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Off The Cuff: Increasing Signs The Long Bubble Cycle Is Ending

Long-standing trends are beginning to reverse
Monday, November 20, 2017, 2:01 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • End-Of-Cycle Signals
    • Long-standing trends are changing
  • Big Trouble In Saudi Arabia
    • Now a powderkeg with a short, lit fuse
  • Central Bank Culpability
    • It's scary how such powerful entities are so clueless
  • Bitcoin Today, Gold Tomorrow
    • Hot capital will seek trusted shelter when crisis arrives

In this podcast, John enumerates the growing number of market indicators he sees that suggest major trend changes are afoot in the economy. He believes the long-standing bull cycle, now at bubble-level extreme asset valuations, is set to reverse.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.

Ruslan Guzov/Shutterstock

Success Strategies For Retirement

How to afford retirement, enjoyably
Friday, November 17, 2017, 7:26 PM

Executive Summary

  • The Importance of Adding New Income Streams
  • Income-Producing Assets
  • Taking Advantage of Subsidies
  • Hedges, Cost-Controls & Other Strategies
  • The 14 Steps to Prosperity

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Great Retirement Con, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we revealed the woefully insufficient level of retirement savings -- across IRAs, 401ks, and public pensions --- America faces as it's largest demographic cohort, the Baby Boomers, now reaches retirement age. And eating quickly away at the scant savings that exist is the soaring cost of big-ticket essentials such as rent, higher education and healthcare that retirees can't avoid paying.

So what can we do about it?

There are only a few strategies that can make a real difference:  own assets and income streams that keep up with real-world inflation, radically reduce the cost structure of big-ticket household expenses, qualify for subsidies (i.e. lower household income), and/or adopt a healthier view of what prosperity in retirement means.

Owning Income-Producing Enterprises and Assets

This chart says volumes about the difference between wealthy households and middle-class households: the middle-class households’ primary asset is the family home, while the wealthy households’ primary asset is business equity: ownership of an enterprise or shares in enterprises.

Developing a profitable enterprise is easier said than done (it helps to inherit a family business), and there is no guarantee a business that’s successful today will still be successful next year.

Nonetheless, it’s striking that the middle class is... » Read more


Anton Watman/Shutterstock

The Oil Threat

Why a debilitating price spike is 2 or less years away
Friday, November 10, 2017, 6:57 PM

Executive Summary

  • China's imminent peak in oil production
  • The final key player in this story: Russia
  • How to prepare before oil becomes a LOT more expensive
  • What to prepare for? Higher prices (for everything real), lower prices (for everything paper), and more wars...

If you have not yet read Part 1: If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn't Worry You, You're Not Paying Attention available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

China’s Impending Oil Peak

The motivations of China are completely obvious here.  China is eager to forge better relations with any country from which it can import oil and KSA is right at the top of that list.

A truly startling (to me) report from the China University of Petroleum put all of this in proper context and urgency came out earlier this year (2017) which announced that after conducting a wide-ranging study that China faces an imminent peak in oil output (from both conventional and unconventional sources) as early as 2018.

This is really big news.   The implications for global geopolitics, financial stability, and literally anything you consider personally important are huge.

China faces looming energy crisis, warns state-funded study

Oct 5, 2017

Nafeez Ahmed

A new scientific study led by the China University of Petroleum in Beijing, funded by the Chinese government, concludes that China is about to experience a peak in its total oil production as early as next year.

Without finding an alternative source of “new abundant energy resources”, the study warns, the 2018 peak in China’s combined conventional and unconventional oil will undermine continuing economic growth and “challenge the sustainable development of Chinese society.”

This also has major implications for the prospect of a 2018 oil squeeze — as China scales its domestic oil peak, rising demand will impact world oil markets in a way most forecasters aren’t anticipating, contributing to a potential supply squeeze. That could happen in 2018 proper, or in the early years that follow.

There are various scenarios that follow from here  — China could: shift to reducing its massive demand for energy, a tall order in itself given population growth projections and rising consumption; accelerate a renewable energy transition; or militarise the South China Sea for more deepwater oil and gas.

Right now, China appears to be incoherently pursuing all three strategies, with varying rates of success. But one thing is clear — China’s decisions on how it addresses its coming post-peak future will impact regional and global political and energy security for the foreseeable future.


The author of the article, Nafeez Ahmed (who we’ve interviewed before and admire greatly - he's one of the really good ones out there), left out one other option on China’s scenario table, which was to forge stronger relationships with the world’s two key oil exporters – Saudi Arabia and Russia.   That scenario is now a reality and already well underway. 

Here’s the mind-blowing chart that the study produced.  It literally tells the... » Read more


Off The Cuff: Regime Change!

The unfolding power play in Saudi Arabia is a very big deal
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 5:42 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris discusses:

  • Regime Change
    • What going on in Saudi Arabia is a huge deal
  • We May Not Like What Comes Next
    • The Saudis are getting a lot more chummy with China & Russia
  • Rules For Rulers
    • Much of the Saudi shuffling make sense when viewed through that lens
  • Observations From Munich
    • Chris reflects on some cultural strengths that caught his eye

Chris has spent much of the past 48 hours analyzing the fast-changing situation on the ground in Saudi Arabia. Why? Because the axis of America's global might revolves in large part around its continued easy access to plentiful cheap oil from that kingdom. But recent developments suggest a shift may be underway -- one not in the US' favor. What will the implications be if this proves to be the case?  

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.


A Primer On How To Use TreasuryDirect

A step-by-step walkthrough
Friday, November 3, 2017, 8:35 PM

Executive Summary

  • Create a TreasuryDirect account
  • Funding and transacting in your account
  • Laddering your transactions
  • Advice for your first transaction

If you have not yet read Part 1: Earn More On Your Cash Savings (With Less Risk) available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

If you have cash savings in excess of $10,000 stored at a bank, it makes good sense in today's low-interest rate environment to consider opening a TreasuryDirect account in order to obtain a much higher return for equivalent better risk, as detailed in Part 1.

I, myself, have done this with my own personal cash savings. And I currently remain actively invested in T-Bills through TreasuryDirect. So I have first-hand experience from which to judge the program.

Here in Part 2, I'll walk you through the straightforward steps for creating a TreasuryDirect account (which is free), funding it, and then making transactions within it. 

Before I do though, let me make a few things absolutely clear. This is NOT personal financial advice. The investment choices I make 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 share of my own personal investing plans in my writings on this website.

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 advisor or do not feel comfortable with your current advisor's expertise in the market risks we discuss here at, consider scheduling a free consultation with our endorsed advisor)

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

With that clarification, here's what you need to get started... » Read more



What To Invest In When The Everything Bubble Bursts

Where will true value be found?
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 12:38 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why conventional analysis may not be our best guide anymore
  • The critical importance of scarcity and value-production
  • Making the most of your time and capital
  • How to best prepare for the popping of the 'Everything' Bubble

If you have not yet read Part 1: What Could Pop the Everything Bubble? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we surveyed the economic and socio-political dynamics that will pop the credit/asset bubbles that have created an illusion of normalcy, continuity and prosperity for the past eight years. So how do we non-elites prepare for the end of the everything bubble and the rise of economic, socio-political disorder?

The Conventional Approach

The conventional approach is to seek out assets that will survive either a deflationary implosion (i.e. an implosive collapse of collateral and debt) or high inflation fueled by massive helicopter money distributions to keep the “growth” machine chugging forward.

The Usual Suspects are real-world tangible assets such as precious metals, real estate, orchards, oil fields, solar panels, etc.  These are touted as survivable assets because their utility value remains intact regardless of whether their price in currencies drops or soars.

Another Usual Suspect is intrinsically scarce collectibles such as fine art, early 1960s-era Fender guitars, etc.

A newcomer is bitcoin and the other leading cryptocurrencies, which are seen by many as holding scarcity value due to their limited issuance.

This approach is commonsensical and sound, as far as it goes. But it is ultimately a financial approach, not much different than any other form of sell high, buy low, sell high advice of switching out of overvalued asset classes into undervalued asset classes, and then riding the uptrend in the undervalued asset until it too is overvalued.

This approach assumes the larger socio-political-economic system will sort itself out in due time, i.e. it assumes continuity based on self-correcting mechanisms built into the financial status quo.

I’m not so sure that the financial system has any self-correcting mechanisms left, or that they will function as expected in a phase shift or supernova implosion.

Put another way... » Read more


Running Out Of Room

No energy = no goods and services = no economy
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 9:58 AM

The idea of an 'industrial economy' is an extremely recent human invention. And we’ve staked quite a lot on its continuation.

But it faces a massive predicament: It’s running out of resources.

When talking about the “economy”, we're really referring to the flow of goods and services --- which are themselves entirely dependent on energy. No energy = no goods and services = no economy. It’s really that simple.

So to track where we are in this story, put on your ‘energy goggles’. If you do, you can discover quite a lot. » Read more


Sunny studio/Shutterstock

It’s High Time For Action

Get ready for disruption
Friday, October 20, 2017, 7:27 PM

Executive Summary

  • Beware the coming reduction in global central bank money printing
  • The full-blown ecological emergency
  • Uncovering the hidden downside risks to the markets
  • Steps to take now

If you have not yet read Part 1: Are You Infuriated Yet?available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

I keep circling back to the financial markets because they are the chief signaling agent for most people. As long as the markets are doing okay, people’s attention wanders away from our predicaments and towards believing in the dominant "all is fine" narrative.

But, with the crystal-clear connection we see between asset prices and central bank money printing, prices in today's “markets” are really a creation of monetary policy. As a result, the signals the markets send us increasingly have no bearing on actual reality.

Here’s a good example: McDonalds' stock is hitting new high after new high. This is a function of both the ever-rising markets but also of the company's own internal accounting hocus-pocus.

This chart explains much:


The red line tells us that MCD’s revenues are down a stunning 15% since 2014. The green line tells us that their stock price is UP an even more stunning 65% over the same time period.

Meanwhile total debt of MCD’s has mushroomed from $14 billion to $29 billion, while total assets have shrunk. Yet MCD's stock price has risen handsomely.

The critical insight this is telling us about today's markets is... » Read more


Jeff Cameron Collingwood/Shutterstock

Off The Cuff: Every Rat For Himself

Our leaders are plundering the system as they ruin it
Thursday, October 19, 2017, 7:04 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish Shedlock discuss:

  • The Pension Crisis Starts Bubbling Over
    • Illinois is serving as a preview of what's to come
  • The Price-To-Fraud Ratio
    • Stocks are being priced on phony earnings
  • Netflix: A Case Study Of A Classic Scam
    • Losing $billions each year in cash flow, but reporting a profit
  • A Coming Price Deflation?
    • It's going to happen, Mish predicts

In a discussion sure to get your blood boiling in anger, Chris and Mish look at the actions of those in power as the repercussions of their poor decision-making begin to become apparent. Do they take ownership of the problem? Do they prioritize developing solutions? No: they duck out the back door, while voting themselves fat severance plans. 

Here's Mish's accounting of what's going on right now in his home state of Illinois...

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.


Off The Cuff: Watch The Fed Chair Transition Closely

Yellen's succession may just pop today's market bubble
Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 6:40 PM

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Alex Merk discuss:

  • The Cost Of Disaster
    • Natural disasters are NOT GDP "positive"
  • Watch The Fed Chair Transition
    • It could be what pops this bubble
  • Fracked Up
    • Why the shale patch will continue to disappoint
  • Parallels with the 1930s
    • Military spending is becoming a bigger driver of the economy

Axel Merk returns this week to share why he believes the upcoming Federal Reserve Chair transition just might be the pin that pops today's asset price bubble:

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.