Gold Is a Rock – James Altucher. And Continues to Be – Rich Rosso

I had lunch with a smartie last year.

A smart, giving, beautiful, industrious young woman with the entire world at her feet had something important on her mind. I attempt to solve the world’s problems in Truluck’s main dining room. Her world’s problems were my problems. I knew she’d pass on what I tell her to others.

“I’m thinking of selling my regular investments and putting all the money into gold.”

“Why?”

Now, I’ve heard this commentary so many times already it’s almost like my earwax is made of a precious metal. I don’t even know why I sought an answer. I could have guessed what she was going to say and I would have been right. I respect this young lady so much so I was prone to listening. My curiosity got the best of me. The answer was what I usually hear.

Because I’m afraid,” she said.

“What are you afraid of?”

Again, I would have been shocked to hear anything new but I always keep an open mind.
Taking a mental bullet to gain knowledge should be part of your game plan. It’s how I roll.

atom bomb Gold is at home here.

“Feast, famine, life, death, the dollar, the national debt, war, earthquake, Obama, congress,jobs, inflation, deflation, interest rates, certainty over uncertainty, death, recession, depression, global annihilation, the Olson Twins weight problems.”

Gold had become “mother investor’s little helper” there for a while. Like a decade.

Until. Said mother decided to detox.

Admittedly, gold and other metals have kicked the ass out of other avenues for money.
The greatest concern today is how to gain perspective as many are now fully enmeshed in the emotional whirlwind called “recency” bias. Gold has blossomed into a recency bias monster but now the monster is bleeding. And we’ll try to convince ourselves the bleeding is temporary, or is it? I’m not smart enough to know. I’ll take being lucky and unemotional at this stage.

It went from Godzilla to Mothra real quick. Or did it? Were there signs for a period that a faith in paper currency was beginning to re-emerge?

As investors we just can’t detect the changes until something dramatic happens. And as we know, everything is dramatic in stock, metals and bond markets now.

Jason Zweig in his book “Your Money and Your Brain,” writes:

“It is human tendency to estimate probabilities not on the basis of long-term experience
but rather on a handful of the latest outcomes.”

Recency bias dulls senses. It makes humans fuzzy and unaware. Even worse is how it
strokes the flames of overconfidence in the extrapolation of current events way into the
future.

It’s a hideous bitch of deception as it convinces your brain that a recent place will
always be tomorrow’s place. And the day after tomorrow’s place. I’m all for momentum, but one needs to understand when the direction of the wind changes.

The sun will come out tomorrow because it came out today.

Why again? (I ask why and why not, a lot). Don’t ask me why.

Storm clouds can overwhelm the horizon real quick. Have you noticed the weird shit going on with the weather lately?

The Earth is not as maternal as it used to be.

The Washington Monument was cracked due to a rare earthquake.The Washington Monument for God’s sake was CRACKED. This period too shall pass. (Or get worse.)

I have a job today. Tomorrow I will have the same job. This is plain silly to bank on in
today’s economy. Employers won’t even look at you if you’re not currently employed or
“recently” unemployed. After six months you might as well be invisible.

You’re that that valuable either. Companies (especially large, publicly-traded) will do whatever they must to preserve their precious margins and that includes quickly adding you to the unemployment or underemployment stats. This will eventually change too. Well, maybe not.

I’m thinking not. Part time is the new full time. Temporary is the new permanent. And gold is NOT the new medium of exchange.

Read on: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/business/part-time-work-becomes-full-time-wait-for-better-job.html?smid=pl-share

Gold always holds its value. Tis’ is true. Gold has never gone to ZERO in value. Tell me
how you feel though if you purchase it at $1,800 an ounce and it goes to $1,100. You indeed lost value. I know it’s not really a loss unless you sell it. It’s a paper loss. And this will never happen, right? Got it. Now wake up!

We’ve heard it all too many times. Still hearing it: Gold will continue to move higher.

Fine.

Even if this is possible based on the warranted lack of faith in global leaders, you must remain skeptical when various signs begin to literally throw themselves at you. No investment goes the way you expect it to indefinitely.

I don’t care if it’s stocks, bonds, metals, widgets, antique toys (in original packaging), nothing goes straight up forever. Nothing. And you know what I mean.

For example, back in the 1930’s we were convinced that radio stocks would never falter.

Radio was going to “change the world.”  And it did. And the stock market got bored with it. Been there done that. Ostensibly, what was hot goes cold.

That’s a fact. Remember tech stocks? How you feeling about Apple stock these days?

old_lady_phone

Yes, Aunt Bev, I know. Buy gold. How about my favorite meatballs did you make them? 

How do you sniff out a top in the shiny stuff (or anything else)?

Random Thoughts:

1). Know the signs from relatives. People stay sharp! Watch for Aunt Beverly calling and demanding you own gold because the world is indeed over or at the minimum, going to hell. People at bingo told her the bible predicts the end of days! Vengeful gods accept gold as a medium of exchange for souls. Didn’t you know? Ok, not that accurate an indicator. But count it as a warning light. Please?

2). You notice consistent bantering about gold in elevators, on escalators. Or on rude, loud cell phone discussions at the supermarket or the movies or in public restrooms. I give you  permission to eavesdrop on conversations. Listen carefully for bloviating. We all know privacy died a long time ago. Loud bragging about an investment is a bad, bad sign. Money loss is imminent.

Once you begin to overhear more about gold than the latest sexcapades on an episode
of Real Housewives of Whatever, demand Aunt Bev sell immediately! Trust me. She
can buy back if I’m wrong. Feel free to send me an e-mail calling me an asshole
(only if I’m wrong please). Have mercy. Something tells me she’ll still make your favorite
meal when you visit (have a friend take a bite first just to be sure.)

3). Metal detector sales are through the roof. It’s the latest, greatest craze! Now more popular than pretty girls selling their alleged used panties on eBay (not allowed anymore so don’t get any ideas). Top global retailers of such equipment are experiencing a revolutionary boom in volume. Minelab, a company out of Australia that sells high-end metal detectors (about $5,600 each, not a typo) moved $118 million worth in 2010. That’s more than twice the sales numbers achieved in 2009. In 2012, gross revenues for metal detection products was strong but beginning to tail off from the peak in 2010.

You’ve lost a spouse, significant other, or friend to metal detecting. If I’m out $5,600 not including shipping and handling you can bet I’m not getting naked with anyone anytime soon. I’m planning to be feverishly obsessed with uncovering precious jewelry you lost on the beach. Probably best you move on. I’m busy. This did happen to a female friend I know in 2011. She’s much happier now.

4). More people are wearing apparel professing their love of gold. I don’t care if it’s a hat, t-shirt, dress, doggie shirt, whatever. It’s a sure warning sign of a top. No need to explain further.

golden showers oops, wrong shirt. 

According to ElvisBlog.net, a comprehensive authority on all things Elvis, the King
wore a gold lamé suit for a performance in March 1957.

At the International Amphitheater in Chicago.

The suit was designed by famous clothing artist to the country stars, Nudie
Cohn. Yes, Nudie (go ahead and laugh, it’s fine).

In 1957, gold was $34.95 per troy ounce.

A decade later in 1967 (Elvis was making embarrassing movies singing to racing cars by then) gold was $34.95 per troy ounce.

Is it a coincidence that you made zilch in gold for ten years? Maybe. Maybe not.  Respect history because we do the same stupid things over and over again.

elvis and nudie Elvis and Nudie Cohn.

4). Gold-related kiosks begin popping up in interesting or unusual places. You probably noticed more of them in your nearby mall. Oh and watch out for the gold bar vending machines and gold ATMs. They already exist overseas. And you’ve seen and heard the commercials, so many advertisements to buy gold.

5). You’re beginning to believe the stories how gold always goes up in recessions and depressions. Dr. Robert Prechter, author, financial analyst and founder of Elliot Wave International dulls the shine from this story using historical data. Excerpts from his research that appear in his E-book “Robert Prechter on Gold & Silver” are below.

In 1970, investors lost interest in stocks and preferred owning gold instead. For a period of ten years.

The same sentiment occurred again in 2001. We’re never really that different are we?

In most recessions, gold has been flat or negative in return. The recessions in 1973 and
2001 were good for gold. Only two out of eleven recessions were beneficial for gold.
Ten-year U.S. Treasury notes beat gold during every recession since 1945. T-note provided a capital gain in ten of the eleven recessions and also paid interest. The average
total return in Treasury notes per recession is a full 10 percent, beating both stocks
and gold.

5). Forty year-old nerds who live at home with their parents start blogs about gold.They’re out there. I’ve read them. They are plentiful. Nothing against nerds or blogs, I love both but there are way too many nerds on the same side of the argument.It’s what’s called on Wall Street, “a crowded trade.” It’s like a boat with everyone fishing off the same side. By then the game is about to change.

I’ve been asked my opinion on at least 50 gold blogs in 2010 and 2011 and it went real quiet in 2012. I know for a fact that a majority of those I purveyed are written by unemployed loners who live in their parents’ basements. If they own CB radios I envy them. I envy them a lot.

6). Gold can be hoarded, confiscated (it’s happened already), can’t be valued as an investment (although some get real creative), and doesn’t pay a dividend. You can only make money if you sell it. If you truly have a sell discipline for metal or anything else you own including investments, you’re in the top .1% club as most investors are notoriously lousy at selling or trimming anything of value.

If gold can be hoarded that means you can’t access it. If it backs a paper currency and
it’s hoarded by the few, that means you will have less money to spend on what you
want and need. Governments can come break down your door (figuratively but don’t
test them) and take your gold away which means you should begin investigating an adequate burial place like under a tree. Watch “Shawshank Redemption,” for guidance.

Gold pays you nothing along the way. No income.

You can redeem for liquidity but human nature tells me you’ll wait for a top or at least what you perceive as a top and wind up selling in a panic as it heads lower.

Believe me. You will. We all do it. Money managers are especially guilty.

Gold can’t be valued to indicate whether it’s cheap or expensive. Valuation is based on
fear and uncertainty. Measuring based on those metrics is anybody’s guess.

As master mentor James Altucher said on a segment of CNBC’s “Fast Money,”

“Gold is a rock.” Genius.

If your paper currency, whatever it is, say U.S. dollars, gets stronger, gold and other metals will indeed drop like rocks and dent your net worth. Big dent.

gold

Notice how when dollar is strong UUP), gold is weak. Just keeping it real, here as I abhor charts.

7). You can’t use gold to buy toothpaste. Or anything else. I tried. I was tossed out of Walgreen’s. So those people telling you it’s a “currency” are wrong. I called to subscribe to a newsletter about gold and wanted to pay in gold. The operator and her “manager” told me they won’t accept gold to pay for the newsletter on gold.

8). It’s ok to hold some gold. Or other metals as part of a diversified portfolio. Two to five percent will work. And take your time. Examine GLD and IAU, the exchange-traded funds which actually hold gold bullion.

9). Expect “flash crashes.” In everything. Precipitous, explainable moves in asset prices higher or lower. Thank the Fed for what I call “freakish asset flows” as money strives to seek returns or rapidly avoid losses thus herding and creating big returns (or losses).

We like tangible things. Stuff we can touch and feel. I can intimately caress  my house until the cops get called and take me away for indecent exposure. It doesn’t mean my home is increasing in value. Or that it’s an investment.

A house is wood, concrete, dust (sometimes a rabid raccoon in the attic – true story) and gold is indeed, a rock.

If you remember it.

You’ll be better off.

And richer for it.

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