The economy imploded a year ago. It was traumatic and devastating to many, but it wasn't really surprising to serious gold investors.
Those who seemed most surprised should not have been: reporters in the mass media who are supposed to be our guardians. They had ignored, and even suppressed, explicit warnings about everything that came to pass. Yet now, when many in the media review what transpired one year ago - and even have the chutzpah to draw "lessons" of what we supposedly now know - they overlook their own complicity in what happened. And in their list of lessons they neglect to mention obvious conclusions:
Debt cannot be papered over.
Inflated currency is no substitute for gold.
A personal portfolio should be diversified beyond stocks.
Consumer confidence cannot be manipulated indefinitely.
Politicians can't ensure prosperity for this generation by bankrupting the next.
The media instead go to the same "experts" who were surprised by the economic meltdown to tell us what lessons we, the duped, should now draw. Usually their lessons come down to this: we should take their advice again - more regulation, higher taxes, more government spending, more lawyers and bureaucracy...
Gloom, glam, doom, damn
Over the last year, it seems like we went through four cycles of media coverage.
First, gloom. When the economy imploded, the media reported that the economy was in freefall and only government could save it...even though government had let it happen.
Second, glam. When President Obama enjoyed a glamorous inauguration, the media coverage seemed to suggest that sheer hope and charisma could save the republic.
Third, doom. When the economy continued to decline, despite "stimulus" and bailouts, the media reported that we may need to be resigned to ongoing recession, high unemployment and massive deficits "as far as the eye can see."
Fourth, "damn, the economy is still awful." That's the media attitude now. And for many investors, the feeling is, "Damn, I wish I had diversified my portfolio to include gold, instead of putting everything into my house, stock and credit cards."
Silence isn't golden
Over the last year I've heard from a lot of friends and associates about my past warnings about the economy, and how accurate I was as to what unfolded. I wasn't the only Paul Revere warning that "the crisis is coming, the crisis is coming." But I regret that I was unable to do more.
"I told you so" is an obnoxious thing to say. We all make mistakes and we don't like to have people remind us when we were warned. But I'm tempted to be blunt now in saying "I told you so" because this economic crisis is far from over... and you still need to diversify your portfolio. You can still profit from investing in gold. And I don't want to be saying "I told you so, twice" to friends a year from now.
So, I will give you an overview of gold...and urge you to take action.
The 3 R's - Reality, Reasoning, Recommendations
REALITY: Gold is money. Gold has been, and remains, the most important money in the world. It has been accepted as money around the world for over 4,000 years.
If you doubt that gold is the most important money, let me ask you: What does the U.S. military pack in the emergency kit of fighter pilots in case they need to buy their survival? They don't put in dollars, yen, pound notes, or any other paper money. The U.S. military puts into the emergency kit some gold coins. Why? Because at all times, and in all circumstances, GOLD IS MONEY.
To appreciate the reality of gold, consider it in terms of past, present and future.
In the past, no currency has been as powerful, sought-after, or legendary. Gold is the classic example of wealth -- memorialized in legend by the Chinese, Aztecs, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
Gold not only symbolizes wealth, it implies success and winning: good as Gold, the Golden touch, the Gold medal, and history's Golden Rule: he that holds the Gold makes the rules.
Gold is the ultimate store of value. It has outlasted all paper currency and fiat money. And it certainly has out-lasted stocks. In fact, of the 30 original stocks that made up the Dow in 1929, only 1 is still there today. Gold will retain its value when many of today's stocks are nothing more than a memory.
Gold bullion is forever. Gold bullion cannot decline to zero and it cannot be created at will by central bankers or governments.
Yes, gold is rare and limited. It takes a tremendous amount of energy, time and effort to manufacture gold and bring it to the surface from a mine -- unlike paper money, which is printed daily and endlessly by central banks all over the world.
So, gold is precious...it has intrinsic value...and gold is forever.
That is the reality of the past. Let's look at realities of the present.
Gold has almost quadrupled since the gold bull market started in April, 2001.
Some worry that gold's current value of around $1,000 per ounce may not be sustainable. But when you factor in inflation over the last ten years, you realize that it's not at an unsustainable high; there's huge potential for continued growth.
What is the future reality? All signs point to a continued upswing in gold prices.
All the factors that created the last gold bull market are present - only, they are several times greater.
We anticipate the future by understanding the past. The reality is, gold responds well to currency debasement, monetary uncertainty, and inflation. The U.S. is now the greatest debtor nation in the world, not a creditor nation as in the 1970s.
The U.S. continues to run massive budget, trade and current account deficits. We see lack of confidence in the dollar, continued political unrest, international terrorism, threats to trade and the world oil supply...
It's not a matter of optimism or pessimism - just realism. The reality is that the economic and political fundamentals have created the Perfect Storm for precious metal investments. That brings me to the second R...
REASONS to own gold.
The two reasons to own gold are insurance and investment.
Gold acts, and has always acted, as portfolio insurance - protecting you against potential disaster of your financial assets. Gold is a hedge because it is negatively correlated to traditional financial assets. In other words, when paper assets go up - like, stocks and bonds -- gold goes down. And when paper assets go down, gold goes up. It is a negative correlation.
That's why they used to say on Wall Street, "Put 10% of your assets into gold and hope it doesn't work."
This has held true for many years. History has shown that a gold-hedged portfolio during uncertain financial and political times provides the ultimate insurance against potential economic calamity.
The second reason to own gold is as an investment.
Key indicators are lined up to keep the young gold bull market roaring:
- The U.S. financial deterioration - in the national deficits, and in the debt burden of U.S. consumers
- The debasement of world currencies
- The accelerating investment demand for gold - India alone consumes 25% of the world's annual production. There is a growing demand for gold in the Middle East and in China, where a few years ago residents couldn't even own gold.
Before the economic implosion, Wall Street "experts" said that gold prices were rising just because China and Russia and India were buying more gold...or because oil prices were rising...or because all commodities were rising. This was all "noise" - partly true, but missing the real point. What Wall Street, CNBC, and others didn't tell you were that a rise in gold has historically been a harbinger of bear markets, political calamity, and hard times for the financial industry.
Gold is, by definition, a hedge against the types of investments that Wall Street promotes - and from which it draws its commissions and million dollar bonuses. So, Wall Street rejects bullish forecasts on gold because they usually coincide with bearish stock market forecasts. Their clients don't buy stocks when Wall Street is bearish. Wall Street doesn't make as much money when they say the market is going down. Plus, most of the Wall Street brokers were in diapers 25 years ago, and haven't had any experience with rising gold and inflation. They can't fathom a bull market in gold, and they don't want to encourage one.
But history is reality. And, historically, gold bull markets can last a generation. Gold bottomed in 2001, so we are just eight years into the current bull market. And, based on the historic dislocations in today's global economy, I don't think this bull market will be anything close to average.
Perhaps the most important factor in why gold will continue to increase in value and price is this: NOT ONE IN TEN U.S. investor currently owns a single gold stock.
This means opportunity. It means this is a young bull market.
In investing, timing is everything. You want to be like those who got in early in the Internet run-up, then had the sense to get out when taxi drivers started giving them tips on dotcom start-ups that had no product or service to sell.
Now is the time to invest in gold.
I believe the worst financial decision you can make is to ignore gold, and not make it part of your portfolio. Ignoring gold could cost you a potential fortune. That brings us to the third R:
RECOMMENDATIONS to invest in gold...
I would only offer specific investment advice after a personal talk with you about your financial goals, your tolerance for risk, and your current asset allocation. But I will offer general recommendations.
First, you should add at least some gold to your portfolio. There are easy and safe vehicles.
Gold is now under-valued, under-owned, and under-appreciated. So, this is still a young bull. And that is the best time to invest in a secular bull market. Frankly, I believe this gold bull market will make the Internet boom look like child's play.
After all, people could create dot.coms with an accountant and lawyer. But you cannot create gold.
That doesn't mean you should invest in anything and everything related to gold.
I've done a lot of research to find the legitimate gold mining and exploration companies that have good management, a good track record and huge potential.
You should consult with an independent advisor to truly diversify your portfolio. By contrast, stock brokers are paid to move stock and generate commissions. It's a built-in conflict of interest. And once a stock gets written up in Forbes or shouted up by Cramer, it's the opposite of a hot tip.
I get new information daily about gold mining and exploration companies. I see opportunities early. I evaluate the three levels of gold mining companies - the major producers, the junior companies, and the exploration stocks. I'm happy to explain the factors that go into choosing a good gold mining company, the importance of accumulating a basket of junior and exploration mining companies, and how you can monitor your investments on a daily basis.
But this is the time to act.
This is the time... when few are aware of how the economic and political fundamentals have created a Perfect Storm for gold. At this time, gold is the investment opportunity of a lifetime. So, please consider gold as both insurance and an investment.
We live in uncertain times. But, like our brave fighter pilots, we have a choice what to pack in our emergency kits.
Gold should be in there... for your sake, and for your family's.