A reader sent me this note last week.
Hi Gary…I really enjoy reading your emails regarding investing and about life in general. I would like to make note of something you mentioned in this emails and others in the past. When you compare stocks to other investments over time, gold in particular, I think is more proper to compare stocks to gold from the time when we went off the gold standard in August of 1971. Prior to that, gold and our dollar were fixed to each other. When you compare stocks to gold from August 1971 to present, you will see that gold has outperformed our market. I realize you are probably aware of this and it may be splitting hairs, but I do think it is important to make that distinction. Thanks,
That reminded me of the message below last sent in 2017. This seems like a good time to remind you of it again.
I have updated some of the most important points (and noted so when I have) but otherwise these figures relate to 2017. The US government has in these last three years had the highest annual deficits in history.
What is the real value of gold? Everyone should have a holding in precious metals, but as an investor who started accumulating (and speculating in) gold almost 50 years ago, I have learned (often the hard way) that precious metals should be mostly accumulated when their price makes them a good value. Even then, one must expect the price to rise and fall in unexpected ways.
This begs the question, “When does gold’s price represent good value?” Today I am sending you a deep analysis, based on these 50 years of experience, of gold’s pricing in terms of inflation that hopefully helps answer this question. This research is part of a $39.99 report, but I am sending it to you free and without obligation.
Cuban 1/10th ounce gold coins
A collapsing US dollar is one of the greatest risks we have to our independence, safety, health and wealth. There are many signs that the greenback’s strength is in serious jeopardy.
One frightening statistic is the hundreds of billions of trade deficit that the US incurs year after year.
Many other factors such as growing federal budget deficits and low national savings mean that trade deficits are likely to widen even more.
In the past decade US debt more than doubled beyond all the debt of the US Department of the Treasury since 1790. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the rate of debt will continue to rise for at least ten more years.
2020 has seen record US government deficits. The deficit in one month alone in 2020 almost equaled the previous worst federal deficits… for a year.
That debt does not include state and local debt. That debt does not include agency debt (debt issued by federal agencies and government-sponsored enterprises) which is “guesstimated” to be another $8.6 trillion or so.
These dreadful numbers do not include unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare.
A look at the US Debt Clock usdebtclock.org in late November 2020 shows that the Federal National Debt per person is about $82,526. Add in all the other debt and every American owes over $100,000!
How can America pay this back? The answer is they cannot. Payback, however, actually does not matter. No one expects the US to pay back their debt.
Investors do expect the US to pay interest on its debt and this creates the really big problem of rising national debt service.
During most of the last decade when the national debt was skyrocketing, interest rates were plunging and have remained really low. Now rates are expected to rise as will the US debt service. The chart from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that debt service is expected to more than triple in the next ten years.
This is an extra half trillion dollars a year that won’t be spent on roads, on the military, on health care, the environment or schools. That rising debt service creates a vicious cycle that can only lead to a devaluation of the US dollar so the debt can be paid, but in phony terms. This is why investors need to own gold and precious metals.
However, because metals are commodities and markets fluctuate for many reasons, gold is not always a good value.
Good value investors look for “ideal conditions” before they invest long term in gold. There are times when a rare distortion in gold’s pricing occurs. When gold’s price drops to a point of value history has shown it will “almost always” rise. The only question is time.
The words “almost always” indicates that there is risk. There is always risk that a basic fundamental has changed and will not correct in any targeted period of time. Or a new fundamental has shifted dynamics to such an extent that the distortion never corrects. There is always risk. Profit is the reward for taking that risk, but there is always a chance of loss which is why we should always seek a price that represents good value.
The way to look for gold’s ideal price is to compare it to inflation.
This is not as easy as inflation is hard to define. Also gold’s price was fixed for many years at $35 an ounce. There is confusion as to what the real price of gold should have been at the end of the war.
These factors distort the accuracy of the answer to… “How much is gold really worth now? What is its real value?”
Here are a few theories that can help us understand the relationship between the price of gold and cost of living.
First, we use gold’s 1944 price and the costs of houses and cars and wages at the same time. Since the mid 1940s, US median income increased 29 times. House prices rose 47 times. The cost of cars jumped 36 times.
Gold was up 35 times in the same period from $35 to $1,235 an ounce.
If these conclusions are accurate, it means that gold was a reasonable hedge against inflation. Had you stored a pile of this precious metals in 1942 to buy a car, now you could do it. A house maybe not, but the statistical house purchased today might be very different from the statistical house purchased in the mid 1940s.
The gold/cost of living relationship is true for the cost of going to a movie, up 33 times. Apartment rentals are up 34 times as well.
But other basics have inflated far less. Gas is up 19 times, but of course bounces around a lot. Postage 16 times. Bread 21 times. Sugar 10 times. Hamburger about 13 times. Coffee 11 times. Eggs 13 times increase. Milk 16 times.
Gold failed for keeping up with education. The biggest increase is for Harvard tuition, up 107 times. Or does this mean that a Harvard education has become a really lousy value? (Well, that’s a question for another time.)
This first comparison suggests that gold is not necessarily badly undervalued at a price of $1,225. If the conclusions of the inflation are correct, this first comparison suggests that anytime gold drops below $1,225 it is likely a fair value, priced about where it should be in relationship to other costs of living.
Another way of looking at inflation is to lump all the price increases together. In this instance (according to the inflation calculator website that uses the graph above) prices overall have risen 13.7 times since the end of WWII.
This second comparison would suggest that gold, up 35 times, has risen far more than inflation and is not a good value at $1,225. However, because the price of gold was fixed at $35 an ounce, the original price must be suspect.
If we use the 1944 inflation rate and compare it to the price of gold in 1971, we see a value conclusion similar to comparison #1. Gold is a fair value at around $1,225.
Why 1971? That’s the year President Nixon told the Fed to stop honoring the dollar’s value in gold. That meant foreign central banks could no longer exchange their dollars for U.S. gold, essentially taking the dollar off the gold standard. Unhinged from the dollar, gold quickly shot up to $120 per ounce in the open market. This $120 price is a glimpse of what the correct price of gold may have been in the mid 1940s.
If this third theory is correct, the price of gold has risen from $120 to $1,225, up about ten times, less than the 13.7 times inflation from 1945.
On the other hand, gold’s price rise from 1971 is still much higher than inflation from 1971 until now. The inflation calculator website’s chart below shows inflation since 1971 has pushed prices up 5.8 times. This would suggest that gold around $696 an ounce would be a good value.
However, since the $35 an ounce gold fixing obscures the true price rise, if we split the price half way between the $35 and 1971 price ($120), we get perhaps a more accurate view. The adjusted price is $77. If $77 was a more accurate real value for gold in the mid 1940s, then its price has risen 15 times and is in line with the 13.7 times cost of living increase.
The fourth comparison uses a chart from Macrotrends.com that shows the price of gold since 1905 without adjusting for inflation.
The same site has this chart showing the price of gold based adjusted to the Consumer Price Index.
In this comparison, gold’s actual price is almost the same as it adjusted purchasing power price, around $1,235.
The comparisons above are indicators that the price of gold is likely to continue rising and falling along the cost of living increases from a current fair value of $1,225.
This is the premise we use in our good value investing course Pi, that it’s good to speculate in gold when it costs $1,225 an ounce or less.
We keep the $696 price in mind when we calculate potential draw downs, in case the assumption of a $1,225 fair gold price turns out to be horribly wrong.
These comparisons crystallize the fact that there is risk when it comes to speculating in gold. They remind us never to speculate more than we can afford to lose or at least hold for extended periods of times. They also remind us not to catch a gold fever when gold soars past $2,000 or we read about the potential of $5,000 an ounce gold!
Eventually the huge American debt will fire up inflation again and that will eventually turn into mega inflation. Then gold prices may shoot that high. In the interim whenever gold drops below $1,225, it’s probably a good value and investors who accumulate below that price will do well.
There are other ways to cash in on precious metals. One approach is to keep an eye on the Gold Silver ratio. When the Gold Silver Ratio reaches 80 and gold is at or below $1,225 a speculation in silver is most likely to be a good value.
The gold silver ratio chart above shows why silver was such a good investment in 2019/2020.
This value indicator is simple because the gold silver ratio is rarely as high as 80, only three times in 36 years as the chart below shows.
The spread hit 80 in 2015 and again in March 2016, but we can see from the chart above that a drop in the spread was on its way. The trend was for a continued lowering of the spread as silver’s price rise was much stronger than gold’s throughout 2016.
Then in 2019 that ratio shot to unheard of highs.
This chart below from infomine.com shows the trend clearly.
There are numerous ways to invest in gold and silver, as a short term speculation for quick profit or for long term accumulation to combat the fall of the dollar or whatever currency you hold. America is not the only country with an overvalued currency. Whichever approach you choose, if you apply these value principles, your odds of increasing profit and avoiding serious loss improve.
Invest in Value, Safety, Profit & Get Paid DoubleThe next four years will be a period of high overseas stock growth.
The chart below shows the last 26 years of real-time forecasting by the global equity analyst we track to make our portfolio decisions.
The analyst is Keppler Asset Management and the index they create The KAM Equally Weighted World Index is 15.4% below the value that the analyst forecast four years ago in September 2016.
The chart shows how in the past, two and a half decades there have been four opportunities (red Xs) when the entry levels in global markets were below or around the lower valuation band. In the previous three low points like this, there has always been the highest growth and positive returns three to five years later.
So it’s good to know that if you invest in global stock markets overall, now, you’ll make capital gains over the next four or five years.
More importantly you get paid more income now!
Current markets have turned economic history upside down. Normally bonds pay the highest interest rates and add safety to a portfolio. Not in 2020.
This year equities have been paying a higher yield than bonds.
As of November 2020, according to Ycharts.com, (1) AA bond yields are at 1.59%.
The US MSCI Index pays a modest 1.68% as of November 2020 . That’s a terrible yield, but better than the 1.59% you can get in AA rated corporate bonds.
Just because US stocks pay more than dollar denominated bonds, does not mean they offer the best income deal. In fact US shares pay one of the lousiest average yields of the 46 stock markets we, via Keppler, monitor around the world.
Eight solid, top value stock markets (shown below) not only add diversification and the best long term profit potential, they pay more than double the average US yield. They pay 3.57% compared to the US yield of 1.68%.
This is why my core stock portfolio consists of a handful of top value share ETFs and this position has hardly changed in five years.
Let me explain why this strategy adds safety, increases long term appreciation potential and pays almost double short term income right now.
During the past five years, I have been steadily accumulating the same good value ETFs. I have traded only five times, so my trading costs, my fuss, fiddle and time spent have been kept to an absolute minimum.
I have been investing in iShare country ETFs. Each one invests in the MSCI Index of one of the top value markets above.
My strategy protects against stock market volatility and yet has potential for the best gains long term from rising share prices by holding an equally weighted portfolio of the best value based country ETFs.
The Purposeful Investing Course uses Keppler analytics to track 46 stock markets around the world into determine which markets offer the best value.
Since no one knows what the future will bring, investing in value makes the most long term sense.
Plus Value ETFs are Safer
The people who dominate stock markets include a pack of thieves. This fact has always been true. We were recently reminded of this fact when Wirecard AG, one of Europe’s most prestigious companies, listed on Germany’s premier stock-market index, the Dax 30 fooled everyone including its top grade, longtime auditor, Ernst & Young GMBH.
The shares in German fintech company Wirecard AG (symbol WDI fell 63.74% as it filed for insolvency proceedings, after revealing that more than $2 billion in cash missing from its balance sheet was all a fraud. The company’s market value fell to less than €500 million from almost €13 billion in a week.
Investors have seen this type of rip off again and again, really big scams from Enron to Bernie Madoff and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Shares in stock markets are manipulated all the time. Stock markets (in fact almost all types of markets) are led by sharks plain and simple. Count on this fact. This is the nature of the beast and the number one goal of many big businesses is to take as much of your money as they can to line their pockets.
In the Wirecard AG example many thousands of investors have seen their hard work, their thrift, their security and hopes for the future disappear, even though they seemingly did everything right by investing in a blue chip, new era, high tech company.
A study of 92 years of investment returns shows that, despite the fraud and cheating and deceit, stock markets are still a good way to make your money grow… if you invest long term and diversify.
Our Purposeful Investing Course (Pi) strategy makes it harder for cheaters to grab your wealth because it’s very hard to manipulate an entire stock market, much less a dozen or so stock markets around the world.
Manipulators have a hard time tricking an entire market, especially larger markets. If you get the best value country ETFs, your chances of long term profits improve.
Pi teaches an an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little time, management and guesswork is required. You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices.
Sticking to math based stock market value and country ETFs eliminates the need for hours of research aimed at picking specific shares. Investing in an index is like investing in all the major shares of the market. You save time because all you have to do is invest in the ETF to gain the profit potential of the entire market.
To achieve this goal of diversification the Pi portfolio consists of iShare Country Index ETFs managed by Black Rock, Inc.
Country Index ETFs are similar to an index mutual fund but are shares normally traded on a major stock exchange that tracks an index of shares in a specific country. ETFs do not try to beat the index they represent. The management is passive and tries to emulate the performance of the index.
A country ETF provides diversification into a basket of equities in the country covered. The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.
My developed market portfolio has been diversified into eight developed markets: Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.
iShares Country ETFs make it easy to invest in each of the good value markets.
The ETFs provide higher income and incredible diversification for safety, plus the highest long term profit potential.
iShares is owned by Black Rock, Inc. the world’s largest asset manager with over $4 trillion in assets under management.
There is an iShares country ETF for most stock markets around the world.
Here’s how you can create your own good value strategy.
I would like to send you, on a no risk basis, a 130 page basic training course that teaches the good value strategy I use. You learn all the Pi strategies, what they are, how to use them and what each can do for you, your lifestyle and investing.
You also begin receiving regular emailed Pifiolio updates and online access to all the Pifolio updates of the last two years. Each update examines the current activity in a Pifolio, how it is changing, why and how the changes might help your investing or not.
You also receive a 100+ page PDF value analysis of 46 stock markets (23 developed markets and 23 emerging stock markets). This analysis looks at the price to book, price to earnings, average yield and much more of all 46 markets.
This year I will celebrate my 52nd anniversary of global investing and writing about global investing. Our reports and seminars have helped readers have better lives, with less stress yet make fortunes during up and down markets for decades. This information is invaluable to investors large and small because even small amounts can easily be invested in the good value shares we cover in the Pi course.
Time is your friend when you use a good value strategy. The longer you can hold onto a well balanced good value portfolio, the better the odds of outstanding success.
A 45 year portfolio study shows that holding a diversified good value portfolio (based on a good value strategy) for 13 month’s time, increases the probability of higher performance to 70%. However those who can hold the portfolio for five years gain a 88% probability of beating the bellwether in the market and after ten years the probability increases to 97.5%.
Subscribe to the first year of The Personal investing Course (Pi). The annual fee is $299, but to introduce you to this online, course that is based on real time investing, I am knocking $124.50 off the subscription.
Enroll in Pi. Get the basic training, the 46 market value report and access to all the updates of the past two years, plus all new updates over the next year.
I guarantee you’ll learn ideas about investing that are unique and can reduce stress as they help you enhance your profits through slow, worry free, easy diversified investing.
If you are not totally happy, simply let me know in the first two months for a full no fuss full refund.
You have nothing to lose except the fear. You gain the ultimate form of financial security as you reduce risk and increase profit potential.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have cut the subscription to $174.50. You save $124.50!
Then because this global recovery from the pandemic is going to take years, we’ll maintain your subscription at just $99 a year rather than $299. Your subscription will be autorenewed in 2021 at $99, though you can cancel at any time.
Subscribe to Pi today and you get a year’s subscription to Pi now, get the 130 page basic training, the 120 page 46 market value analysis, access to over 100 previous Pifolio updates, plus begin receiving regular Pifolio updates throughout the year.