🌈 A quick taster for you:
- NFTs, ‘ghost stores’, cannabis funds, G20, and green investments.
- Fun facts for any Christmas convo!
- Tell us what interests you!
🧐 Why do I care?
Welcome to your Year in Review from The Surfer. We’ve published 33 newsletters over the last year — each one informing you about an interesting topic from the world of finance. As we head toward a brand new year, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at the top 10 topics of 2021.
🔍 What exactly is happening here?
NFTs are unique digital items which come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee that they’re the real deal. These certificates of authenticity are created using blockchain technology.
Think of it like owning an artwork. Anyone can get a print of it, but there’s only one original. The same is true for NFTs — there’s only one original! The whole buzz around NFTs is somewhere between hedonism, risk investment, and trying to give digital art more value and recognition. We think we'll be talking about NFTs a lot more in the coming year!
- Saving tips.
The International Student Identity Card can be used in 130 countries! If you’re a student it’s always a good idea to compare prices on student platforms and ask for a student discount — even in bars, it's usually worth it! We’ll be sharing more tips to help you save next year.
- Stocks and shares.
Shares are also called stocks or securities. You can own shares in a company or, more precisely, a stock corporation. For example: if you buy shares in Adidas then you become a shareholder and therefore a co-owner of Adidas. You’ll own a small part of Adidas — yay! As an investor, you can expect your share to be worth more in the future than what you paid for it — double yay!
- Lock it down.
If you have a bike, our advice is not to skimp on the lock! Get yourself a high-quality folding lock, thick bicycle chain, or sturdy U-lock plus a cable lock. Anything costing upwards of €40 should mean you’re on the safe side — and having two separate locks on your bike is always the safest option.
Keep in mind that your bike will be insured by your household insurance if it’s stolen from your apartment, a locked cellar, bicycle parking space, or a locked garage. And if you’re a student, or in training, then it might even be covered by the household insurance of your parents.
- The G20!
The G20 — which includes the European Union plus 19 other countries — represents the most important industrialized and emerging economies in the world. There are many different working groups and events during the year where various topics with cross-national relevance are discussed, such as economic and financial policy, climate policy, education, and migration. The G20 summit is where all of the heads of state and government come together along with the respective finance ministers and central bank governors.
- ‘Ghost stores’
‘Ghost stores’ are online stores that give the impression of selling high quality clothing, but the reality is quite different. Behind their beautiful online presence there’s nothing. No physical store. No actual designers. They just order the clothes from cheap fast fashion outlets on Amazon, Shein or AliExpress... then they add on a massive margin and resell it in their Instagram ‘boutique’ at an inflated price. And those margins can be huge — a reporter from Business Insider paid $34 for a dress that was on sale for $10 on AliExpress.
- Green investments
If you want to invest your money in an ecologically sustainable way then choosing to invest in companies with an ESG ranking is a good anchor point and will give you peace of mind — if a company is ESG-compliant then it means they are meeting sustainability criteria.
- Green investments with a difference!
Demand for cannabis stocks is on the rise. People always want to invest in companies that they think will increase in value, and a wide variety of cannabis funds are now forming as more and more countries legalize the use of cannabis. However, some countries don’t allow investments in companies if that company's business is illegal in its home country. So the strict regulations, and differences in legislation between countries, do complicate the situation of investing in cannabis funds.
- Planning for tomorrow.
There are different types of pension that you can invest in. If you’re an employee then statutory pension insurance is mandatory, and you’re legally entitled to join your company’s pension plan. Due to an ever-aging population, it’s also a good idea to have a private pension plan.
The inflation rate indicates how prices have changed compared to the same time last year. Prices? Which prices? All prices? Good question! It’s the prices of the so-called ‘basket of goods’ — which reflects the consumption habits of the average person. It includes things like rent payments, electricity, petrol, food, and also things like the price of a haircut. All the normal everyday stuff! With an inflation rate of 4.5%, if you paid €1000 for your living expenses in December 2020, then those costs will have risen to €1045 by now. Take a look at your own monthly expenses and you might notice this increase!
🤓 What does this mean for me?
It's been a huge pleasure for us to create a fresh The Surfer each week, and we’re always so pleased to hear from our readers. So we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you! Thank you for supporting us and being part of this journey! We’re really looking forward to the new year — and if there are any topics you’d like us to cover then do let us know. What are you most interested in? Tell us over here.
We wish you a very happy new year!