ZQN to AKL

We are leaving Queenstown on Tuesday (NZ time) and headed to Auckland. We drove our RV, they’re called campervans here, through gold mining country, up to Greymouth, over to Christchurch, to Mount Cook, to Te Anau, then to Milford Sound and finally back to Queenstown where we hiked up above the city for some pretty good pictures and a very steep climb. The RV was very handy but also challenging. We slept very well in it, never needed to use the restroom or kitchen because the Holiday Parks have every conceivable thing you would need without having to utilize the RV other than to sleep. I may not have thought this before the trip but get the GPS, it is worth paying up. Ours was included in some package that we bought which was a great lesson on the utility on a trip like this. Regular blogging should resume tomorrow. Thanks for indulging me on this trip. Obviously when we take trips like this, work needs to continue and that includes...

Sunday Morning Coffee

The Barron’s interview was with Jeremy Grantham and had some great nuggets–I then add a little to his comments. Long-term returns of the U.S. market, if you take out dividends, is 1.8% real. If the market ticked along at 1.8%, which is its fair value, no one would make any money. Goldman Sachs would be a quarter as big as it is. Big investment firms love big, hairy bull markets and delicious crashes so they can design and sell more instruments. The above is a tie in to the theme that Wall Street firms take advantage of the investing public. While this is probably true I don’t know if there is a way to quantify it. I take this as a call to avoid expensive broker products, stick to portfolios of individual issues and ETFs and allow yourself to think independently about how to navigate market cycles. There has to be a reason why the usual perma-bulls are permanently bullish so do not buy what they are selling. This is a business-as-usual overpriced market, and you’ll get a zero return for seven years. So you should be able to get the return by going overseas or hiding in U.S. blue chips. If you have a fairly long horizon, like a seven-year horizon, you will do fine, and that’s the only thing that matters. I write a lot about investing over the course of the entire stock market cycle or longer. For most people the real goal is simple having enough when they need it which makes 2012’s result meaningless. I clued into this from John Hussman and became a...

Sunday Morning Coffee

The Barron’s interview was with Jeremy Grantham and had some great nuggets–I then add a little to his comments. Long-term returns of the U.S. market, if you take out dividends, is 1.8% real. If the market ticked along at 1.8%, which is its fair value, no one would make any money. Goldman Sachs would be a quarter as big as it is. Big investment firms love big, hairy bull markets and delicious crashes so they can design and sell more instruments. The above is a tie in to the theme that Wall Street firms take advantage of the investing public. While this is probably true I don’t know if there is a way to quantify it. I take this as a call to avoid expensive broker products, stick to portfolios of individual issues and ETFs and allow yourself to think independently about how to navigate market cycles. There has to be a reason why the usual perma-bulls are permanently bullish so do not buy what they are selling. This is a business-as-usual overpriced market, and you’ll get a zero return for seven years. So you should be able to get the return by going overseas or hiding in U.S. blue chips. If you have a fairly long horizon, like a seven-year horizon, you will do fine, and that’s the only thing that matters. I write a lot about investing over the course of the entire stock market cycle or longer. For most people the real goal is simple having enough when they need it which makes 2012’s result meaningless. I clued into this from John Hussman and became a...

The Big Picture for the Week of February 26, 2012

No real post today just a few pics from our visit to Milford Sound on Saturday (NZ time). The first one is our “campervan” waiting to go through the Homer Tunnel. Driving it is going pretty well (knock on wood). It is relatively small, about the same length as a couple of the Walker Fire engines and most importantly is an automatic. Shifting a manual on the “wrong” side would have increased the complexity in dramatic fashion. Pic number 2 is early on in our three hour cruise out on the sound. Number three is one of the mountains and waterfalls from what I thought was an interesting angle. As we were headed back in a pod of dolphins swam along with the catamaran we were on. Apparently it is fun for them to get pushed along side. Joellyn took about ten minutes worth of pictures and I think this is the best one with a dolphin out of the water with a mountain in the background. And the last picture was just about at the end and seemed very...

The Big Picture for the Week of February 26, 2012

No real post today just a few pics from our visit to Milford Sound on Saturday (NZ time). The first one is our “campervan” waiting to go through the Homer Tunnel. Driving it is going pretty well (knock on wood). It is relatively small, about the same length as a couple of the Walker Fire engines and most importantly is an automatic. Shifting a manual on the “wrong” side would have increased the complexity in dramatic fashion. Pic number 2 is early on in our three hour cruise out on the sound. Number three is one of the mountains and waterfalls from what I thought was an interesting angle. As we were headed back in a pod of dolphins swam along with the catamaran we were on. Apparently it is fun for them to get pushed along side. Joellyn took about ten minutes worth of pictures and I think this is the best one with a dolphin out of the water with a mountain in the background. And the last picture was just about at the end and seemed very...