Welcome to your Weekly Digest!
First up this week…a little travel.
As I noted in yesterday’s column, I’ve been on the road of late, visiting the city of Ekaterinburg in central Russia. Last week, I promised you a picture of the Church on Blood, the location where Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks here in Ekaterinburg. You’ll find that below…
In the meantime, I have to say it’s been great to be traveling again.
Sure, Ekaterinburg may not be a tourist hotspot, but as an eager globetrotter, the trip helped quell my withdrawal from the past months of coronavirus-enforced isolation. It was immensely gratifying simply to be in an unfamiliar environment, to idle in new restaurants and cafés, and to visit curious locations like the Church on Blood.
Which brings us to this week’s first news story…
If you’re experiencing your own version of travel withdrawal, you might like to know that there’s a popular European resort destination that’s offering you hard cash to visit its Mediterranean shores.
Malta, a beautiful archipelago nation to the south of Sicily famed for its stunning coast and Roman historic sites, is planning to reopen to tourists on June 1 and, according to the country’s tourism minister, Clayton Bartolo, it will pay international travelers up to €200 ($240) per person if they stay more than two nights.
Here’s the lowdown: Tourists who stay in four-star hotels will receive about $180, while those who stay in three-star establishments will get $120. And those who visit Gozo, the island next to the main island of Malta, will receive an additional 10%. You must be traveling independently, rather than through tour packages and groups, to avail of the incentives.
Malta has decided to admit tourists since it has one of the highest vaccination rates in the European Union, with about 42% of its citizens getting at least one dose. The incentive program is open to anyone who can prove they’ve been vaccinated 10 days or more before arrival.
And if you’re interested in a more permanent move to Europe, I would be remiss not to point out that I will be speaking at International Living’s upcoming Best of Europe Private Screening.
Portugal, Spain, Italy, France…Europe is filled with incredible, sun-kissed destinations where you can live rich on a modest budget. At this event, I will join IL’s experts in helping you identify the spot that’s just right for you, and providing you with all the practical information you need to make your move…spanning visas, healthcare, working remotely, investing, real estate, and much more. To get all the details of the event, just add your email to the “First in Line” list here. There’s no commitment or obligation when you do.
We need to talk about crypto…
On Thursday, I wrote a missive to you entitled “Are Cryptocurrencies in a Bubble?”
My argument was that cryptos are not in a bubble because, unlike previous crypto bull runs, this time the investors come from Wall Street, Main Street, and Corporate America, who have far deeper pockets to draw upon. (You can read my article here.)
Well, no sooner did I hit send on that mailing than the crypto world had a collective meltdown, with bitcoin losing about 8% over 24 hours.
The reason for this was reports that the Biden administration is planning to raise capital gains taxes…which freaked out the crypto and stock markets, prompting selloffs. Dig into reports, however, and you’ll realize that the proposed plans would only affect those earning more than $1 million a year, a very small subset of Americans.
One truth I learned back when I worked on Wall Street as a trader for a hedge fund is never let taxes get in the way of profits.
Investors obviously hate excessive taxes, and these proposed taxes are excessive, but this will ultimately have little impact on the markets.
The economy has a ton of cash flowing through it right now from the COVID stimulus payments, and the bottom line is this cash has to go somewhere.
It’s not going into savings because there’s literally no income there. It’s going to shy away from bonds because the returns will be eclipsed by inflation, which I expect to reach 4% to 5% (or more) this year.
That leaves only two places for this money to end up: stocks and crypto. My expectation is that before long the crypto market will settle (as much as it ever settles) and begin stair-stepping higher again.
As I always say, you need to be able to stomach volatility to make money in crypto.
Now, that picture of the Church on Blood…
Nicholas and family were killed in the basement of a house that once stood on this site. For all its external grandeur, the interior of the church is rather small and not nearly as ornate as are so many Russian Orthodox churches.
Still, it’s a bit unnerving to walk in and see the larger-than-life portraits of the murdered Romanov family and to know they were executed right there…
That brings me to the conclusion of this edition of the Weekly Digest. As always, if you have any feedback or questions, send me an email anytime at email@example.com.
Enjoy your Sunday!