When Will Greece Fall?

Opinion:

In recent times, Europe has been in the grip of so many woes its citizens and leaders seem to have almost forgotten about the country which once demanded so much attention. In the past months, homegrown extremist attacks have claimed hundreds of lives in Paris, Brussels and Nice. In the same period, the largest migration of people since the second World War has caused countries like Austria, Hungary and others to close their borders. An act which calls into question the most fundamental principle of the EU—the freedom of movement.

And now, with the uncertainty following the UK’s vote for Brexit, Europe has a lot more to be concerned about than the little nation to the south whose debt seemed to threaten the very existence of the EU. So was that it? Is Greece doomed to fall? The answer to that question is still a definite maybe. And here’s why;

Late last Summer, events took a surprising turn when German Chancellor, Angela Merkel stepped up to the plate to reveal herself as Greece’s new and best hope for the future. The reason? Due to the burgeoning immigrant crisis currently sweeping across Europe, Germany and Greece suddenly find themselves with common interests.

In an interview with the German public broadcasting company ARD, Merkel drew attention to the fact that both countries had taken largely pro-refugee positions and asked, ““Do you seriously believe that all the Euro states that last year fought all the way to keep Greece in the Eurozone—and we were the strictest—can one year later allow Greece to, in a way, plunge into chaos?” And the Chancellor added a warning that Athens risked being overrun by the huge numbers of new arrivals.

Many Greeks took Merkel’s comments as a fragile encouragement and hoped her sympathy would stretch to increased debt-relief. But when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsiparis raised the issue in a recent meeting with both Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Merkel refused to be bound by her earlier remarks. Instead, the Lady from Berlin gave the impression she opposed discussions concerning Greek debt-relief and promptly referred Tsiparis to the Eurogroup (the IMF and other institutions). Merkel also pointed out her dissatisfaction at Greek delays regarding the migrant and refugee crisis.

Hollande it seems, is prepared to offer more support towards the Greek position and sources inside Government claimed he expressed a desire put an end to uncertainty and find a solution to the debt crisis. Both men also agreed to reach some kind of consensus regarding the handling of the debt issue and find a solution that would in any event, ensure a sustainable outcome. This would, emphasized Hollande, prove once and for all that Europe is capable of keeping its own house in order. Tsipras and Hollande also agreed that the quantitative easing program is crucial to Greek’s recovery.

Yet amidst all the political humdrum surrounding the Greek financial crisis, there can be no denying that since Brexit, the goalposts have moved. Many political analysts now see the main questions as not, “When will Greece fall?” but “Can the EU afford to let Greece to fall?” Because clearly, there is much more at stake here than just Greece.

Italy and Spain are both struggling to keep up with their EU commitments. In France itself, right wing populists have a real chance of causing a major upset in the next general election. The same could also be said of Germany. The governments of the Nordic states are all coming under more and more pressure to ease the immense social pressure caused by the influx of refugees.

The fall of Greece could be just the beginning of a ‘domino affect’ that could see the European Union fall apart like a badly put together jigsaw puzzle. The phrase, ‘Too big to fail’ has until now only been used to describe global financial players such as banks and other monetary institutes. Can the same be said about the EU? Merkel will certainly hope so. But there’s no guarantee.

In our current climate of political turmoil, most political commentators would agree the best course of action for the European Union would be to gather its sheep into the fold and batten down the hatches. A mix of metaphors perhaps, but probably the best advice doing the rounds right now. So if you want my advice – get some good advice before you make any trades. Check out some of the reviews here and decide for yourself. It’s never too late to learn!

 

Blue Chip Wine: An Investment Sure to Turn a Profit

Many wine purists find the idea of purchasing wine in the hope of turning a profit about as sacrilegious as placing Chablis in a can. However, for the wise investor, the math tells a different story. For instance, a 1990 Chateau Latour bought for $95 in 1994 is currently worth about $700.

In many ways, wine is a perfect investment with high demand and limited supply. Wines improve with age, and for the show-off in you, a fixed-rate annuity will never compare to the seductive qualities of a good aged wine. Paul Ernst, senior wine appraiser at Bacchus Resource Management, says that wine investors often score an annual return of 15 to 20 percent – huge in a market when stocks remain flat.

So how do you get going? There’s a few things to consider. After all, could anything be more disappointing than to lay back a bottle of wine for your grandchild, only to have it become spoiled? The general rule of thumb is to seek out the “finest wines from the finest vintages”, but increasing attention is also being placed on European classics. Here’s what you need to know to begin your balanced wine portfolio.

Your Wine Portfolio

The following wines should be considered first in purchasing your investment wines:

Bordeaux – This region has enjoyed the lion’s share of attention in recent years. The interest in Bordeaux wine grows by the year. Your best opportunity comes from the first growths, but don’t discount their other high-quality wines which are of interest to buyers because of their aging potential.

Burgundy – Getting your hands on a bottle of fine burgundy can be more difficult than finding a quality Bordeaux. Because of this, these wines will appear less frequently at auction, but have achieved world status. If you can find one, grab it!

Port – Nothing will hold up the way that good port wine does. Any cellar portfolio should contain port wines. Look for vintages, which are declared only in the best years. As with Bordeaux, first growths or “first division” wines will attract the greatest interest. If you’re in the market for port wine, though, definitely seek some advice. The market for mature port has proven more volatile in the last decade than for any other region.

Rhone – This is not a traditional investment region, and you might get some funny looks when you include this wine in your portfolio. However, the recent surge in popularity for Rhone wine has led many buyers to take an interest in this very long-living wine. Top level cellar-life goes to cote-rotie and chateauneuf-du-pape.

Italy – Wines from this region have only recently come into the spotlight. Their star wines come from Tuscany and Piedmont, and a growing global interest in these wines has led to significant market demand.

Laying Down Wine for Children

When you’re not looking so much at the investment value, the number of choices to purchase from is surprisingly wide. Taking a look at red wines like Bordeaux and port are still traditional, but the naturally sweet wines of the Loire, Germany, and Hungary shouldn’t be overlooked.

Longevity is the main goal when selecting wine for children, grandchildren, and godchildren. In general, you should go for the expectation of 21 years, but a longer target will give flexibility over decisions on whether to consume or resale the wine. Before you buy, take a look at these recommendations:

Bordeaux – A natural, traditional choice because the wine itself is so widely accepted. Make sure that you get some advice on this, though, as the longevity of the wine will depend largely on the vintage.

Port – Overall, this is the most traditional choice. A good vintage port has an almost indefinite life. Increasingly, the top port wines are sold in six and twelve bottle cases, offering additional flexibility in choice.

Mosel/Tokaji/Loire/Alsace – White wines shouldn’t be ruled out when gift-giving. Certain sweet wines that benefit from high levels of natural grape acidity when young have a remarkable aging potential. These shouldn’t be considered investment wines, but wines such as vouvray moelleux, mosel auslese, Alsace vendages tardives, and tokaji aszu can live for decades.

Special Considerations when Investing in Wine

When you start investing in wine, you need to keep up to date with planned releases, knowing who is making what available, and when. One of the best places for gathering and staying up on this information is available online, listing upcoming wine release dates and offering an email list so you can get updates delivered to you. Check out New World Wine Maker to get started .

Other Essentials:

  • Focus on the top wines from the best vintages. Only a fraction of the wines produced worldwide will increase with value over the years of storage.
    • Store wine correctly and, preferably, in professional temperature controlled cellars. If you do not have access to a wine cellar, there are hundreds of companies willing to store your wines for you at a very reasonable rate.
    • Take advice from established and reputable retailers.
    • Research what fine wines have performed well in the past so that you can start recognizing those which consistently earn strong returns

 

Posted in Blog byRuth Rodriguez

Investing Through a Dividend Reinvestment Plan: DRIP Your Way Rich

Imagine a bucket, filling with water from a leak under your sink. Seemingly tiny and unassuming, you leave the bucket to catch the tiny drips which fall. Over time the drips collect, and add to the water already collected. In a weeks time, without watching or thinking, your bucket is full. “But how? It was only a tiny, tiny leak… how did it fill my bucket so quickly?” The bucket in this analogy is your investment fund, the drips are your cash, and the water collected is your riches, even your millions.

What is a DRIP?

A DRIP or DRP is dividend Reinvestment Plan, which basically lets you buy stock in a company without paying any money to buy it. You may be saying “How is that possible? You need money to invest.” and you would be partly right. A DRIP is a plan companies that are publicly traded offer to anyone who owns at least 1 share or “stock” of their company. After you buy that stock, if it is a large company that offers dividends, you can ask for a drip, which will take or your dividends on your stock and use it to buy more stock without you lifting a finger. This, my friends is fearless, painless, investing advice to getting rich, and living comfortably.

How is this able to make me rich?

Investing a small amount like $500 dollars in a drip and leaving it, say, 10 or 40 years will make you comfortable, but if you add some money from every paycheck to your portfolio, you will be rich. Okay, now don’t tune your face up, “I don’t have 25 years to wait for my money. I want to be rich now.” I understand that so just stay with me. You need to first set up an account with an online stock broker, such as Sharebuilder. I personally use them and they have small fees, and it’s super easy to start a DRIP there.

After you set up your account, you need to think of some companies that you believe will be around for quite some time. This is not picking the next “hot” company or whatever your mom’s friends said he heard from his boss. This about picking a business which will be around, and consistently make you money and make you rich without worry.

Following? Now before I loose you, let me give you a little water in the desert. Let’s pretend for a moment, that in 1988, you decided to gather up your lunch money and invest $100 of your money in Pepsi (PEP), lets then say that with every lawn you mowed or baby you watched, you add a $100 more. So every month since 1988, you invested $100 more dollars into your stock of Pepsi. [I will tell you why I picked Pepsi later]. Do you know how much money with the average rate of return, you would have right now? A small sum of $102,364.33, you would have made $77,764 without lifting a finger. Your few stocks of PEP, would now be 1,505 shares earning you over $100 a month, by doing nothing. Is this your idea of rich?

That was just luck, you say…

It could be luck or it could be the fact that a smart investor picked a good stock.

Picking a stock for the long haul.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. You may not have known that Google would skyrocket, or that Wal-Mart would become so huge, but it doesn’t take a genius to have brought Pepsi. The best way to pick a stock is to look round your home, and the things in your life. Most products like oatmeal, cereal, McDonalds, drugs, aspirin, are from companies that have been around forever. After you pick a good stock, check the earning growth rate, and the old stock prices. I look at charts and see how much the stock has progressed in time. We are not looking for a skyrocket price but a slow and steady progression upwards. Some good examples are General Electric, McDonalds, Johnson & Johnson, and various banks. Pick something people will always need like food, clothing, or medicine.

How do you know this?

I am a young person, who possibly like you had no idea what the heck all these people were talking about. I decided just like you did to educate myself and become rich on my own terms. I tripped and stumbled my way in the darkness and learned pretty much from trial and error. Now that I know, I want to pass along this info to the young people or people who are tired of the big worlds. You may not understand, but just jump in the water, it isn’t all cold as you think.

Can you run that past me again?

Okay, one more time… slower this time. Step one, open an online account. Step two, find a good stock from a reliable “old” company. Step three, buy at least one stock. Step four, [in share builder] click in your settings for a “Dividend Reinvestment”. Step five, step away from the account, until you come back to add some more money. Now, you can start with 5 dollars on share builder, and work from there. You can invest only 20 dollars, or even less and still have a good fluffy cushion.

Drips are the best!

I say they are the best because they take little money, little time, and give big bucks. The dividends in time can pay for you so you don’t have to work. I plan on adding as much as I can to my account so by age 30, I can live off my investments, and travel someplace hot with lots of sweaty guys. Cool, huh? You can use it for college, for your kids, retirement, a new house, or anything. You can still have your job, and with a little put aside you can be rich!

A little encouragement

If you invested $6,000 in Johnson & Johnson, PEP, and GE (General Electric) in the 80’s right now you would have $507,000 in stock money, plus you would be making 14,000 a year without adding another penny. Imagine if you did! So take charge and jump in.

I can’t guarantee that you will be fine because I am not a professional investor, or a real university. I do believe you will be comfortable, but I am not legally liable. Free cheese and Good luck!

 

Posted in Blog byRuth Rodriguez