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Sovereign Research

English, Finance, 1 seasons, 100 episodes, 3 days 11 hours 58 minutes
About
James Hickman, a natural and entertaining teacher, combines data — he was a West Point math major — history, and international entrepreneurial and investment expertise to bring you a unique, easy-to-understand take on where the macro-trend hockey puck could go. Read more at www.sovereignman.com
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Why a desperate America may soon annex its 51st state

At the center of Sovereign Man’s core ethos is the indisputable view that the United States is in decline. I take absolutely zero pleasure in writing that statement. But it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to objectively appraise the bountiful evidence at hand and not reach the same conclusion. Consider the following: US government finances are appallingly bad. The national debt exceeds 100% of GDP, annual deficits run into the trillions of dollars with no end in sight, and major trust funds for Social Security and Medicare will soon run out of money. Political incompetence is mind-blowing; politicians fail to be able to even identify problems, let alone understand them, let alone reach compromises to solve them. Ditto for central bank incompetence. These people simply cannot understand how, by keeping interest rates at zero for nearly a decade and conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air, they engineered record high inflation. And they also fail to understand how
31/03/202359 minutes 14 seconds
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What else are the “Experts” ignoring?

In 1898, a Polish author named Jan Bloch published a 3,000+ page volume on modern warfare entitled Future War and its Economic Consequences. Bloch had studied military technology and saw the rapid pace with which destructive new weapons and munitions were being developed. And he came to the conclusion that the next war would be absolutely devastating. Bloch predicted, in fact, that the days of classical warfare-- cavalry charges and large troop movements on an open battlefield-- were over. And that the next war would entail long, bloody, pointless trench warfare that would be unimaginable in its destruction. In short, he predicted World War I. Bloch was even invited to speak at a diplomatic conference in the Hague in the following year in 1899, and he urgently warned the attendees to do everything they could to prevent war. The experts listened politely… and then completely ignored him. 15 years later Bloch’s prediction came true when the Great War broke out. Millions di
24/03/202354 minutes 1 second
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Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse proves the US is in obvious decline

Throughout history, whenever there has been a major shift in the world, it has usually been accompanied by a single iconic event that is associated with that change. For example, historians often point to 476 AD as the year that the Western Roman Empire fell, when Odoacer and his barbarians forced the abdication of the Emperor Romulus Augustus— even though it was obvious that Rome was in decline way before 476. People also often associate the start of the Great Depression with the stock market crash of 1929 (even though there were many signs of economic distress well in advance of that). But these clean, precise dates are only chosen in retrospect. People experiencing the events at the time rarely understand their significance. I think it’s possible that future historians may look back at Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse as one of those iconic events that signals a major shift... potentially the end of American geopolitical and economic dominance. I’m not making this asser
17/03/202357 minutes 52 seconds
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Yikes. The Fed has still learned nothing about inflation

Last June, during the European Central Bank forum, the host asked the chairman of the Federal Reserve about inflation. The Fed Chairman responded, “I think we now understand better how little we understand about inflation.” “Uh, that’s not very reassuring,” the host chuckled. Talk about an understatement. It’s downright terrifying. This is the Fed Chairman— the High Priest of finance— who has the power to control virtually everything in the economy. He can conjure trillions of dollars out of thin air practically at will, raise and lower interest rates, push businesses and banks into bankruptcy, and cause people to lose their jobs. And here he is acknowledging that they didn’t have a clue about inflation. Thank goodness that was 8 months ago! Certainly by now they've really learned everything they need to know. Wrong. They still don’t have a clue. This week Fed officials have been busy giving speeches in advance of their interest rate policy meeting later this
10/03/202343 minutes 37 seconds
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Lessons from One of History’s Biggest Scumbags

Two weeks ago, I told you that the US government had just published its annual financial report. The government by its own admission lost $4.1 TRILLION in FY 2022. And this is 34% worse than the the previous year’s $3.1 trillion loss. And the rest of the financial report only gets worse from there... They describe Social Security’s extreme insolvency, projecting total unfunded liabilities of the program to be $76 trillion. And they forecast that US government debt will one day reach 566% of GDP. I’ve written about this extensively over the years, because history tells us that the consequences of this type of financial mismanagement are severe. This is not the first time that a country has had a lot of debt, nor the first time incompetent leadership has consistently failed to recognize and solve big problems. So in today’s podcast episode we go back in time thousands of years to heed the lessons of one of history’s biggest scumbag rulers. Unsurprisingly, he raise
03/03/202343 minutes 46 seconds
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Imagine if Elon wanted Tesla stock to lose 2% every year…

Imagine if Elon Musk stood up one day and told the world, “My #1 goal is for Tesla stock to lose 2% of its value every year.” First of all, people would probably rightfully conclude that Elon had finally lost his mind. And second, everyone would dump the stock. Who would possibly want to own an asset where the management is TRYING to lose 2% every year? Yet that’s precisely the stated goal of the people who manage our currencies. They tell us flat out that they WANT 2% inflation, i.e. they WANT the dollar, euro, etc. to lose 2% every year. Obviously these ‘experts’ have completely failed to achieve their goal lately… but the larger point is that incentives are clearly not aligned. In the case of businesses, managers generally have the same incentives as their shareholders. Elon’s wealth only increases if his stockholders’ wealth increases. But the people who manage currencies (politicians and central bankers) do not share the same incentives as the people who own the currency (i.
24/02/20231 hour 17 seconds
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Biden is a liar, and these financial documents prove it.

There’s hardly anything that POTUS loves to brag about more than his ‘economic success’. He is, after all, a self-proclaimed “capitalist”. Even in last week’s State of the Union address, he boldly claimed that he “cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion-- the largest deficit reduction in American history.” And he’s made that same assertion over and over and over again. Unfortunately it’s a complete lie. And just yesterday the Treasury Department released financial documents proving it. Every year the federal government publishes an annual financial report; it’s sort of like what big public company like Apple does. The annual report contains financial statements, plus hundreds of pages of discussion, details, and footnotes. And yesterday afternoon they released the annual financial report for Fiscal Year 2022, which just ended a few months ago. It goes without saying that the government’s financial condition is completely atrocious. Their “net financial position”, which is sort
17/02/202349 minutes 58 seconds
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Why it makes so much sense to diversify internationally

Most people have a peasant mentality. Throughout human history, in fact, the vast majority of people never thought much beyond their tiny village, let alone traveled. But there have always been some people who have had the intellectual courage and curiosity to think far beyond their own borders. And they’ve often been richly rewarded for it. Adopting a global mindset essentially means thinking about the entire world when considering your options. And more options is almost always more beneficial. If you’re thinking about retirement, more options will greatly increase the chances of finding the right place that has the right weather, cost of living, medical care, and lifestyle that you desire. If you’re thinking about business, considering your overseas options will greatly increase your chances of finding high quality, cost effective labor… or lucrative new markets to sell your products and services. If you’re thinking about investments, looking abroad increases the likelihood of
10/02/202356 minutes 48 seconds
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Proof of Time: a different way to think about gold

Gold is really an amazing metal when you think about it. It doesn’t corrode. Coins buried underground or sunk at the bottom of the ocean for hundreds of years are routinely pulled up and brushed off, and they’re good as new. This strength and durability is precisely what makes gold so interesting as an inflation hedge. It undoubtedly takes a lot of work to produce a gold coin or bar-- so much labor, energy, technology, etc. A gold coin essentially represents all of the work… all of the effort and labor… that went into producing it. This is not unique. In the same way, a bushel of wheat represents all the labor that went into producing the grain. An iPhone represents all the labor and effort that went into producing it. Except that wheat doesn’t last. iPhones don’t last. Gold does. So gold essentially encapsulates all of the resources, including TIME, that went into producing it… in a way that lasts forever. Right now, for example, it costs major mining companies ab
03/02/202342 minutes 54 seconds
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So you’re telling me there’s a chance…

As a member of the Boards of Directors of several companies, I regularly attend board meetings to help oversee and guide businesses. One company in our portfolio is run by some very sharp and talented young guys who have created one of the first metaverse advertising companies. It’s growing rapidly, and they’re even expanding into video games now. In a recent board meeting, the management team was telling me about their ‘KPIs’ for this year; KPI stands for ‘key performance indicator’, which is essentially a key metric that a company monitors to get an overall sense of the business. Apple, for example, probably monitors iPhone sales very closely as a major KPI. These guys at the metaverse business had a long list of KPIs. And as they were explaining the metrics to me, at a certain point I had to stop them. I told them that, first of all, you can only focus on so many things at once. You cannot prioritize everything. You have a certain amount of time, money, people, and en
27/01/20231 hour 25 seconds
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The one thing that Ron DeSantis and Greta Thunberg agree on

On January 24, 1971, a Swiss-German university professor managed to raise money from the European Commission to fund his new idea— he wanted to start a business conference that would become a major global brand. He secured the funding and held the first conference the following month in the tiny Swiss town of Davos; it was a smashing success— more than 400 executives attended. The following year, the President of Luxembourg was a featured speaker. And for decades since, attending the annual conference at Davos has become a rite of passage among the world’s business and political elite. The professor turned conference organizer, of course, is Klaus Schwab. And the organization he started is now known as the World Economic Forum (which is meeting right now for its 2023 event). The WEF has turned into an overzealous, supranational, undemocratic organization with a dangerous amount of power; Schwab openly brags about the influence he has with world leaders. For example, in 2
20/01/20231 hour 1 minute 52 seconds
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Challenge and Response

By the third century AD, it was hard to imagine Rome being in worse condition. Historians literally refer to this period in Roman history as the Crisis of the Third Century. And it was brutal. Roman citizens couldn’t believe what they were experiencing... it was incomprehensible to them that their fatherland had become so weakened. Inflation was running rampant. The Empire was stuck in a quagmire of foreign wars and had suffered some humiliating defeats. Rome experienced multiple bad pandemics, coupled with even worse government response. Foreign invaders were flooding across their borders on a daily basis. Trade broke down, causing shortages in many vital goods. And terrible social strife dominated people’s daily lives. Ordinary Roman citizens were at each other’s throats, and it was a time of disunity and outrage. One contemporary writer of the era named Cyprian described the situation as follows: “The World itself... testifies to its own declines by giving manif
13/01/20231 hour 6 minutes 54 seconds
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Sailing out of the doldrums

By the turn of the 18th century, Great Britain was well on its way to becoming the dominant naval power of Europe. Brits had come to understand that a strong navy and merchant fleet were necessary to grow powerful and prosperous as a nation. And a mythology was already building around the Royal Navy. However all was not rainbows and buttercups. In 1796, the Royal Navy lost control of the Mediterranean. And in 1797, despite several victories, including repelling a French invasion of the British Isles, the navy also suffered two mutinies. And the threat of French invasion persisted. It was amid this backdrop that a young poet named Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In it, a mariner is cursed to wander the earth telling his story about his grave error of killing an albatross which had led his ship out of icy, mist-shrouded seas. One of the most famous lines occurs as the ship is stuck in a silent and motionless sea, with stagnant air which refus
06/01/20231 hour 2 minutes 15 seconds
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And this year’s Tommy Franks ‘expert’ award goes to…

On December 10, 1896, in the picturesque seaside town of San Remo, Italy, the famed Swedish chemist breathed his last breath after suffering a devastating stroke, and died. Nobel was an incredibly wealthy man at the time of his death, and most of his wealth had been placed in a trust. (In doing this, Nobel managed to sidestep Sweden’s gargantuan inheritance tax that had been in place since 1884, AND the Kingdom of Italy’s estate tax.) Nobel’s death is commemorated every year on December 10th, at the annual banquet which honors the newest recipients of the Nobel Prize. That’s tomorrow. And among the honorees at this year’s banquet is the former head of the US central bank, Mr. Ben Bernanke. I’m sure Bernanke is a wonderful human being who certainly tried his best. But, as you may recall, he was the “expert” who established the precedent of slashing interest rates to zero and conjuring trillions of dollars out of thin air. When Bernanke first became Fed Chairman in 2006
09/12/20221 hour 1 minute 17 seconds
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Climate Change is the new human sacrifice

On the 21st of February, 1978, workers for the state-owned electrical company in Mexico City, Mexico were digging in a neighborhood near city center to bury some cables. After digging about two meters below the street’s surface, they hit a large rock that their equipment could not penetrate. As they dug further, around the rock, they discovered it wasn’t natural… but instead a large stone disk that was at least hundreds of years old. Archaeologists uncovered the rest. And it turned out that site had once been the location of the main Mexica/Aztec temple, known as Hueyi Teocalli in the native language. Over the past several decades, the temple has been a treasure trove of Aztec cultural artifacts, providing incredible insight into how this civilization lived. And among other things, archaeologists have found the remains of more than 600 skulls on the temple grounds-- most likely victims of the Aztec’s human sacrifice rituals. Human sacrifice has been a common practice thr
02/12/202258 minutes 4 seconds
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FTX: It takes a village to fail this big…

You’ve probably been following the news that FTX, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, is in hot water. And frankly that characterization is an insult to hot water. FTX has already filed for bankruptcy. Potentially $10 billion or more of customer money is at risk. The new CEO states that the company’s internal controls were “a complete failure”. And the company’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has proven himself to be, at a minimum, an irresponsible, reckless child, if not a full-blown fraudster. It’s easy to lay the blame exclusively on him. And he clearly deserves a lot of it. But a failure (if not fraud) of this size cannot be perpetrated by a single individual. Even Bernie Madoff had accomplices. Or people who should have noticed but were totally negligent at their jobs. In fact the Madoff scandal is a great example. Madoff’s firm had to undergo routine regulatory examinations. And yet, year after year, the Securities and Exchange Commission completely failed
18/11/202251 minutes 30 seconds
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Based on a True Story

More than 3,000 years ago, between the 12th and 13th centuries BC, the legendary king of Ithaca, Odysseus, set sail from the ancient city of Troy to begin the journey home. The stories of the Trojan War, and of Odysseus’s voyage home, have been passed down to us in the form of epic poetry from Homer. Most of it is pure fiction. But like modern film, TV, and ‘true crime’ podcasts that abuse dramatic license to entertain their audiences, Homer’s epics may in fact be “based on a true story”. The Trojan War, for example, likely happened. The bit about the horse, on the other hand, probably didn’t. It’s certainly possible (and even probably) that one of the key leaders in the war had an arduous journey back home to Greece, spurring ancient entertainers to weave elaborate tales of sirens and sea monsters. One of the most important parables in Homer’s tale of the long journey home for Odysseus is the story of Scylla and Charybdis. Odysseus’s journey took him through a partic
11/11/202248 minutes 5 seconds
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Get ready for the “Excess Stupidity” tax

Today’s podcast starts off in the year 1175 BC, where the legendary Pharaoh Ramses III was readying himself for battle against one of the most mysterious enemies in all of human history. Ramses was literally fighting for the survival of his kingdom, and for all Egyptian civilization. And fortunately for Egypt, he won. But it came at a great price. Ramses’ treasury was depleted from costly battles (not to mention the vast numbers of expensive monuments and temples that he built). And so to make ends meet, he did what any politician would do-- he raised taxes. The ancient Egyptians were legendary record keepers; we have detailed accounts of their commercial activities, financial transactions, and even tax receipts. And we can easily observe the trajectory of Ramses’ economic frustration: tax receipts were declining, evasion was becoming rampant, and production continued to decline. It’s ironic that, even though Ramses III saved his civilization from marauding invaders, his dy
04/11/202249 minutes 35 seconds
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Why we had another baby in Mexico

First, I am really grateful for all the well-wishes and congratulations we received on the birth of my son. He’s doing great, and I’m over the moon. I decided to record a podcast about the experience-- why my wife and I decided to have our first child here last year, as well as our second child this year, and tell you how great the experience was. Naturally, though, we start with a historical perspective. Today’s episode begins in ancient India with one of the most famous figures in human history. It turns out that, in addition to being a spiritual icon, he was also an extreme biohacker. We talk about the evolution of medicine, and how healthcare used to be a ‘patient-first’, science-driven field. Individual healthcare practitioners today are still that way. Doctors, nurses, and medical researchers have answered a noble calling to help the sick. But the healthcare industry itself is now ruled by insurance companies and political hacks who have managed to increase the cos
28/10/202229 minutes 28 seconds
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Putting all the Pieces Together

We start our podcast today more than 2,500 years ago at a time when the dominant superpower in the western world was the Achaemenid Empire of Persia. Their civilization had reached an unfathomable level of wealth and sophistication; historical records show that, at peak, the Persian treasury had more than $300 BILLION in savings (in today’s money). They had an intricate road network, a highly-functioning postal system, impressive engineering works, and had even invented a crude form of refrigeration and air conditioning. Most of all they had a fearsome military. It was huge. And it was terrifying. Simply put, an invading Persian Army had never been defeated. And yet, early in the 5th century BC, when they went to war against a rapidly rising power in Greece, the Persians suffered a humiliating defeat. Then again. And again. And again. The losses changed the perception of their Empire forever. Practically overnight their reputation sank, and they were no longer viewed as
21/10/20221 hour 21 minutes 25 seconds
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A masterclass in ‘How to shoot yourself in the foot’

In the mid 1400s, the head of the Byzantine Empire was a career politician with decades of experience who most people thought would be a capable leader. Instead, through a series of hilariously terrible decisions, he managed to take his already weak empire off the cliff, and into the dustbin of history, in just a few short years. And one of the ways he did that was by deliberately giving up the most strategic resource his empire possessed. We’re seeing a similar story play out today-- the people with decades and decades of experience are doing all the wrong things to vanquish one of the most strategic resources in our modern world: energy. Think about it-- the people in charge have demonized an entire industry. They punish oil companies with creative taxes and insane regulations. They refuse to follow the law and lease federal lands to oil and gas companies. They drag their feet in the permitting process. They constantly antagonize energy companies and blame high fuel pr
07/10/202256 minutes 2 seconds
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“The most impressive failure of his time”

Lately we’ve been led astray over and over again by supposed ‘experts’ with decades of experience who can’t seem to stop making colossal mistakes. But I’m not just talking about individuals. I’m talking about institutions too. And one institution in particular that’s been an abject failure lately has been the central bank. That includes the Federal Reserve in the United States, the Bank of England in the UK, and more. The Federal Reserve, for example, despite its leaders’ decades of experience, completely failed to predict that their policies over the past few years would have any consequences. It’s extraordinary. These people honestly thought that they could print trillions of dollars, keep interest rates at 0%, and that there would never be any consequences until the end of time. And then, when inflation began to take hold last year, they failed to recognize it. They chastised people who pointed it out. Later, when they finally did acknowledge inflation, they insist
01/10/202251 minutes 36 seconds
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Align yourself with the trajectory of the world

John Adams famous wrote to his wife Abigail in the year 1780: “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. . . in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, and music. . .” So that their children can major in gender studies and waste their lives on Tik Tok. OK so I added that last part myself. But I believe the quote most accurately sums up the natural decline of empire. When enough time passes, a dominant superpower begins to lose the cultural traits that made it great to begin with. Instead of being energetic, ambitious, and hungry, the population becomes complacent. Meanwhile, hard-working rivals become wealthier by the day… rising, ascending, and eventually eclipsing the declining superpower. History has been witness to this natural cycle over and over again, from the ancient Greek conflicts between Athens and Sparta, to the decline of France and rise of Great Britain in the 1700s. The
23/09/20221 hour 5 minutes 32 seconds
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The Rise of the Barbarian Kingdoms

In the year 1566, at the end of the reign of the legendary Suleiman the Magnificent, his Ottoman Empire was the world’s dominant superpower. Ottoman territory extend across three continents over nearly 2.3 million square kilometers. Its military was powerful… and feared. The economy was strong and the treasury plentiful. But in time that changed. Subsequent Ottoman rulers became complacent. The government became bureaucratic. The military became softer. Society became decadent. As a whole, they lost the elements that made them strong and powerful to begin with, and the empire began to dwindle. Over time, France ascended as the dominant superpower; Paris became the global center of politics, commerce, and the arts. And no other European power could come close to France’s wealth or military capabilities. But eventually the French, too, lost their way, and were eventually displaced by the British Empire as the world’s leading superpower. To this day the British Empire is
09/09/20221 hour 16 minutes 19 seconds
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This new Renaissance can fuel human prosperity for decades to come

The year 1776 is legendary for precisely one thing: the Declaration of Independence. But 1776 was actually a REALLY big year. Because in addition to the formation of the United States (which undoubtedly had an extraordinary impact on the course of the world), 1776 also saw two other historic trends take shape. The first was the birth of capitalism. 1776 was the year that Scottish economist Adam Smith published his famous work An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which was the first book ever to outline the case for free markets and laissez-faire governments. Not to take anything away from impact that US independence had on the world, but you could easily make an argument that the idea of capitalism has been just as profound to human history. Capitalism is responsible for more wealth creation and more prosperity in the past 246 years than every economic system combined over the previous 5,000. That’s a pretty significant impact. But we’re not
02/09/20221 hour 20 minutes 11 seconds
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When the solution to everything is… more government

Years ago when I was in the military, I had the privilege of serving with some of the finest people I will ever know in my entire life. It’s not a cliché. Many of my brothers in arms were incredibly honest, hard working, dedicated, loyal, intelligent, creative, courageous, and more. And yet, if I’m being brutally honest, I also have to acknowledge that I also served alongside quite a few scumbags. I remember one enlisted soldier in my unit who was arrested by Secret Service agents one day because he had been counterfeiting $100 bills on a Laserjet printer. (He should have been a central banker instead.) Others routinely beat their wives and children. Others were petty criminals and kleptomaniacs. It was a small number, for sure. But there were certainly plenty of bad apples in the military. And there are always going to be bad apples in any large organization-- whether it’s the Army, or the entire federal government. This is important. Because we live in a time when a
19/08/202250 minutes 48 seconds
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Another wasted opportunity to close the trust deficit

It’s been another historic and mind-blowing week to say the least. Over the last several months we’ve heard some of the most ridiculous lines of BS from politicians. Things like, “The economy is not in recession.” Last year’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan was an “extraordinary success”. Multi-trillion spending bills “cost nothing”. “The border is closed. The border is secure.” And so much more. But yesterday the Attorney General of the United States made a public statement during which he told the world that “upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor.” The Attorney General was trying to justify his department’s raid on Donald Trump’s private residence earlier this week by claiming that no one is above the law. And that’s 100% correct. The rule of law is supreme in America, and no one is above the law. Except for Nanci Pelosi, Paul Pelosi, Paul Pelosi Jr., every Federal Reserve official who was caught trading the
12/08/202259 minutes 53 seconds
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Four ways the “experts” have proven that they are insane this week

There’s an old saying that people often misattribute to Albert Einstein-- that ‘the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.’ The saying has become a bit of a cliché, but there is actually some truth to it. About 80 years ago, a psychologist named George Kelly became fascinated with the way human beings make decisions, and he developed a framework that he called the Personal Construct Theory. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory suggests that people behave and make decisions based on their unique sets of life experiences. For example, a child who is constantly spoiled and coddled by helicopter parents may (according to Kelly’s theory) grow up to expect constant support and safety nets… and make life decisions accordingly. Kelly theorized that, over time, human beings often behave poorly and make bad decisions because their personal constructs are flawed. In fact in his 1955 book The Psychology of Personal
05/08/202249 minutes 56 seconds
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Some solid information for your Plan B

For this week’s podcast I had the pleasure to speak with Viktorija once again, fresh off a long flight from Istanbul and several weeks in Europe. We had a really in-depth discussion that covers a lot of ground. We talked about Mexico City… and why it’s such a pleasant surprise: cheap, chic, clean, civilized, and more. We also spent time discussing Citizenship-by-Investment programs, including why Turkey’s program is so attractive. Click to listen in.
29/07/20221 hour 5 minutes
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Prince Harry’s Weeping, Wimpy, Whiny World View

Prince Harry ventured out of his nine-bedroom, $14.7 million oceanfront compound in California earlier this week to deliver a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. The fact that Prince Harry is even addressing the UN General Assembly is absurd itself. But even more absurd were his weeping, whiny, wimpy remarks: “The right thing to do is not up for debate,” Harry told his audience of mostly masked onlookers. “And neither is The Science.” So, the guy who was born with the ultimate silver spoon up his arse believes that there should be no debate about science. Or what’s “right”. He continued to lament the “rolling back” of Constitutional rights in the US, climate change, COVID disinformation on social media, and more. “The only question is whether we’ll be brave enough, and wise enough, to do what is necessary,” the unelected sage continued, without elaborating on what, exactly, he and The Science have decided is “necessary” or “right”. This is our topic for this w
22/07/202257 minutes 12 seconds
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‘Experts’ broke the world. But they’re rapidly losing power…

It’s rare to find someone, anyone, who has yet to witness, hear about, or directly experience the devastating consequences of the supposed leadership that ‘experts’ have unleashed on us over the past few years. They have engineered and mishandle crisis after crisis after crisis… The world over, from California to Sri Lanka, people everywhere are suffering from their incompetence. Western Europe is on the verge of a major energy crisis; the 4th-largest economy in the world (Germany) is dimming its street lights lights and thinking about firing up its coal power plants (previously considered UNTHINKABLE!) because they're running out of energy. Even in Texas, which could be considered the world's 10th-largest economy by GDP, the independent energy grid is so fragile that power companies are remotely turning down people’s home thermostats to save on energy supply. We have also just seen a leaked hour+ video showing the 'authorities' in Uvalde, Texas-- fully armed law enforcemen
15/07/20221 hour 11 minutes 42 seconds
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What Bruce Lee might say about the economy…

As longtime readers know, I’ve been a tremendous fan of Lee’s since I was a small child. He was wise beyond his years and packed a great deal into his short life. I put one of his quotes up on our former office’s walls in Santiago. It reads: “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” This idea is especially apt for the times we live in. It’s easy to be incredibly frustrated about the state of the world right now. The ‘experts’ in charge — whether in the media, Federal Reserve, tech companies, etc. — have led us astray and allowed devastating consequences to take root. Witness massive inflation, the conflict in Europe, the fracturing of society along ideological, medical and skin color lines, the debacle in Afghanistan… These were all engineered by the ‘experts’ in charge, and none more so than the response to Covid-1984, which brought the global economy to its knees. People traditionally placed great trust in experts. In the United States, the media o
08/07/202247 minutes 57 seconds
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Declaring Intellectual Independence

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends. And Monday, of course, is Independence Day in the United States. It’ll be an odd one for sure. Many cities are reportedly cutting back on their fireworks displays due to… yes… supply chain shortages. And many people may scale down their traditional backyard grilling due to insanely high food price inflation. There’s undoubtedly a lot of reason for concern right now, and people of all personal philosophies across the political spectrum feel it. Those on the left are angry about recent Supreme Court decisions and concerned that they may lose other rights. Those on the right fret about cancel culture. Almost everyone is concerned about inflation… and we constantly hear the cry that ‘Democracy is under attack’. There’s a mountain of problems and no real solutions on the horizon. More importantly, it seems like intense social factions have developed. Public “debate” and civil discourse is governed by those who feel but don’t think… by
01/07/202255 minutes 6 seconds
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Is this what they mean by “Democracy is under attack” ?

Today’s missive looks a bit different from our normal Friday roundup. As you probably know, a few big rulings came down from the United States Supreme Court over the past 24 hours-- one on gun control, the other on abortion. Predictably, the rulings were accompanied by a great deal of noise and outrage. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that ‘mostly peaceful’ protests don’t start up again. More importantly, we wanted to weigh in with a healthy dose of rationality. My bet is that the vast majority of angry protesters have probably not bothered to read any of the Justices’ opinions. They probably never read the original Roe v Wade opinion. They probably don’t know who was Roe and who was Wade. They probably haven’t even read the Constitution. All they know is that they’re outraged. Lately we’ve been hearing a refrain over and over again that “Democracy is under attack.” Yes I agree. And this is part of what that attack looks like. A representative democracy means tha
24/06/202218 minutes 10 seconds
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Freedom Podcast: My Biggest Surprise of 2021

In late 2019, a team executive for the NBA’s Houston Rockets Tweeted a very brief statement of support for pro-freedom protesters in Hong Kong. Hardly anyone should have noticed; he didn’t have much of a following, and it was an incredibly harmless comment. Yet that single Tweet caused a massive firestorm. The Chinese government lost its mind -- how dare this American peasant say anything that’s counter to our interests?!?! And like that… poof… China’s government censors erased the Houston Rockets off the face of their Internet. It was an amazing display of speed and efficiency. And to be frank, my biggest surprise of 2021 is how well the US has adopted this Chinese-style censorship. It is fast. It is efficient. And it is shockingly brutal. Nowhere is this more obvious than with Covid-1984. A number of Lord Protector Fauci’s emails have recently come to light which show the ridiculous lengths they went to last year to squash any opposition to their policies. The ‘G
22/12/202141 minutes 15 seconds
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How to become a billionaire… even if it takes 200 years

It’s a simple question of arithmetic. Imagine you could go back in time to 1871 and ask one of your long lost ancestors to invest $2,500 for the benefit of future generations. That amount of money wasn’t insignificant… but certainly not a major fortune; it would be worth roughly $50,000 in today’s money. When placed in the right structure, and benefiting from compounding returns over the next 150 years, that $2,500 initial investment would be worth an astounding $1.4 BILLION today. Now, sadly none of us owns a time machine. But we do have the power to be that long lost ancestor to future generations. In other words, there’s little stopping you from setting aside some savings in a long-term structure-- like a trust, or even a smart contract-- that could have an enormous impact on the future. $50,000 invested in the right structure today at, say, a 10% compounding return, will be worth $73 billion in 150 years. Granted we’ll all most likely be long gone by then. And
06/10/202121 minutes 49 seconds
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Does anyone honestly believe that inflation is ‘transitory’ anymore?

In the early summer of 1514, Spanish conquistador Ponce de Leon returned home to the court of King Ferdinand as a hero. De Leon was among the first of Spain’s conquistadors to discover gold-- right here in Puerto Rico. And that was enough for him to be knighted and bestowed all sorts of royal honors. By that time, Europe had been suffering a shortage of gold and silver for nearly a century; mines and mints had closed down all across the continent, triggering what economic historians call ‘The Great Bullion Famine’ in the mid 1400s. So the supply of money, i.e. gold and silver, was essentially stagnant. Technically European money supply was falling, because most European kingdoms ran a trade deficit with Asia and the Middle East. Yet at the same time, European economies were finally starting to grow again following the consequences of the Black Plague and the Hundred Years War. English wool production, for example, nearly tripled between the mid 1400s and the early 1500s.
23/09/202132 minutes 37 seconds
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… where the real estate isn’t insanely overpriced

When Gideon Gono became the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in late 2003, his country was already suffering from terrible hyperinflation. Throughout the 1990s, inflation in Zimbabwe averaged well over 20%. And just a few years later inflation had reached 200%. That’s when Zimbabwe’s government hired Gideon Gono to fix the inflation problem. Gono had a reputation as a sharp, competent banker. He had previously been the managing director of Zimbabwe’s largest bank-- Bank of Credit and Commerce-- so the government thought that Gono had the skills to turn Zimbabwe’s economy around. Despite his keen understanding of money and finance, however, Gono’s policies plunged Zimbabwe even further into hyperinflation. Inflation was running at 600% per year when Gono took over the central bank. And at first, inflation fell to ‘only’ 133%. But by 2007, four years into his term, inflation in Zimbabwe reached more than 60,000%. And by the end of 2008, nearly 80 BILLION percent.
09/09/202143 minutes 13 seconds
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COVID freedom in an unfree world

It’s not generally in my nature to heap praise upon a place with a 53% tax rate, a 25% VAT, or one of the top ten highest tax burdens in the world. But as I often remark, nearly every place in the world has something great going for it… some unique competitive advantages that set it apart from its peers, balanced against a multitude of disadvantages. Iran is a great example; it suffers from long-term economic decay, constant sanctions, and an authoritarian government. Its disadvantages are numerous. But at the same time the country is an archaeological dream, full of well-preserved ruins from civilizations so old that they were studied by ancient Greek scholars. This is a unique advantage. And for a few people, that sole advantage may outweigh Iran’s numerous disadvantages. After all, everyone has his/her own particular set of priorities. Another example: earlier this year when my wife and I were planning out the birth of our child, we chose to have the baby in Mexico
31/08/202135 minutes 34 seconds
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How long will the US dollar’s dominance last?

301 AD was a big year for the Roman Empire. That was the year that, amid spiraling inflation, Emperor Diocletian issued his Edict on Maximum Prices, essentially fixing prices of just about everything across the Roman Empire. The price of wheat, a day labor’s wages, a quart of olive oil, transportation rates-- everything was established by the Emperor’s edict, and enforced under penalty of death. Diocletian’s edict infamously didn’t work, and the empire plunged into even more severe inflation. The other big event of 301 AD was the introduction of the solidus gold coin, roughly 4.5 grams of nearly pure gold. And while the Romans had a history of debasing their other coins, like the silver denarius and sesterce, the government actually did a pretty good job maintaining the value and purity of the gold solidus. Even hundreds of years later, after the western empire in Rome had fallen to the barbarians, and imperial power was concentrated in Byzantium, the gold solidus was
25/08/202158 minutes 1 second
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The $163 emergency room visit

While traveling across Europe recently, Sovereign Man's CEO (Viktorija) became quite ill and needed some urgent medical treatment. First, she’s doing fine, and we’re grateful for that. Second, it’s not COVID. I know that in the collective mind of most of the world, and for especially public health experts, no other disease exists except for COVID. In the US, for example, CDC data on influenza show that, in a ‘normal year’ (2019, for example), the hospitalization rate for patients with influenza is around 65 per 100,000 people. But, miraculously, in 2020/2021, the hospitalization rate for influenza dropped 99%, down to just 0.8 patients per 100,000 people. Do these people actually expect anyone to take this data seriously? Are we honestly supposed to believe that they managed to virtually eradicate the flu? Or is it possible that, maybe just maybe, the hospital system is counting influenza cases as COVID? Perhaps all that government COVID data isn’t as accurate as they
19/08/202141 minutes 17 seconds
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2020 called, it wants its chaotic public health policy back

Think back to where you were two years ago today. For me, I was in Trakai, Lithuania. It was Day 4 of our 10th annual Sovereign Academy entrepreneurship camp. My dear friends Bill and Marco were giving a joint lecture to the students on hiring, firing, and building culture within a business. Craig Ballantyne was up next with a talk about Instagram marketing. And I was going to finish up the afternoon with a presentation on sales and negotiation. Maybe you were on holiday. Or, since August 4, 2019 was a Sunday, perhaps you were spending a relaxing weekend with family and friends. Now imagine if someone had come up to you two years ago and said-- A few months from now, a novel Coronavirus will spread around the world. The virus will definitely be a problem, and a LOT of people will needlessly die. Yet government data will eventually show the virus to have a 98.3% survival rate… and a survival rate of more than 99.8% for people under the age of 75 who aren’t morbidly obe
04/08/20211 hour 27 seconds
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Most so-called ‘Socialists’ know nothing about Socialism

By the summer of 1849, Karl Marx was still an obscure writer struggling to make an impact. He had published The Communist Manifesto-- a short, 23-page pamphlet-- the previous year in 1848. But as yet it had failed to catch on. Marx was operating a fledgling newspaper in Germany at the time. But he kept getting in trouble with the German tax authorities for failure to pay taxes. (This taxation double-standard still exists today. Marxists LOVE high taxes… but only if they’re not the ones paying.) That’s why Marx was forced to leave Germany (technically Prussia) in 1849-- after having also been previously expelled from France and Belgium too. Marx infuriated the local authorities so much, in fact, that he was also denied Prussian citizenship. This made him officially stateless. And in an ironic twist of fate, Marx ended up in Great Britain-- the wealthiest country in the world at the time, and the birthplace of modern capitalism. The reason was simple: Britain had few
28/07/202147 minutes 52 seconds
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Why Warren Buffett may be wrong about America’s future

Nearly every year in his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters, Warren Buffett spends a few pages talking about the dynamism of the American economy. His message is clear: the United States has faced adversity before. It will again. But America always prevails and you should never bet against it. That theme has certainly held true during Buffett’s life. He was born in 1930 and came of age at a time when the US had become the world’s undisputed dominant superpower. Buffett’s entire business career, in fact, took place at a time when America was on the rise. But even Buffett would have to acknowledge that times have changed. Today the government is obsessed with passing regulations that create obstacles to growth and new business formation. They’d rather pay people to stay home and NOT work rather than encourage production and innovation. They rack up enormous quantities of debt without a single thought to the long-term consequences. They engineer inflation. The
21/07/202129 minutes 27 seconds
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Why a second residency abroad makes so much sense

The most astute investors in the world understand that there is no such thing as a risk-free investment. Every investment carries at least some risk; stocks, bonds, venture capital, real estate... even something as simple as keeping money in a bank.… they all carry some degree of risk. Sharp investors take steps to identify and hedge their risks, so if the worst happens, they’ll still be protected. Stock market investors, for example, might purchase ‘put options’ which increase in value in the event that their stocks fall. That way, if there’s a crash, the investor is protected from any major losses. Bondholders often purchase credit default swaps, which is like an insurance policy in case the bond issuer defaults. And real estate investors routinely buy insurance to mitigate the risk of property damage caused by fire, flood, and hail. These are all sensible precautions that can dramatically reduce an investors’ risk. And this is ultimately what a Plan B is all abo
13/07/20211 hour 18 minutes 14 seconds
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One of the most ridiculously expensive real estate markets in the world

In late 2019, the real estate firm Knight Frank published a list of the most expensive streets in the world, i.e. the individual neighborhoods with outrageously pricey real estate. The top 10 list included four streets in New York City (57th Street, Central Park South, Fifth Avenue, and Park Avenue), three in Hong Kong, two in London, and one each in Los Angeles and Palm Beach. But global real estate changed immeasurably the following year in 2020. Places like Manhattan have seen a population exodus after 18 months of idiotic pandemic rules, rising taxes, and destructive woke policies, while other cities and neighborhoods have seen a surge in demand. So that top 10 list is certainly going to change. One of the places that may very well make an updated list of most expensive streets in the world is an upscale neighborhood in... Puerto Rico. We talked about this several times in the past-- Puerto Rico has some of the most attractive tax incentives in the world. People o
06/07/20211 hour 11 minutes 49 seconds
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Why I had a baby... in Mexico

One of the wonderful people I’ve been fortunate to get to know in my life is legendary investor and prolific author Jim Rogers. I’ve known Jim for nearly 10 years now. He’s a great guy and I’ve learned so much from him-- about finance, markets, travel, writing. But above all that, one thing in particular really stuck out: fatherhood. It seems like every time we’ve ever had dinner or drinks together over the past decade, Jim always brings up the topic of having children. He didn’t have children until later in life; he’s written about this extensively, saying that he never wanted kids and was quite content with his success and career. But when he started having children at age 60, he realized that he couldn’t imagine his life without them. And literally every time Jim and I have hung out, he has always encouraged me to have kids. I never took the idea seriously… until last year. Amid all of the fear, anger, violence, and totalitarianism that was gripping the world, I
29/06/202157 minutes 4 seconds
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Sovereign Research’s Freedom Podcast Episode 2: Asset Price Inflation

In last week’s podcast -- the first podcast episode we’ve published in a few years -- Viktorija and I discussed how central banks engineer inflation… and why inflation is probably here to stay. In this week’s episode, we dove even deeper into the topic to discuss a different type of inflation: ASSET price inflation. Remember that inflation rises whenever the amount of money in an economy increases relative to the amount of services and products available to purchase. And that even includes assets. There are only 500 companies in the S&P 500, which essentially means there’s a fixed number of assets available for investors to purchase. So whenever the central bank prints trillions of dollars, much of that money finds its way into the stock market, bidding up the stock prices of S&P 500 companies. The bizarre part is that this increase in stock prices doesn’t mean that a company has become more successful. In fact, Coca Cola is a great example here. Over the past decade,
22/06/20211 hour 3 minutes 23 seconds
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Here’s something we haven’t done in a couple of years

It feels like it’s easily been two years since I’ve recorded a public podcast. But after yesterday’s article about inflation, I realized that I had so much more to say. Inflation-- which is essentially the slow destruction of a currency-- is already a major issue that’s capturing headlines. But there are plenty of reasons why it could be far worse in the future. This isn’t anything to be afraid of. But it’s definitely a topic to learn a lot more about. Understanding inflation is critical to making sound, long-term financial decisions, and creating a great Plan B. But it’s a complicated topic. To properly understand inflation, it’s imperative to first learn about how central banking works; for example, why does the Federal Reserve buy so many mortgage bonds? What’s the actual mechanism for ‘creating’ money, and how does this new money make its way into the economy? (We talk about all of this in today’s podcast, including the absolutely ridiculous and infuriatingly cozy re
16/06/20211 hour 36 minutes 5 seconds
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107: Peter Schiff and I talk stagflation, $50 trillion debts, and more

This morning I reached out to my old friend and colleague Peter Schiff to talk about some uncomfortable truths that very few people are discussing right now. I wrote to you about this yesterday: banks are in trouble. You can’t expect to shut down practically an entire world economy that is in debt to the tune of $250 TRILLION and not expect massive loan defaults. The last financial crisis in 2008 was caused by a spike in loan defaults. We’re about to see another spike of loan defaults due to all the layoffs and business closures… only this time the problem is much, much bigger than it was in 2008. And Peter and I discuss some potential scenarios. Be forewarned, they’re not pleasant. Think about it like this: before the last financial crisis, US government debt was ‘only’ about $9 trillion. It’s nearly tripled since then. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet prior to the last crisis was $850 billion. It ballooned to $4.5 trillion, more than 5x as much. This means tha
19/03/20201 hour 33 minutes 52 seconds
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106: Central banks should consider giving people money

I thought in this age of insanity that we are living in, nothing would surprise me anymore. But sure enough, there was a headline in the Financial Times the other day, “Central banks should consider giving people money.” It seems almost impossible that someone could believe in something so ridiculous. And yet this is the world we are living in. The path to prosperity is now based on unelected central bankers conjuring millions of dollars out of thin air. Bankrupt governments are issuing bonds with negative yields, meaning they are being paid to go deeper into debt. And there are more than $13 trillion of these negative yielding bonds in the world. If anything this makes a compelling case for why people should consider owning gold. It’s a store of value with a 5,000 year track record of withstanding inflation, political crisis, and monetary stupidity. I’ve been suggesting people consider buying gold for quite some time, especially over the last year. I argue that the supp
12/08/20191 hour 15 minutes 20 seconds
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105: How to get an education that empowers you for life

Each year, I invite an incredible mix of young people from more than a dozen countries to join me in Lithuania for an intense week of business, investing and entrepreneurship classes taught by the smartest people I know (it’s also entirely free for the students who attend. I pay out of my own pocket for everything). I do it because I feel strongly about self-education. It’s how I got to be where I am today. So I thought it would be an opportune time to give you my latest thoughts on how to get an education that really makes a difference in your life. Education has no age limit (for example, attendees at our camp range from 17 to 47 years of age). But today, I want to specifically address those young people either starting their university studies, or just about to graduate. Getting a university degree is one of the most important and impactful decisions you’ll ever make. And we’re expected to make this decision when we’re still teenagers, too often without afterthought as t
27/05/201949 minutes 39 seconds
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104: Taking matters into your own hands

Last week in its annual report, the US government reported that Social Security’s long-term, unfunded liability now exceeds $50 TRILLION. Moreover, they state that the Social Security and Medicare trust funds will run out of money in 2034. This is the government’s own calculation. Bottom line: The younger you are, the less you should count on Social Security in your retirement plans. You must take matters into your own hands and save independently for retirement. But that’s easier said than done, right? The traditional concept of ‘saving for retirement’ is to set aside some money from your monthly paycheck, and put it in something like an IRA. That works fine for some people. But what if you simply don’t have any more money from your paycheck to save? Or what if you’ve already hit the maximum amount you’re allowed to contribute to a conventional IRA? Fortunately, there are great solutions. We’ve written about SEP IRAs in the past. But there’s another structure I’d
10/04/201941 minutes 36 seconds
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103: Podcast with Marin Katusa: The best gold investments to make today

Today’s podcast is with Marin Katusa. Marin is a world-class resource investor and lead analyst for Katusa Research – his publishing company, where he shares the details of many of the private investments he makes. Marin’s been investing in resource stocks for twenty years. And he’s gained a reputation as a guy who can get things done (and get the best terms) when raising capital to invest in companies – over the years, he’s put hundreds of millions of dollars to work in the sector. In our discussion with Marin, he explains his boom/bust/echo theory of investing in natural resource stocks and where we are today in that cycle (it happens to be the part of the cycle where you can find the greatest value). We asked Marin to walk you through some actual examples of private investments he’s made so you can learn when you should be looking to invest (and also understand the massive, upside potential when buying resource stocks near the bottom of a cycle). I’d encourage you to
14/03/201938 minutes 20 seconds
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102: He retired at 35 – here are some of his investment strategies

Today’s episode of the Sovereign Man Podcast features non other than Sovereign Man's Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, talking about not one but two highly successful, targeted investment strategies with proven track records. If you are a regular Sovereign Confidential or 4th Pillar reader, then you’re familiar with Tim’s wit, his financial probity, and his impressive stock picking skills. Today, he’ll tell you how he goes about looking at the markets at a time when nearly everything is overpriced. Also, if you’re curious about Tim’s top recommendation today, you can get more details here… A quick general summary of what’s discussed: Intro - A bit about the markets… what Howard Marks and Warren Buffett think… 2:30 - A bit about Sovereign Man's Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, and his track record 3:30 - Why Tim is finding great deals in this “pre-frontier market” 6:30 - What investors can do in today’s market, the mistakes most investors make, an
08/03/201923 minutes 50 seconds
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101: How to protect your money when the people in charge understand NOTHING

Today we bring you a fresh episode of the Sovereign Man Podcast, where Simon Black unpacks why the people in charge have no idea what they’re talking about… and how you can protect yourself from their policies. Freshman politicians want to nationalize entire industries. They want to increase the marginal tax rate to 70% or more. They want to ban corporations from buying back their own stocks unless those companies meet stringent requirements. They want to raise capital gains taxes. In short, they want your money. In this episode, Simon gives you a roundup of bad policies, why they don’t/won’t work… and the one big thing you should do if you don’t want the Socialist train to run you over. A quick general summary of what’s discussed: Intro - It’s here, and… they have “NO IDEA!!!!” (Jim Cramer was right.) 2:00 - Why stock buybacks are stupid… but why the government should drop the idea of regulating them 7:20 - What all this is REALLY about 9:15 — Equality vs. Fr
08/02/201948 minutes 8 seconds
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100: Why you should absolutely consider Puerto Rico NOW

Welcome to another edition of the Sovereign Man podcast. As we enter 2019, you’ll start to see more podcasts from us. And you also might notice a few changes. We’ve upped the production value of our chats with Simon. And we’ll continue to improve both the production and the content of our podcasts. And we’d love to hear your feedback on our efforts. In today’s podcast, Simon gives us an update from on the ground in Puerto Rico… and explains why you should absolutely consider moving to Puerto Rico if you have a business, earn investment income or want to freelance and significantly lower your tax bill. Plus, Simon shares some specifics on how to get started taking advantage of Puerto Rico’s tax incentives (and who can benefit from Act 20 and Act 22). It’s an outrageous deal to be able to live in paradise and pay essentially zero tax. So if you have any interest in Puerto Rico… and you could potentially benefit from moving yourself or your business there, please do not mis
24/01/20191 hour 22 minutes 4 seconds
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099: Get the Pitchforks, the rich kids have nice jackets

Between the year 1054 and 1224, there were 83 civil wars in Russia. That’s about one civil war every two years. Through the middle ages, feudal lords were periodically murdered in peasant revolts. When people sense too much unfairness in the system, the pitchforks come out. Wealth and inequality have been with us for all of recorded human history, and probably before that. Things get rocky when that gap grows large enough, or is even just perceived as large. Invariably, this inequality gets “corrected” either by a government or an armed revolution. Wealth is either taken by the state and redistributed, or taken by pitchfork, machete, or gun wielding mob. We’re kind of at the point now where wealth and income inequality has once again gotten pretty pronounced. Just a small sign of the times we discuss in today’s podcast involves a school in Great Britain that has banned expensive jackets. The idea is to protect the feelings of kids whose families cannot afford th
23/11/201836 minutes 41 seconds
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098: Sovereign Research’s podcast with financial legend Jim Grant

Last week I recorded the most memorable podcast I’ve hosted in some time. Jim Grant, editor of the famed Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, joined us for a discussion. Grant’s, in my opinion, is one of the finest financial publications out there. And it’s a treat to have a guy like Jim on the podcast. He’s written Grant’s for 35 years. And in that time, he’s made some incredible calls (including first writing about the excesses in housing in 2001) and some not so incredible ones… But, most importantly, he’s amassed a cult following of the best and brightest in business and finance. Central bankers, Wall Street CEOs, hedge fund billionaires… they all read Jim. In other words, his opinions count. So I hope you’ll tune in to hear what he has to say… In our discussion, Jim and I talk about the current state of the economy, the latest Fed announcement and some of the insane excesses in the market today. And Jim sums of the absurdity of today’s market in one, important para
04/09/201843 minutes 20 seconds
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097: Europe… what could possibly go wrong?

It’s been a hell of a week here in the Italian countryside. I’ve been treating my team and some friends to a sort of mini-vacation at a 400-year old wine and olive estate that we’ve taken over. The views, the food, the wine, the company… it’s all incredible. Each night about two dozen of us dine outside under a canopy of grape vines, and the conversations are so stimulating that the dinners often last for 7 or 8 hours. Being in Italy, though, it’s hard to not notice the obvious deterioration of this beautiful country. Italy was the world’s superpower TWO times in its history-- first during the time of the ancient Romans, and second during the early Renaissance when city-states like Venice and Florence became the dominant economies of Europe. Each time they screwed it up. Too much wasteful spending, too much debt, too many regulations, too many wars, too much debasement of the currency. It doesn’t matter how strong your country or empire is. If enough time goes by with
20/08/201843 minutes 23 seconds
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096: I was just offered a $500 million investment deal… and I worry it’s a sign the top is in

In today’s podcast, I share the details of a deal a well-known private bank just offered me (and its roster of other high-net worth clients). It’s a bad deal in every way… the asset in question is valued insanely high, there’s likely a ton of debt attached to this deal and I doubt anyone who invests will make their money back. Still, I’m confident this deal will get done. It’s classic top-of-the-cycle economics. If you look back throughout history, during every boom, there’s one asset that gets insanely bubbly. In the 90’s, it was tech stocks. In the 2000’s, it was real estate. And I tell you what that asset class is today… and why, just like every time in the past, this will end in recession. I also looked back to see how long it takes for the economy to correct after the Fed starts raising interest rates. You should listen in for the reveal… But I will tell you, the Fed started raising interest rates in December 2015. And, if history is any indicator, a recess
02/07/201849 minutes 56 seconds
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095: Nobody knows where the next crisis will erupt… here’s how to prepare

Last week, Paolo Savona, an Italian man no one outside the country had ever heard of, was denied the position of finance minister. Italy’s President denied his appointment because Savona is anti-euro. The President believes Italy should remain part of the euro. I wrote a Notes about the entire situation last week. But the point I discuss in today’s podcast is that this situation should not have been a major deal… but it wreaked havoc across global markets. Even some of the world’s safest assets sold off. So if this turmoil in Italy can cause such chaos, what will happen when there’s a MAJOR crisis? How should you prepare? The event that will end this 10-year bull market will catch almost everybody by surprise. That’s the nature of the beast. So you must take time now, while you’re still thinking clearly, to come up with a game plan of how you’ll handle the next downturn. Because when the event comes, and stocks crater, it will already be too late… emotions will tak
05/06/201847 minutes 20 seconds
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094: How to wait out the financial mania in safety

In today’s podcast, I share more thoughts on Puerto Rico including my experiences opening a business there. While the island has its problems, I’m still bullish on the long-term future given Puerto Rico’s incredible tax incentives (especially after meeting with their government leader and seeing how open they are to productive people moving in). I also harp on the latest drama in Argentina… Less than a year after issuing 100-year bonds, the country (which has a long history of default) is in economic turmoil. And the largest investors who bought these bonds – including JPMorgan and Fidelity – are sitting on huge losses. These huge investors are so starved for yield, that they willingly lent money to a default-prone government for 100 year. But, as individuals, we have much better options to earn a decent return… with DRASTICALLY less risk. I share a few of those options near the end of today’s discussion. You can listen here…
25/05/201843 minutes 47 seconds
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093: The future of crypto in Puerto Rico and avoiding fanaticism

I’m writing from San Juan, Puerto Rico today. The Sovereign Man team is here to host 150+ Total Access members over the weekend. And on today’s podcast, we discuss the amazing tax benefits in PR... and why crypto wealth is flocking to the island. These people think crypto is going to the moon. And by being residents in PR, they’ll pay 0% capital gains tax on any appreciation after they move here. So I share my thoughts on this, and why they may be in for a tax surprise with their crypto holdings - even with the amazing tax benefits. Also, following one of the big themes we’ve been covering this year, I discuss fanaticism surrounding crypto (both the bulls and the people calling it a fraud)... and why you should banish fanaticism when making investment decisions. You can listen in here.
18/05/201841 minutes 34 seconds
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092: Why on earth are you still letting big banks screw you?

Wells Fargo stole the headlines yet again today for defrauding its clients. The bank was fined $1 billion today for selling over 500,000 clients auto insurance they didn’t need (which in some cases caused the owners to default on their car loans and get their cars repossessed) and for charging erroneous fees to mortgage borrowers. If you still bank with Wells Fargo, maybe this will finally serve as a wakeup call to take your money elsewhere. But this is just the latest in a long string of fraudulent bank behavior… Wells Fargo also opened millions of fraudulent accounts for their customers without their permission – in some cases moving money from existing accounts (without the customers’ knowledge) to fund the new accounts. And of course there was the entire mortgage fiasco, where banks would recklessly lend depositor funds to unemployed people to buy homes they couldn’t afford… which ultimately led to the collapse of the financial system (which was then bailed out by ta
20/04/201845 minutes 41 seconds
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091: One of the most important issues of our time

On Monday, I shared a recording from aboard the Investor Summit at Sea, hosted by my friends, the Real Estate Guys. This is one of the only conferences I attend each year as a speaker. And that’s because I get so much value from the other speakers and attendees – guys like Chris Martenson, Adam Taggart, Robert Kiyosaki, Peter Schiff and G. Edward Griffin. Yesterday, I was on a panel with Peter Schiff, Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart. And I recorded the discussion for Sovereign Man readers who couldn’t be there in person. This panel largely centered around agriculture. As you probably know, I’ve got some experience in the industry… I took thousands of acres of bare, central Chilean land and transformed it into farmland that will soon yield one of the world’s largest blueberry and walnut crops. But, our discussion didn’t center on my personal experiences with agriculture. Instead, we dug into agriculture’s global supply and demand fundamentals. 200,000 people a day
11/04/201837 minutes 41 seconds
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090: Can’t miss podcast – Recorded live from the 2018 Investor Summit at Sea

I’m writing you today from a cruise ship, on my way to Puerto Rico. Every year, I get together with some of the smartest guys in finance and investing for my friends, the Real Estate Guys, Investor Summit at Sea. I almost never speak at conferences outside of Sovereign Man events. But I always make an exception for this one. It’s rare that you get to spend a week chatting with and learning from guys like Robert Kiyosaki, Peter Schiff, G. Edward Griffin, Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart. And it’s great to spend quality time with the many Sovereign Man readers that attend each year. But for those of you that can’t attend, just before we got on the boat I recorded a fantastic conversation I had with Chris Martenson and Adam Taggart from Peak Prosperity. I spent some time with Chris and Adam last year and they’re really great and smart guys. We’re very aligned philosophically, so I was curious to hear their thoughts on the economy today… and where they see some opportunit
09/04/20181 hour 6 minutes 31 seconds
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089: FFS… please send China a fruit basket

I was in the gym earlier today trying to ward off the effects of trans-Pacific travel and 12 hours of time zone changes when the news flashed across the TV that the US government was issuing another round of tariffs against China. This may be the dumbest move they could possibly make. It’s so stupid, in fact, that I couldn’t contain myself in print. For this, I had to go to audio… and record a pretty epic rant on the absurdity of tariffs. In short, if China is crazy enough to produce and sell steel to the United States at prices that guarantee they’ll LOSE MONEY, the US government shouldn’t impose tariffs. They should send the Chinese a fruit basket. China is basically giving the US free money. Don’t be ridiculous. Take the money. The US is NOT the loser in this situation. America is the winner. The Chinese are willing to sell steel at below their cost of production. Duh. But the US government insists that they need to protect the American steel industry because it’s
22/03/201848 minutes
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088: The dangerous, false logic of “Common Sense”

On the morning of May 18, 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan, a 55-year old municipal worker named Andrew Kehoe used a timed detonator to set off a bomb he had planted at the local school. Kehoe was Treasurer of the School Board, so he had unfettered access to the school. According to friends and neighbors, he was having personal issues with his wife (who he had murdered days prior) and extreme financial difficulties. He was also severely disgruntled about having lost a local election the previous autumn. Whatever his reasons, Kehoe took out his rage on the 38 schoolchildren he killed that day. It remains the deadliest attack on a school in US history. Sadly, it wasn’t the first-- there were numerous reports of school shootings throughout the 1800s and before. And as we all know too well, it wouldn’t be the last. Last week’s shooting in Florida is another tragic stain in the pages of US history. And it’s completely understandable that emotions are running high now.
19/02/201844 minutes 35 seconds
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087: You won’t want to miss this crypto podcast

As I write this, bitcoin is trading at $8,600. That's down more than 50% from the December highs of $20,000. But is this selloff a natural correction, or something to be worried about? That's one of the questions I ask my guest Tama Churchouse in today's podcast. Tama was an investment banker for a decade, most recently with JPMorgan. Then he went on to manage a family office. And in 2013, he started buying and learning about bitcoin. He started writing a small note to friends and family about the crypto market and it caught on. He decided to make it a full-time job. And that's led Tama to become one of the most connected writers/investors in the crypto space. He actually just returned from one of the most exclusive crypto gatherings in the world… It's called the Satoshi Roundtable. It's invitation only and about 100 people make the cut. The attendees are CEOs of major crypto firms and some of the core developers for major cryptos - it's the who's who of the ind
13/02/201851 minutes 40 seconds
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086: The only sector that offers value today

In today’s podcast, I talk with our Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, about the global economy. We’re in the midst of one of the longest economic expansions in history. Most assets are trading at all-time highs. Meanwhile, debt is also at all-time highs. But we don’t have a crystal ball… this boom could easily continue for longer than anyone expects. However, Tim notes the US economy largely runs on cheap money and cheap oil. And right now, both interest rates and oil prices are on the rise. Most people aren’t talking about it, but oil prices have jumped 50% in the past seven months. And that means, sooner or later, people will be spending more money at the pump and more money on debt payments – which leaves less money for everything else. But if you look hard enough, you can still find value in today’s market. In this podcast, Tim shares the one sector where he’s personally investing. You can tune in here.
18/01/201833 minutes 42 seconds
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85: Don’t ignore looming catastrophes… take action

In today’s podcast, we discuss the recent crypto meltdown (led by Ripple) and how it plays into our recent theme of avoiding huge mistakes. Here’s the thing about big mistakes… they’re usually obvious and avoidable. Like when the Social Security Board of Trustees told the world in its 2017 report that the “Trust Fund reserves will be depleted by 2035”… and that an “immediate and permanent reduction” in benefits to all current and future Social Security recipients is a reality. The government is telling you Social Security is running out of money. What are you doing about it? Likewise this morning, when Bloomberg reported China (the world’s largest foreign holder of US Treasurys) is considering slowing or halting purchases of US government debt. This would have potentially catastrophic financial implications… and it’s been a worry for a long time. But most people simply ignore the possibility. You can tune in here to learn about some of the big problems that
11/01/201838 minutes 27 seconds
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084: Important Update; Why you should want a second passport

My colleague, Sean Goldsmith, just returned from a tour of the Caribbean. He met with several local governments about their ‘citizenship by investment’ programs – a way to receive a passport by donating money or investing in local businesses or real estate. If you have the means, this is probably the quickest and easiest way to obtain a second citizenship. We’re exploring ways for Sovereign Man readers to get a special deal on these citizenships… and hope to make a major announcement on that front early next year. In today’s podcast, Sean updates us on his travels and discussions with the government. And we discuss why everyone should want a second passport… especially today.
11/12/201743 minutes 8 seconds
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083: An insider’s view on the gold versus cryptocurrency debate

In today’s podcast, I chatted with Silver Bullion’s founder Gregor Gregersen. Silver Bullion is a precious metals storage company based in Singapore. While here in Singapore, Gregor and I discussed why the gold versus Bitcoin debate is misguided. It’s not an either-or proposition. Instead, with systemic risks in the financial system, the case for holding both precious metals and cryptocurrency makes sense. And Silver Bullion offers solutions for both asset classes. [Full disclosure: I’m a director of Silver Bullion.] Gregor’s a software engineer with experience in finance. He recently published a 35-page white paper on an exciting way to hold encrypted, secure Bitcoin in cold storage for decades. And with software Gregor developed himself, you can now store gold at their facility, borrow money with your gold as collateral and buy Bitcoin. You also don’t want to miss Gregor’s opinion on why cryptocurrency and gold will survive the next financial crisis.
22/11/201753 minutes 49 seconds
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082: The two things that can pop the ICO bubble

In today’s podcast, I tackle the subject of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Regular readers know I’m skeptical of cryptocurrencies. And I think many ICOs are outright frauds. We’ve seen celebrities like Paris Hilton, Jamie Fox and Floyd Mayweather all endorse ICOs. A friend of mine who’s raising money in an ICO even told me these things are a bubble. Still, we see more and more companies raising capital from a rabid public. But regulators are already sniffing around. And there are two things that could cause this bubble to crash… quickly. You can listen here.
17/11/201747 minutes 4 seconds
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081: Why you should be very worried about the Paradise Papers

In today’s podcast, I discuss the recent Paradise Papers fiasco – the massive leak of sensitive, offshore financial information held by the Bermudan law firm Appleby. This thing has been a complete witch hunt in the media… The whiny journalists paint the wealthy and famous who parked money offshore as criminals… Though they begrudgingly admit their actions are completely legal. We explain why the wealthy, gasp, actually do some good for society and why we’d much rather the wealthy are able to keep more of their wealth than hand it over to the government to squander. But the Paradise Papers issue is more than just a media circus – it’s class warfare. You won’t want to miss my theory of why people are so angry today and why it’s only going to get worse. You can listen here.
09/11/201754 minutes 18 seconds
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080: Why you’ll probably lose money in bitcoin, regardless of the price

Bitcoin hit another all-time high today on the back of two, major announcements. Dedicated Sovereign Man readers know I don’t pay much attention to Bitcoin’s price. Instead, I focus on the market cap and demand fundamentals. In today’s Podcast, I explain my thoughts on the future demand of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and what these two announcements mean for the sector. And I share the role of investor psychology in cryptocurrency speculation… And why most people buying crypto today will get crushed – even if Bitcoin hits $1 million a coin.
02/11/201733 minutes 38 seconds
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079: How we could see Facebook, Apple and Amazon fall 20% in a single day

In today’s podcast, Sovereign Man's Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose joins me to talk about the risks in today’s market… We cover the rise of passive investing, and why we think it could cause chaos when the market turns – with some of the biggest and most popular stocks (like Apple and Amazon) falling 10% or 20% in a day. We also discuss the massive amount of debt in the system today and how capitalism has turned upside down. Tim also explains his value-investing strategy that has led to a 97% success rate in his advisory service, The 4th Pillar… And he shares a couple of his favorite opportunities today. You can listen to the full discussion here.
20/10/201749 minutes 59 seconds
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078: Eating used coffee grounds for breakfast and black-market cash deals with taxi drivers

Today’s Notes is a bit different… I recorded a conversation I had with my colleague Sean Goldsmith about my recent travels to Venezuela. I explain how I exchanged my US dollars on the black market for Bolivar (with a taxi driver I’d never met before)… and how the situation in Venezuela will get worse before it gets better. Plus, I share observations and stories of things I saw on the ground in one of the world’s poorest and most dangerous countries. Then we discuss the tragedy in Puerto Rico… and why I think Puerto Rico is still one of the greatest opportunities in the world today. They’ve run the numbers, and their tax incentives like Act 20 and Act 22 are helping the island. I expect the amazing incentives will stay in place. And, although the hurricane was devastating, the financial aid that comes along with the storm is a catalyst to get Puerto Rico back on its feet. You can listen to our conversation below.
12/10/201756 minutes 31 seconds
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077: The reason why ICOs have been going through the roof…

First it was Pets.com, and all the unbelievably stupid Internet businesses in the 1990s. Investors were so eager to buy dot-com stocks, all you had to do was put an “e” in front of your business or product and you’d immediately be worth millions. It didn’t matter that most of these companies didn’t make any money. Investors kept buying. Later on after the dot-com bubble burst, another big craze developed in junior mining stocks-- shares of small exploration companies looking for big mineral deposits. The epicenter of the junior mining industry is in Vancouver, Canada, and the stock exchange there (TSX-V) throttled to record highs. Shares of companies with literally no profits, no revenue, and no assets were worth tens of millions of dollars. Then that bubble burst. A few years later, a new hot craze developed-- in cannabis companies. The market has been flooded with companies (many of them curiously based in Canada’s poor climate and high cost structure) with p
22/09/20171 hour 8 minutes 19 seconds
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076: Despite the new ‘plan’, this is -still- a no-brainer tax strategy

Yesterday I recorded a new podcast with my US-based tax attorney to talk about the Trump administration’s new tax plan... or as I like to call it, the plan to have a plan. Clearly they’re trying to do something positive and significant. But to say that their strategy is light on details at just a single page would be a massive understatement. Rather than rehash and recap what has already been covered in the media, my attorney and I dove into some of the more important issues: what’s NOT in the plan, what are the major details to sort out, and what’s SAFE? Personally, I’m extremely skeptical of major tax reform… though I’d be happy to be proven wrong. As I’ve written a number of times, the last time the tax code was updated was 1986. Tech-savvy consumers were still using 5 ¼ inch floppy disks. Many of our readers hadn’t even been born yet. The 1986 tax code was perfectly reasonable for an industrialized economy dominated by large companies like General Motors.
28/04/201751 minutes 34 seconds
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074: Unbelievable facts from the US government's own financial reports

Yesterday I told you that the US government had recently released its annual financial report to the public. And the numbers are pretty gruesome. For example, the government’s “net loss” in fiscal year 2016 more than doubled, from MINUS $467 billion to MINUS $1 trillion. It’s astonishing that anyone could manage to lose so much money, let alone in a year where devoid of major wars, recessions, financial crises, or infrastructure projects. But what else can we expect from an institution that spent billions of dollars to build a website? Today I wanted to highlight a few other items from the government’s report that are worth repeating: 1) The federal government failed its own audit. Again. (page 37) Auditors have a bad reputation. People typically conflate ‘auditor’ with the guys at the IRS who harass taxpayers. This isn’t the case. Auditors actually work for you. Their job is to be an independent, objective set of eyes. They go into a company on your behal
08/02/20171 hour 4 minutes 59 seconds
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073: How to identify the most compelling investments on the planet

[Editor’s note: We have made this content available as an audio and video podcast, but I encourage you to watch the video with the slides.] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsYe8_FFkoA In the video I mention a preview issue of our 4th Pillar Investment Service. Click here to download it. For most of the past week, we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about trading overvalued paper currency for high quality, undervalued businesses. Right now, this is an absolute no-brainer to consider. If you’re holding US dollars, it’s critical to understand that the President of the United States, as well as key members of the Federal Reserve, ALL want the US dollar to get weaker. This means you have an opportunity right now to trade overvalued US dollars, which will likely get weaker, for high quality, undervalued businesses, which will likely get stronger. This is easier said than done, of course. Problem #1 is finding a great business. Problem #2 is making sure that
24/01/20171 hour 11 minutes 26 seconds
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072: “Copper is the new oil” and other views on the future of energy

One of my interesting friends is in town visiting Chile for a few days. His name is Gianni-- he's originally from Croatia but lives in Vancouver, and has spent most of his career in the mining business. Gianni is especially bullish on copper… primarily because he thinks the Age of Big Oil is coming to a rapid close. He believes that conventional gasoline vehicles will be increasingly replaced with electric cars, which simultaneously reduces demand for oil AND increases demand for copper. For investors, this presents an interesting opportunity. Oil and copper prices have been strongly correlated for decades; in other words, as oil prices went up, copper prices went up. This made sense in the past since both commodities were affected by the same macroeconomic forces. Fast growing economies tend to consume a lot of copper and oil, pushing up prices. But now Gianni thinks it’s time for those prices to de-couple. You may recall that German carmaker Volkswagen is
12/01/20170
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071: How can anyone trust these people?

What I’m about to tell you is a true story. And by the end of it, I hope it will be pretty clear that we’ve been programmed to put far, far too much trust in the banking system. We’re told that banks are supposedly “risk free”. And yet every scrap of publicly available evidence shows that banks take every opportunity to prove that they cannot be trusted with other people’s money. They have been caught colluding to fix interest rates, exchange rates, and commodities prices to the detriment of their own customers. They make insanely stupid bets with their depositors’ savings… and then when the bets go wrong, they go to the taxpayer with hat in hand claiming that they’re too important to go bust. But most importantly, as my story will show you, they act with a sanctimonious sense of self-entitlement… that it’s no longer YOUR money in the bank. It’s their money. And they’re going to do whatever they damn well please with it. Take a listen in today’s podcast… the fi
22/12/20160
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070: There’s no reason I should be alive right now

One of the most profound moments of my entire adult life came to me when I was learning about my family history, which I’ve managed to trace back over eight centuries. I discovered so many incredible stories from the past, and the indelible conclusion that I’ve reached is that it’s an absolute miracle that any one of us exists. The last few millennia have seen war, plague, and some of the worst conditions this species have ever experienced. Looking back at my own ancestors’ lives I’m astonished at how many close calls I’ve had to never being born. I’ve calculated the odds, I had a 99.99999% chance of never existing. But despite the odds, my ancestors survived. All of our ancestors survived. And because of that string of luck, I’m here today. And so are you. These days, we have it easy by comparison. Most of us don’t have to deal with genocide, pandemic killer diseases, and civil war… yet we still have our own threats to face. Governments across the West have ama
05/08/201642 minutes 1 second
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069: Tim Price on the Brexit investment opportunities

I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong. Britain’s referendum on whether or not to stay part of the European Union was marred by some of the most blatant propaganda we’ve seen in the West in a very, very long time. But… at the end of the day, the British government at least accurately counted the votes. No shenanigans. “Leave” prevailed. So the UK will officially be leaving the European Union. This has led to some unprecedented moves in the financial markets. The pound is at its cheapest level in decades. High quality British companies are now trading for extraordinary discounts. Investors are panic-selling because they don’t know what’s going to happen next. Britain has been part of the EU for four decades, and now that’s coming to an end. Nothing scares people more than their fear of the unknown. In fact, for decades, the political, media, and financial establishments have been pushing people along a very clear path that they wanted us to follow. Electio
24/06/201646 minutes 53 seconds
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068: Now is the time to be looking at the world’s ‘forgotten’ precious metal

In our daily conversations, we regularly discuss how important it is to own real assets-- especially precious metals. There’s so much risk in the financial system right now. Just consider your own bank account, for example. If you’re in the West, more than likely your bank is -extremely- illiquid, meaning that they only keep a small portion of your funds in reserve. The rest of your money is gambled away in the latest investment fad; and as we’ve reported recently, banks are once again making low-money down home loans to subprime borrowers with YOUR money. This is the same playbook that nearly causes the entire financial system to collapse back in 2008. Now, here’s the thing—and a lot of people don’t realize this: the money in your bank account isn’t really YOURS. Sure, your name is on the bank account. But as soon as you make a deposit, that money belongs to the bank. And you become one of their many, many unsecured creditors. It hardly seems worth the risk, espec
17/06/201640 minutes 4 seconds
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067: You don’t expect a disaster like this until it happens.

No one likes to pay for insurance. If you don’t smoke, if you go to the gym regularly, and if you generally eat well, it just might not seem worth it. Especially when the average cost of insuring against just catastrophic health incidents can take up about 4% of your income. But most of us do it anyway. After all, paying small amounts over time feels a lot better than having to write a huge check when you’re at your worst. It’s become the norm to take out insurance against just about every possibility— We buy car insurance in case we get into a car wreck. We buy house insurance in case our house catches on fire. We buy life insurance in case we die sooner than expected. However, there’s one huge threat to our livelihoods that very few insure themselves against: financial disaster. In comparison to your house suddenly bursting into flames, financial panic is far more predictable and frequent. Given that the average business cycle lasts about 6 years, the
26/05/201646 minutes 30 seconds
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066: Guess how it much it cost to build America

I come to New York City every year because it’s where the annual meeting of the Atlas 400 group is held. If you’ve not heard of Atlas, it’s a social club… primarily for like-minded, high achieving, self-made individuals. I always go out of my way to attend the annual meeting because the other members are some of the most interesting people I know. The late Jim Rohn used to say that you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with. And while I’m not certain this is entirely true, I do think it makes sense to surround yourself with high quality individuals that you can learn from. That’s why I come here each year. And I learned so much this weekend from the high caliber of people in attendance. I learned from one of the world’s foremost collectibles experts, for example, what are the ‘no brainer’ collectibles investments right now that are likely to go up dramatically in value over the next few years. One of the most astute financial minds I know w
16/05/201649 minutes 7 seconds
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065: Why is this country so poor?

“What is it about this place that makes it so poor?” It was a simple question posed to me by a friend as we walked the streets of Managua, Nicaragua earlier this week. Nicaragua is a lovely place. But it’s poor. Very poor. It’s the least developed economy in Central America... and that’s saying something. But it’s worth considering: what makes an economy like Nicaragua so poor? And what makes others so wealthy? Having traveled to nearly 120 countries, I’ve seen the full range of rich and poor nations. And I’ll tell you, it has nothing to do with natural resources or anything like that. I often have meetings with senior ministers and government officials around the world who tell me all about the amazing resources they have in their country. “We have so much forestry land,” or, “Our bauxite reserves are among the highest in the world…” Irrelevant. Venezuela has incredible oil reserves. Yet they’ve been living in poverty for years. (Now that oil prices are down th
14/04/201649 minutes 3 seconds
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064: If a porn star says its bad, it must be bad

The Internet practically exploded this morning after a detailed report was published proving that dozens of corrupt politicians around the world have been stealing public funds and hiding the loot overseas. In other news, the Pope is Catholic. Not to make light of this, but this hardly comes as a surprise. There’s some Grade A filth in positions of power who routinely funnel public funds into their own pockets. Whether they secret the funds offshore, buy expensive flats in London, purchase Bitcoin, or stuff cash under their mattresses seems hardly relevant. The real issue is that systems of government routinely put morally bankrupt individuals in control of trillions of dollars of cash. Seriously, what do people expect is going to happen? Yet this never seems to be concern. The media outcry always seems to focus on the manner in which public officials hide their assets, not the fact that the funds were stolen to begin with. This report targets the illicit use of of
04/04/201644 minutes 12 seconds
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063: How I’m trying to help a desperate family member

Yesterday I received a rather desperate phone call from a relative of mine named Sam. I used to spend a LOT of time with Sam growing up. And back then he was an amazing guy. Sam was the kind of person who was so charismatic that you felt happy and excited just being around him. He was an incredibly positive person with a keen interest in helping others. I remember how frequently he used to start some meaningful project to benefit his community, or quite often less-fortunate people thousands of miles away that he had never met. Sam was also incredibly successful. He was just one of those people who always seemed to be able to make money. And over the course of his life he amassed substantial wealth. Sam was constantly learning and creating; he was in to art, science, technology... a real Renaissance man. Most of all, Sam was a person of rock-solid integrity. He stood up for his values, and the rest of us deeply respected him. I’m really grateful to have had his m
30/03/20165 minutes 6 seconds
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062: This is how World War III starts—it will be financial

In his History of the Peloponnesian War, ancient Greek historian Thucydides told us the tale of a dominant regional power (Sparta) that felt threatened by the rise of a competing power (Athens). Sparta felt so threatened, in fact, that all the moves they made to keep the Athenian rise in check eventually escalated the power struggle into an all out war. Modern political scientists call this the Thucydides Trap. The idea is that when, out of fear, a dominant power takes certain steps to keep its competitor at bay, these actions ultimately lead to war between the two. There’s a lot of concern that the US and China will fall into the Thucydides Trap. This is certainly a valid concern. Both are nuclear superpowers with some of the largest militaries in the world. But in 2016, modern warfare is not about tanks and aircraft carriers anymore. Modern warfare is insurgent, cyber, and financial. In fact, if you look at the state of the financial system and the tactical brink
29/03/20161 hour 1 minute 35 seconds
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061: Young people: definitely listen to this [audio]

It’s no secret that the conventional model of success no longer works. Go to school, get good grades, get a good job, work your way up the ladder, and then enjoy life when you retire. This idea has been drummed into our heads since we were young, but today it’s totally defunct. Following that path means you’re likely to end up with a mountain of student debt and an incredibly expensive piece of paper that guarantees neither job security nor even a real education. In my mind, the best model for education and success is the oldest one: mentorship. It’s the best way to learn real skills-- studying directly under someone who has mastered the skills that you hope to develop. It’s the way the world worked for thousands of years, and it’s the way that still makes the most sense today. For seven years in a row we’ve built our annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship camps around this concept of mentorship. And in today’s podcast, I make a departure from our normal topics and
25/03/201629 minutes 39 seconds
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060: Open your high-risk savings account today!

I remember several years ago in the Land of the Free when the big wave in the banking industry was to offer “free checking”. There used to be a time (that a lot of people probably don’t remember) when banks charged monthly or annual fees to maintain your bank account. This changed several years ago. Banks even started running commercials encouraging customers to open their “free checking” accounts right away. Of course this is total nonsense. Banks aren’t exactly charitable organizations, and they have an uninterrupted track record of screwing their customers to make money. In this case, “free checking” is just a ruse to get you to open an account so that they can make stupid investments with your money. Banks in Europe, for example, are taking your money and buying government bonds that have negative yields and are hence guaranteed to lose money. That’s what they’re doing with your savings. It’s insane. In the Land of the Free, banks are once again stocking up on
19/02/201623 minutes 20 seconds
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059: Don’t count on banks and governments to go gentle into that good night…

Pop quiz: What was the top grossing movie in the world the last time the US tax code was overhauled? The answer is Top Gun. And the year was 1986. (Other major hits that year include Karate Kid II, Crocodile Dundee, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) Think about it-- this a tax code that was created for a highly industrialized economy. And that might have made sense thirty years ago. But in the decades since, everything has changed. The world is flat. Globalized. And completely digital. An antiquated tax code based on geography and industrial manufacturing simply doesn’t make any sense today. Our banking system is in a similar position. Banks today continue to insert themselves in the middle of every financial transaction imaginable, just as they did centuries ago. Savings, lending, transfers, payments, foreign exchange—all of these transactions are highly centralized (and manipulated) by a private cartel that has no business existing in our modern world. Today there ar
09/02/201636 minutes 18 seconds
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058: The best kept secret in finance (with Tim Price)

This week I’ve been down in Southern Chile with the Board of Directors of our agricultural company. It’s summertime right now, and the weather is absolutely gorgeous. Last night, after a long day visiting one of the farms I had a chance to sit down with Tim Price to share a bottle of our very own Sovereign Valley wine and record a podcast. It’s been about two months now since the last episode, so I invite you to listen to our comeback with the Podcast Awakens. Over the course of a few glasses we dive into discussion about oil prices, financial markets, and an entire investment class that most people haven’t even heard of. One that’s likely to do VERY well this year. We invite you to clink glasses with us and listen in as we share the best kept secret in finance.
29/01/201634 minutes 40 seconds
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057: Here’s how to hedge the massive risks in the banking system

It started in 1921. World War I was over. The Treaty of Versailles had been signed two years before. And Germany, the biggest loser from the war, had been stuck with both the blame and the bill. Germany’s war debt-- which it owed not only for its own war-related expenses, but also for reparations to the victors-- was devastating. They didn’t have the money, so they started printing it. Not surprisingly, the German mark began to sink. It started slowly at first, but by 1921 hyperinflation had taken hold until prices soared by thousands of percent. One of my favorite stories from this period, was of the elderly man who went to the police to report a robbery. Thieves had stolen a wheelbarrow of money. It was common at the time to use wheelbarrows to transport the huge sums of cash that were required to buy even the most simple things like bread and milk. When the police asked him how much was in the wheelbarrow, the man corrected them saying that the thieves had on
24/11/20151 hour 18 minutes 35 seconds
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056: Emotional decisions are almost always bad decisions

I want to tell you about a time when I was really scared. Terrified. It was back in 2003, right as George W. Bush made his final decision to send the 'coalition of the willing' north into Iraq. Saddam Hussein knew he was finished. And, in a fit of desperation, he started launching loads of Scud tactical ballistic missiles towards the invading forces. Missile attacks are pretty scary. You can't hide behind a rock and duck the blast. And, at least as an individual, you can't shoot back. I distinctly remember being outside as the missile alarms were going off, looking up into the sky, and thinking, "Well I hope I don't die." I'm not going to tell any tough guy stories-- I was afraid. And given that there was nothing I could do, I felt totally helpless. It's that feeling of helplessness that is the closest thing I can tap into in my own experience for the horror and tragedy of a terror attack. And I know my own experiences don't begin to compare-- we were in a warzone
18/11/201548 minutes 42 seconds