Know your (marital) status

I’ve been exploring the 2007 Census data for South Africa, mostly just to see what is available. I was checking the reasonability of some marital status assumptions for pensions valuations, which got me looking at the marital status info from the Census. Some interesting descriptive graphs. First, let’s look at the total population. (Note this […]

How not to lose money in Make a Million

I have a clear strategy for how not to lose money playing the Make a Million competition. As I explain it, you may come up with some smart tactics to win the competition and enhance your returns, but you’re on you’re own there. So, how does one not lose money with the Make a Million […]

Interactive house price data (including South Africa)

The Economist has a brilliant interactive chart showing nominal house price growth across a range of countries, including South Africa. It’s clear, as we already know, that South African house price increases have been dramatic. Somehow though, seeing it on a graph with a range of other countries brings it into sharper focus. Our property […]

The Power of Misconceptions

In broad terms, we are all mostly ignorant. Worse than ignorant, we have notions and views, firmly held, that are entirely incorrect. We only complain about what we don’t like Nobody complains to their boss that they are overpaid. Nobody complains that their pension or social security increases were above inflation last year. We don’t […]

Unemployment, mystified

Shocking unemployment statistics (but what do they mean?) Someone threw a shocking figure at me today. They said that the unemployed under age 35 in South Africa comprise 75% of the unemployed population. I believe the figure comes from Adcorp. Like many statistics that are bandied around for shock value, this one is more fluff […]

Property investment – the value of data over opinions

Lightstone have a trick up their sleeves. Their raison d’être is collecting, analysing, understanding and packaging data for themselves and others to use to understand past, current and future property valuations. Their housing price index is more robust (and more independent) than those of the banks based off their own data and target markets. Rather […]

More on cars and colour

In researching my previous post on accurately measuring the risks associated with vehicle crimes based  on colour, I stumbled across another colour related risk measure. Red cars, supposedly, attract more than their fair share of traffic fines. Turns out this is incorrect. has (as usual) an excellent article on red cars, including references to […]