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Rank #123 in Politics category

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Politics

Sovereign Man

Updated 8 days ago

Rank #123 in Politics category

Society & Culture
News
Politics
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Personal liberty is deteriorating, the economy is on life support and can flat line any day now, governments around the world are getting crushed by debt, and it’s all getting worse at an exponential rate. Out of these circumstances Sovereign Man was born, and since 2009 we’ve scoured the globe for information, solutions and contacts that help individuals and companies rise above the problematic politics of bankrupt nation states and the fraudulent and fragile financial system by diversifying elements of their lives across national borders. The Sovereign Man podcast covers everything from offshore banking and second passports to finance, frontier investing and international living.

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Personal liberty is deteriorating, the economy is on life support and can flat line any day now, governments around the world are getting crushed by debt, and it’s all getting worse at an exponential rate. Out of these circumstances Sovereign Man was born, and since 2009 we’ve scoured the globe for information, solutions and contacts that help individuals and companies rise above the problematic politics of bankrupt nation states and the fraudulent and fragile financial system by diversifying elements of their lives across national borders. The Sovereign Man podcast covers everything from offshore banking and second passports to finance, frontier investing and international living.

iTunes Ratings

120 Ratings
Average Ratings
91
17
4
3
5

Recommended podcast for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

By Lion Eyes - Dec 18 2019
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I’ve been listening to Simon when the podcast was new and Im only sad that they don’t post in a regular basis. Only great information and important topics are covered, a podcast for the man/woman of the 21st century.

Wow

By miguelin m - Jan 07 2018
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New to the show. LOVE what you’re doing 5 stars!

iTunes Ratings

120 Ratings
Average Ratings
91
17
4
3
5

Recommended podcast for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

By Lion Eyes - Dec 18 2019
Read more
I’ve been listening to Simon when the podcast was new and Im only sad that they don’t post in a regular basis. Only great information and important topics are covered, a podcast for the man/woman of the 21st century.

Wow

By miguelin m - Jan 07 2018
Read more
New to the show. LOVE what you’re doing 5 stars!
Cover image of Sovereign Man

Sovereign Man

Latest release on Mar 19, 2020

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Personal liberty is deteriorating, the economy is on life support and can flat line any day now, governments around the world are getting crushed by debt, and it’s all getting worse at an exponential rate. Out of these circumstances Sovereign Man was born, and since 2009 we’ve scoured the globe for information, solutions and contacts that help individuals and companies rise above the problematic politics of bankrupt nation states and the fraudulent and fragile financial system by diversifying elements of their lives across national borders. The Sovereign Man podcast covers everything from offshore banking and second passports to finance, frontier investing and international living.

Rank #1: 100: Why you should absolutely consider Puerto Rico NOW

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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 miss this discussion.

And make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in today’s episode:

Intro – Simon talks about how amazing life is in Puerto Rico, something which surprised him. (He’s not a beach guy.)

About 3:00 in — Why moving to Puerto Rico is like moving to Florida… with major financial benefits

5:45 — What Simon gave up to move to Puerto Rico, and why it reminds him of South Park

8 minutes — Why Simon sees voting with your wallet as much more powerful than voting at the booth

10:00 — The big difference between living in a high-tax state like California and living in PR, and how the tax incentives work

18:15 — details about Act 22, including whether it works for crypto people, investments in US companies, etc.

27:27 — details about Act 20, what constitutes a “qualifying” business

31 — Can an employee on salary do this?

32:54 — Are you still paying self-employment, FICA, etc.? How do the taxes work?

36 — How does the IRS consider you a resident of PR? What do you need to do?

36:30 — Do you create an LLC or a corporation?

38:30 — How is the rise of socialism going to affect programs like these? Will these incentives last?

47:50 — Do you need to be wealthy to reap these advantages? What is the income threshold or net worth threshold to make moving to PR a good idea? (Plus, Simon’s decision not to use “rule of thumb” ever again.)

50 — The power of compound-compound (double compound) interest, and whether Einstein said that thing about it.

54: Why Simon is no longer skeptical about the PR tax incentives

57: Why the requirements for Act 20 are better than they’ve ever been (and why you should lock them in… now)

1:09: How expensive is it to live in PR? Are there “middle class” options? Plus, what life is like there

1:11: Drawbacks to living in PR

1:12 Opportunities in PR

1:20: Summing it all up — and Simon’s advice on first steps

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast and learn a lot about expanding your freedom and opportunities.

And make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Jan 24 2019

1hr 22mins

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Rank #2: 090: Can’t miss podcast – Recorded live from the 2018 Investor Summit at Sea

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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 opportunities.

I enjoyed this conversation more than any other podcast in recent memory.

In our wide-ranging discussion, we covered everything from where we see energy prices going to the geopolitical risks we see today (including the recent tragedy in Syria) to the insane, cash-burning business models of today’s tech darlings.

We all agree the stock market today is “priced to fantasy” and toward the end of our discussion, we shared some specific things you can do, right now, to protect your capital and still prosper while waiting for the inevitable correction.

We talk about gold, raising cash, investing in cash alternatives (including assets that are actually safer and higher-yielding than cash in the bank) and what we’re all personally doing with our own money today.

I hope to sit down with these guys again for another talk because there’s still a lot to cover. And I look forward to sharing more insights with you from my time at the Summit.

In the meantime, I’d strongly encourage you to take some time and listen to this excellent discussion. The perspectives Chris, Adam and I share will help you navigate this difficult time of volatility, rising interest rates and historically high prices.

You can listen right here…

Apr 09 2018

1hr 6mins

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Rank #3: 098: Sovereign Man’s podcast with financial legend Jim Grant

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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 paradox.

Finally, we share a few ideas on how to protect yourself and maybe even profit from these excesses.

Also, at the end of our discussion, Jim shares a very special offer for Sovereign Man readers.

To learn more about the exclusive deal we’ve arranged, just click here…

And, you can listen to the podcast here.

Sep 04 2018

43mins

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Rank #4: 094: How to wait out the financial mania in safety

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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…

May 25 2018

43mins

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Rank #5: 086: The only sector that offers value today

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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.

Jan 18 2018

33mins

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Rank #6: 073: How to identify the most compelling investments on the planet

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[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 you don’t pay out the nose for it.

Netflix, for example, may be a very nice business with a lot of growth potential… and even more investor hype.

But if you’re going to buy shares, be prepared to pay dearly for them.

It will take several decades for Netflix to generate enough cashflow to recoup your investment.

Successful investors never overpay.

Instead, they patiently seek out great businesses whose shares they can acquire for bargain, discount prices.

This is not rocket science. Successful, rational investing is a skill, and one that can be learned.

Last week I promised to explain how my team finds and analyzes these types of deals to ensure that we can generate strong returns while taking minimal risk.

I ended up recording a full presentation about it.

Even if you’re already an experienced investor, I’d encourage you to watch this presentation, or listen to the accompanying audio.

The presentation explains, for example, why conventional valuation metrics are deeply flawed.

Most people are probably familiar with the famous “P/E” ratio.

I’ll show you why P/E ratios are worthless… and teach you about a FAR better metric to look at… one that few people have ever heard about.

Once you understand it, you’ll never look at investments the same way ever again.


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.

Jan 24 2017

1hr 11mins

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Rank #7: 101: How to protect your money when the people in charge understand NOTHING

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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. Freedom and why you can’t have 100% of both
  • 16:50 — The rise of Socialism in the US and what’s behind it
  • 22:00 — Taxes: Why raising them never solves income inequality (and what does)
  • 28:00 — How NOT to become wealthy
  • 31:00 — Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump said the same thing
  • 32:30 — Solutions for you, including what to focus on now
  • 34:00 — Simon’s warning — and his big Obama quote of the day
  • 36:45 — One place that is getting it right
  • 37:45 — Proof that they don’t REALLY want free education
  • 39:00 — The best entitlement ‘demands’ you’ll hear all day
  • 44:00 – The ONE thing you need to do if you want to protect your money in an age of Socialism

We hope you enjoy and learn from today’s podcast.

Feb 08 2019

48mins

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Rank #8: 052: Yes, the US government really is bankrupt. Here’s proof.

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I’ve long-stated that the government of the United States is completely insolvent.

And that is 100% true statement.

The government’s own numbers show that official liabilities, including debt held by the public and federal retirement benefits, total $20.7 trillion.

Yet the government’s assets, including the value of the entire federal highway system, the national parks, cash balances, etc. totals just over $3 trillion.

In total, their ‘net worth’ is NEGATIVE $17.7 TRILLION… a level that completely dwarfs the housing crisis.

If you include the government’s own estimates of the Social Security shortfall, this number declines to NEGATIVE $60 TRILLION.

And it gets worse every year.

Now, is this balance sheet an accurate reflection of reality? Do we really trust the bean counters to tell us what the United States of America is really worth?

Surely there must be significant intrinsic value to the United States military, for example.

Or the US government’s ability to collect taxes.

Or what about the value of all the natural resources underground?

These must all be HUGELY positive and would swing the government’s net worth back in the right direction.

Guess again.

The US military is certainly one of the best-trained and most effective forces in history.

But it’s difficult to place a substantial value on it when the government can no longer afford to use it.

And even when they do use it, the overall cost of doing so is negative.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the taxpayers $4 trillion. But where’s the financial benefit?

Aside from a few defense contractors profiting handsomely, the Chinese got most of the oil.

ISIS ended up with much of Iraq. And Iran made out like a bandit, with the US government taking out its most threatening neighbors free of charge.

Mission accomplished.

Bottom line, even the best asset in the world can end up being a big liability if it’s used improperly.

So what about the tax authority of the US government? If Uncle Sam can collect $3 trillion in tax revenue each year, surely that must count as a huge asset.

And it absolutely is. If you conduct a Present Value calculation of the future tax revenue of the US government discounted by the official 2% rate of inflation, the US government’s ability to tax its citizens is ‘worth’ $150 TRILLION.

But… if you’re going to count the government’s tax authority as an asset, you have to be intellectually honest and consider the expenses as liabilities.

Think about it: yes, the government brings in tax revenue every single year. But for nearly every year over the last seventy years, they’ve spent far more money to deliver on the promises they’ve made to their citizens.

Those promises are liabilities. And given the government’s spending history since the end of World War II, the liabilities far exceed the tax authority asset.

More importantly, though, isn’t it a little bit scary to consider that the government’s #1 asset is its ability to steal money from you?

Or that the only way the government can make its liabilities go away is by defaulting on the promises it has made to its citizens?

That’s their only way out: steal from you, and default on you.

Join me in today’s very sobering (and inspiring) podcast as we dive deep into the government’s own numbers and discover the truth… and what you can do about it.

Oct 15 2015

58mins

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Rank #9: 041: Where does incompetence end and criminality begin?

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May 25, 2015
Santiago, Chile

Historian Will Durant once wrote “in the last 3421 years of recorded history only 268 have seen no war.”

This is astounding. Warfare is constantly with us, often for the most absurd reasons.

These days we’re told that the War on Terror makes us more free.

We’re programed on days like Memorial Day to sing songs about our freedom and to thank the people in uniform for making us more free.

The question I would respectfully submit is, do you feel more free today than you did 5, 10, 20 years ago?

We now live in an era of unprecedented government intrusion.

Senior citizens are thrown in jail for failing to file disclosure forms.

Spy agencies arrogantly engage in illegal surveillance on their own citizens.

And excessive force is so commonplace it barely registers as newsworthy any more.

Curiously a number of polls from 2013 and 2014, including Gallup and the Washington Post, actually show that more people are afraid of the government than of terrorism itself.

This isn’t freedom. And it’s a complete myth that soldiers fight and die in the name of freedom anymore.

Warfare today means that a few people at the top of the military industrial complex, banking, and oil services companies become extremely rich. And everyone else pays the price.

The price for everyday citizens is having less freedom than before.

The price for future generations is inheriting a tremendous war debt.

And the price for soldiers themselves is coming home wounded, limbless, or not at all.

In today’s podcast, I introduce you to Joe, one of those recent veterans who lost his right leg.

I recently met him while in the US, and he has an unbelievable story.

Despite losing a limb in combat, Joe can’t get a new leg because the FDA won’t approve the procedure that he needs.

It’s called osseointegration. And the FDA thinks that it might be too risky for Joe.

Risky. Kind of like being in a combat zone in a country that never should have been invaded to begin with for reasons that were all lies, all to support a war that only makes the country less free.

So since the government doesn’t think that Joe is responsible enough to make his own decisions, he now has to go overseas and pay tens of thousands of dollars out of his own pocket.

Joe doesn’t have the money; so a family member set up a donation page on the Internet trying to get help. (I’m not publishing the link here because I’m going to take care of it myself.)

It’s amazing when you think about it– a combat veteran who lost a leg supposedly fighting for ‘freedom’ can’t have the medical procedure he needs because a destructive government bureaucracy.

That’s what freedom means today in America. And nobody’s fighting for it.

Soldiers are off risking life and limb for oil companies, banks, and defense contractors. And citizens are distracted with bread and circuses.

All the while, government power continues to expand at the expense of the individual.

So today as we’re told to remember the fallen, we might also take a moment to remember the freedom we once had.

And to think through the options for winning it back once again.

You can listen in on today’s Podcast, and learn more about Joe’s unbelievable story, here:

May 25 2015

37mins

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Rank #10: 102: He retired at 35 – here are some of his investment strategies

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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 SMC 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, and the difference between the macro and the micro investor
  • 9:30 – Tim’s take on “deep value” investing
  • 12:00 – The other strategy Tim has been employing lately
  • 13:00 – The analysis Tim does when deciding how to invest in takeover arbitrage
  • 14:30 – The advantage of investing in markets based on British Common Law
  • 16:00 – Why today is a good time for M&A investing
  • 16:30 – Tim’s take on gold acquisitions – the majors…
  • 18:30 – … and the juniors
  • 19:20 – Where gold prices might go
  • 19:45 — Tim talks about one of his most exciting recent picks

We hope you enjoy and learn from today’s podcast.

Mar 08 2019

23mins

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Rank #11: 076: Despite the new ‘plan’, this is -still- a no-brainer tax strategy

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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.

Today, technology makes it possible for companies to generate income across the world through products and services that are entirely digital.

Yet today’s companies are still forced to use the same hopelessly outdated tax code.

It’s such an embarrassing anachronism, it would be like the US government using those 1980s era 5 ¼ inch floppy disks to run its nuclear program.

Oh wait…

The reason I’m skeptical, though, is that each and every line item in the tax code has a certain group of beneficiaries that’s willing to fight tooth and nail to keep it.

There are people who benefit from all the deductions that the administration wants to eliminate. There are even people who will fight to keep the widely-hated Alternative Minimum Tax and Estate Tax.

And the larger problem, of course, is that millions of taxpayers and businesses have made plans and structured their affairs in a way to conform to the current tax code.

Pulling the tablecloth out from underneath them and suddenly changing the rules could end up causing some serious blowback.

So it’s enormously difficult to please a firm majority. And even if they manage to pull this off, they’ll still be accused of not being ‘revenue neutral.’

This is the part I find to be completely absurd.

The tax code is going to affect hundreds of millions of people and businesses in the largest, most complex economy in the world.

Economist cannot possibly predict with any accuracy how a radical overhaul of the tax code is going to impact the US government’s tax revenue ten years from now.

Nevertheless, this is going to be one of the primary arguments against the plan.

One of the points my attorney and I discussed is what will remain safe, i.e. what they’re NOT going to touch.

Retirement accounts are CLEARLY in that category.

If you have an IRA or 401(k), that’s not going to be touched. It would be politically disastrous for everyone.

This means that establishing a robust retirement structure like a self-directed SEP IRA, or a solo(k), is still a fantastic option, regardless of what they do with the rest of the code.

With a self-directed SEP IRA, for example, you create a new retirement plan with a contribution limit that increases from $5,500 to as much as $54,000 per year.

That’s almost 10-fold. Plus the contributions are tax-deductible, meaning you can aggressively (and LEGALLY) reduce the amount of income tax that you owe.

Meanwhile, the idea of a self-directed IRA structure is that your retirement plan owns precisely ONE asset: an LLC.

(You’ll need to find an IRA custodian that accepts self-directed structures, like IRA Services.)

You (or your spouse, parent, financial advisor, etc.) become the MANAGER of the LLC, which essentially gives you far greater discretion in how your retirement funds are invested.

Rather than be stuck in an overpriced stock market, for example, your self-directed IRA plan can own income-producing real estate, farmland, private businesses, cryptocurrency, secured debt, etc.

Under the current tax code there are a number of restrictions that are known as “prohibited transactions”. Those are probably here to stay.

You cannot use your IRA funds, for example, to invest in your own business, pay yourself any fees or compensation, buy/sell property that you personally own, or that is owned by immediate family members.

That’s why it makes sense to talk this over with a professional. But the benefits are absolutely worth having that discussion.

For now, I invite you to listen in to our conversation about the tax code, i.e. the plan to have a plan. It’s available here.

Apr 28 2017

51mins

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Rank #12: 097: Europe… what could possibly go wrong?

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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 those destructive forces at play, the country weakens and loses its power. It’s inevitable.

No country in history has ever been able to indefinitely indebt itself, overspend, wage endless wars, etc. without consequence. And it would be foolish to think that this time is any different.

We’re seeing precisely those trends all over the world today, especially in the west.

And to boot, at least here in Europe, nearly the entire continent is suffering from multiple crises at the same time.

Place like Italy, Greece, etc. are dealing with the constant threat of their looming debt crisis.

But they also have failing banking systems with the need for constant bailouts.

They’re dealing with a fertility crisis and shrinking populations. Frequent political crisis (as we saw here in Italy just a few months ago). Pension crisis. Immigration and refugee crisis.

What could possibly go wrong?

There are a few bright spots on the continent. But I think Europe is in pretty bad shape for the long-term.

We cover this in today’s podcast… and speaking of crisis, we manage to work in some discussion about Elon Musk’s latest drama, plus round out the podcast with a quick summary of this year’s amazing entrepreneurship camp that we just finished last week.

You can download the episode here.

Aug 20 2018

43mins

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Rank #13: 053: Dr. Ron Paul on why the Fed’s days are numbered

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Just had a great weekend in Dallas, where I had the pleasure of spending some time with Dr. Ron Paul.

After our event on Saturday we sat down to record a quick podcast that I’m eager to share with you.

In this quick audio session we covered his views on the biggest issues surrounding the Fed right now:

– Why the Fed is not going to raise interest rates
– How they’ve lost the power to manipulate markets
– How they rig half of every transaction you make
– The crucial issue that they don’t want people talking about
– And how they’ve made us poorer

You’ll definitely want to hear this. Listen in with the player above.

Oct 19 2015

17mins

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Rank #14: 044: Google Wallet: the babystep into Bitcoin

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July 14, 2015
Yangon, Burma

When I first came to Burma (Myanmar) several years ago, there was scarcely an ATM to be found anywhere.

It was primitive. And frustrating.

After all, most people coming from the West tend to think their banking system is robust and highly advanced.

And that’s true to a degree. Internet banking and ATMs are certainly nice modern conveniences.

But if we go back in time and look at traditional banking as far back as the Middle Ages, there’s actually very little about the industry that has changed.

It’s all still quite primitive.

Centuries ago, banks would receive deposits from their customers. And in exchange, they would issue a receipt, or ‘bank note’. Pretty simple.

Whoever had possession of the bank note was entitled to withdraw that money from the bank. So naturally those notes eventually became a form of currency.

If you owed a debt to someone, and presuming s/he had confidence in the bank, you could settle your debt with the bank note instead of actual money.

Banks did the same thing with one another, using a series of notes and credit letters to trade, transact, and settle debts with one another.

And out of this system grew a vast, complex network of interbank credit.

In a typical deal between two banks, for example, there would often be no actual money changing hands.

Instead, they would merely make an entry in their books indicating that one bank owed money to the other.

So instead of passing around cash or gold, banks would settle deals with accounting entries and promises to pay.

Today the practice is almost identical, it just happens electronically instead of on paper.

Central bank balances are credited in favor of one bank or another, but there’s still no money that changes hands.

Again, ATMs and Internet Banking are modern conveniences. But they have done nothing to truly disrupt the centuries-old banking model.

That is now changing. Quickly.

Tech companies are starting to figure out how to make every traditional banking function faster, cheaper, and better, all while eliminating the middle man.

Companies like Revolut, Transferwise, and Dwolla, for example, are online money transfer services that can send funds cheaper and faster than banks.

KlickEx is a currency service that provides a peer-to-peer market for foreign exchange, eliminating the need to use a bank.

Countless crowdfunding platforms exist to obtain startup capital for a new businesses. So no one needs to go to the bank with hat in hand anymore.

And there’s a multitude of peer-to-peer lending platforms where you can borrow money for just about anything– from a home mortgage to a new car, all without a bank.

Companies like Square and Stripe are rapidly taking over credit card processing, yet another industry that used to be dominated by banks.

And even the most basic practice of taking deposits is now on tech companies’ radars.

Google revamped ‘Wallet’ service, for example, allows consumers to effectively park their savings with Google instead of a bank.

So rather than holding your cash at some illiquid, poorly capitalized bank, consumers can choose one of the most profitable companies in the history of the world to be their direct financial counterparty.

Now, I’m not suggesting you rush out and do this; I’m merely pointing out that this is a rather large nail in the coffin of the financial industry.

Deposits. Lending. Funds transfers. Credit Card Processing. Foreign Exchange… can all be done now better, faster, and cheaper outside of the banking system.

This isn’t some wild conspiracy theory. This is a fact; all of these tools ALREADY exist. It’s just a question of how quickly they’ll be adopted.

And if you look at the last great trends in consumer technology (the Internet, smart phones, etc.) the time frame was ten years or less to achieve global scale.

Banks’ days are numbered. And in a decade’s time, we won’t even recognize the financial system.

We’ll be doing everything online, global, and without the constant nuisance and central control of governments and banks.

Join me for today’s Podcast as I dive much more deeply into this topic, including the obvious implications for your money, and the future of cryptocurrency.

Click below to listen in:

Jul 14 2015

39mins

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Rank #15: 057: Here’s how to hedge the massive risks in the banking system

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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 only stolen the wheelbarrow, and had left the cash behind.

Undoubtedly the entire society was upturned by this hyperinflation. But as history shows, in any situation, there are always winners and losers.

Pensioners and people who responsibly saved their money were wiped out; whereas people who had borrowed to invest in real assets did extremely well.

Owners of residential real estate suffered under government imposed rent controls, whereas owners of farmland thrived.

For people who saw the decline of the mark coming and bet against it, generational fortunes were made in a matter of years.

In the case of Germany in the 1920s, few people probably expected that hyperinflation would ensue.

Even the president of their central bank, Dr. Rudolf Havenstein, firmly believed that there was zero connection between price levels and the amount of money he printed.

Yet it happened, and those who saw the warning signs and took steps to reduce their risk did very well.

Today there is no shortage of risk in the financial system either.

Negative interest rates are becoming more and more common in developed nations and they’re on their way to America as well.

Every time there’s a recession, the government cuts interest rates by easily half a percent to a percent.

So with interest rates already at zero, when the next recession comes (and it absolutely will), you can expect interest rates to go negative.

Meanwhile, Western banking systems are highly illiquid, meaning that they have very low cash equivalents as a percentage of customer deposits.

This isn’t some wild conspiracy theory. You can see it for yourself in the financial statements banks publish every quarter.

Solvency in many Western banking systems is also highly questionable, with many loaded up on the debts of their bankrupt governments.

Banks also play clever accounting games to hide the true nature of their capital inadequacy.

We live in a world where questionably solvent, highly illiquid banks are backed by under capitalized insurance funds like the FDIC, which in turn are backed by insolvent governments and borderline insolvent central banks.

This is hardly a risk-free proposition.

Yet your reward for taking the risk of holding your money in a precarious banking system is a rate of return that is substantially lower than the official rate of inflation.

And in many cases, it’s even negative. Rates are already negative in Europe, and again, it’s coming to the US. Either way, you’re guaranteed to lose money.

Risk is a funny thing. The reason why it’s so frequently misdiagnosed is because there’s often a huge discrepancy between the actual risk and the perceived risk.

You can see that very clearly with banking.

People perceive the risk in their banking system to be zero.

And while I’m not suggesting that there is some imminent collapse, the data clearly indicate that the actual risk is significant.

Given the meager and even negative interest rates, the risk-reward ratio just doesn’t add up.

To address different types of risk in the system, I see four main solutions:

One is to hold physical cash, enabling you to effectively be your own private banker and giving you an excellent short-term hedge against risks in your domestic banking system.

However, this comes with additional physical security risks and potential political risks such as civil asset forfeiture or cash bans.

Another option is to establish a foreign bank account in a jurisdiction where banks are liquid, well-capitalized, and backed by a government with minimal debt.

It’s hard to imagine you’d be worse off for having a portion of your savings in a safe, stable, debt-free jurisdiction.

Then there’s gold and silver, which are excellent long-term hedges, not only against risks in the banking system, but the monetary system at large.

Last but not least, it is 2015, and I would be negligent if I didn’t mention cryptocurrency as a viable option to hedge risk in both the banking and financial system.

Today’s podcast goes into comprehensive detail about these risks and their solutions. I invite you to listen in here.

Nov 24 2015

1hr 18mins

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Rank #16: 85: Don’t ignore looming catastrophes… take action

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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 are coming down the pipe and some simple steps you can take to prepare for them.

Jan 11 2018

38mins

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Rank #17: 083: An insider’s view on the gold versus cryptocurrency debate

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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.

Nov 22 2017

53mins

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Rank #18: 047: The #1 reason why Donald Trump is the chimpanzee America needs

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August 14, 2015
Istanbul, Turkey

Just a few weeks ago, US talk show host Stephen Colbert was asked if he thought that Donald Trump had a chance of becoming President of the United States.

Colbert responded sincerely. “Honestly, he could. And that’s not an opinion of Trump. That’s my opinion of our nation.”

He’s right. The Land of the Free may very well be ready for something completely different. And Trump certainly seems able to deliver.

He is, after all, unique in his field. Donald Trump has never served in politics, and his blunt style is almost the exact opposite of every other major candidate.

But there’s one thing that really sets him apart, that, in my opinion, makes him the most qualified person for the job:

Donald Trump is an expert at declaring bankruptcy.

When the going gets tough, Trump stiffs his creditors. He’s done it four times!

Candidly, this is precisely what the Land of the Free needs right now: someone who can stop beating around the bush and just get on with it already.

As history shows, a default is inevitable.

The calculus is quite simple: when governments take on too much debt, they start having to divert a huge amount of their tax revenue just to pay interest.

This means that, at a minimum, the government has to sacrifice many of the promises they made to their citizens. They cut other programs in order to have enough money to pay interest.

But that’s not too popular. So instead they typically just borrow more money… until they’re borrowing money just to pay interest on money they’ve already borrowed.

This makes the problem exponentially worse.

Debt skyrockets. And soon the government is spending more on interest payments than national defense. (The US is almost at this point).

Eventually a bankrupt government has no choice: either default on their bondholders, or default on the obligations they made to their citizens. Or both.

This could take the form of a ‘selective default’. For example, the US government could default on the $2.4 trillion that it owes the Federal Reserve.

Or the $1.2 trillion that it owes China.

These are both possibilities.

But the prospect of default on “risk free” US government bonds would throw the global financial system into a tailspin; not to mention it would be the final nail in the coffin for the US dollar’s dominant reserve status.

Fortunately there are easier options for Uncle Sam.

The biggest debts that are owed by the US government are the obligations they owe to you.

Specifically, all the benefits like Social Security and Medicare they promised to American taxpayers.

The US government’s own numbers estimate these obligations at nearly $42 TRILLION, completely dwarfing what they owe China, or anyone else.

Then there’s the obligation they have to preserve the purchasing power of the $12 trillion held by the American people.

That’s the current value of the money supply in the United States right now.

History shows that debasing a nation’s currency is one of the easiest and most effective ways for bankrupt governments to plunder their citizens’ wealth, little by little over time.

As I explain in today’s podcast, the hard reality that most people don’t seem to get is that the US government is bankrupt.

This isn’t some wild assertion or conspiracy theory; their own financial statements show that the government’s ‘net worth’ is NEGATIVE $17.7 trillion.

And yes, the US is already borrowing money just to pay interest.

In fact the combined expenses of interest on the debt plus mandatory entitlements like Social Security nearly exceed their entire tax revenue.

In other words, you could eliminate nearly everything we think of as government– the EPA, the IRS, Homeland Security, etc. and it wouldn’t make a dent in the national debt.

When things get this dire, it doesn’t matter who sits in the chair.

You might as well elect a chimpanzee in the hopes that Mister Bubbles might accelerate the decline.

Donald Trump may very well be that chimpanzee. Especially given his unparalleled experience in declaring bankruptcy.

Nations that pass the economic point of no return can’t rebuild until they hit rock bottom.

And the US is way past that point. So let’s get on with it already and hit the reset button.

Join me for more in today’s podcast as I break down the details of the US government’s $60 trillion in liabilities– and what you can do about it.

Aug 14 2015

43mins

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Rank #19: 050: The accounting scam that is hiding billions of losses in the US banking system

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Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile
September 24, 2015

There’s not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest scams in the world is modern banking.

When you think about it, every element of the system is stacked against us.

By making a deposit we are loaning our hard-earned savings to a bank, for which they pay us a whopping 0.1% interest.

In some parts of the world now they even charge us interest for the privilege of loaning them our money.

Banks then take our hard-earned savings and gamble it all away in the latest investment fad, no matter how stupid and destructive it might be.

When they screw up, they’re deemed ‘too big to fail’, and the government steps in to indebt future generations who won’t even be born for decades in order to bail out the banks’ stupidity.

Banks are also unpaid government spies and are required by law to rat us out to federal agents should they decide in their sole discretion that what we are doing with our own money is “suspicious”.

Banks have no loyalty to the customer. They serve their government masters first and foremost.

Should some government bureaucrat so much as make a phone call, they will freeze you out of your life’s savings in a heartbeat.

And hardly a month goes by where a bank isn’t indicted on some criminal charge to defraud their customers.

They’ve admitted to rigging bond markets, interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and selling their customers’ data to high-frequency traders.

And for their misdeeds they get a few slaps on the wrist and a fine that fills the government’s coffers.

Too big to fail, too big to jail. It would almost be funny if it weren’t so obscene.

Yet despite every shred of evidence that this system is at odds with customers’ best interests, very few people ever question the sanctity of their banks’ credibility and financial condition.

It’s just assumed that banks are stable, sound, and conservative.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In today’s podcast I highlight an extremely clever accounting trick that banks have been using for the last few years to hide the true nature of their finances.

Here’s the short version: Banks have the ability to choose how they treat their bonds for accounting purposes.

If they classify their bonds as “available for sale”, or AFS, the bank is forced to disclose any losses under ‘comprehensive income’, which negatively affects their capital levels.

But banks don’t want to do that. They’re gearing up to take a HUGE bath as the values of their bond portfolios collapse.

And rather than show the world how pitifully capitalized they really are, banks have opted to reclassify huge sections of their bond portfolios into a different category called “hold to maturity”, or HTM.

HTM assets don’t require banks to write off any losses against their capital reserves.

So the banks just get to keep pretending that they’re safe.

So far US banks have rotated hundreds of billions of dollars worth of bonds from AFS into HTM. And they’re just getting started.

It’s an unbelievable scam. And everyone’s in on it. All the big banks. The regulators. The government. The Fed.

You’ll be amazed to see the data I present in today’s podcast; one of the largest banks in the US, for example, went from having 0.0% of its assets as HTM, to having nearly 50%.

Poof. And just like that, the bank’s financial condition is tip-top.

I can’t stress this enough, you really need to see dangerous scam with your own eyes. Find out the truth here:

Sep 24 2015

51mins

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Rank #20: 089: FFS… please send China a fruit basket

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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 vital to national security.

Seriously? The largest, most advanced economy in the world thinks that the production of a basic commodity is vital to national security?

If that’s the case, then what else is vital to national security– the lumber industry? Hip Hop? Twitter?

Steel is a tiny industry in the US that employs around 90,000 people. Starting a trade war over this (which is historically BAD for everyone’ prosperity) is just plain silly.

This is my favorite podcast I’ve done in at least a year. You can tune in here…

Mar 22 2018

48mins

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107: Peter Schiff and I talk stagflation, $50 trillion debts, and more

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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 that we could see US government debt reach $40 to $50 trillion, the Fed’s balance sheet exceed $20 trillion.

Could that possibly have negative implications for the US dollar? You bet. Peter and I talk about what might happen with the dollar, and more.

You can listen in here.

* Editor’s note: As you’ll hear in the podcast, Peter promotes a number of his businesses, mutual funds, etc. We need to be clear that those comments are his alone, and that we are not recommending in any way that listeners make any investment with any of Peter’s businesses.

Mar 19 2020

1hr 33mins

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106: Central banks should consider giving people money

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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 supply of gold, is actually declining, yet the demand will increase in large part due to all of this central bank lunacy.

And that has absolutely been happening. The price of gold is up more than 25% over the last year, and just surpassed $1,500 per ounce. But unlike most other assets like real estate, stocks, bonds, etc, gold is still far from it’s all time high.

There could still be plenty of gains ahead.

And silver would have to triple before it reaches it’s all time high.

Every summer for the past eight years, I’ve enjoyed a week or two in the italian countryside at a 400 plus year old villa. Here I relax with friends, family, business colleagues, and some of our Total Access members who fly in from around the world, to break bread and enjoy really stimulating and entertaining conversations.

This year Peter Schiff has been one of my guests. He’s an old friend who shares many of the same beliefs. And when our conversation this morning turned to gold, I thought it appropriate to record it, and make a Podcast out of it.

In our conversation we talk about why gold and silver have plenty of room to rise, and a number of different ways to invest.

Aug 12 2019

1hr 15mins

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105: How to get an education that empowers you for life

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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 to what a decision like this really means for our future.

In this podcast, I talk about how to approach the decision, whether or not to go to university, how to pick a major and how to manage debt. I also discuss compelling steps that you can take either instead of a university education, or to complement it.

Listen here to find out how to make the most empowering choices you can about your education.

(And if you’re 57 years old and considering doing something new with your life, this podcast will definitely be worth your time. It’s never too late to change your trajectory and make excellent choices.)

May 27 2019

49mins

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104: Taking matters into your own hands

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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 like to discuss called a Solo 401(k).

A Solo 401(k) is an incredibly flexible, robust retirement structure that allows you to set aside potentially tens of thousands of dollars of income from a ‘side-business’ each year.

This could be just about anything– selling products on Amazon, generating advertising revenue from YouTube videos, Airbnb rentals, freelance consulting, anything.

And almost anyone can do this. You could literally be a 15 year old teenager walking dogs on the weekends for extra cash, and stash that money into a Solo 401(k).

If you’re currently an employee at a US-based company, you might already have a regular 401(k); it allows you to make pre-tax contributions to your retirement, and sometimes the employer even matches what you put in.

The plan probably doesn’t offer much leeway in terms of where you can invest that money, though. At best, they probably give you a list of mutual funds from which to choose.

But a Solo 401(k) – a.k.a. an Individual 401(k), Self-Directed 401(k) or Self-Employed 401(k) – lets you control where your funds are invested.

And unlike a conventional IRA – another common retirement structure – it lets you contribute MUCH more money to your retirement before it’s taxed.

It just has to be done with income from self-employment, or from a side job.

With all of the money-making options available today, it’s not difficult to stash a lot more money into a tax-advantaged retirement account.

There are lots of details to consider when opening a Solo(k), but here’s the general idea:

First, since we’re talking about self-employment income, you have to think of yourself as both an employer and an employee.

As an employee of your own business, you can make a total of $19,000 in retirement contributions this year if you have a 401(k), plus another $6,000 on top of that if you’re over the age of 50.

But you can contribute even more than that since you’re also the employer in your business.

For this tax year, the maximum total contribution to a 401(k) between an employer and employee is $56,000 (for those under the age of 50) and $62,000 (for those 50 and over)… so that’s potentially tens of thousands of dollars in extra contributions you can make.

More importantly, these contributions can be deducted from your taxes.

So when the Bolsheviks come to power and ratchet up tax rates to 70%, you’ll be able to take a LOT of money off the table to set aside for your retirement that they can’t touch.

Plus, Solo 401(k)’s are incredibly flexible. You can invest in so many different things, ranging from real estate (including property overseas), cryptocurrency, private businesses and venture-backed startups, etc.

Solo 401(k)’s have an interest feature as well– you are actually able to BORROW money from your own retirement plan.

The IRS allows you to borrow up to 50% of your Solo(k)’s value up to a maximum of $50,000, for up to five years, and subject to certain rules.

You might not ever need it, but it’s nice to know that you have a source of emergency funds if necessary.

And this is something unique to 401(k)’s. You can’t do this with an IRA.

Naturally all of these benefits are predicated on you having some sort of side business– whether you’re driving for Uber, freelancing on Fiver, or selling lemonade on the street corner.

But the ability to channel the vast majority of that business income into a structure that (a) keeps it away from the government, and (b) secures your future retirement, is a smart thing to do.

And that’s what today’s podcast is about: all the great things you can do with a solo 401(k), and why you definitely might want to consider establishing one– even if you already have another retirement plan.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Apr 10 2019

41mins

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103: Podcast with Marin Katusa: The best gold investments to make today

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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 listen to the end, when Marin shares the names and tickers of his two favorite gold stocks today (like the rest of the gold sector, they’ve been pretty beaten up).

He also shares a few details of his most recent investment – the largest personal bet he’s ever made.

So if you want to hear about where we are in the gold market, which types of gold companies you should be investing in today and hear Marin’s outlook for the gold sector going forward, you can tune in right here.

Mar 14 2019

38mins

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102: He retired at 35 – here are some of his investment strategies

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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 SMC 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, and the difference between the macro and the micro investor
  • 9:30 – Tim’s take on “deep value” investing
  • 12:00 – The other strategy Tim has been employing lately
  • 13:00 – The analysis Tim does when deciding how to invest in takeover arbitrage
  • 14:30 – The advantage of investing in markets based on British Common Law
  • 16:00 – Why today is a good time for M&A investing
  • 16:30 – Tim’s take on gold acquisitions – the majors…
  • 18:30 – … and the juniors
  • 19:20 – Where gold prices might go
  • 19:45 — Tim talks about one of his most exciting recent picks

We hope you enjoy and learn from today’s podcast.

Mar 08 2019

23mins

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101: How to protect your money when the people in charge understand NOTHING

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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. Freedom and why you can’t have 100% of both
  • 16:50 — The rise of Socialism in the US and what’s behind it
  • 22:00 — Taxes: Why raising them never solves income inequality (and what does)
  • 28:00 — How NOT to become wealthy
  • 31:00 — Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump said the same thing
  • 32:30 — Solutions for you, including what to focus on now
  • 34:00 — Simon’s warning — and his big Obama quote of the day
  • 36:45 — One place that is getting it right
  • 37:45 — Proof that they don’t REALLY want free education
  • 39:00 — The best entitlement ‘demands’ you’ll hear all day
  • 44:00 – The ONE thing you need to do if you want to protect your money in an age of Socialism

We hope you enjoy and learn from today’s podcast.

Feb 08 2019

48mins

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100: Why you should absolutely consider Puerto Rico NOW

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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 miss this discussion.

And make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Here’s what you’ll hear about in today’s episode:

Intro – Simon talks about how amazing life is in Puerto Rico, something which surprised him. (He’s not a beach guy.)

About 3:00 in — Why moving to Puerto Rico is like moving to Florida… with major financial benefits

5:45 — What Simon gave up to move to Puerto Rico, and why it reminds him of South Park

8 minutes — Why Simon sees voting with your wallet as much more powerful than voting at the booth

10:00 — The big difference between living in a high-tax state like California and living in PR, and how the tax incentives work

18:15 — details about Act 22, including whether it works for crypto people, investments in US companies, etc.

27:27 — details about Act 20, what constitutes a “qualifying” business

31 — Can an employee on salary do this?

32:54 — Are you still paying self-employment, FICA, etc.? How do the taxes work?

36 — How does the IRS consider you a resident of PR? What do you need to do?

36:30 — Do you create an LLC or a corporation?

38:30 — How is the rise of socialism going to affect programs like these? Will these incentives last?

47:50 — Do you need to be wealthy to reap these advantages? What is the income threshold or net worth threshold to make moving to PR a good idea? (Plus, Simon’s decision not to use “rule of thumb” ever again.)

50 — The power of compound-compound (double compound) interest, and whether Einstein said that thing about it.

54: Why Simon is no longer skeptical about the PR tax incentives

57: Why the requirements for Act 20 are better than they’ve ever been (and why you should lock them in… now)

1:09: How expensive is it to live in PR? Are there “middle class” options? Plus, what life is like there

1:11: Drawbacks to living in PR

1:12 Opportunities in PR

1:20: Summing it all up — and Simon’s advice on first steps

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast and learn a lot about expanding your freedom and opportunities.

And make sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

Jan 24 2019

1hr 22mins

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099: Get the Pitchforks, the rich kids have nice jackets

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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 the jackets. So in order to avoid “poverty shaming,” parents won’t be allowed to send their kids back to school after Christmas break with top brands like Canada Goose and Moncler.

So if all the students can’t afford a $900 jacket… then nobody is allowed to wear one.

Invariably, the “solutions” don’t lift the disadvantaged up, but simply drag the privileged down.

And wealth isn’t the only type of inequality. What’s next? Forcing the best athletes to carry weights, or bringing down the smart kids’ test scores?

It’s nothing new. Back in 2008, the Occupy Wall Street movement gave voice to the same feeling. Someone at the top is screwing the little guy.

Inequality is part of human nature. We are not all going to be born with the same skills, intelligence, desires, and preferences.

In today’s podcast, we get into the palpable anger over inequality that is boiling over, and the types of absurd responses we see.

Nov 23 2018

36mins

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098: Sovereign Man’s podcast with financial legend Jim Grant

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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 paradox.

Finally, we share a few ideas on how to protect yourself and maybe even profit from these excesses.

Also, at the end of our discussion, Jim shares a very special offer for Sovereign Man readers.

To learn more about the exclusive deal we’ve arranged, just click here…

And, you can listen to the podcast here.

Sep 04 2018

43mins

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097: Europe… what could possibly go wrong?

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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 those destructive forces at play, the country weakens and loses its power. It’s inevitable.

No country in history has ever been able to indefinitely indebt itself, overspend, wage endless wars, etc. without consequence. And it would be foolish to think that this time is any different.

We’re seeing precisely those trends all over the world today, especially in the west.

And to boot, at least here in Europe, nearly the entire continent is suffering from multiple crises at the same time.

Place like Italy, Greece, etc. are dealing with the constant threat of their looming debt crisis.

But they also have failing banking systems with the need for constant bailouts.

They’re dealing with a fertility crisis and shrinking populations. Frequent political crisis (as we saw here in Italy just a few months ago). Pension crisis. Immigration and refugee crisis.

What could possibly go wrong?

There are a few bright spots on the continent. But I think Europe is in pretty bad shape for the long-term.

We cover this in today’s podcast… and speaking of crisis, we manage to work in some discussion about Elon Musk’s latest drama, plus round out the podcast with a quick summary of this year’s amazing entrepreneurship camp that we just finished last week.

You can download the episode here.

Aug 20 2018

43mins

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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

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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 recession could happen very, very soon.

Luckily, as an individual investor, you don’t have to participate in this madness. You’re allowed to wait it out on the sidelines.

Because better deals will be on the way. And you’ll have the opportunity to buy incredibly high-quality assets for pennies on the dollar.

That’s what I’m doing. And I share a few ideas toward the end of today’s discussion.

You can listen in here…

Jul 02 2018

49mins

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095: Nobody knows where the next crisis will erupt… here’s how to prepare

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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 take over.

On the podcast, I discuss the types of questions you should be asking yourself and the decisions you should be making today.

I also share some of my experiences from my recent travels to Australia, the Philippines and Bangkok.

You can tune in here.

Jun 05 2018

47mins

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094: How to wait out the financial mania in safety

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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…

May 25 2018

43mins

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093: The future of crypto in Puerto Rico and avoiding fanaticism

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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.

May 18 2018

41mins

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092: Why on earth are you still letting big banks screw you?

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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 taxpayers).

And there’s interest-rate fixing scandals, rogue traders losing billions of dollars, commodity price manipulation, forex fraud… the list goes on and on.

These banks willfully and repeatedly abuse the trust placed with them by the public. Yet people continue to allow this to happen… all while making .05% interest!

In today’s podcast, I explain a few steps you can take to get your money out of the banking system and achieve much higher yields – with less risk than keeping your money with a bank.

Sovereign Man readers know I get fired about with these banking abuses. That’s one of the reasons I started my own bank.

And I’ve got a few choice rants in today’s podcast.

Again, you no longer have to participate in this system. There are plenty of alternatives today.

Tune in to today’s podcast here.

Apr 20 2018

45mins

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091: One of the most important issues of our time

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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 are coming into the world each day. And they all require food. Also, the number of calories being consumed per capita worldwide is increasing.

On top of that, as developing countries like China and India get richer, the quality of the calories they consume changes – from beans, rice and veggies to more meat (which requires far more resources to produce).

And while demand for food is soaring, arable farmland is on the decline.

This is one of the most important problems of our day. And it’s not an easily solvable one.

We also touch on geopolitical risks like water rights and the economics – and risks – of farmland investments in developing countries (another topic I know well).

A lot of folks say we won’t have a global food shortage because we can just start farming in Africa. But I’m sorry to say that’s not the solution.

It takes a tremendous amount of logistics to produce and transport food. And Africa just doesn’t have it.

In today’s difficult financial and economic climate, there’s a lot to focus on… and to be wary of.

Agriculture’s growing global supply and demand imbalance is one of the trends that certainly has my attention. But even with favorable fundamentals, just like with other asset classes, you can make some major mistakes when investing in this space.

I also closed out the panel by asking everyone what they’re doing with their own money. You’ll want to hear what these smart guys have to say.

Tune in right here…

Apr 11 2018

37mins

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090: Can’t miss podcast – Recorded live from the 2018 Investor Summit at Sea

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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 opportunities.

I enjoyed this conversation more than any other podcast in recent memory.

In our wide-ranging discussion, we covered everything from where we see energy prices going to the geopolitical risks we see today (including the recent tragedy in Syria) to the insane, cash-burning business models of today’s tech darlings.

We all agree the stock market today is “priced to fantasy” and toward the end of our discussion, we shared some specific things you can do, right now, to protect your capital and still prosper while waiting for the inevitable correction.

We talk about gold, raising cash, investing in cash alternatives (including assets that are actually safer and higher-yielding than cash in the bank) and what we’re all personally doing with our own money today.

I hope to sit down with these guys again for another talk because there’s still a lot to cover. And I look forward to sharing more insights with you from my time at the Summit.

In the meantime, I’d strongly encourage you to take some time and listen to this excellent discussion. The perspectives Chris, Adam and I share will help you navigate this difficult time of volatility, rising interest rates and historically high prices.

You can listen right here…

Apr 09 2018

1hr 6mins

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089: FFS… please send China a fruit basket

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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 vital to national security.

Seriously? The largest, most advanced economy in the world thinks that the production of a basic commodity is vital to national security?

If that’s the case, then what else is vital to national security– the lumber industry? Hip Hop? Twitter?

Steel is a tiny industry in the US that employs around 90,000 people. Starting a trade war over this (which is historically BAD for everyone’ prosperity) is just plain silly.

This is my favorite podcast I’ve done in at least a year. You can tune in here…

Mar 22 2018

48mins

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088: The dangerous, false logic of “Common Sense”

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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.

People are demanding action. They want their government to “do something.”

The problem, of course, is what we’ve been talking about so far this year in our daily conversations: emotional decisions tend to be bad decisions– and that includes public policy.

We keep hearing the phrase “Common Sense Gun Laws,” for example.

And that certainly sounds reasonable. Who could possibly be against common sense?

[As an aside, I do wonder why “common sense” is only reserved for the gun control debate. Why doesn’t anyone demand common sense airport security? Or a common sense federal budget?]

But it’s never quite so simple.

Many of these “common sense” solutions are emotional reactions.

As an example, the Florida shooter in last week’s tragedy is only 19 years old. So now one of the proposals being tossed around is to have a minimum age limit to be able to purchase a firearm.

I suppose if the shooter happened to have been 70 years old, people would be talking about having a maximum age limit instead.

Yet neither of these “common sense solutions” really solves the problem.

A big part of this is because no one really knows what’s causing the problem to begin with.

We know that there are far too many people committing acts of violence in schools and other public places.

And, sure, a lot of the time they use firearms. But we’re also seeing murderous rampages with cement trucks, U-Hauls, and everyday appliances like pressure cookers.

Any of these can be turned into a weapon of mass destruction.

But the debate only focuses on firearms.

One side presupposes that more regulations and fewer guns will make everyone safer.

The other side of the debate, of course, argues that more guns and fewer regulations will make everyone safer.

The reality is that there’s no clear evidence that either side is correct.

Australia is often held up as an example of a nation that passed strict gun laws (including confiscation) in 1996 following several mass shootings.

And yes, gun violence dropped precipitously. Australia now has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

But contrast that with Serbia, for example, which is the #2 country in the world in terms of guns per capita (the US is #1).

Serbia has a strong gun culture and fairly liberal laws. Yet its gun violence rate is incredibly low, on par with Australia’s.

There are plenty of examples in the world of places that passed strict gun laws, and violence decreased (Colombia).

Others where violence INCREASED after passing strict gun laws (Venezuela, Chicago).

Other examples of places which have LOW levels of gun violence, yet liberal laws (Serbia). And still others with LOW levels of gun violence and fairly strict laws (Chile).

The point is that you can look at the data 10,000 different ways and never really find a clear correlation. So there HAS to be something else going on.

Is it cultural? Perhaps.

Japan, for example, has extremely strict firearms laws. You can’t even own a sword without special permission.

And Japan, of course, has very limited gun violence. But this is not a violent culture to begin with.

You probably recall back in 2011 after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, Japanese people sat quietly outside of their collapsed homes and waited for authorities. No looting. No pillaging.

Contrast that with the city of Philadelphia earlier this month, where people were out rioting, looting, and setting property on fire… simply because their football team won the Super Bowl.

Perhaps there’s something about the US that has people so tightly wound they dive into violence at the first opportunity.

Maybe it’s all the medication people take. Or the crap in their food. Who knows. But it’s worth exploring the actual SOURCE of the problem rather than treating a symptom.

The larger issue, though, is that this “common sense” mantra is tied exclusively to LAWS.

Guess what? There are already laws, rules, regulations, and procedures on the books. They’re not working.

In the November 2017 mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the shooter was able to purchase weapons because the Air Force erroneously failed to record his military court-martial.

And with the Florida shooting, the FBI had the suspect on a silver platter and did nothing.

It’s clear that the laws on the books aren’t being properly implemented. Yet the solution people want is MORE LAWS.

How about better execution? How about applying that all-important “common sense” to the way laws are carried out?

This is conspicuously missing from the debate.

There’s almost no conversation about what’s actually CAUSING the violence.

Instead, people are focused on a manifestation of that problem (guns) and demanding more laws to control that symptom even though the existing laws are being pitifully executed.

This is a pretty horrendous way to solve a problem.

[We discuss this more in today’s podcast, along with plenty of other extremely uncomfortable realities. Listen in here.]

Feb 19 2018

44mins

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iTunes Ratings

120 Ratings
Average Ratings
91
17
4
3
5

Recommended podcast for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

By Lion Eyes - Dec 18 2019
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I’ve been listening to Simon when the podcast was new and Im only sad that they don’t post in a regular basis. Only great information and important topics are covered, a podcast for the man/woman of the 21st century.

Wow

By miguelin m - Jan 07 2018
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New to the show. LOVE what you’re doing 5 stars!