vendredi 12 août 2022

The superiority of Disney against Netflix

This week, Disney's results were out and, for the first time, there were more people using Disney + than people using Netflix. More than that, Disney + is in growth mode while Netflix is in regression mode. 

I love Netflix and I think that it's a great business. However, I think that Disney's model is superior to Netflix. I'm not talking about content but about diversification.

When you buy Netflix, you buy streaming services.

When you buy Disney, you buy a bunch of entertainment businesses (Disney parks, Disney +, ESPN, ABC, National Geographic and much more). Thus, when a sector is having a harder time, there's something else to compensate. And most of these businesses have a link together. 

And Disney ownes many big franchises like Star Wars or Lion King or hundreds of others. Every new Star War movie reaches one billion dollars at the box office. Who can beat that? 

That's why, in the entertainment field, Disney is the best and should remain the best. Maybe not for performance (because who knows on which platform will be the next blockbuster) but surely for safety. 

Finally, let's remind that, while growth is currently impressive for Disney, their EPS are still way below pre-pandemics levels.  

mercredi 10 août 2022

Green and clean

Since I’m back from Jordan and Egypt, I see the world differently.

First of all, I’m now convinced that we are fucked. These two countries are dirty as a dump. Cairo is the most disgusting city I’ve seen in my life, before Lima, which is also a dump. Walking in these cities, you can see trash everywhere : on small streets, on large streets, around buildings, along the road in the desert where nobody lives around… That’s completely crazy. People live among junk.  

I haven’t seen the rest of Africa but since Egypt is not the poorest country of the continent, I guess that it’s not better elsewhere. And what about India, Bangladesh, Philippines and many other countries? I bet they’re all as dirty as Egypt and probably more. Which makes at least half the population of the planet treating their land like a trash. Actually, half the population is probably very conservative. I’d say that it’s probably 75% of the earth’s population that treats it’s land like trash.

So, we’re fucked. I’m sure about that.

By comparison, Canada is green and clean. Very green and very clean and having flew over Africa and over Canada, I see how beautiful Canada is from above. I love my country and I love my province now. So much greenery here.

In the morning, when I drive my daughter to summer camp, I drive along a nice river which is a bit brown, but fuck, it’s now very very beautiful to me. After seeing only desert, dust and trash for two weeks in Egypt/Jordan, our Canada is to me the most beautiful thing in the world.

We have a nice country and we must keep it that way. And as an hommage to my country, here’s my 10 favorite places in every province :

  1. Signal Hill, St-John’s (Newfoundland) : Signal Hill is a beautiful hill over the capital of Newfoundland where you can see the ocean in front of you and all the colored houses behind you. I haven’t seen anything similar anywhere around the world. One of the best views in Canada. I’d like to go back there and I can’t say that about many places;
  2. Port-Royal, close to Sydney (Nova Scotia) : Port Royal was a french fortress in the 18th century. It’s located on Cape Breton Island and it’s a beautiful historical site to visit. Very impressive;
  3. Sand Dunes, Prince Edward Island : I haven’t been in PEI in about 20 years, so it’s hard for me to remember exactly how it looks like but I remember these beautiful sand dunes, just besides the sea. It’s also a charming little province, very quiet.  
  4. Nothing, New-Brunswick : New Brunswick is the only province that lacks a point of interest. Each time I go to that province, I feel like dying. Actually, there’s Bay of Fundy which looks beautiful but I’ve never been there.
  5. Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec : These tiny islands located close to PEI and Nova Scotia are beautiful and very quiet. There’s only a few thousand inhabitants so it’s the perfect spot for some quiet time and beautiful sceneries. I rented a scooter and traveled across the islands during the summer of 2021. It was great. I’d like to go back there too.
  6. Toronto, Ontario : Toronto is by far my favorite large city in Canada. If you go there, try to visit Toronto islands which are accessible via a ferry in Toronto’s harbour. That’s the best view you can get of Toronto and these islands are great to visit.
  7. St-Boniface, Manitoba : I haven’t see anything else than Winnipeg in Manitoba, so there may be a few interesting places in the province. However, I’ve visited St-Boniface quarter which is the main french area in Manitoba and it was an interesting experience to meet people who can speak french so far from Quebec. The streets name are in french too. And there’s a big cathedral which is interesting to visit. Not the most special place in Canada, but it worths a visit. More interesting than most people think it is.
  8. Driving in the south of Saskatchewan : Among all the places I’ve visited in Canada, driving in the south of Saskatchewan is probably in my top 3. The sceneries are flat, but not as boring as people imagine. The fields are yellow and infinite. It’s very calming and sometimes, there’s interesting landscapes that are not flat. I loved driving there and visiting Grassland national park and Castle Butte. It was probably my biggest canadian surprise ever.
  9. The Banff/Jasper area in Alberta : Without hesitation, that’s the most spectacular spot in Canada. These mountains are so huge, the lakes are emerald, the road is amazing. The best pictures you can take in Canada are in this location. Any tourist should go there first.
  10. Golden, British Columbia : This one is not a conviction pick. I’m not sure what’s the best place to visit in BC because to me, nature in BC and nature in western Alberta are similar (lots of mountains, lakes, forests). The location where Jason Del Vicario lives (in the islands close to Vancouver) is very nice too. So, I’d say that as long as there’s a mountain, some lakes and a waterfall not far, you may be in one of the most beautiful spots in BC. I’m sure there are plenty of these spots.

We have a beautiful country. Let’s keep it that way and let’s all be ecologists. Because the end is near for our planet. Let’s preserve and enjoy what we have because it won’t last.

lundi 8 août 2022

Travelling for free (almost)

Since the beginning of 2021, I've bought 12 plane tickets for me and my family (sometimes, I travel alone, sometimes, with one of my kids, sometimes, with all the family).

Among these 12 plane tickets, I've paid the full price 0 time. I've always used Aeroplan or Air Miles to reduce the bill. Which makes that I've probably paid less than 20% of the full price for these 12 tickets.

And for hotels, I've used points too. For instance, I've stayed 10 days with breakfast included at a nice Marriott hotel in Orlando, 5 days in a nice Marriott in St-John's (Newfoundland), 3 days at the foot of the pyramids in Cairo, 1 day in a nice Marriott hotel at Cairo's airport and 2 days just besides the Dead Sea in Jordan.  All these stays were for free. Full price would have been about 5000 CAN$. 

I estimate that I've saved at least 20 000$ since 2018 with travel hacking. Of course, I have to pay some fees here and there. It's not entirely free. But instead of paying 25 000$ for plane tickets and hotels for all these trips (China, Europe, Florida, Louisiana, Egypt, etc), I've paid maybe 5000$.

Some people have asked me how it was possible to travel for such little money.

The answer is that you have to be aggressive with  credit cards. Because some bonuses are great. 

Where to begin?

I recommend the American Express Gold card.

With this card, if you spend 3000$ in three months, you'll get enough points to buy 2 round trips in North America for almost nothing. Or you could use these points to get free nights in beautiful Marriott hotels.

That credit card has an annual fee of 250$ but it also has a travel credit of 100$ which you can apply to any hotel or flight bought via Amex website.

Also, with this card, you have 4 free accesses to airport lounges, which is really nice. Food is so expensive in airports that it's great to drink and eat for free while you're there.

The strategy is to get this card. Keep it for 10-11 months and then cancel it before you have to pay for annual fees once again. 

And there you go: for only 150$ (250$ less 100$ travel credit), you get 2 tickets to California, Alaska, Florida, Vancouver or even Saskatoon, for almost nothing. If your wife does the same, you'll be able to get tickets for a family of 4 people for almost nothing.

You begin that way, slowly, with only one new credit card. But aftter a few months, you get completely crazy like me and you get 10 different cards. 

Then it's a lot of management with your Excel file, but you'll get a shitload of points. And you can basically go anywhere. 

samedi 30 juillet 2022

Once retired

Once retired what will you do?

There's three things I'd like to do and for which I think I would be very good:

1-Travelling all around the world with one or two small bags. Seeing the seven wonders, reaching frozen oceans in Northwest territories and in Patagonia. Reaching remote places and taking lots of pictures to help me remind these moments for the rest of my life. 

2- Planning trips all around the world for other people. I'm a champion travel hacker now. For instance, this year, I won't pay a lot of money for any of 8 plane tickets. I will also pay something like 20% of the full price for all  hotels and hostels where I'll stay.  I'd like to help people to do the same.

3- Helping people with their personal finances. Helping them to make a budget. Helping them to cut expenses, to learn to save money, to invest on the stock market.

What are the things that you have to offer to the world or to yourself, once retired? 

We're all wealthier than most people. Let's help ourselves to find hobbies for the time where we won't have to worry about money anymore. 

jeudi 23 juin 2022

Who's depressed?

I wonder if there's a lot of depressed investors at the moment? After all, the market has lost a lot of value recently and we don't know when the wind will change. Maybe when Putin will die? 

When the market is down, I see a lot of occasions while when the market is high, I see a lot of risks of it going down. Which means that I'm pretty confident about the market at the moment (in the medium or long run). 

Summer has begun and I'm on the way of more travels. That's now my main hobby: traveling and planning travels when I'm not traveling. And when I come back, I stratch my scracthing map of the world. And then, I look for other places to scracth. 

I just look to enjoy life the most I can. It's hard, but I try. 

lundi 6 juin 2022

The Netflix effect

Some people say that Netflix has lost it's mojo. I don't really know what is a mojo, but it looks special.

NFLX has lost a lot of it's value in the recent months, mostly because of the stagnation of new users and the anticipation of a loss of users in the future. 

However, have you heard about the last season of "Stranger Things"?

In a few episodes of the new season, we can hear "Running up that hill", a 1985 song by Kate Bush. Since the release of that season, that 37 years old song has been back in the charts and it's streaming is up many thousands of percent. You may say that going from 10 streamings a week to 500 streamings a week could result in such statistics. Yeah, you're right. But I think that song has always bit at least a bit popular, because it's been a hit in 1985.

Anyway, I don't want to start a debate about Kate Bush, but I think that what happened with that song shows that Netflix still has a lot of influence on society. They need new exciting content. There will be good and bad years for new content, but Netflix has penetrated a lot of countries. And what you can see on Netflix may have a significant impact around us (let's just think about "Squid Games" and the fact that some schools sent messages to parents to tell them that games in that show would be forbidden at school).

I don't know if Netflix is a buy or a sell. But one thing is sure, that's a great business. 

So, it's probably more a buy than a sell. 

mardi 31 mai 2022

Inflation VS stocks

Common stocks beat inflation. I've learned that years ago and I still believe that it's true, as long as inflation doesn't reach 19% like it's been the case this year in Estonia. 

And even if inflation reaches 19%, what are your other options? Keeping money in a drawer? That's automatically a negative 19% (if you live in Estonia). 

I like these tough periods for the market, because it epurates the market from speculators. And, in the long run, those who are staying in the market will be rewarded. I'm sure about that. And if I allow myself 10 years for this prediction, I'm even more confident. 

Some people change their strategies when the market is red, day after day. Some think that stocks will continue to go down, thus investing only in low PE stocks. Like if a low PE couldn't go lower. Well, I've actually tried this before and it's sad, but a low PE can go lower. Yes, a stock with a PE of 8 can become a stock with a PE of 5, just like a stock with a PE of 25 can become a stock with a PE of 18. 

I think that dollar stores are a good place to be. Dollar Tree's last results were very good and I believe that results should also be good for Dollarama, Dollar General and Five Below. I'm not a wizard. I only believe that this inflation is way too high for people to keep their habits and paying a premium for the stuff they can buy at dollar stores. Of course, dollar stores will have to readjust their prices because of gas prices. But even if they raise their prices, they'll still be cheaper than almost any other shop.

Eventually, I believe that banks will benefit from rates increase. Because rates can't stay that low. These rates are a part of the explanation of this inflation. People don't save money with such rates. When they'll go up, people will save more money and banks will benefit from that. And currently, banks are not expensive at all.

Of course, I still believe in Google and Mastercard. But I think that dollar stores and banks will benefit from the current situation for the short term.