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Money-saving European travel tips. Allbirds is paying off. Real estate is being hurt.

Hurting real estate investments:

+ The pandemic. Work at home. Who needs an office.

+ Interest rates. For 20 years they were effectively zero. Now? Yuch!

+ Climate costs: Floods. Hurricanes. Fires. Heat.

+ Insurance — if you can get it — costs more and more

+ Ubiquitous high-speed Internet. Zoom calls. Work from home.

Friends are now buying office buildings for half what they sold for two years ago.

Cash is king. Short-term treasuries are paying more than 5%. Nice, if you have cash.

Still gambling on Allbirds (BIRD)

They just reported. My son writes:

“They are making progress on their balance sheet and generated a teeny bit of cash for the first time in a long time. They have a long long way to go but I do think they are making some progress. I continue to believe this is a $5 stock in 12 – 18 months.”

He enclosed highlights from Allbirds’ reporting

Allbirds ended the quarter with $139.9 million of cash and cash equivalents, reflecting a significant improvement in operating cash use. The Company generated positive operating cash flow of $0.8 million for the three months ended June 30, 2023, compared to operating cash use of $24.1 million in the same period a year ago.

Inventories totaled $92.8 million, a decrease of 20.5% compared to $116.8 million at the end of 2022, and a decrease of 24.1% compared to $122.3 million at the end of the second quarter of 2022. The decrease from the end of 2022 is primarily attributable to fewer units of on hand inventory.

I now own a pair of Allbirds sneakers. They’re actually comfortably.’

BIRD is under $2. Here’s the last ten days.

Harry’s European Travel Tips

+ You don’t need cash. Everyone takes credit cards, even mine.

+ Don’t think about checking luggage. Airlines, like Delta, don’t seem to care, or check how much you carry on. Get on early so you have an overhead to stow your stuff.

+ For phone calls and messaging, only use WhatsApp. It works perfectly. And it’s free.

+ Waze and Google work brilliantly.

+ Wi-Fi is ubiquitous and fast. I was able to write this blog in my hotel’s coffee shop.

+ My hotel is the Crowne Plaza in Amsterdam South.  It’s spectacularly comfortable.

+ Uber seems to be cheap. Cheaper than renting a bicycle.

+ Don’t fly coach to Europe. I saw Delta’s coach. It reminded me of 19th century slave ships, except that most of the slaves on Delta were white. Best to book “premium” economy and upgrade to business. SwissAir charged me only $600 to upgrade to business. That saved me around $6,000.

+ There are now “cheap” lie-flat seats to Europe. Everyone’s favorite is La Compagnie, an all-business class plane which flies to Paris. JetBlue is going lie-flat to Europe soon, too.

+ Figure on sleeping for half your first day in Europe. I don’t do well on jet lag. My motto: Sleep when you’re tired. Eat when you’re hungry.

I’m in Amsterdam, visiting one child, one daughter-in-law and two grandkids. It’s an un-crazy gentle town — a nice respite from the freneticism of New York City.

This is the best plug to take to Europe.

Only $22.99 for two. Click here.

Meager other things learned

+ Today, no one can predict diddly. Cramer pushed Nvidia hard at 9:00 AM. By that afternoon it had  fallen 5%.

+ A full home backup generator makes huge sense. Think of it as a car. It needs servicing. New battery. New sparkplugs, etc.

+ Microsoft is pushing Windows 11 harder and harder. Be wary. You may not want it it. I don’t. My favorite software — some I use every day– don’t work on Win 11.

+ Want to fix anything? Search on the Internet or on YouTube. Don’t fix anything before you check with these two.

+ You don’t need dedicated cable. Streaming works just fine. If you don’t have a “smart” TV, buy Rokus. They do a fine job. Best: Sign up for YouTubeTV. They now even have tennis.

Heat will kill you

Don’t believe me? Look at the death toll in Hawaii. It’s sad. Desperate to escape the flames, some residents jumped  into the ocean. Don’t believe me? Read this book:

“When heat comes, it’s invisible. It doesn’t bend tree branches or blow hair across your face to let you know it’s arrived…. The sun feels like the barrel of a gun pointed at you.” 

Click here.

Fun cartoons

China is an enigma

From Krugman:

(China’s)  leadership seems to be growing more autocratic and more erratic with each passing year.

Ideally, they’ll push through long-needed reforms that put more income in the hands of families, so that rising consumption can take the place of unsustainable investment. But you don’t have to study much history to be aware that autocratic regimes sometimes respond to domestic difficulties by trying to distract the population with foreign adventurism.

I’m not saying that will happen. But realistically, China’s domestic problems make it more, not less, of a danger to global security.

My faith

I still have faith in Nvidia. But AI is a long haul. I expect volatility. But, this time, I’m staying in.

For the mountains

Michael and I are leaving tomorrow for our one-week bike ride with Backroads through Switzerland.

If I don’t fall off a mountain, or do something stupid — like falling down the last step — you’ll hear from me again. — Harry Newton