Does the current Brexit deal benefit both Europe and the United Kingdom? Or is it one sided?

I may have a contrarian view but I believe that the current deal is a great win for the British Government and a big political loss for the European Union.

Thanks to the Northern Ireland issue, Brexit in the current form designed by the tentative Withdrawal Agreement delivers for the U.K. both the end of freedom of movement and also keeps the U.K. in the single market. Continue reading “Does the current Brexit deal benefit both Europe and the United Kingdom? Or is it one sided?”

Villa Lysis soundtrack

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If you have been recently to Villa Lysis in Capri after they respectfully renovated it to its old splendor, you may remember hearing a CD playing in the background.

The mix of the acoustic guitar playing and the beautiful voice of the French singer were fantastic and absolutely perfect for Villa Lysis.

The CD is the following: Les Amants Solitaires by Nicole Renaud. She’s a French soprano that recently moved to live permanently in Capri. Continue reading “Villa Lysis soundtrack”

Palais Ephrussi in Vienna

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Today we sneaked into the Palais Ephrussi and walked upstairs until the top floor where I came across a nice lady who looked at me and asked me: “are you here because of the book?” ☺️ She was very kind and explained to me the history of the building (now split in two, and the old Ephrussi part is actually not accessible as it is now occupied by a law firm), its renovation after the Nazi seized it and its current tenants. If you have read the ‘Hare with the Amber Eyes’ and happen to be in Vienna, I recommend you to visit it, my friends. 🇦🇹

If DuckDuckGo does not track us, how come it is not as successful as Google?

For the following reasons:

A. Both are free for the user but Google provides consistently better quality results. DuckDuckGo is the underdog in this field and it is difficult for it to become more popular than Google given that the results it provides are less efficient than Google’s. This is the same problem that Yahoo and Bing are facing: they are not able to match Google’s quality of results and for this reasons users — always in a hurry and hating wasting time on useless pages — keep using what they know works best. Continue reading “If DuckDuckGo does not track us, how come it is not as successful as Google?”

Do you think someone that makes USD 900k a year is rich? What kind of lifestyle can this person afford?

It depends. Being rich is one of the most subjective things that exist.

I have a friend who is a lawyer in his late 40s and makes sensibly above the 900K USD yearly threshold (let’s say approximately 80k USD a month) and he surely does not believe to be poor but he pointed out to me the following details attached to that figure:

A. Slightly less than half of that sum goes away in taxes (40k USD). There is no way around it as he works in a big law firm which does not allow any room for tax avoidance schemes or under-reporting of revenues, which are quite common for solo practitioners and smaller firms; Continue reading “Do you think someone that makes USD 900k a year is rich? What kind of lifestyle can this person afford?”

How did you lose your wealth?

My uncle (the brother of my father) never got married. He was born in 1950 and always lived the good life: he never had kids, not one Euro of debt, drove fast German cars, had amazing girlfriends (women literally adore him), made exotic travels, had tailor-made suits, knew literally most of the Bel Paese best restaurants in big and small cities alike, etc.

He started working in the Italian branch of a British company (at the time based in Naples) at 21 as a clerk and became a top manager in his late 40s. He was suddenly fired in the late 90s because of a restructuring and since he was already in his late 40s it was impossible for him to find a similar job at a competitor. Actually he could not find any job at all. Once out of the job market for a few years he basically gave up on looking for even a low-level job. Continue reading “How did you lose your wealth?”

What are the 10 or fewer good habits for a 24 year old to make life better?

My top 8 suggestions are the following:

  1. Sleep 8 hours a day, consistently.
  2. Save money: after you have set up a good emergency fund in cash, invest everything else in one or more low-commission, index-tracking, ETF funds, as soon as possible. The Vanguard 500 ETF is a good starting point. This must be a priority. Because compound interest takes time to produce its amazing results, the younger you start, the better. (I also recommend to Google: compound interest + dollar cost averaging).
  3. Stop eating outside: learn to cook your own meals and eat at home most of the times. Cooking at home will naturally push you to learn new recipes from different countries: many of these new recipes that I learnt turned out to be new “classics” at home. Delicious! Continue reading “What are the 10 or fewer good habits for a 24 year old to make life better?”

How can I improve myself in 6 months?

Self-improvement is a marathon which involves following a path different for each of us and my advice is as follows:

  1. Stop keeping cash in your bank account: start saving money and, after you have set up a good emergency fund in cash, invest everything else in one or more low-commission, index-tracking, ETF funds, as soon as possible. The Vanguard 500 ETF is a good starting point (also Vanguard’s VIG is very good). This must be a priority. Because compound interest takes time (like a decade or more) to produce its amazing results, the younger you start, the better. (Since many asked in the comments, I also recommend to Google: compound interest+ dollar cost averaging in order to understand the benefits of this double-pronged strategy). In this way, money in your bank account will grow steadily during the years and give you an invaluable peace of mind in case of emergencies and allowing you to take new opportunities down the road. Continue reading “How can I improve myself in 6 months?”

Where and how do you invest your monthly salary?

This is how I have been doing since 2008 and how I highly recommend you to do.

  1. Open a Stock Account with your bank and every month save 20%/30%/40%/50% of your net income and invest it in a low commission S&P500 ETF by Vanguard (like “VOO” or “VIG”: google them).
  2. Google: “dollar cost average” + “compound interest” in order to understand the benefits of this double-pronged strategy (in short: you will beat 90% of all the professional Fund Managers out there). Continue reading “Where and how do you invest your monthly salary?”