A Bloody Start to 2015

Hey guys sorry for my absence, how long has it been? A month or so?
Not a lot has happened for me in the period between last we talked and now. Christmas and the holidays took a lot of attention away from other things, and now things are settling down just before the madness of spring break.
Already its been a crazy year for the animation industry, first Disney steps between Hasbro and DreamWorks and cuts off an acquisition deal.
Well is it fair of me to say that Disney cut the deal off? When in reality Disney offered Hasbro money, partnership and a chance to be part of the impossibly successful ‘Frozen’ franchise, but this incredible offer couldn’t go ahead if DreamWorks were a part of the fun.
So Disney basically gave Hasbro an unmissable offer which in accepting would deny DreamWorks their last hope at a necessary and enormous cash infusion.
Then only a couple weeks later DreamWorks shuts down PDI DreamWorks, a big animation studio of theirs putting roughly 500 people out of work.
In an industry as relatively small as animation, this was a huge blow to the industry and is going to have a massive effect on LA.
Im not saying Disney was directly responsible for DreamWorks being forced to lay off 500 people, many of DreamWorks movie flops played a large part.
But I do believe Disney will be happier once DreamWorks is either completely gone, or squashed into something that barely resembles what it once was.
Shanghai Disneyland is due to open at the end of this year, very exciting news. And along with every other studio, Im sure Disney is tailoring its movies this year to be considered for entry into one of the very limited spots on Chinese cinema screens. After the difference the huge Chinese audience made to the profits of the last Transformers movie, everyone is realising that there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in this very conservative country.

Im just really realising lately that I work for a company that while is wonderful and is still in the business of ‘dreams come true’, is a bulldog corporate giant that is the very definition of capitalism. We have stregically picked the perfect time to begin making our mark on the increasingly capitalistic Mainland China.

Speaking of China, I’m in the process of organising another trip there Im very pleased to say. I plan to visit Kunming and study Mandarin properly for 2 weeks in April.

Do you have any thoughts on Disney, the world of animation, the plight of DreamWorks or the ever capitalising China? Let me know 🙂
Until next time keep your eyes out, and keep exploring

For the Investors

I’ve said it before but I still feel the same way, travelers who truly traverse the world are investors and know what to do with their money.
Being this way ensures your money is working for you and is ready for you when you want to see the world.
Ideally your money is spread across multiple investments compounding over time and growing, and a portion of it should be shares. If you believe the way I do, all of those shares paid you a dividend recently because in my mind shares that aren’t paying you are shares that aren’t accountable to you.
As an Australian that was too lazy to fill out the forms to trade internationally, I trade solely on the ASX and all of those investments paid me a dividend last month. So what do I do with it now?
I’m currently staying in a hotel in Melbourne and even though I’m an Australian, I’m very far away from where I currently live and work and am traveling to be here. Therefore I am paying a lot of daily expenses in hotel, food, leisure and gaming costs and am making nothing in wages.
With this dividend I could potentially transfer it into my expenditures account and take the pressure off my credit card for the duration of the trip. However the money I earned from having my money invested in Australian companies all year will be gone and Uncle Kevin (Kevin O’Leary my investment godfather) would be quite mad.
I dunno if anyone else does it but whenever I make a choice with my money I imagine what reaction an investment guru would have if I told them what I did. As someone who spends thousands of dollars a year traveling, I’m guessing most of the time my investment guru would be annoyed. But as I considered spending this money the face in my head was more annoyed than ever.
Obviously I don’t know Mr O’Leary personally, but the version of him that lives in my head I know very well. My impression of him lectures me from what I learned from his book and his ABC investment reality show ‘Shark Tank’. This man in my head gives me praise sometimes, like when I signed the final papers buying my New Zealand investment property.
But this imaginary man slaps my wrist a lot more when I blew money such as when I spent thousands of dollars that could have been put into my brand new mortgage on a New York/Los Angeles vacation. In our discussion I argued my age (early 20’s) and my young need to explore and live as a young person, and though he somewhat saw my point, he lectured me on how much I now must pay that mortgage over the next 12 months to make up for it.
Sure, he’s probably stricter on me than the real Me O’Leary would be (or maybe he isn’t!) But whether my inner investment advisor is right or wrong, it’s more helpful than just listening to the part of me that spends money on impulse. If I just listened to that part of my head, I’d eat 15 extremely high quality meals a day and invest nothing.
Although I do get a genuine joy out of investment and love doing it. I have been known to spend rare days off pouring through finance magazines and giggling reading investment forecasts and company valuation estimations.
Speak of the devil, how many of the Australian/New Zealanders reading took advantage of the Medibank Private share offer?
The offer still has 2 days left, but it was probably the most advertised public share offering I’ve ever seen so the hype almost put me off.
Stock broker demand and public hype pushed the company valuation up millions of dollars above what the company is worth. When I read that $12 million worth of shares may be distributed when the company becomes public? Ludicrous!!! The company is worth maximum half that.
Although the company has grown over the last 10 years, it hasn’t been spectacular enough for this kind of paycheck the government can expect once they give the company over to us.
Nevertheless do you think I invested anyway? Of course I did. I applied today so if I’m accepted I’ll have a piece of this company I once worked for as a salesman.
It’s a good business and health insurance is becoming more and more fashionable. If you know how to use it even young people can save a lot of money with it.
I particularly like that they’ve given a maximum price per share as $2 a piece, which means if it comes out at $2.10 or $2.60 then we’ve immediately made money which is always good.
Lastly it passes my final test and will pay a dividend in September next year so they’ll work to deliver that between now and then. Time will tell whether they outperform my skepticism about their value, or whether without the government manipulating legislation to help them out and line their pockets, whether they’ll crumble and a portion of my portfolio with it.

Well this concludes my somewhat cynical look into medibank, and psychotic way of managing money. If you have better tactics I haven’t thought of to ensure your personal empire grows as you travel the world spending then let me know, and of course enjoy your week. Talk again soon 🙂

For the Gamers

Ah Melbourne, just the way I left you 😉

Back in Melbourne now and sharing it with my awesome Kiwi friend who flew over to hang out for 2 weeks before I go back to the US. What a friend!
Mostly we’re spending the time together gaming and “exploring” the city.
When I say exploring I use the term in an abstract way, what I actually mean is that I intended to take him to a shop I remembered being a 5 minute walk away, and two hours later (I’m not blowing this up for effect, we left at 5pm and arrived at 7pm) we arrived.
Keep in mind we didn’t arrive 2 hours later because it was 2 hours away, oh no, It actually was 5 minutes away. I just manage to get lost navigating even the most simple steps to get from A to B.
My brother has a rule with me that I think after all these years I’m beginning to consider following, if I think to turn left at a street because I’m absolutely sure that is the correct way to go, it is an almost certainty that turning right is the correct direction.
We later retraced our steps today and learned that had we taken every turn opposite to the turn we took, we would have arrived more or less on time.
It’s like I’m actually amazing at directions, that if you took them at a 180 degree variable, you could get anywhere. I’m like a reverse GPS.

Addressing the gaming, a bunch of friends and I have discovered that League of Legends is really fun when played in groups! Oh my gosh, even though we suck it’s amazing.
Only one of us has any real experience, my Kiwi friend. So while the rest of us celebrate one kill, and collect small amounts of assisted kills, the bloody Kiwi averages 40 to 60 kills each match. And thats with him holding back.

If you don’t know this game, it is very difficult to take down an enemy. It takes hardcore skill, planning and serious strategy. For someone who’s gaming experience is basically the Sims, this game is a massive shock to the system.

I want to put out a question to the women reading, and the 2 other men in the world that relate to my taste in gaming, how are we feeling about Sims 4? I’m hearing it’s more like Sims 2 than 3, but I liked 2 so I wouldn’t mind to much.
I feel like 2 was quirkier than 3, but I liked exploring the world in 3. The endless hours I’ve spent looking for seeds through the world in 3 are such happy memories. Planting them and hoping one would be something rare! I’ve heard 4 has scaled everything right back, it’s gonna be tough adjusting I’m sure.
For someone thats sunk hundreds of dollars buying literally every Sims 3 expansion, buying 4 had better be worth my while.
As a guy who is already effeminate, it doesn’t help when I spend the day gaming and a friend will visit me and ask me what I accomplished in the virtual world of gaming. This person will be expecting death counts, goals reached, races won but no.
“I FINALLY found a colour scheme for my sims walls that match the furniture!” Or even more likely “I got promoted at work! I’m gonna be earning double the money!” To which my friend for a moment genuinely thinks I’m talking about real life, to then realise “oh crap, do you mean on the Sims? Stop playing that game!!”

I’ve decided to make gaming more of a priority for my free time when I’m on the ocean and bored, rather than re-watching 30 Rock. It’s gotten to the point where I can quote episodes word for word. I can quote a 30 Rock episode more accurately than the scripts I’m paid to learn, it’s pretty horrific.

Well my computer is having a problem thats going to impact my game :0 So I’m gonna go fix it,

Stick around, I’ll be back in a couple days 🙂