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Money in a time of financial cholera; Unstoppable Starbucks; The fine art of investing; The Death Cross; The illusion of wealth

Money in a time of financial cholera; Unstoppable Starbucks; The fine art of investing; The Death Cross; The illusion of wealth

By Amanda Morrall

1) Financial  cholera

Love in the time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is a favourite of mine so naturally the headline "Money in a Time of Financial Cholera" leapt out at me. Writing for research house Morningstar NZ, former banker and author Satyajit Das explores the dangers facing today's investors and how to manage the risk. It's a two part series so I'm linking to them both. Part i, part ii.

2) Drug of the masses 

Karl Marx famously described religion as the opiate of the masses. Today I reckon it's television, ciggies and beer. Oh and coffee quite possibly, my personal favourite drug of choice. On that front, one of the things I delighted in after moving to New Zealand from Canada was the range of choice.

You see in North America, the mega franchise that is Starbucks has killed it, or at least smothered it in a big way. Of course, it's still there, you just have to look harder for it. When you do, you're invariably rewarded for it.

I suppose if I had shares in the corporate giant, I'd be singing a different tune. Especially as they have designs on infiltrating the hospitals on an ever larger scale so patients can get their daily fix without having to leave bed. Marketwatch carries the inglorious details here.

3) Art as an investment

At chez Amanda I have the most beautiful artwork. My most cherished pieces are two giraffes done in pastel by my boys three years ago in art class. They are priceless to me however I do appreciate they may not command the big bucks serious collectors are to get when they buy. The Telegraph reports here on some of the risk for investors keen on the fine arts as an alternative form of investment.

4) The death cross

You have to give the financial sector credit for creativity and drama. For instance the "death cross" a term for when the 50-day moving average breaks below the 200-day moving average. CNN Money offers an overview here on what's happening with gold prices which yesterday were flirted with the "death cross."

5) The illusion of wealth

How can you tell if someone is rich or not? You can't by looking, that's the point. One blogger by the name of contemplates what it means to be rich. What's your definition of wealth? I believe it's what's left over when you're stripped of your assets.  The stuff that can't be bought.

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall or at

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Hi Amanda,
The part I and part II links are the same link.  But great thoughts from Mr Das.
My favourite quotes from his article:
"Even wine has emerged as an asset class, giving a new meaning to the term "liquidity"."
"Hubris has resulted in a greater loss of wealth than market crashes."
"No warning can save a people determined to grow suddenly rich."

I have corrected the issue with the link and should be ok now

You know I just don't understand the whole coffee culture. Well, I can understand it in Wellington because there is nothing else to do there and it's the only warmth you'll get all day. But elsewhere...?

I remember back when you went to a cafe and there was two beverages for sale - tea and coffee. Both came in a mug, and the coffee was either Greggs or Nescafe. Now there is a Nespresso store in the Pitt St Mall where people queue to buy their Limited Edition Nespresso pods.

I actually know people who will walk past a barrista or two to get to a coffee place that does it just right! People in this decade seem to view coffee in the same way catholics view the communion wine, like there is some kind of transubstantiation miracle going in in the process of grinding beans and sticking the result in hot water and frothy milk. IT'S JUST A HOT BEVERAGE!!!

And it's not worth $4.50.

I actually went to Starbucks once. A friend dragged me down to try the double-chocolate-mocha-syrup-bomb-thing that tasted like condensed milk with coffee in it. Gross.

I've never been back. And I lost contact with that friend and haven't heard from her in a long time. I suspect she probably died from diabetes by now if she was drinking one of those a day.