Every week, I like to pass along some of the most interesting and entertaining stories happening in the unconventional investing world.
The sorts of stories that go great with a quiet morning, some form of drink — preferably warm and fragrant — and a little time and space to let thoughts unfold.
Relax, read, enjoy.
Better Than Stocks, Backed by Data
Since 2003, Burgundy wine has beaten the stock market — which is no small feat.
Even with the big drop in 2007 and 2008 — which, incidentally, barely touched the wine market — stocks have had a pretty good run, increasing around 300%.
But that’s nothing compared with Burgundy — and even Bordeaux wines, which have lagged.
I say jump in now — with the help of a business like Cult Wines. And don’t worry about the larger investing world suddenly noticing just how good an investment wine is…
The truth is wine has been performing this well for centuries. Every few months or years, a venerable institution like The Economist notices. But it’s unlikely to lead to a stampede of new investors.
Most people aren’t paying enough attention. Those who are usually aren’t confident enough to pull the trigger.
That’s great for us — it gives us a relatively small, placid market that doesn’t suffer the peaks and valleys of more popular investments. Instead, it keeps regularly churning out market-beating returns.
Cheers to that.
Another Privacy Win in the Books
Last week, we got unexpectedly good news from Facebook, which is modestly stepping up its privacy controls.
This week, we get even stronger protections from Apple.
Granted, this move is in response to Apple’s lax privacy standards surrounding Siri recordings — a problem every company with an AI assistant is currently facing.
And Apple had another major snafu this week, when it was discovered that a software flaw could have allowed bad actors to peek inside your iPhone. (That flaw has been patched — update your software if you haven’t already.)
The difference now, though, is that Apple is making privacy one of its major selling points. And — since Apple makes the bulk of its money from hardware instead of advertising like Facebook, Google and, to an extent, Amazon — the incentives line up.
No major company is going to put a greater emphasis on privacy than Apple in the immediate future. If privacy and security are important to you, consider using a few more Apple products over data-gobbling alternatives.
Use Safari to browse the web instead of Chrome (though Firefox, Tor and Brave will all do as well)… OpenPages instead of Google Docs (which are not private and are searchable by Google)… Maybe switch your phone when the new iPhone comes out in a few days…
I’ve got no dog in this fight. But as long as Google and Amazon are playing fast and loose with my data, I’ll be looking for alternatives every chance I get.
Housesit the World!
Travel is expensive. Accommodations — even the cheapest possible place on Airbnb — quickly add up to the sort of number that keeps most folk at home.
But not if you join a housesitting network.
This opportunity is worthy of a brighter spotlight later. But for now, highlights include…
- Housesitters usually stay for free — and sometimes even get paid, depending on duties
- Often, housesitting comes with pets — so this might not be for you if you have allergies or aversions to dogs or cats
- Housesitting isn’t like catalog travel. You’ll probably be in a residential neighborhood or tucked away in a corner of town. The pace will likely be slower. Your days might not be filled with tourist attractions — but you’ll get a better idea of what life is really like there during your visit.
It isn’t for everyone. But if you like travel for the cultural immersion… want to go off the beaten path… and would like to travel more than traditional travel budgets allow… housesitting might be for you.
… Never to Be Seen Again
The fires in the Amazon are a catastrophe of epic proportions. The Amazon is just that unique, that important and that threatened.
So it’s easy to see why the world has barely noticed the fires have also been destroying irreplaceable ancient rock art.
It feels small in comparison with the overall tragedy. But considering we’re losing irreplaceable cultural artifacts — most of which are thousands of years old — this tragedy will likely grow in the public imagination as fires die down and we assess the damage.
It’s true that nothing is permanent (a popular theme in art) and every time we lose some art (which happens every day) all the art that’s left gains some value.
But even I’m not really buying that — and I’m an optimist by nature.
So take a moment to mourn what’s just been lost. And use that feeling to spur a deeper exploration of all that’s left.
Maybe even use this as the excuse to get your own art… become a cultural steward… and, incidentally, make a nice profit in the process.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. Want to help great art and important culture survive the trials and tribulations of the world? You can own a piece of important, multimillion-dollar treasures using fractional ownership through Masterworks — at a price anyone can afford.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...