2012 Year in Review

Free markets, rule of law, and other urban legends
Friday, December 21, 2012, 2:34 PM


I was just trying to figure it all out.

~ Michael Burry, hedge fund manager

Every December, I write a Year in Review that has now found a home at Chris Martenson’s website,2,3 What started as a simple summary intended for a couple dozen people morphed over time into a much more detailed account that accrued over 25,000 clicks last year.4 'Year in Review' is a bit of a misnomer in that it is both a collage of what happened, plus a smattering of issues that are on my radar right now. As to why people care what an organic chemist thinks about investing, economics, monetary policy, and societal moods I can only offer a few thoughts.

For starters, in 33 years of investing with a decidedly undiversified portfolio, I had only one year in which my total wealth decreased in nominal dollars. For the 13 years beginning 01/01/00—the 13 toughest investing years of the new millennium!—I have been able to compound my personal wealth at an 11% annualized rate. This holds up well against the pros. I am also fairly good at distilling complexity down to simplicity and seem to be a congenital contrarian. I also have been a devout follower of Austrian business cycle theory—i.e., free market economics—since the late 1990s.4

Each review begins with a highly personalized analysis of my efforts to get through another year of investing followed by a more holistic overview of what is now a 33-year quest for a ramen-soup-free retirement. These details may be instructive for those interested in my approach to investing. The bulk of the review, however, describes thoughts and observations—the year’s events told as a narrative. The links are copious, albeit not comprehensive. Some are flagged with enthusiasm. Everything can be found here.5 » Read more


Off the Cuff: Awaking with a Whopper Hangover

Reality can be cruel
Friday, November 9, 2012, 12:06 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff with Mish & Chris podcast, Mish and Chris discuss:

  • Post-Election Plunge
    • Why are the markets selling off so hard?
  • The Return of the EuroCrisis
    • It worsened while we ignored it.
  • The Fiscal Cliff
    • Will we drive off it? And at what speed?
  • Gold's Resurgence
    • Showing strength as investors demand safety

America awoke on Wednesday with the Presidential election finally over and talk from the re-elected incumbent of moving 'forward' again. » Read more


Time to Focus on 'Return of Capital'

Reflections on the day after the election
Wednesday, November 7, 2012, 12:01 PM

I am more concerned with the return of my money than the return on my money.

- unknown (often attributed to Mark Twain or Will Rogers)

The U.S. Presidential race is now behind us. And this morning the world woke up and realized that all the issues the election postponed now lie before us.

In his victory speech, President Obama focused on moving 'forward': » Read more