Weekend Reading: Update From Italy Edition

Florence

Buongiorno! We’ve spent two glorious weeks in Italy, arriving first in Rome before moving on to Florence and Venice. Three very different, yet equally amazing cities!

I loved the history of Rome. We toured the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican, ran through Circus Maximus and along the Tiber, tossed a coin into Trevi Fountain, and climbed the Spanish Steps.

Florence stole our hearts with the spectacular views from Piazzale Michelangelo and inside Boboli Gardens. Pictures cannot properly capture the experience of standing in front of the Duomo, or at the statue of David. A truly remarkable city.

We stayed in Florence over Easter, and it was insanely busy. We attempted to view the exploding Easter cart (Google it) but ended up on the wrong side of the square in a crowd. It sounded amazing, though!

Then we spent three magical days in Venice – which was a dream come true for me. We took the kids on a gondola ride across the Grande Canal (under the Rialto Bridge) and through the many small canals that flow through the city. We got lost in the many side streets (alleys). We toured Doge’s Palace, walked through the Bridge of Sighs, and climbed St. Mark’s Basilica for a breathtaking view of Piazza San Marco.

Piazza San Marco

Yesterday we took a train from Venice to Arezzo and then rented a car to drive to our final destination – Cortona – to spend a week in Tuscany.

Even though we’ve been on a 32-day trip before, three weeks is still a long time to travel and we were feeling burnt out yesterday. It will be nice to relax in our quiet hilltop house for the rest of our trip.

Cortona

A magical view, even in the rain last night

It has been so nice to be able to travel again and see such amazing places in Italy. We’re looking forward to a relaxing stay in Tuscany before heading back home next weekend. In the meantime, feel free to follow along on Twitter where I’ll semi-regularly update this thread:

What I’ve Been Reading:

I shared my thoughts about how young investors should handle their first taste of market volatility for this Toronto Star article:

“The challenge, he said, is that investors want all of the upside in a good market and none of the downside in a bad market, which can cause investors to overestimate their risk tolerance in bull markets then panic when their investments fall in value.”

A terrific video from Dimensional to give some perspective on short-term investment performance. Investors can focus on the daily rain clouds and sunshine the markets bring. Or they can think about the long term.

“You go to a sunny climate because, on the whole, you expect nice weather. But, even in a tropical paradise, it will rain from time to time. Global markets have been bumpy so far in 2022. Investing for the long term means breaking out the umbrella from time to time. It doesn’t mean that the rain will last forever.”

Andrew Hallam on why your investment results sometimes have little correlation with the intelligence of your plan.

Here’s PWL Capital’s Justin Bender explaining the math behind why passive investors MUST beat active investors:

A great article by Nick Maggiulli at Of Dollars and Data on why you’ve been thinking about inflation all wrong.

Here’s Nick Maggiulli again with an op-ed at CNBC arguing that high inflation won’t hurt stock returns in the long run.

Why a mere 2% allocation to cryptocurrencies in an otherwise diversified portfolio will account for 25% of your overall portfolio volatility.

Rob Carrick says it’s time for banks to reverse a rate grab from 2015 that punishes borrowers to this day (looking at you, TD).

A really good piece by mortgage broker David Larock on the Bank of Canada’s 0.50% rate hike:

“Variable rates are still available at discounts of more than 1% over their fixed-rate equivalents, and I continue to believe that they have the potential to save borrowers money over the next five years.”

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers asking if they should change their investment strategy, or lock-in their variable rate mortgage because of everything going on in the world.

For the record, I’m still invested in 100% VEQT across all accounts. I’m still in a variable rate mortgage. What was sensible three months ago or three years ago is still perfectly sensible today.

I love how Andrew Hallam connects financial freedom and happiness, and in this piece he explains why some FIRE devotees really miss the mark when it comes to their goals.

Why you might need to update the executor in your will as you get older. Makes good sense.

Finally, these cautionary tales about investing in private mortgages seem to come up all too often. Here’s one that collapsed, affecting 500 homes and $10 million in investor money.

Ciao – enjoy your weekend!

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4 Comments

  1. Mark on April 23, 2022 at 6:20 am

    Enjoy Italy. Good to hear you have escaped the cities and are spending some time in Cortona and hopefully the surrounding area. While the big ticket city sites have to be done at some point in your life, the real enjoyment of Italy is found in the smaller towns. Hopefully after dealing with the maddening crowds at Piazzale Michelangelo, you carried on up the hill to San Miniato al Monte Basilica and Abbey and enjoyed a much better view in peaceful surroundings and if you timed it well had a chance to listen to the monks in their wonderful Gregorian chants. So much to appreciate if you get off the beaten track. Enjoy Cortona – we often used this as our home base for some memorable family vacations.

  2. Gary and Marg on April 23, 2022 at 6:40 am

    We are so happy you and your family are having a wonderful trip Robb. I wish I could stop being a market watcher; it would make life so much more enjoyable. . Stay safe and enjoy!

  3. Bryan on April 23, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Some serious FOMO following your travels!! Amazing you’re getting to do it with your family (while shooting a “Feature Film” too haha) Enjoy the relaxing week in Tuscany. Always wanted to go there myself. Appreciate the weekend reads while you’re away too. Safe travels the rest of the way.

  4. Gin on April 23, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Enjoy, looks like a wonderful ‘bucket’ list type trip.
    These days my travel planning involves avoiding peak crowds as much as possible. It also ends up being a bit easier on the pocket. Visiting Disney is the worst for this and the ultimate in choosing to line up or dropping lots of cash trying to get an edge in line.
    While still exhilarating, sharing travel experiences with huge crowds is exhausting and it takes away from the experience when unthinking people take that ‘perfect’ shot on their phone or camera rudely elbowing you out of the way or squeezing in front of you
    Having said that, with kids in school it is pretty tough to achieve.

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