Principles of Wealth #25*

“Hard money” advocates and precious metals dealers contend that gold is not only the safest way to store wealth but also a very good way to grow wealth. The truth is, gold is a valid way to protect wealth from certain unlikely economic situations – but for the ordinary wealth builder, owning lots of gold is both risky and unwise.

There is a school of economic theory that puts gold above all other asset classes.

Here’s the argument:

* Stocks can go up but they can also go down. The same can be said for real estate, commodities, and bonds. But over the long haul, gold will preserve an investor’s wealth because of its intrinsic value.

* President Nixon made a huge mistake in 1971 when he took the dollar off the gold standard. When the dollar was tied to US gold reserves, the government could not print more dollars than there was gold to back them up. Now, the government had the freedom to print as many dollars as it wanted, backing them up with Treasury bonds (promises to repay the debt sometime in the future).

* When nothing can stop the printing of dollars, politicians will print them in an effort to speed up economic growth. But as the number of US dollars in circulation increases, the value of the individual dollar goes down. This causes inflation spikes that make virtually every asset other than gold – stocks, real estate, commodities, and bonds – worth less.

* In 1970, before Nixon’s decree, an ounce of gold could be bought for about $35. In 2019, that same ounce of gold would cost about $1,290. Meanwhile, as US debt has skyrocketed, the risk of a massive economic collapse has become more and more likely. Any day now, we could see banks freezing assets, the stock market crashing, bondholders losing everything, and “blood in the streets.” Gold will then be the only currency that anyone will accept. And here’s the silver (gold) lining: When that happens, the value of an ounce of gold will soar to $5,000 and even $10,000. Investors that own gold will become the new rich.

So… is that likely? That’s the million-dollar question.   READ MORE

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What I’m Doing With My Money Now and for the Rest of 2018

Consult an expert, if you like experts. Talk to your broker. Read your broker’s “research” recommendations.

But don’t ask me what you should be doing with your money right now.

I have no qualifications as a financial advisor. No certificates. No degrees. I’ve never taken a single class in economics or accounting…

I’ve read a few books – ones that came highly recommended.

And yes, I was an advisor to and publisher of investment advice for nearly 40 years….

Which gave me an inside view on how the business works and a contact list of several dozen of the best-known stock analysts in the world. I know how they work and I’ve seen the results of their work, good and bad.

I keep tabs on the best of them. And incorporate the recommendations of a few. But when it comes to making decisions about what do with my (now my family’s) money, I follow my own rules.

My rules are not for everyone. So you may decide that they are not for you.

But if, like me, you are a timid investor…

If, like me, your fear of losing money is greater than your greed…

And if you are willing to work hard to make sure your active income is always increasing… every week and every month and every year…

Then you may be interested in knowing some of these rules that I follow and what, in particular, I plan to do with my money this year.

I have several dozen rules. Here are 10 of them:

  1. I don’t Invest in anything I don’t fully understand.
  2. If I am determined to break rule number one, I admit to myself that what I’m doing is gambling, not investing. And I proceed fully expecting to lose every penny I put on the line.
  3. I would never put all my savings into stocks or even into a portfolio of stocks and bonds. I have my money allocated in at least a half-dozen asset classes at all times.
  4. I don’t try to get from any asset class (stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities) or subclass (blue chip stocks, growth stocks, etc.) more than 10% to 20% of its natural (historic) rate of return. When someone recommends an investment “sure to” do much better than that, I steer clear.
  5. Before investing in anything, I have a Plan B in place. A proper Plan B is a pre-set (and if possible automatic) protocol that cashes me out of the deal as quickly as possible and with the least amount of damage.
  6. As a rule, I don’t invest in growth stocks. I prefer buying shares of world-class, income producing, Warren Buffett type companies that I feel confident will still be strong in 20+ years. And I do not sell these stocks in market downturns. I often buy more of them in order to “average down” my buy-in price.
  7. I devote the largest portion of my portfolio to income-producing real estate properties and use a trusted partner to manage them.
  8. The next largest slice of my investment pie goes to private businesses – either in stock or debt or convertible debt. When considering such investments, I ask myself how well I understand it and whether I have some control or at least influence on management should they take actions that seem wrong to me. (And I have my Plan B.)
  9. I don’t “invest” in hard assets or currencies because I don’t consider them investments. (They have little or no intrinsic value, do not produce value, and do not earn income.)
  10. I never invest more than a very small portion of my net investible wealth (net worth minus my house and other things I don’t intend to sell) in any single investment. (Long ago, my limit was 5%. Now it’s 1%.)

Now it’s time to tell you what I’m doing with my money this year.

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