real estate

Blog

r.classen/Shutterstock

The Mother Of All Financial Bubbles

Will be unimaginably destructive when it bursts
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 11:45 PM

The main lesson from Oroville -- or Fukushima, or Katrina --  is that governments do a poor job of relating accurate information to their citizens when big threats are involved. Part of that is likely due to a desire to avoid stoking fear. Part probably due to politics and bureaucracy. And part probably due to plain old incompetence.

Regardless of the cause, it means that the public -- even the vigilant ones -- suffer information deficits when it matters most. Simply put, the authorities do not share all the facts necessary for making informed decisions.

Which brings us to one of the truly great risks we're facing today. One with much more destructive potential than a single failed dam but, like Oroville, one the authorities are desperate to keep us in the dark about. » Read more

Blog

adirondackalmanack.com

A Murderous Complacency

Dark omens are circling everywhere in today's markets
Friday, February 3, 2017, 5:38 PM

Running PeakProsperity.com requires me to read and process a lot of data on a daily basis. As it's hard to digest it all in real-time, I keep a running list of charts, tables and articles that catch my attention, to return to when I have the time to give them my full attention.

Lately, that list has been getting quite long. And it's largely full of indicators that concern me, signals that the long era of "extend and pretend" in today's markets may finally be at its terminus.

Like crows circling overhead, everyday brings with it new worrisome statistics that portend an ill change ahead. Indeed, these signs are increasing so quickly now that it's hard not to feel like Tippi Hedren in Hitchcock's classic The Birds. » Read more

Blog

Dreamstime

The Marginal Buyer Holds The Pin That Pops Every Asset Bubble

So it's important to watch him very closely
Friday, August 19, 2016, 2:01 AM

Those of you who took an Economics class in college may remember the saying that prices are set "at the margin". That's a fancy way to say that prices are set by the person (or people) willing to pay the most.

This person willing to pay top dollar is called the "marginal buyer". Most of us don't really think about him, but he (or she) is very, very important.

Why? Because the marginal buyer not only determines price levels, but also their stability and degree of volatility. The behavior of the marginal buyer, as well as the degree of competition for his/her "top dog" spot, sets the prices of nearly every asset class held by today's investors. » Read more

Insider

How To Beat Inflation

Protecting the purchasing power of your wealth
Friday, July 29, 2016, 3:31 PM

Executive Summary

  • Taking Advantage of Subsidies
  • The Importance of Adding New Income Streams
  • Income-Producing Assets
  • Hedges, Cost-Controls & Other Strategies

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we compared official rates of inflation with hard data from the real world, and found that it’s not just the cost of burritos that has soared over 100% while inflation has supposedly been trundling along at 1% or 2% per year. The real killer is the soaring cost of big-ticket essentials such as rent, higher education and healthcare.

So what can we do about it? There are only a few strategies that can make a real difference: either qualify for subsidies (i.e. lower household income), own assets and income streams that keep up with real-world inflation, or radically reduce the cost structure of big-ticket household expenses.

Qualify for Subsidies

Though it runs counter to our philosophy of self-reliance, we have to address incentives offered by the system we inhabit. One powerful set of incentives is entitlement subsidies for lower income households: rent subsidies (Section 8), healthcare subsidies (Medicaid and ACA/Obamacare), college tuition waivers, food subsidies (food stamps), free school lunches, and so on.

These programs were designed to aid households that cannot earn more income, but for households on the borderline between paying full freight (no subsidies) and receiving some subsidies, it makes sense to work less, earn less and qualify for substantial subsidies.

I am not recommending gaming the system, I am simply noting that subsidies exist and those who earn just above qualifying incomes are in effect punished for earning a bit too much.

In many cases, we assume subsidies are reserved for “poor people” and we don’t qualify. For entitlements such as food stamps (SNAP), this is generally the case. But other programs offer some subsidies to households with incomes that are substantial... » Read more

Insider

How My Personal Portfolio Is Positioned Right Now

You've asked. I answer.
Friday, June 24, 2016, 4:46 PM

Executive Summary

If you have not yet read Part 1: Fortunes Will Be Made & Lost When Capital Flees To Safety available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

So, given the conclusions in Part 1 -- as well as the larger risks to the economy and financial markets that we analyze daily here at Peak Prosperity -- how am I positioning my own personal investments?

I get asked this question often. Often enough that I'm deciding to open the kimono here and let it drop to the ground. Everyone interested to look will get the full frontal.

Before I do though, let me make a few things absolutely clear. This is NOT personal financial advice. The investment choices I've made are based on my own unique situation, financial goals and risk tolerance. And I may change these choices at any moment given new market developments. What's appropriate for me may not be for you, so DO NOT blindly duplicate what I'm doing.

As always, we recommend working with a professional financial adviser to build an investment plan customized to your own needs and objectives. (If you do not have a financial adviser or do not feel comfortable with your current adviser's expertise in the market risks we discuss here at PeakProsperity.com, consider scheduling a free consultation with our endorsed adviser)

Suffice it to say, any investment ideas sparked by this report should be reviewed with your financial adviser before taking any action. Am I being excessively repetitive here in order to drive this point home? Good...

OK, with that out of the way, let's get started. I'll walk through the asset classes I own and my rationale for holding each.

The strategy behind my portfolio allocation is of my own devise, though it has been influenced in no small part by the good folks at New Harbor Financial, Peak Prosperity's aforementioned endorsed financial adviser.

At a high level, it has been constructed to address my strongly-held conclusions that:

  • Prices of most asset classes are dangerously overvalued
  • The risk of another economic contraction on par with (or greater than) the Great Recession within the next 2-4 years is uncomfortably high
  • The most likely path is we will experience a short period of coming deflation, followed soon after by one of high inflation as central banks starting printing currency without restraint (the Ka-POOM theory)
  • Capital will increasingly want to flow from paper assets (tertiary wealth) into tangible ones (primary and secondary wealth)
  • This is a time to prioritize protecting capital (defense) over speculating on how to grow it (offense)
  • Diversification is wise: just be emotionally prepared that some of your bets, by definition, will not pay off
  • In today's world of financial repression, no asset class is truly "safe". As such, asset performance is all relative.

This is not a swing-for-the-fences portfolio. It's much more of a prepare-for-the-storm approach... » Read more

Insider

Shutterstock

ALERT: Markets In Breakdown

Time to take emergency funds out of the banking system
Thursday, February 11, 2016, 1:47 PM

This is a formal ALERT.

We issue those very sparingly here at Peak Prosperity. We only issue them when world events have gotten to the point that we are personally taking new actions to shore up our preparations.

2016 is fast proving that the tranquility the world has enjoyed from 2010 up to now has been false; that the problems we face were merely temporarily papered-over by central planners, not resolved. That tranquility is now over. Prepare for more turbulent times. » Read more

Insider

Blueximages | Dreamstime.com

First The Fall...

A Special Report: Deflation is here
Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 1:41 AM

One of the models of the future that I favor is the Ka-Poom theory put out by Erik Jansen of iTulip.com back in 1999.

Basically it states that the end of a bubble era begins with a sharp deflationary event (the ‘Ka’ part of the title), but ends in a highly inflationary blow-off, (the ‘Poom’).

It’s a one-two punch. Down then up. » Read more

Blog

A Quick Sanity Check

A cautionary reminder of where we are in this story
Monday, January 19, 2015, 1:06 AM

Sometimes it pays to step way back and look at things from a high level.

In response to the 2008 crisis, the world's major central banks pumped an unprecedented amount of monetary stimulus into the system -- all in the name of kick starting enough economic growth to pull the planet out of its fundamental sinkhole of Too Much Debt.

More than six years and over $4 trillion later, what exactly can we say it did for us?

Not enough, as the following short video summarizes. » Read more

Blog

gpointstudio/Shutterstock

The Good News In All The Bad Data

A rare convergence of confidence in future developments
Friday, June 13, 2014, 1:14 AM

Today's financial markets make a mockery out of sanity and logic. The difference between what SHOULD happen and what IS happening is perhaps the greatest it has been in our investing lifetimes.

If you're perplexed, flummoxed, frustrated, stymied, enraged, bored, irritated, insulted, discouraged -- any or all of these -- by the ever-higher blind grinding of asset prices over the past several years, despite so many structural reasons for concern, you have good reason to be.