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Why not to invest overseas. Why second homes are a disaster these days. More thoughts on fires.

Boeing is the classic cockroach stock.

Every day more horrible news emerges – just like the cockroaches that keep appearing.

One day someone downgrades them. The next day some news appears about what a miserable plane the 737 Max actually is.

It’s looking increasingly bad for Boeing and its stock.

The 737 Max problem is much worse than a simple piece of badly written software that turns the plane’s nose down at the wrong time.

The plane is actually a patchwork quilt of minor “improvements” to a 1960s design — all designed to limit pilot training and save the airlines money. They’re playing with our lives.

For example, it is the only modern Boeing jet without an electronic alert system that explains what is malfunctioning and how to resolve it.

Instead pilots have to check a paper manual.

Read more on Boeing’s 737 disaster. Click here.

Amazing drop in home prices — especially second homes

Home prices are dropping. Which is great for buyers, lousy for sellers.

Advice: If you really want to buy, put in ultra-low bids. Like 20% below offer. Maybe you’ll get “lucky.”

Before you buy (or worse, build) a second home, consider the price of second (and later) homes are presently being depressed by — here’s the list:

+ Airbnb, VRBO and other home sharing companies have depressed holiday home prices.

You can now rent gorgeous homes in exotic places and hand the owner the key when you leave, along with the words: “By the way, the master bedroom toilet is blocking.”

We just rented gorgeous vacation places in Kona, Hawaii and Paris, France. Whatever they cost is tiny compared to the taxes we’re paying on our holiday homes in Upstate New York and Indian Wells, California.

+ Tax reform has now limited your SALT deductions to $10,000 a year.

This has significantly increased the carrying costs of holiday homes — unless you rent them out for profit as a business.

+ When we build houses for ourselves, they will always cost too much.

We’ll never  get our money back that we spent on our madness because our madness is no one else’s madness. Who wants the custom tennis closet that I built for me?

Don’t do stupid

+ A friend walked behind a double-parked car outside his Manhattan apartment.

The car reversed and he ended in the hospital with horrible injuries.

+ A friend went swimming in a Caribbean beach. A wave came and he fell on the rocks. He busted his knee.

The most dangerous places are unfamiliar places. Be ultra-wary. Don’t do stupid.

More thoughts on our fire

Fires start in weird ways. The bare bulb in the closet was our problem. But friends tell me of over-loaded power strips. don’t plug an AC unit or a hairdryer into a power strip.

Suffice, fires happen in places other than obvious ones — kitchens.

More thoughts:

+ I really do need another location for computer backups. The cloud is one choice.

+ Install more smoke detectors. These things are cheaper than fire extinguishers and do an important job.

+ Breathing in the smoke was awful.  I never realized how lethal that stuff is. Put the fire out. Run from the smoke. Let it settle. Then return.

+ If you live in an apartment building, ask the board to send an electrician around to check for possible fire problems.

Go Aussies!

What the Rest of the World Can Learn From the Australian Economic Miracle
As Americans worry about the potential end of a 10-year expansion, it’s worth studying the Aussies, whose winning streak is about to turn 28.

Click here.

In the middle of the night

I have always been obsessed by NOT investing overseas.. Foreign currencies? Yuch. Some of my favorites from 3 this morning:


Favorite recent New Yorker magazine cartoons

Harry Newton, who updated the list of his favorite stocks — in the right hand column on the blog. Click here. It’s amazing how well Apple is doing. There are other nice gainers. Check out the list. I continue to have faith in Netflix, despite its new competition.

  • Omer Acikel

    Harry, I don’t know if the fire caused by an incandescent bulb and I suspect it was. You have not converted all your bulbs to LEDs? Because of you, once got cheaper, I have all my bulbs changed to LEDs not only for energy savings but also the safety of a lot less heat….I am happy no personal damage was done in your fire. BTW, if you are indoors in a fire, always stay as low as possible for less smoke. I am getting nervous already about wild fires in California around the corner.

  • Lucky

    Harry you really should not complain about high property taxes when you chose the two highest tax states in the country for second and third homes. Look around…our Sun City, AZ condo property taxes at just over $500.00 per year and our summer home taxes in Payson, AZ are just over $600.00 per year. I dare say yours may well be several times that amount. Listing prices are several times higher as well. Your real estate concerns do not necessarily apply all over the country. We read where people are moving out of NY and CA in droves because of high taxes and political differences.