Thursday, March 09, 2006

Colds, Climbing, Politics

Colds, climbing, politics.

Came back from Norway with yet another horrible cold/sinus disaster. Getting tired of that, had three this year, way above normal. Amazing how lazy I get when sick, all caught up on really obscure internet research and such. Been educational, a bunch of friends and I have been emailing about peak oil, real estate investing and various future scenarios. Stop reading now and go surf slate.com if you want smart opinions, but here's some conclusions:

1. Real estate in most markets in Canada and the US is crazy expensive, calling it a bubble is probably accurate. I live in Canmore, it's nuts here. Real estate agents will disagree, but anytime something rises really fast it tends to also drop pretty fast. See tech stocks, the tulip bubble, Calgary real estate in the 80s. Every locale says, "We're different here this time!" and every locale gets smoked after big runups. Real estate is dropping in San Diego, Vegas, Virgina, Boston, SF, many of the "hot" markets in the US. I think Canmore and Calgary will continue to do well while oil prices stay high, but there will be some sort of correction around here sooner or later, there always is. Predicting exactly when is a loser's game. I hope it's soon and huge so my buds can buy houses...

2. Oil prices will generally go higher but there's likely to be some ups and downs along the way. The US is in deep, shark-infested economic water without a boat at the moment, and when that party ends it's going to mess things up around the world, reducing the demand for oil at least temporarily. A lot of the economic growth in the US has been driven by real estate, which has been driven by low interest rates (not increasing incomes). That's got to end sooner or later, and it likely won't be pretty.

3. Investing money in the stock market is a difficult game. It's really hard to beat the market by stock picking, very few people consistently manage to beat the market despite what you see and read. The TSX has done well due to energy and other commoditiees, real estate and banks.

4.Lots of people are buying gold, there is this feeling that "economic chaos is coming really soon" out there, more so than I can ever remember. Maybe the chaos-idea is Chicken Little stuff, I'm not sure, but it's got some traction right now.

So what are you going to do to keep climbing, flying and generally living the life? Me, I don't know but feel confident that dirt bag athletes around the world will do well if the chaos really starts, we've all lived the third-world diet of beans and rice, some of us have grown to prefer it... Good luck. Your regularly scheduled climbing blog will now start up again as I'm actually going climbing.

wg

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