Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lego Toys – a Better Investment than Gold?

Lego BricksPeople all over the internet have been re-posting and talking about a recent analysis done by The Telegraph that found Lego® sets have been a better investment over the past 10 years than savings accounts, stock and even gold! So should savers start hoarding the Danish construction toys to preserve their wealth, instead of gold coins? We will explore this question as well as a more interesting point the article indirectly makes about fiat money and wealth preservation.

Plastic Bricks vs. Gold Bricks

To be clear, the article notes that when talking about Lego sets over the past 15 years increasing an average of 12% per year, they are talking about sets in pristine condition, almost exclusively those bought as collector’s items and kept unopened in the original box.

The numbers come from their analysis of data from Lego price-tracking website brickpicker.com, which in turn gets its data from ebay sales of Lego sets. I have not crunched any numbers myself on this, but I have no reason to disbelieve their analysis. Further, 12% per year is a very impressive number, so are Legos going to become the new retirement savings vehicle?

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The Wu Wei of Responsible Budgeting

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 The New Year has arrived, and it promises untold opportunities for wealth-building! However, tapping into the storehouse of financial gain involves a responsible approach to budgeting. It requires a thorough assessment of how your inflow and outflow of money should ideally align. Most importantly, it demands a commitment to establish sound money practices; something  that is usually not high on our priority list.

Whenever I hear the word budget, it conjures up thoughts of an arduous and time-consuming process. Much of this is due to the fact that ‘money’ is imbued with all sorts of emotions and, at times, uncomfortable feelings.

In the Taoist tradition which I closely follow, there is a Chinese concept called ‘Wu Wei’ (pronounced ooooh way) that offers a poignant perspective in our quest for sound money management. It essentially means ‘non-doing’ or ‘effortless action’, a life course that is devoid of struggle or excessive effort. With practice, it enables an unconscious mental state which allows our actions to flow with the natural rhythms of life.

Below are three foundational pillars which embody the Wu Wei of budgeting responsibly. When pursued with awareness and small doses of focus, they can lead to higher levels of equilibrium between what we earn and what we spend.

Daily Practice

Ensuing from the simple practice of examining your budget are unconscious habits that make managing your money just like breathing. The key here is practice, engaging in this ritual on a regular basis to foster improvement. By way of example, an element of all championship sports teams is their commitment to practice, the absence of which would lead to mediocrity. Similarly, maintaining an effective budget involves preparation and looking at one’s history while also anticipating what’s ahead.

Top 5 Must-Have Stocks For 2016

stock-market-3 Join the gym. Stop smoking. Cut out fast food. Be kinder. These are just a few phrases that will be uttered to ring in the New Year. If you’re like me, the resolutions may only last for a short while, but at least you tried, right? Unfortunately for us, change is difficult and it seldom happens that we find a resolution worth keeping. That’s where Anthem Vault’s own John Stuart comes in with his Responsible Resolutions, encouraging you, the reader, to save more money and to make wise investments.

In order to help you become a wise investor and increase profits as a consequence, here are my Top 5 Must-Have Stocks For 2016:

  1. Alibaba

If you don’t know much about this Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, Anthem Vault’s Michael Scott wrote a compelling piece about Alibaba and what he sees for them in the near future. Though 2015 started off slow, there was no greater market presence than Alibaba in the second half of the year. Since the beginning of October, we’ve seen stocks grow by 41% in that short period. Alibaba also happens to be the largest e-commerce site in the world with 1 in 5 Chinese consumers as active shoppers. Alibaba offers a widespread tech market, and with China’s tech-savvy young consumers, they look to increase website traffic and business significantly in 2016. It’s no secret that the buyer is back in control at Alibaba, and with CEO Jack Ma aiming to make the company a global force through the partnerships with tMall, Starbucks and Disney, Alibaba should be one of the top stocks on your watch list.

14 Predictions to Monitor in 2016

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With 2015  rapidly coming to a close, we are confronted with figuring out what to expect for 2016. Quite frankly, that’s anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, here are a few thoughts about what I’m seeing on my radar screen.

Don’t laugh. I know that half of them will result in a swing and a miss. But what the heck, it’s fun to trying to predict things in a world that continues to be wildly random and wholly unpredictable!

1. Massive Upheaval and Disruption. My sense tells me that we are on the brink of a major disruption of the prevailing world order. I predict that the U.S. will take it on the chin, as will China and Russia. Unprecedented levels of social  and economic upheaval will take place as the global milieu prepares for a reset. Amidst the rubble, look for Germany to advance in prominence as the de facto leader on the world stage.

2. The Trump Effect. Mark my words.  Look for The Donald to drop out of the Presidential race in the first quarter of the year when allegations surface that he is a Republican Party shill, solely in it to shake up the prevailing political establishment. Ted Cruz becomes the GOP nominee and, along with his running mate Rand Paul, wins in a landslide victory over Hillary Clinton.