Five months after my once-in-a-lifetime trip to China, I’ll let you in on the real reason I went. After a long, arduous, seven year process, my wife and I adopted a beautiful, 18-month old girl from Guangdong Province. After such a pronounced wait, it’s hard to believe it actually happened – as given the ongoing relaxation of China’s “one-child policy” – instituted in 1979 – it appeared the cosmic forces were aligned against us. However, as it turns out, they were not; and consequently, Diana and I have been blessed in a way we couldn’t have imagined.
Frankly, I was never a “child person”; but then again, I wasn’t a “dog person” until Diana brought home our beautiful Giselle six years ago. Giselle is as much a part of my family as anyone I have known; and speaking of cosmic forces, I’m not sure the karma that brought her to us could have been stronger – as she was not the dog we chose, but came into our lives because she was put on the wrong truck. And FYI, given that Diana was once a ballet dancer – and now, a ballet teacher – we not only named our dog after one of the most famous ballets, but our daughter – Sylvie – after one of her favorite ballet dancers, Sylvie Guillem.
Five months into fatherhood, I couldn’t be happier. Sylvie is a happy, energetic child with amazing social skills – particularly in light of the fact she spent 18 months in an orphanage. My hope is she will grow up to break fellow Coloradan Missy Franklin’s Olympic swimming records; but more importantly, that she’ll live a happy, productive life. It’s very vital to me to make a mark on the world; and hopefully, she’ll feel the same. After all, we only live once.
Fortunately, one thing I inherited from my mother – in spades – is a financial conservatism creating a healthy, but at times all-encompassing, fear of failure. In my youth, my investments were far more speculative; but as I have aged, they have become decidedly. Exiting the stock market in April 2000 – when the internet bubble first showed signs of weakness – was my first major “conservative decision.” The second was refusing to buy a house in New York in the mid-2000s; instead, issuing an “ultimatum” to Diana, that if she wanted to own a home, we would need to move away from the overpriced New York market. And finally, my 2008 decision to start selling mining stocks in lieu of PHYSICAL gold and silver; culminating in the sale of my last stock in April 2011 – likely, the last of my lifetime.
Regarding the latter, it saddened me greatly to do; as not only were stocks my passion, but my vocation for the prior 22 years. However, once I realized that not only are all financial markets rigged, but the entire global monetary system in jeopardy, such a decision was the biggest “no-brainer” of my career. Frankly, I don’t have the slightest idea whether stocks will crash or hyper-inflate in the coming years – in both cases, yielding substantial real losses. However, even under the “worst-case scenario” for the global political, economic, and social landscapes, I am 100% confident the purchasing power of my physical gold and silver will be maintained. Perhaps it will take longer – or shorter – than anticipated; but in the end, reality always wins.
Anyhow, the catalyst for this article was this article regarding how just 33% of Americans believe their children will have better lives than they did; which, by the way, is the lowest reading in the survey’s history. And why wouldn’t it be, given that real income – utilizing heavily understated inflation figures, to boot – have declined 19% since 1970? By the way, the numbers are far worse in Europe; as just 28% of Germans believe their children will be better off, 17% of the British, 14% of Italians, and 9% of the French. FYI, for those trying to guess which way the world is headed; this figure is an astonishing 82% in China. As they say, follow the gold!
However, what started out to be a general commentary on the virtues of preserving wealth for future generations – and thus, giving them the best possible opportunity for a good life – became far more personal as I started writing. The aforementioned fear of failure is obviously more exaggerated by the fact that Sylvie, too, requires my support. Not to mention Diana and Giselle, who I also provide for. At this point, I don’t know how I’d answer the question of whether I believe Sylvie will have better opportunities than I; however, sadly, my instincts say no. That is, until I consider the “stacking” I have been doing for the past five years – to the point the physical gold and silver are by far the largest component of my net worth.
Honestly, I can’t say if my own life will be better in its “second half” – assuming I stay healthy – than the first. The ramifications of the global power base shifting East are already evident in every day Western life; and sadly, will be vastly more so in the coming years. Frankly, my “best case scenario” simply involves the avoidance of hyperinflation, war, and draconian government decrees; but even if this occurs, said trends in real income will continue to worsen – until eventually, Western life reverts to the “Eastern mean” of recent centuries.
Amidst this inevitability, governments will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo; including, first and foremost, printing money until it can be printed no more. This is why I convert as much of my dying scrip to real money as possible; and why ultimately, “for your children’s sake,” you should consider doing the same.