My Customized Ferragamo Shoes That I Don’t Plan To Buy Yet

Here at Finance MD, I advocate investing and smart spending. However, the reason why we have to manage our finances wisely is to ultimately enjoy the fruits of our labor.

One good way to spend your labor’s fruits is to buy some really cool high quality brand name shoes. It would be nice if you can customize and personalize them too. If you read further, there’s an arbitrage opportunity in these shoes somehow.

Here’s my own customized, personalized Salvatore Ferragamo shoe – that I don’t plan to buy yet. 

Customized Ferragamo shoes for thefinancemd
Fruits of Investment? Customized Salvatore Ferragamo driver shoe for thefinancemd.com (see the inscription above). Calfskin driver shoe in Ultramarine with metallic Cherry hardware and Cherry soles. Image created at ferragamo.com

 

Want to create your own customized, personalized Ferragamo driver shoes? The best part is you don’t actually need to buy it, if you don’t want to. Here’s how!

 

Continue reading My Customized Ferragamo Shoes That I Don’t Plan To Buy Yet

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Debt Crisis: Greece May Be Bankrupt, But at Least Hermes Made a Bag Out of its Flag

Eurozone ministers are gathered in Brussels today to determine the fate of Greece in the Eurozone, and by consequence, the fate of the Euro itself. Greece may be bankrupt (according to its Finance Minister), but it is the only country that can boast of having a Hermes bag made out of the image of its flag.

 

eu greece flags
European Union and Greek flags near the Parthenon in Athens. Image from bloomberg.com

 

The recent tensions began when the left-wing and anti-bailout Syriza party assumed power in Greece this January. Continue reading Debt Crisis: Greece May Be Bankrupt, But at Least Hermes Made a Bag Out of its Flag

The Big Mac Index and Purchasing Power Parity: Which Big Mac is Actually the Yummiest?

The Economist invented the Big Mac Index in 1986 to better demonstrate Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). But does The Economist actually eat the Big Macs in their study? The Big Mac Index assumes parity in value; but I disagree, because Big Macs around the world are not equal in yumminess.

What is PPP? Investopedia defines it as:

An economic theory that estimates the amount of adjustment needed on the exchange rate between countries in order for the exchange to be equivalent to each currency’s purchasing power.

In layman’s terms; if a basket of goods and services is worth US$100 in the United States and an identical basket of goods and services is worth only US$ 77 in the Philippines at current exchange rates, then the Philippine Peso (PHP) is undervalued by 23 %.

Unfortunately, many people in the world no longer use baskets, and deciding which good makes it to the basket may be contentious. Since McDonald’s (see MCD:US latest stock quote), the company that serves Big Macs, can be found in most countries, using the burger as a proxy for the “basket of good and services” makes sense. Of course, the Big Mac method is not accurate; but according to The Economist, this makes the PPP theory more “digestible”.

Digestible? Did The Economist staff actually eat the Big Macs? Do The Economist writers actually eat at McDonald’s? In my opinion, some Big Macs are yummier than others.

 

Here is a rundown from Big Macs from around the world, and a depiction of the countries’ under/ over-valuation against the US Dollar:

 

Big Mac from New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America. Average Price: US$ 4.79

Big Mac in New Haven Connecticut USA
Do students in Yale eat this New Haven Big Mac while debating the merits of the Big Mac Index? Image from spaceofjase.com

My friend spaceofjase liked this burger from New Haven. My opinion: I ate an American Big Mac in Chicago. As the city is the location of franchise no.1, Chicago didn’t mess this up for me. The US Dollar is our base currency here by the way. Continue reading The Big Mac Index and Purchasing Power Parity: Which Big Mac is Actually the Yummiest?

Despite Russia’s Recent Economic Struggles – Miss Russia Wears Ridiculously Expensive Gowns to the Miss Universe Pageant in Doral

It is no secret that Russia has been on an economic slump lately due to economic sanctions brought about by the United States, Europe and their allies. The drop in crude oil prices makes things even worse.

Russia’s GDP grew by only 0.7% in the third quarter of 2014, and the World Bank projects that the country will go into recession in 2015. The Russian ruble (RUB) already lost about half its value. To counter the ruble slide, the Russian Central Bank raised interest rates to around 17%. Inflation is at around 9%.

But you probably cant’t tell what the Russian economy is going through based on what Miss Russia, Yulia Alipova, has been wearing to the Miss Universe 2014 pageant in Doral, Florida.

For the official evening gown portraits, Yulia wore an Elie Saab haute couture gown. Fashion pundits estimate the gown’s price tag at USD175,000. Yes, the number of zeroes are correct – the gown costs as much as a house. Continue reading Despite Russia’s Recent Economic Struggles – Miss Russia Wears Ridiculously Expensive Gowns to the Miss Universe Pageant in Doral

Overpriced Swiss Watches Become Even Pricier

Switzerland is the home of many watch brands, and of most of the luxury ones.

Breguet Tourbillon watch in Rose Gold priced at around GBP 88K. The owner will probably still look at his smartphone to tell time though. Image from thewatchgallery.com

 

On January 15 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), decided to remove the currency cap on the Swiss Franc (CHF) which kept the CHF artificially low against the Euro (EUR). Investors buy CHF because they consider it as safe haven currency. Because the SNB suddenly will cease the practice of “printing” CHF to buy Euros to support the cap, the CHF appreciated significantly. Before the move by the SNB, CHF:EUR was hovering around 0.80. On January 15, CHF:EUR went past 1.17. As of the writing of this post (January 21 Manila time), CHF:EUR is trading at around 1.0. See CHF:EUR quotes here

This is bad news for the Swiss since exports comprise around 70% of their GDP. Swiss made watches, who many people think are already expensive, will now even be more expensive. Continue reading Overpriced Swiss Watches Become Even Pricier

Investment Trend for 2015: Strong US Dollar

In 2014, the dollar gained on the Euro, Pound and Yen. In 2015, many analysts expect the dollar to grow stronger.

Is 2015 the year of an even stronger US Dollar?

Barron’s enumerated the ways in which a strong dollar impacts the global economy.