, it’s obvious a lot of traditional retailers are hurting. But on the other, I went to malls a couple times during December and they were bananas.

Stuff Nelson wrote

As a reminder, you can hire me to write for your blog, newspaper, or poorly-Xeroxed newsletter. Hit the ol’ contact me page to get the ball rolling. 

I’m currently in negotiations with a new writing client for some articles on dividend investing. I’ll make sure to keep you kids in the loop. In the meantime, here are a couple of the best articles I wrote for Motley Fool this week.

1. I talked about a little-followed demographic trend that could end up being good news for Canada’s cable TV sector.

2. I also weighed in on Kevin O’Leary’s opinion about Canada’s grocery stocks, which included this gem of a quote:

If you lived badly on earth and you go to hell in perpetuity, your job is running a grocery store.

Tweet of the week

Have a good week, everyone.

Tell everyone, yo!