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Even though this is our second winter in Miami, Susan and I still have a hard time coming to grips with it.  It’s so surreal.  We don’t take any of this for granted and frankly, never expected it either.  Yesterday She asked me, “How did this happen?”  That’s a very good question, because the first 40 years of my life, I had no interest in investing, finances, or economics.  I lived an existential life to the fullest, and never gave much thought to investing or to our future.  I spent everything I made, plus Susan’s excellent income, to maintain our life style.  Oh, I would read the newspaper every day but rarely got beyond the front-page headlines before plunging into the sports section.

I remember back in the late 70s when one of our close friends, an engineer at Medtronic, told me that he had purchased two hundred ounces of silver.  I had no idea what he was talking about and couldn’t understand why anyone would do such a thing.  He also told me that some day everyone would have a computer in their homes.  Can you imagine!  I thought he had lost his mind.  I was on my third job by then, working at Target as an assistant buyer of home furnishings.  Target, at the time, had all of 31 stores!  I assumed that I would spend my entire life there but the job only lasted two years.  I moved on to a nine-year “career” at Champion, selling athletic uniforms and imprinted sportswear to the schools in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.  It was a great job, but required a lot of traveling and I AM A HOME BOY.

Next, I decided to become a clothing “rep,” and picked up a few lines and hit the road once again.  That lasted another year or two.  I still hated traveling!   By late 1982 Susan and I both found ourselves unemployed and our grand lifestyle, built upon two incomes, came crashing down.  We both went nearly a year without a paycheck and things were not looking good.  Believe me, I know what hard times are and have great empathy for those of you who are having trouble making ends meet.

Then, out of the blue, something very special happened.

Motivated by desperation, I went to work for one of the largest precious metals companies in America.  It was the only job I could find, or I never would have considered it.  As it turned out, it was the perfect job for me, though I didn’t understand it at first.  It was a new experience for me.  You see, selling gold coins is not like selling football jerseys or industrial paint or health and beauty aids (which I also did in my 20s).  For the first time in my life, I was working directly with “the end user,” rather than selling to a buyer.  I felt a moral sense of duty to do the right thing for the people who were trusting me with their money.  I wanted to be much more than a “salesman” taking home a paycheck.

I decided to learn everything I could about precious metals AND the economy.  I needed to know why gold and silver were worthy investments.   I had to believe in what I was doing before I could take anyone else’s money.  That may not sound like much, but the precious metals industry is NOT REGULATED and there are a lot of scumbags and unscrupulous people who populate this industry.  I know of at least three firms in the Minneapolis area that have been closed down in the last 24 months, and the owners are all serving time in jail.  A lot of trusting people lost a big chunk of their retirement by trusting them.  I mention that only because the way I chose to approach my job, with utmost honesty and concern for the well being of my clients, is not common in my industry.  That concern for the well being of my clients carried over to Miles Franklin.

When I left my job at IRI in early 1990, (I was one of the top producers there as well as their public spokesman at financial seminars around the world) to form my own company, I had one basic building block in mind.  I wanted to build a company that would treat people the way I wanted to be treated if I were dealing with that firm.  You know, kind of like a Golden Rule thing.  Those of you who have dealt with us and followed us for a while know that I have succeeded in my goal.  We have earned our reputation as one of the finest companies in America to do business with.  No bait and switch.  No overcharging.  No mis-representations.  Only the finest and most experienced brokers work here.  Nice people, who all share my passion for our clients.

Two of our brokers, Michael and Kathie, started in the same training class with me in October, 1983 and a third, Bob, was already working there for a year.  The four of us have been together for nearly 30 years!  And then there is my son Andy Schectman, who now does the hard lifting at Miles Franklin – Andy has been with me since late 1990.)  At Miles Franklin, the customer is always right.  If you ever have a problem or a question that needs addressing, I will personally take the time to hear you out.  Ask for Laura, our office manager, and she will put you in touch with me.

For the last 30 years, I have continued my quest to understand the nature of money and the role that precious metals play in our finances.  From very humble beginnings, I created a wonderful company. It has been very gratifying to help steer people out of harm’s way as a result of our education.

Susan and I have a wonderful life because of the precious metals industry.  Our personal success is due to our investing in gold and silver, long before it became popular.  Being in the business, and taking the time to understand it, I figured out, over 25 years ago, that we absolutely had to have our wealth denominated not in dollars but in “ounces” of gold and silver.  That wisdom served us well.  We have been fully invested in this sector since 2001.  Not in dollars – not in the stock market – but in physical metals.  The profit I made on the gold and silver I purchased over the last 10 years, paid for our custom built home in Minnesota and our fabulous condo in Florida.  It has given us financial security.  From near-bankruptcy in 1983 to this amazing life-style – and all due to the gold and silver industry!!!   Believe me, it will serve you well too, if you think logically about where this country and the dollar are headed and position yourself into metals now, while you still have time to ride the bull market out, over the next several years.

Note the quote, above, by John Williams.  He says, “I assess the chances of a U.S. hyperinflation being underway by the end of 2014 at more than 90%.”  He may be correct, but if he isn’t, he won’t miss by much.  He has given you a road map to the future.  It will be a future that is harsh on the dollar and very kind to gold and silver.  As long as our government is more than willing to spend at least a trillion dollars a year more than they collect in taxes and as long the Fed follows through with its promised to hold interest rates down around zero for the next three years, the dollar’s future is dim and hyperinflation is coming.  Gold and silver are your safety net.  Monetary insanity prevails in Japan, Great Britain, Europe and America.  All the large fiat currencies are in grave danger.  The longer it takes for you to come to this realization, the more costly it will be to you.

In today’s daily I quote from two of my favorite writers – both of whom you should be subscribing to;  John Williams of ShadowStats.com and Jim Willie, writer of the Hat Trick Letter.  They offer up a dose of reality that is uniquely excellent.  Do read their comments and do consider subscribing to their newsletters.  It will be the best money you will spend this year.

Here are three informative gold charts, courtesy of Shadowstats: