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?”

Will the $185k fine against the Airbnb host in NY make people afraid of using Airbnb?

I doubt so.

This is an example of what in political science goes under the name of “the authoritarian illusion of the powerful” whereby those in power pretend to prohibit something by simply out-lawing it and issuing a fine or penalty against a behaviour which is believed by a critical mass of the people in the community to be a legitimate and/or un-harmful service or exploit of resources. Continue reading “Will the $185k fine against the Airbnb host in NY make people afraid of using Airbnb?”

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?”

What are some interesting facts about diamonds?

Nobody wants to buy a diamond.

The price of these stones is artificially inflated by De Beers and a small set of other diamond extractors, by artificially creating scarcity.

For decades, they had the marketing firepower and patience to invest in advertisement in order to induce people to believe that a diamond is the gift to make in order to celebrate a wedding or other joyful occurrences. In reality, the whole market is a scam artificially inflated by the astute players who rig it. Continue reading “What are some interesting facts about diamonds?”

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?”

If Brexit already seems a failure before birth, why aren’t the UK citizens taking to the streets to reverse it?

I obviously agree that Brexit is un unecessary self-inflicted damage and I have also been surprised by the lack of protest by people in the UK (especially people from the large British upper-middle class whom I believe will have the most to lose from Brexit).

When I inquired about this with people in London (all with very good jobs, families, some are even (long time) immigrants from other EU countries, none of them is even remotely of the hidden-racist, nostalgic/exceptionalist, British upper class that we read so frequently about on the internet and social media), this is what they explained me and made them reluctant to protest against Brexit: Continue reading “If Brexit already seems a failure before birth, why aren’t the UK citizens taking to the streets to reverse it?”

If you could live in any Italian city, where would you live in?

I am originally from Venice, I am currently living in Hong Kong and I have been pondering the same question for quite some time.

Obviously, your mileage may vary, but these are the reasons that would push me to live in Milan:

A. Excellent public transports: by all means, Milan has modern transport services “by modern standards”, not by the (admittedlypoor) Italian standards. After years of neglect, Milan is now equipped with an excellent metro system (still expanding),the administration is openly trying to curb the traffic congestion in the city center and is pushing people to use bicycles. Continue reading “If you could live in any Italian city, where would you live in?”

Are people in Milan nice?

I am from Venice and I have traveled quite a lot and I think Milanese people are a special breed of humans: they are amazing.

Milan is Italy’s business pivotal center so you will find a huge community of Italians coming from every region (North, Center and South): so much so that real 100% Milanese people are actually not that common!

It is difficult to generalize, but Milanese people tend to be:

a. Very focused on their job and career prospects.

b. They all want to make good money (i.e. better money compared to their peers, at least).

c. They “never” stay in Milan over the weekends as they always take the car and go either to the beaches in Liguria (during Summer-time) or to the Alps (during Winter-time). Milan (particularly the city center and during summertime) is beautiful over the weekends as it is basically empty, I’m not kidding. Continue reading “Are people in Milan nice?”

What is the best way to build resilience?

Start achieving results: from the smallest task during your daily life to gradually the bigger goals you set up for your journey.

As soon as you will achieve (small and big) results against the adversities (downfalls, lack of motivation, adversarial circumstances, lack of support, etc.) you will grow more confident of your incredible strength and ability to pass above those obstacles. Continue reading “What is the best way to build resilience?”

How do rich people who came from poor backgrounds handle the relationships with their still-poor friends? Do they get approached for money a lot? How do they handle these requests?

I once had a friend who, coming from a totally normal background, made a career as a very successful finance lawyer and eventually his picture ended up on a specialized magazine with a list of his highly prized clients.

Nowhere in the article it was stated specifically that he had become rich but that could be inferred even from a baby and as soon as the news spread in the business world, my friend told me the following happened:

  1. His inner-circle of close female friends started expecting him to pay dinner for them whenever they went out. This attitude changed immediately and automatically (once the bill arrived at the end of the dinner, they did not take their wallet and simply waited for him to pay, smiling) even if there was nothing more than just a good friendship between them (i.e. they were not dating): he paid them for dinner regularly as otherwise he would not be able to go out for dinner with them anymore; Continue reading “How do rich people who came from poor backgrounds handle the relationships with their still-poor friends? Do they get approached for money a lot? How do they handle these requests?”

What do rich people who have lost everything miss most about having money?

My 68 years old uncle lost his job as a top manager in a British company in his 40s and was unable to find any job since.

When he was fired, he had accumulated quite a fortune that he estimated would have lasted him for all his remaining life (he never had kids or a spouse).

Due to medical emergencies, depression, bad friendships and decisions, he depleted his fortune in less than 20 years and he is now completely money less and lives an extremely frugal life as a retiree.

He is still resilient and upbeat, and I speak frequently with him about his life, what he would have done differently and what he misses the most of the good years.

Here is a short list of what my uncle misses of his “good years”:

  1. Girlfriends: as long as my uncle was rich he always had an amazing touch with women. He maintained a bit of this touch even after he was not rich anymore but obviously now he cannot do with these girls all the things he did before. In particular, when he was rich he was traveling a lot with a series of girlfriends scattered among Europe. These trips started in the 70s and he still remembers amazing hotels in Capri, Venice, London, Prague, Budapest, Paris which he visited with these girls and made amazing memories with. Continue reading “What do rich people who have lost everything miss most about having money?”