Weekly Linkfest #25

Weekly Linkfest #25

I rent an office in the crappiest mall imaginable that just got a whole lot worse.

This mall has two spaces for major anchor tenants. The first use to hold a Woolworth’s and then a Liquidation World, a chain which actually closed up because times were too good and it couldn’t buy cheap crap from closing stores any longer. Liquidation world shut its doors in 2007 and its space has been vacant since, with the exception of the town’s annual rummage sale and a few other one-off events.

The other big tenant is a grocery store that has been struggling for years now. Last week it finally bit the bullet and announced it was officially shutting its doors, effective at the end of the month.

It’s a bittersweet moment. I’m happy that they’re no longer burning perfect good capital to keep the location open (it was subsidized by two other profitable divisions, lumber and gasoline), but I feel bad for people who are losing their jobs. My fellow mall merchants who actually depend on foot traffic are pretty screwed, too. Who’s going to visit a mall that doesn’t have any anchor stores?

And most importantly, where am I supposed to go for snacks? I’m asking the important questions here.

The saddest part of this whole situation is, IMO, that store was run terribly. I’m convinced I could have cut the losses at least in half with a little active management and tighter controls. It was obvious for years, but instead of doing something the present management team just focused on the profitable divisions, letting the store go all to hell. It was a damn shame.

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things off with an investor nobody can accuse of not trying, Mark Charles Barnett. Mr. Barnett (who is from Florida, naturally), paid an unnamed man $10,000 to place bombs in Target stores all along the east coast. He then planned to buy depressed Target shares to make himself a tidy profit. THAT’S GOOD HUSTLE.

2. Here’s a great interview with Charles Koch, a man I’d consider one of my business heroes. It’s just too bad he felt forced to spend so much of his energy on political causes, although these days he mostly just throws money at things.

3. Speaking of videos of smart business guys, I wrote a few days ago about Charlie Munger and the Daily Journal annual meeting, which is just like the Berkshire Hathaway meeting but smaller and more fun. Here’s a video of the whole thing if you’re so inclined.

4. I think RRSP loans can be a great idea in the right circumstances. Over at Boomer and Echo, Robb talks about the subject and comes to a similar conclusion.

5. Here’s an analysis of a stock I first discovered at about $12 per share, Goeasy Ltd. They’re the company that makes unsecured loans to dirtbags charging 46% interest. Unsurprisingly, that’s a pretty good business and this is a pretty good analysis.

6. Should Ottawa let people invest their TFSAs in small business? Since most small businesses are funded by their founders, it would be a big advantage to them to allow such an investment. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s an interesting idea.

7. This week Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced it sold most of its Wal-Mart stake, signaling what one writer called “the end of retail as we know it.” The title is a little much, but it’s an interesting article.

8. More gold from Paul over at Asset-Based Life, the only blog I know with a dash in its title. He recently wrote about something called the “gas factor,” which is all you need to have a successful career. What’s the gas factor? Does it have to do with farts? You’ll have to click through to find out.

9. Over at Freedom 35 Blog, Liquid presents some timeless advice that certainly bears repeating. If you surround yourself with successful people, you’ll lift yourself up. It might be simple advice, but it works, dammit. I especially remember it when certain people show up and bum me out.

10. Dividend Growth Investor is a good read, even if you’re not a hardcore dividend-growth guy (like me). He recently wrote a great post on how it’s important to recognize risk when investing and embrace it, rather than avoiding it completely. He uses two tobacco stocks, Altria and Philip Morris, to illustrate his point.

11.BMO generated a lot of attention this week by declaring Toronto real estate to be officially in a bubble. Excuse my French here, but, no shit. People have been saying this for years now. BMO doing the same does nothing but confirm already entrenched biases. By the way, how’s shorting the Toronto real estate market working out for everyone? That’s what I thought.

(I agree with BMO and the 4,592 other analysts that called a bubble before this, BTW. I just don’t see what good it does anyone.)

12. Bullish on Realty Income, the overvalued REIT that has more middle-aged male fans than Kate Upton? Ian Bezek just splashed cold water in your face.

13. And finally, here’s a great post on negotiation from I Will Teach You to be Rich. This is something I need to get better at, and you probably do too.

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. 

1. This week Prem Watsa (of Fairfax Financial) took off the company’s equity hedges after being pretty bearish for years. Good for Watsa to finally figure out betting against markets is foolish.

2. I also asked if TransAlta Corporation is Canada’s cheapest stock. Spoiler alert: probably not, but it’s still pretty damn cheap. I own a bunch of it in my TFSA.

3. With the TSX Composite hitting new all-time highs, it’s time to start talking about taking some risk off the table. I outlined a few easy ways to do so.

Tweet of the week

TWO TWEETS. Oh, I spoil you guys.

I don’t like to get too political, but can’t we all agree corporate welfare is a bad idea?

Have a good week, everyone.

 

 

Weekly Linkfest #24

Weekly Linkfest #24

After the last 92 weeks (approximately, I’m not good with clocks) of pimping my upcoming BNN appearance, I was all jazzed to finally get my handsome mug on TV WHERE IT BELONGS.

I got up early, put on a shirt with a tie (all the lady readers fan themselves), and headed down to the local CTV station. Everything was going to plan. They strapped on my mic and put my earpiece in and I was ready. It was just a matter of killing the 10 minutes or so before I was scheduled to go on air.

Then, a change of plans. The TSX Composite Index hit an all-time high on Friday morning. And I was going to talk about investments that weren’t stocks. This wouldn’t do.

So I got bumped, as they say in TV land. They filmed a segment about energy stocks instead, leaving me temporarily misplaced.

The good news is I’ll still be on TV. The segment has been taped and it will be aired. I’m just not sure when. Follow me on the Twitter for up to the minute updates on my TV debut. I’ll also make sure to link to where you can watch it online.

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things out with a profile of Marc Cohodes, who is rapidly becoming the world’s best-known short-seller. It’s an interesting piece if you’re into such things. The thing that amazed me is how personal he takes everything. He truly thinks he’s going God’s work.

2. Here’s a scary article for those of us with our own companies. It looks like the feds are about to squash a lot of the advantages to incorporating, including income splitting and the ability to grow your retained earnings. Kevin O’Leary is right. Justin Trudeau IS evil. The evilest guys are always the handsomest.

3. My homie Liquid (or, as his friends call him, Beatbox), takes a closer look at index investing and concludes that while it’s pretty good, there are some downfalls that never get brought up.

4. Here’s an interview with Ed Thorp, who used his math skills to beat Vegas before moving onto the stock market. He has an autobiography out that looks fascinating.

5. There aren’t many blogs I click on gleefully when they post an update, but Paul over at Asset Based Life is one of them. This week (Paul’s output is only about one post a week, but when it’s all good you don’t complain) he weighs in on the different ways Europeans and Americans view inheritance.

6. I’m encouraged by a few articles this week that try to throw cold water on our love of retirement. Here’s a story about a guy who decided to become a minister after his corporate life ended, and is still going strong at 76.

7. Want to watch the new Warren Buffett documentary? Here you go. I’ll post my review of it next week.

8. Boomer and Echo remind everyone to make sure you treat all of your accounts like one portfolio. So your TFSA might be filled with bonds, but that’s okay because equities are in other accounts that are taxed better.

9. Not really finance related, but I still thought it was interesting. Here’s the case for moving the New York Islanders to Hartford and bringing back the Whalers. Those old Whaler uniforms were fantastic.

10. Here’s an article from Farnam Street about why it’s valuable to work on several projects at once. The blog has a real lack of investment ideas considering it’s named after the street Warren Buffett lives on, but it’s still an entertaining read.

Stuff Nelson wrote

1. Let’s start things off with an article about why Pepsi should split into two different companies. Spoiler alert: it turns out chips are a great business.

2. I took a look at how much you’ll need to generate in dividends if you want to retire early. If you move somewhere cheap it’s not that much at all.

3. I also took a look at a number of boring stocks that could make you very rich. Or at least richer than you are today.

Tweet of the week

Have a good week, everybody.

Weekly Linkfest #22

Weekly Linkfest #22

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, BUT I’VE FEELING TWENTY TWO
EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT IF YOU KEEP ME NEXT TO YOU

Ugh. That’s enough of that. Have you ever noticed when you take the time to read song lyrics they always sound incredibly dumb? They’re like the world’s worst poetry. And that’s coming from a guy who thinks just about every kind of poetry is the world’s worst poetry.

Let’s take the rest of this intro to talk about my new favorite Netflix show, Brickleberry. This animated show follows a bunch of park rangers as they get into the most inappropriate adventures ever. It aired on Comedy Central for three seasons before somebody without a sense of humor pulled it. Surprisingly, there are plenty of these people at Comedy Central.

Think of it like South Park without the underlying big picture commentary. South Park often makes fun of the issues of the day. Brickleberry doesn’t. All they’re concerned with are jokes. Terrible, terrible jokes. The most common criticism is that the writers cross over the line too often, so keep that in mind if you’re offended by such things. If anything needs a trigger warning, it’s probably this show.

If you’re not hooked by the stripper episode, I’ll personally mail each and every one of you $50. Guaranteed or my name isn’t Heywood Jablowme.

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things off with this CBC Life article featuring YOUR BOY Nelly and a number of other less attractive personal finance bloggers. I pointed out how people in general have too much money in cash and need to start putting it to work.

2. Here’s an article from Budgets Are Sexy titled My Top 7 Disagreements With Personal Finance Experts, which is quite good. I’m a big fan of anything that disrupts the status quo.

The more interesting part of that article is the comment section. At least 90% of the comments are from other bloggers. I don’t have much in commentary, I just thought it was interesting.

3. Oddball Stocks shares a number of personal anecdotes that he thinks all point to one conclusion. The conclusion seems a little alarmist, but one thing is for sure. The time to buy is when nobody wants an asset. There are very few assets like that today.

4. Afford Anything thinks y’all should stop trying so hard to set and accomplish goals. Instead, focus on the process. I wrote about that myself a few weeks ago.

5. Here’s an article by Go Curry Cracker! (the exclamation point is silent), who has a guest poster explain the advantages of setting up your company in Belize. It’s a little complicated day one, but it can save you a lot of taxes and makes it easier to travel everywhere.

6. Divestor took a look at some of Canada’s largest energy stocks and noticed that most haven’t done well lately despite the price of oil staying pretty stable. What’s up? Is it a buying opportunity?

7. You know those people who bug you when you’re at the grocery store to try and get you to sign up for a credit card? There’s an interview with a bunch of former employees, who admit to doing some pretty shady stuff.

8. I love reading about the clever stuff hedge fund guys do to make money. Here’s how they used flight plans of Johnson & Johnson’s corporate jet to figure out the company was in Switzerland, trying to buy a rival. Fascinating stuff.

9. Here’s an interview with Francis Chou, one of my favorite value investors. He doesn’t do much to get himself out there, so these interviews are pretty rare.

10. My favorite Motley Fool Canada writer who doesn’t stare back at me in the mirror is Will Ashworth. He wrote an article this week urging Toronto homeowners to sell and invest the proceeds. This is good advice, although nobody reading will do it.

11. Boomer and Echo argues Canada should have a universal drug pricing plan. Even though I’m a unabashed capitalist, I 100% agree. Alberta recently passed a law capping dental costs, which I am 100% for. If the government is going to get into medicine, it might as well go all the way.

12. And finally, The Beaverton has an open letter to both Kevin O’Leary and Kathleen Wynne, who both made headlines this week by writing open letters to each other. The sooner we kill this open letter trend, the better.

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. 

1. Let’s start things off with my feature of a local early retiree who wanted to remain nameless, who outlines how he did it.

2. I also outlined how much you’ll need to invest in Artis REIT to collect $1,000 per month. I’m an Artis shareholder, but, alas, I’m *only* collecting $999 per month in dividends. Or $60. Those numbers are basically the same.

I have secured a new freelance writing client. I’ll start posting those articles next week.

Tweet of the week

Have a good week, everybody.

Weekly Linkfest #21

Weekly Linkfest #21

Finally. The weekly linkfest is old enough to drink. In cat years, anyway.

NO, YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH. (falls down stairs, breaks pelvis)

“I’m never drinking again.”

(12 hours later) “Let’s get CRUNK, BABY!”

The big event this week was Donald Trump finally being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Who woulda seen that coming 18 months ago? Absolutely bananas.

There’s a lot of concern about Trump, ranging from his Twitter habits to putting some bad guys in charge of certain departments. There are people saying he’s going to get us all killed. Because when I think of people dumb enough to get us all vaporized, I think of a successful real estate developer who then leveraged that into becoming one of the world’s biggest TV stars. What a maroon.

Also, I hereby decree that if you claim Trump will get us all killed in my presence, you must back it up with a $100 bet. If we’re all still alive in four years y’all owe me $100.

Let’s talk a little about investing in a Trump world. Here’s what you should do:

Absolutely nothing.

It’s silly to change your investment plan because some guy you don’t like is now in charge. He might be a terrible president. He might actually be decent. Most likely he’ll be somewhere in between. This always happens.

How exactly can the average person a) predict how he’ll do and then b) predict correctly how that will impact their portfolio? The smartest minds in the world can’t do it. What chance do you have?

If you must get out of the stock market, don’t be stupid and just sit on a bunch of cash. That’s a guaranteed way to not get rich. Put that money to work in private businesses, debt, real estate, whatever. Selling everything will always be colossally dumb.

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things off with a fascinating article about A&W, the burger chain that has successfully reinvented itself into a place so cool I’m not even allowed inside. Even after I put a wig on.

2. Boomer and Echo talked about the latte factor, saying those millennials who think the rule is crap (like this guy!) just don’t get it. This is one of those issues that have great arguments on both sides. Ideally we’d both cut down on little expenditures and earn more. But if you had to just choose one, I’d go for earning more. Every. Damn. Time.

3. Here’s a great story by the New York Post about a cranky old dude who refused to vacate his shitty New York City apartment after the building was bought by developers. Spoiler alert: the guy got paid.

4. CMHC mortgage premiums went up again this week. That sound you heard was your Realtor friend crying. Canadian Mortgage Trends has all the deets.

5. Here’s an interesting long thesis for America’s Car Mart, which basically sells cars to dirtbags. Turns out it’s a pretty profitable business that’s growing nicely.

6. Freedom 35 Blog knows making fun of dumb personal finance myths is basically my kryptonite. Here are five of the worst offenders.

7. Here’s a list of 15 top stocks for 2017 as selected by SumZero. The list represents the best long ideas from SumZero’s army of members, which include hedge fund analysts, private equity investors, and others with an assload of relevant experience. It’s 149 pages, so you’d better get to it.

8. Speaking of top stocks, Ian Bezek posted his top pick for 2017 over at Seeking Alpha, which is a Mexican airport operator trading at a pretty compelling valuation.

9. The Dividend Growth Investor blog just turned nine, which is the equivalent of making it well into your second century in human years. He lists nine dividend investing lessons that are a great reminder for all of us, not just people who insist on getting paid every quarter.

10. Congrats to Jordannnnnnnnnn (that is an accurate spelling of her name) of My Alternate Life, who increased her net worth nearly $100,000 in just five years. So many bloggers killing it with their net worths, yet Nelly’s just sitting here, keeping it all private. Is that a tease?

11. Here’s a finalist for dumbest Reddit thread of the year, but I still enjoyed it. Was Dwight Schrute from The Office independently wealthy?

12. I’m a fan of Peter Hodson, who runs 5i Research. His picks are usually small-cap growth companies that have a lot of potential for heading higher. He was on Market Call this week, a video that’s worth a few minutes of your time.

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. 

1. I wrote about investing in marijuana stocks, and why it’s probably a bad idea. On the other hand, it could be really huge. You won’t catch any weed stocks in my portfolio, anyway.

2. Do people honestly think BCE and its Crave video streaming service really compete with Netflix? They do. And they’re wrong.

Tweet of the week

You gotta admit, that would have made the inauguration a whole lot more entertaining.

Have a good week, everyone.

Weekly Linkfest #20

Weekly Linkfest #20

I gotta come up with a new title for these soon. I can’t count past 24.

Oh really? That’s the joke that makes you unsubscribe?

Speaking of subscribing, let me tell you kids about the new and improved Financial Uproar newsletter. It’s chock full of exclusive content at least once a week. None of that crap where I just recycle the stuff I put on the blog last Tuesday. It’s 100% new and it’s 1,000% good.

No, YOU’RE bad at percentages.

Last week’s email talked about an investing supertrend that you’re probably not aware exists, yet it’s gonna be huge. And the one the week before came with a special eight-page free report on one of my favorite stocks for the next year… or five years. I think it’s a terrific long-term hold, anyway.

It’s too late to get in on the supertrend article unless you successfully convince a current subscriber to forward you the goods. But you can still get the free top stock of 2017 report. All you gotta do is sign up for the newsletter and it’s my gift to you.

You’re not going to want to wait, either. It’s going away. Soon, too.

Newsletter subscribers will be getting all sorts of exclusive stuff in 2017 that won’t be accessible on the blog. So what are you waiting for? Sign up!

 

Links I liked

1. Let’s start things off with a little Bernie Madoff action because that’s amusing to me. It turns out he cornered the market on hot chocolate in prison, forcing anyone who wanted some to go through him. Once again Bernie is PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S LIVES.

2. I’m not sure we can top the Bernie Madoff hot chocolate story, but let’s try. How about a multi-millionaire blogger that is paralyzed from the neck down? That’s pretty bananas, right?

3. Ever wondered why you can never get tickets for that hot concert or sporting event? It’s because you’re in competition with thousands and thousands of robots. And your unemployed brother-in-law. DAMMIT LARRY STOP HITTING REFRESH AND GET A JOB. Unless it’s at Financial Uproar. Then it’s cool.

4. Here’s Oddball Stocks on why he doesn’t use watch lists. I struggle with this but have tended to come to the same conclusion over the years. It takes too much mental energy to keep track of dozens of stocks in a watch list. So I don’t bother.

5. Paul over at Asset Based Life has some thoughts on the 4% withdrawal rule, which are, like always, worth your time. It turns out he doesn’t use the 4% rule when it comes to his own retirement assumptions. Prepare to get beaten up by a bunch of 38-year-old retirees, Paul.

6. Don’t Quit Your Day Job joins my stock picking contest each year. PK even won it a couple years back. Here’s an explanation on why he picked two airlines and two retail stocks for this year’s competition.

7. Sears is such a joke. The money quote:

Lampert, a former Wall Street prodigy, took control of Sears more than a decade ago and became its CEO in 2013. But he’s rarely seen in the office, typically visiting about once a year for the shareholder meeting and projecting into videoconference rooms at Sears’ Hoffman Estates, Illinois, headquarters the rest of the time, according to interviews with employees.

Outstanding. That is Sears in a nutshell. The CEO can’t even will himself to show up anymore.

8. Freedom 35 Blog has a great guide comparing Canada’s major bond ETFs. Y’know, if you’re one of those people who actually owns bonds in their portfolio.

9. My own Advisor tackled one of the questions us in the blogging business get fairly often: If you’re so smart then why aren’t you retired yet? I don’t plan to retire until the golf course drops its membership price to under $1,000 per year. Or when I start to understand inflation.

10. Nomad Capitalist thinks y’all should stop reading financial blogs that focus on frugality and spend more time thinking about big picture stuff.

11. Alpha Vulture highlights another attractive merger arbitrage idea in the land of micro-caps. This one could make you a cool 19% in just a few months.

12. And finally, here’s a good article at Morningstar about when it’s smart to incorporate and when you should keep going as a sole proprietor.

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. 

1. Here’s five reasons why your house is likely a terrible investment. But it’s okay. You can buy one anyway.

2. I also wrote about five top stock picks from Quebec’s Desjardins Capital Markets.

Tweet of the week 

That carrot is going to haunt my dreams.

Have a good week, everybody.