Thursday, 25 December 2014

Mises Institute, Library

Great library with material that follows the thought of Austrian School of Economics, or the Vienna School. 
Includes titles such as Economics in One Lesson.

23 Quotes from Warren Buffett on Life and Generosity

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Top 10 Smart Beta ETFs in Europe

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

What's in line for Australia?

Bloomberg - Australia Is Adrift

Friday, 21 November 2014

How to lose everything after winning the prize of your life

It seems quite fascinating that such a reversal of fortune is not only possible but also quite common. Many dream of winning the lottery or getting another windfall that would sort them out for good. And the sum does not even have to be that huge.
However, what happens in practice is more often tragic. Here are some of those stories.

80% of Statistical Analysis is wrong

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Valuation Sources

To check valuations of world markets, here are some useful resources:


Rolesia - A macroeconomic simulation

If you want to be your own central banker, try this.

Rolesia - Virtual Economy Simulation 2014

Rolesia is a free, fun and strategic economy web simulation for all who enjoy strategy simulations, and for all wishing to discover and understand the policy tools on offer to Governments and Central Banks around the world. The purpose of the software is to help the world-wide population understand the complexity of the world economy, and also to understand the power behind governments’ fiscal and the central banks’ economic monetary policies. Helping to improve the world population’s knowledge is a small contribution towards empowering the people of this planet and strengthening democracy. The simulation can be perceived as an economy game based on a virtual economy.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Can Money Buy Happiness? Here’s What Science Has to Say - WSJ

Can Money Buy You Happiness? It’s True to Some Extent. But Chances Are You’re not Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck.

Basic Investment Principles

Here is a list of very basic principles as prerequisite to investing. This is a concise list. Each line deserves a chapter, if not a book, on its own.

  • Pay yourself first. Establish a habit to save regularly. 
  • Start early. Benefit from the magic of compounding interest. 
  • Keep costs low. Costs eat a huge portion of returns over time. 
  • Use value-averaging, or dollar-cost averaging. Invest regularly the same amounts at equal intervals. Because of markets' reversion to the mean this leads to dollar-cost-averaging of the asset price.
  • Stick to index funds ("what you understand") as the core. Active funds are expensive and, in general, return less. Specialist funds or individual securities can be used as satellites. This is known as "core-satellite" strategy.
  • Keep cash portion in liquid bonds for better returns. 
  • Stick to your asset allocation.
  • Pay attention to the total return (income + growth). Income funds yield more but usually have lower total return. Tax effects of income - income is taxed immediately but tax on growth is delayed (taxed only if sold).
  • Long-term price earnings (P/E) ratio is 14. Starting valuations matter.
  • Asset allocation, the risk balance, is the main determinant of return. Bonds proportional to age (?). 

The principles above come from various texts and personal experience. They should be refined over time.

Starting point valuations

A good article on valuations and starting point for investments by Shane Oliver.

Starting point valuations matter, a lot | AMP Capital

Energy costs

These charts explain a lot:

Cost of electricity by source - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Portfolio rebalancing a must for maximum gains

A good article on portfolio rebalancing:

Portfolio rebalancing a must for maximum gains - ASX

Three key strategies can help investors take advantage of portfolio rebalancing:
  • Time-only. Triggers a rebalancing based on a set time schedule such as monthly, quarterly or annually.
  • Threshold-only. Ignores time and triggers rebalancing only when a portfolio deviates from its target asset allocation by a predetermined minimum percentage, such as 1 per cent, 5 per cent, 10 per cent. It requires daily monitoring to determine timing.
  • Time-and-Threshold. The portfolio is monitored on a set time schedule but is rebalanced only if the allocation deviates from the target by the predetermined minimum rebalancing threshold at that time.

Secret to great returns

Secret to great returns - ASX

Diversification, patience and buying when valuations are attractive, are key investment principles.
"Maximising the full range of investment opportunities, only purchasing when valuations are attractive and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio, are important investment principles."


  • Diversification is key
  • Buying at the right price matters
  • Be clear about your objectives and have a plan
  • Consistently achieving a solid return


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

More on Germany's budget and demographics

German model is ruinous for Germany, and deadly for Europe - Telegraph

The European Commission’s Ageing Report (2012) said Germany’s workforce will shrink by 200,000 a year this decade.

Friday, 10 October 2014

CNN Money's Fear & Greed Index

Apart from being almost knocked into the red, the Fear & Greed Index is an interesting indicator to watch.

Fear & Greed Index - Investor Sentiment - CNNMoney


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Odds of winning the jackpot in EuroMillions

1 in 116,531,800 chance, it seems, sounds just terrific for millions of those who play. If they actually knew the numbers they would probably stop playing at all.


EuroMillions Online Buy Lottery Tickets and Win

The Winning Odds Every draw there are 13 levels of winnings possible. For the lowest tier you have to correctly guess 2 of 5 drawn numbers. However, as there are balls with numbers up to 50 the odds of you winning it are 1 in 23. A chance to get right 2 main balls and one of the Lucky Stars is 1 in 46 whereas a chance to get right 1 main ball and both of the Lucky Stars is 1 in 157. The last tier with odds less than 1 in 1000 is 8th (3 +1 Lucky Star). The one higher up already reaches a 1 in 11,771 for 3+2. Certainly, you care about the big cash but how does a 1 in 116,531,800 chance sound? That’s how lucky you have to be to win the jackpot. But don’t worry, because an overall chance of winning anything in EuroMillions is 1 in 13 which is one of the best amongst the biggest lotteries’ in the business.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Irrational exuberance down under

Irrational Exuberance Down Under | Bloomberg View

Friday, 19 September 2014

Stages in a Bubble

One more chart of the stages in a market cycle or, as named here, a bubble.

Stages in a Bubble

7 Sins of Investing

A timeless piece on behavioral finance.


7 sins of investing -


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Import Yahoo stock prices into Quicken

Quicken allows importing security prices from a .csv files. Therefore, nowadays it is relatively simple to import your own portfolio prices from the web.
I use Yahoo! Finance portfolio as they have most of the securities from all over the world. Their portfolios feature is available to everyone and is quite fast and convenient. You can even create a separate view that includes only the symbol and price, which would perfectly match the export process.
Yahoo Finance - Business Finance, Stock Market, Quotes, News
To import prices into Quicken, do the following:
  1. Open your Yahoo portfolio
  2. Select and copy the table into clipboard (Ctrl+C)
  3. Open a Google spreadsheet
  4. Paste the table into an empty sheet
  5. Do some preparation here:
    1. Delete all columns except the security symbol and price if you are not using a custom view.
    2. Customize the symbols - remove extensions with Find/Replace, etc.
  6. Use "File -> Download as..." option to download a .csv file
  7. In Quicken, use File -> File Import -> Import security prices from .csv file
  8. In the pop-up dialog, select the date for the prices. I have not found the correct date format for the date so it is safer to simply select it in the dialog itself.
That's it. The prices should now be imported for all the securities in the portfolio. This can save a significant amount of time and effort.
Note that the instructions refer to Quicken 2014 for Windows. The other software involved is pretty generic or online so should be available on all platforms.

Use own quotes in Quicken

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Fracking Link to Birth Defects Probed in Early Research

Fracking Link to Birth Defects Probed in Early Research - Yahoo Finance

35 Smart Things to Do With $1,000 Now |

35 Smart Things to Do With $1,000 Now | "Research suggests that 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So take a bike ride after work."

'via Blog this'

Investment Reading

Here are a few links to browse when time is a commodity:
And some that focus more on Australia




  • Vanguard’s Principles for Investing Success (link)
  • see recent publications from the Bank for International Settlements


Friday, 22 August 2014

Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? - YouTube

Amazing insight into mind's rationalizations and the behaviour of people from different parts of the wealth-scale.

Paul Piff: Does money make you mean? - YouTube

7-Year-Old Entrepreneur - Business Insider

One view on how to teach kids about money.
It's a good lesson on how to approach effort/work/ideas and the compensation received for it.

7-Year-Old Entrepreneur - Business Insider

Friday, 15 August 2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Bogle's Legacy

What a coincidence to my current read of Bogle's Common Sense on Mutual Funds, passive investing is winning most of new investors' money.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Stock Charts: TradingView

Here is another site with basic indices available for charting. Very convenient and easy to work with charts and various indicators.

EUSTX50: 3203 ▲+0.63% - TradingView

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Australian pay calculator

Here is a quick salary calculator. By entering a gross amount and, optionally, some more details on specific conditions, the calculator will spit out the numbers for superannuation, tax, and the net amount left.

pay calculator

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Rich Are Even Richer - Bloomberg View

The debate on (rising) inequality is heating up. Here are the latest data/estimates on how much the top 1% owns in various countries.

The Rich Are Even Richer - Bloomberg View

Friday, 11 July 2014

Free S&P ASX Index Total Return Accumulation Data

Free S&P ASX Index Total Return Accumulation Data

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Stock market correction? Who cares?

As there is more and more news and opinions in the press about a potential stock markets correction, here are a few enlightening articles on the topic:

Friday, 4 July 2014

5 traps in using the dividend yield -

Some things to be acutely aware of when emphasizing the dividend yield:

5 traps in using the dividend yield -

While dividends usually mark a profitable company, they are not the definitive marker of a good share. Using a low-cost broker and having shares that appreciate in value more than they pay in dividends could sometimes be a more efficient way to accumulate wealth.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Renewables to Get Most of $7.7 Trillion Power Investments - Bloomberg

Renewables to Get Most of $7.7 Trillion Power Investments - Bloomberg: " “This will be driven by economics, not subsidies, as our analysis suggests that solar will be fully competitive with other power sources by 2020.”"

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

On-line Charts

Online charts for various indexes, currencies, etc. I am going to try adding the indices and currency pair charts to the Finance web site on the related pages.

On-line Charts :: Dukascopy Bank SA | Swiss Forex Bank | ECN Broker | Managed accounts | Swiss FX trading platform

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

German demographic consequences

Bloomberg - Germany Needs Big Brains to Navigate Demographic Cliff

Monday, 2 June 2014

BlackRock Cuts Europe ETF Fees

Good news for ETF investors in Europe. The ETF are getting slashed across the board. The latest to cut the management fees (MER) is the largest ETF provider in the world - BlackRock, the owner of iShares series of funds.

New funds are being introduced in Europe and the core line of funds already on offer will see their fees cut anywhere from 5 to 58 percent. More details on the Core series you can find here.

BlackRock Cuts Europe ETF Fees in Race With Vanguard for Assets - Bloomberg

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Bogleheads Investing Advice and Info is an interesting investment-related web site/forum. It is inspired by investing advice from Jack Bogle, who is a founder of Vanguard, the best-known originator of index funds in the world.

There's a lot of content and advice available.

Bogleheads Investing Advice and Info

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Federal budget 2014

Australia raises the pension eligibility age to 70.

See the summary of all budget changes here: Federal budget 2014 | First State Super

Monday, 12 May 2014

21 Quotes about investing

A few jewels from famous investors, collected by Shane Oliver:

Quicken Tip: tracking performance after transferring shares

Here is a simple tip for tracking a performance of a security after transfer from one brokerage account to another: In Portfolio view (or the report), group by Security and not by Account. This will show the correct performance per security, no matter in which account it was during the given period.

Source: Tracking Performance after transferring shares - Quicken Community

Thursday, 1 May 2014

China to overtake US; Australia among the most expensive

" the report also found that the four most expensive countries to live in are Switzerland, Norway, Bermuda and Australia"

Monday, 14 April 2014

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Credit Card Bin Checker

If you want to check the information available from the Credit Card's bin number, or the first 6 digits of the card, you can do it at the BinDB (link).
The retrieved information includes the card brand, issuing institution, card type, level, country and so on.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Fixed income when rates rise

This is a hot topic at the moment. The rates in most developed economies have reached their historically low levels. Recently the economic activity indicators show there is some growth, although symbolic. This situation indicates that in the future the rates should rise in the above mentioned economies.
Raising rates have a devastating effect on fixed income securities, mostly bonds. This concerns conservative investors and retirees who rely on bonds to deliver a reliable income stream.
Below are some materials that shed more light onto the topic.
  • When rates rise - What happens to fixed-income ETFs (link) - iShares
  • Raising Rates: A case for active bond investing? (link) - Vanguard
  • Risk of loss: Should the prospect of rising rates push investors from high-quality bonds? (link) - Vanguard
  • Why invest in bonds when interest rates can only go up? (link) - Vanguard
  • The role of fixed income as part of a diversified investment strategy (link) - Vanguard

Monday, 24 February 2014

Australia vs Austria in World Country Facts

Quite an interesting comparison of Australia to Austria:

Australia vs Austria in World Country Facts

What puzzled me the most is that the GDP figures are really close, within 5% of each other. Australia is just a tad higher. However, unemployment in Austria is lower and the current account balance is positive. Not sure how old is the data though.

From the quality of life perspective, there are 14% of Australians working long hours vs ~9% of Austrians.

Another important factor is the GINI Coefficient, which measures the degree of inequality of income.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Monday, 10 February 2014

A behavioural barrier to successful saving

Sunday, 26 January 2014

VIX (Volatility) Chart

Below is the Volatility of S&P 500 (VIX) annual chart, provided by Yahoo Finance.

The interesting thing right now is the incredibly sharp spike in volatility. 

IG Trading - Android Apps on Google Play

Here is the link to IG Markets' mobile application.

IG Trading - Android Apps on Google Play

It is one of the tools that can give a quick overview of the world markets with charts.

Die App zur Guthabenkontrolle - PayLife Quick

PayLife has an Android application for checking the balance on the Quick card. The app expects the mobile device to have NFC, which is used to read the balance from the card.

Die App zur Guthabenkontrolle - PayLife Quick

Monday, 20 January 2014

Vanguard's economic and investment outlook

Vanguard's economic and investment outlook, presenting a perspective on economic factors for the next ten years, is available for download (link).

Saturday, 4 January 2014

The one-page guide to financial independence

A view on how to reach financial independence.

"The one-page guide to financial independence"

Review of 2013

"Reflections on 2013; What's Important, What's Not? What's Ahead?"

8 Million Acres of China's Farmland is Too Polluted to Farm; All Farm Products From China Suspect

"8 Million Acres of China's Farmland is Too Polluted to Farm; All Farm Products From China Suspect; Iceberg Principle"