I’d Buy Real Estate in Portugal

9.26.14 Update: Read this recently and had a chuckle:

7 Best Places to Retire Around the World

And wouldn’t you know it, Portugal (southern coast) was one of them! Now back to the original post

After reading for the past few years of European national debt problems, and seeing the fire sales in real estate, I got the idea that owning ocean view property in Portugal might make sense. This is a totally speculative post, just a thought I’ve had for some time. And since I can not do this at the point, maybe you could and would benefit from the idea.

Portugal is a small country, with a population roughly equal to Southern New England. And since they didn’t have the front page debt problems of Greece, and since they weren’t one of the European countries with an important opinion (read: Germany and France), it is easy to forget them. Of course football fans (soccer) know Portugal as the home of Cristiano Ronaldo – but Portugal is so much more than that. They have a good infrastructure for food and food-related basic industries like fishing, wine, and farmland.

There is also the old world charm. Portugal wasn’t bombed out in World War 2 so they retain many old buildings (that of course need some renovation) and their charm. Some might accuse the country and its population of being a bit isolated, but they are on the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, on the beautiful Mediterranean, so being close to home isn’t so bad.

I know very little else about Portugal – my fault -and  since I go to the west coast US often, Portugal is almost the same distance and wouldn’t be out of range.  But I have not been. However, my instincts tell me that for Americans near retirement, and maybe especially for Americans of Portuguese descent who know the language, there may be some nice opportunities to get a retirement home. Portugal isn’t too far from North Africa either, and could serve as a nice 2nd home area for Americans with roots in North Africa who may prefer to live in Europe but be close to relatives in North Africa.

if any of you have some input on this, please share in the comments. I’d enjoy your perspective and any clarifications of my thoughts above.

Fed Minutes Rally Playing into the Pros Hands

I found the “rally” yesterday a bit amusing in that it seemed so strong from a price perspective. And underneath the hood, some of the most explosive names from 2013, the ones that have fallen precipitously in 2014, tried to regain all of their substantial losses (many greater than 20%) in one day.

But days like that happen often in bear markets. If we have seen the peak for US equities, then days like that will again happen. Also under the hood the volume was lighter. Prices crept back to levels where, on many stocks, heavy sell sequences occurred. If this is indeed a low volume (early) bear rally, then amateurs have played right into the Pros hands – giving them a better price to sell (or sell short).

I’ve said this before and was wrong (and don’t want to discount the power of the BUY THE DIP mentality) – but I think in terms of odds – and try like heck not to care about being right (I am working hard to relieve myself of a lifelong need to be “right” or “smart” about something all the time).  Therefore, as Peter Brandt often says, “an opinion is not a position.” And here, I am making an opinion – I may test a position idea – but I am not committing myself fully, nor my or my clients’ funds fully to this idea.

Just something to think about – just another possibility

Fitness & Nutrition Plan Progressing Nicely

I reported a couple of weeks back that I had become fed up with my poor eating and chose to go strictly vegan.

How’s it been going?

Quite well actually. Chalk up now about 6 weeks of eating vegan – and not nasty vegan (some people go vegan and eat foods heavily laden with oils to “make up for” lost flavor) which tends to make people fatter in my anecdotal experience. I’ve followed a starch based diet, which is typical of many trim populations worldwide. I’ve based my meals around oats and other grains, quinoa, spelt, kamut, rice and noodles. Noodles are my favorite.

I’m eating a good portion of fruit and eating a good share of vegetables. What I am not doing is ADDING oil to my meals (not even any “good” oils). I like Dr John McDougall’s statement – “the fat you eat is the fat you wear.” I have put some sugar in iced tea but haven’t significant added sugar to my foods either.

We’ve cooked at home for every meal – soups, wraps, rice dishes, pizza, salads and other stuff I can’t even think of right now.  It’s been 1. quite fun, 2. a huge savings over dining out, 3. quite healthy as we pick the organic ingredients we use. Some people may go over the top with organic, but even so, I am certainly not feeding my son the junk that some of these well-known companies put out and call “food.”

Lastly, I have found the “7 Minute Workout” and the many off-takes of it to be a tremendous boost to fitness for various reasons. 1. it is a decent workout. 2. you can bang it out in 7 minutes and 3. just by doing this frequently (3xs week?) you keep positive and forward moving and therefore more motivated to turn down bad foods. It’s also enough fitness, if couple with regular daily exercise like stretching and walking, to keep the average person in good shape.

I hope the above helps motivate some of you (or all of you) to hit your physical goals. Feel free to drop a comment on what you’re doing. And remember, this post is not meant to be advice specifically for you, since I don’t know you or your health history. Check anything you do with your doctor and professional trainer. Then MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Getting Choppy – Check Your Shocks

You’ll hear many anecdotes:

  • it’s month end
  • it’s quarter end
  • oversold – need to rally
  • Rotation into value
  • there’s some value here in the stocks down from highs (my favorite)
  • rates are rising which is a sign of economic strength
  • rates are rising and it’s going to slow growth

All the above is true in part – but the trend is going to go where and when it goes. We likely have some choppiness ahead here as I expect this market to be confused. That means the day traders are set to have some good times over the next month or so.

You need to relax and stick to your plan – whatever that is. if you’re a value guy, don’t become Mr technicals. And if you’re a trader and one of your handy go to trades goes against you, don’t become an “investor” on that trade. However if the market dynamic changes (market turns from bull to neutral or to bear or vice versa), your style or expectations need to change too.