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10 | The Paradox of Happiness
Last Wednesday 4th November it was the last day before the second lockdown in the UK. The positive note was my birthday and I had an amazing day with Kristina. I posted few photos/stories on Instagram in case you want to check them out.
I’ve recently listened to a great podcast from Tim Ferriss who interviewed Yuval Noah Harari, the author of the popular science bestsellers Sapiens and Home Deus. One of the things that resonated with me was the following:
We are very good in acquiring more power, but not good at translating power into happiness. The big paradox of history is that we are thousands of times more powerful than people in the Stone Age but it’s not clear whether we are at all happier than they were. Maybe we’re happier a bit but not thousands of times happier.
According to Prof. Harari, something is wrong because we have so much power and it doesn’t move in that direction.
Have you ever thought about all your recent achievements but then looked inside and wonder if you are happier than you were 10 or 20 years ago?
I have an opinion here but I’ll share it in the Lifestyle Design section as it’s connected with travelling.
Have a great week and enjoy the content below!
🎥 This Week's Video
📝 This Week's Blog Post
Earlier this year I defined my objectives and then I checked in to see how I was doing. This is my third quarterly review to see if I’m on track or I keep procrastinating.
Read more: Am I Really Crushing My Objectives?
💸 Financial Freedom
In previous issues we talked about alternative investments such as gold, luxury watches and fine wine. We also discussed traditional investments such as bonds, stocks, funds and real estate. Let’s talk about Champagne. This is a niche and growing alternative investment.
We all like it, don’t we? What if you knew there was some impressive growth over the past decade? There’s an index called Liv-ex tracking the most traded fine wines on the market using their Mid-Price as we mentioned some time ago. But guess what? There’s a regional index which is the Champagne 50 which tracks the price performance of 50 of the finest vintage champagnes. Looking at this information, it’s clear that the performance increased by 80% in the last 10 years. A decade of outperformance. The segment didn’t experience extreme price movements despite major events such as the global financial crisis. What’s also interesting is that it has a low correlation with the wider market. If you think about Bordeaux for example, they had 5-10% losses in 2008 whereas Champagne displayed a positive return in the same year according to Liv-ex.
Over the past decade, the best performing champagne was a small producer called Salon and their vintages increased more than 150% in value. Some other good performers: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque, Dom Perignon, Bollinger La Grande Année, Jacques Selosse Millesime, Krug and Louis Roederer Cristal.
What to have in mind:
Market Risk. Value doesn’t increase forever and there can be scams if you don’t buy from respectable places. Also champagnes and wines can be mishandled or get damaged. Insurance is important.
Tax. In many countries this is considered a “wasting asset” so when you sell it, then tax free (capital gains exempt) only if the life is less than 50 years.
Provenance. Make sure you have a certificate of authenticity and ownership history.
Storage. This can be expensive over time, so do your homework.
Management fees. Unless you know the market very well, it’s recommended to have a portfolio manager to actively manage and rebalance your investments from time to time.
As I always mention, never put your money anywhere you don’t understand and always seek professional advice as investments can go up and down.
🛠️ Work Smarter (Not Harder!)
One of my long-time pending tasks was to capture all the knowledge from the podcasts I was listening to. I was not able to find efficient methods to do this and it was a pity because there was a lot of stuff resonating with me.
Recently, I found a great app called Airr that changed the note-taking game. This app essentially lets you create short audio highlights from your favourite podcast episodes. You press a button, add your own comments and save the relevant parts. Some of these podcasts have written transcripts which simplify the process so you don’t need to take any note other than the title you want to set. It’s a free app and syncs with Readwise. This means that you can now close the circle and have all your favourite highlights from books (Kindle), articles (Instapaper/Pocket) and podcasts (Airr) in one single place (Readwise).
Great way to remember what you read and a fantastic spaced repetition model.
🧳 Lifestyle Design
I’m curious about what’s your definition of happiness and success? I try to understand why people wait till retirement to travel the world.
Lifestyle design means to find a way to do it now and stop making excuses. You can find a job abroad, do some freelancing stuff, work remotely while travelling, kick off your online business or simply move abroad. Life is really short. Travelling opens your mind so much. I cannot even describe what it means to be on your own abroad, studying, fighting to land a job, getting rejected, struggling with languages, having no money, no friends, living in tiny places and skipping meals to save some money to get a flight ticket to see the world because I thought that was my only way to grow for real.
Sometime ago I wrote an article on the blog about Becoming A World Citizen. That’s a small piece of my story from being a teenager who only dreamt of seeing the world to the man who I became.
The best investment you can make in life is in travelling. This is a journey of self-discovery, making new relationships, clearing the mind, educating yourself (languages, cuisines, new ways of living), creating memories, challenging yourself, increasing your confidence, appreciating moments, rebuilding your story… and this is progress resulting in happiness.
I guess my definition of happiness and success is related to the outcome of travelling.