Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Golden "Bubble" - Time to Buy, or Sell?

Two articles recently caught my eye concerning the current and future price of gold.

One from the free, free market oriented "Daily Bell" daily newsletter entitled "The Golden Bubble", .. and the second from USA Today "Want To Invest In Gold-You have options"


The Daily Bell article asks the question "is gold in a speculative bubble right now?, while the USA Today article asks the "investor" if they wish to invest in gold _because_ it has done so well and presumably will [according to USA Today] continue to do so, and how to go about it based on the assumption of continued good performance.

[Onebornfree commentary: Is gold in a bubble right now? 'Truth is nobody really knows.[Having said that, the mere fact that it is being seriously considered as an "investment" in a mainstream publication like USA Today _should_ set some alarm bells off for you, dear reader!

Ultimately however,hindsight is 20:20, meaning the only way to know for certain if we are in a "gold bubble" situation now will probably be in 5 or 10 years from now,looking back.

Even then, it is a matter of individual perception- after all, "one persons mountain is another persons molehill".


I can think of two good reasons for buying gold now:

[1]as part of a fully diversified long term savings plan.

As part of a long term savings plan for money that cannot afford to be lost, a certain percentage of total savings is always allocated to gold bullion.

This gold is bought regardless of current price or supposed future outlook for the gold market. My long term savings plan recommends that you _always_ keep a certain percentage of your savings in gold, come what may [and so the question of whether or not gold is or is not in a bubble right now is not even an issue].

or,

[2] as a short to medium term speculation for those who think that gold is either [a] in a bubble that still has a long way to go upward [and therefor takes a "long position" betting on continuance of the upward trend] , or [b] is "an accident waiting to happen" and about to suffer a significant price collapse [a "short" position- profiting from a decline in golds price as measured in $US].

As nobody can predict the future of gold prices, ALL speculations [i.e both long or short positions] should only be made with money that the individual can afford to lose.

My Own Golden "Bubble" Thoughts.

At this time my own thoughts, particularly in light of the USA Today article linked above, is that a peak may well have been reached and that it might therefor be a good time to set a stop loss [if you have not already done so] on any speculative position you currently hold in gold and be prepared to get out.

Of course, I have my own private thoughts on where that stop loss should be placed etc.etc.

Also, I intuitively still lean more towards a further deflation, as opposed to the inevitable inflation that most "hard money" types see ahead right now, which means that, speculative gold "bubble" or not, ultimately the price of gold, relative to cash "_must_" fall considerably at some point, "logically speaking"[!]

Regards, onebornfree

DISCLAIMER:

Financial Safety Services is NOT an investment advisory service. Financial Safety Services is an educational service that teaches the interested individual non-original [i.e. invented by others], time-tested safe methods/principles that might be successfully used by the individual for relatively low risk speculations in various financial markets.

ACCURACY OF INFORMATION : Financial Safety Services MAKES NO CLAIMS AS TO THE ACCURACY OF ANY INFORMATION EITHER GIVEN AT THIS BLOG SITE, OR IN PERSON TO PAYING CLIENTS. All information given/sold, must be understood to have been acted on AT THE INDIVIDUALS OWN RISK .



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More About Financial Safety Services

Financial Safety Services is a private , mostly off-line consulting service that attempts to show its real-time [i.e. non-internet derived] clients how to speculate safely with money that they can afford to lose. Money that the client cannot afford to lose should never be risked in these speculations

Nearly all of Financial Safety Services clients to date have been found via direct [i.e off-line, in-person] referral from previously satisfied clients only.

No attempts are made to procure clientele via the selling of the sporadic, incomplete online information posted at this site. All valuable information is sold to clients, via e-mail, or preferably in person, on a "need to know" customized basis, depending on their specific speculative wants/needs.

Therefor any/all posts at this site are for the reference and possible benefit of pre-existing , real-world, paying clients only as part of my services [and to perhaps help emphasize a particular point I make to them in private], and never for the benefit of the general reading public and casual internet reader at large. Internet posts are therfor not made on a regular schedule in order to build an on-line audience; only when I feel that so doing is beneficial to my actual existing clientele.

I likewise have no interest in gaining clients first hand from any posts made either here or elsewhere [if it happens, it happens!] - to date [20 years+], nearly all of my previous clients have come to me via direct, in-person referral from other satisfied clients- that is, [1]an existing client personally recommends my services to a close friend, [2] the friend contacts me, [3]we discuss their wants/needs, [4] I make a decision as to whether or not I can really help them, [5] We come to a financial agreement- or not :-) .

None- Client Questions?

Should a casual reader/none client have a serious question about an assertion I make at this site they must write to me at: onebornfreeatyahoodotcom and I will do my best to answer their question. Their first question will usually be answered for free. After that, fees may apply.

Current Client Questions.

All existing, paying client questions are of course, answered for free [usually via private e-mail]- it is part of the service!
onebornfreeatyahoodotcom

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

EU Fizzling [ or about to "Fizzle Out" Completely? ]

EU Fizzling- or about to "Fizzle Out" Completely?

Another excellent thought provoking article from the Daily Bell, a free, free market daily newsletter.
"Daily Bell" article located here

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Onebornfree's commentary:

Truth be told, no one can predict the future- no matter how corrupt you and i might think the EU is, or how much you think you might know about economics, the way of the world, or how much you pay your investment advisor/money manager etc. etc.

The EU might collapse next month, next year, or it might stagger on for another 20 years or more.

Therefor, perhaps it makes sense for the concerned individual to look for simple ways to short the Euro, [using _only_ money they can afford to lose], or to make some other speculation based on the assumption of the EU possibly imploding at some point in the near future, _again_, always only using money one can afford to lose.

Meanwhile, money that an individual cannot afford to lose [i.e long term savings for retirement etc.] must be saved in such a way that it it is both largely immune to unforeseen [and unforseeable!] future economic scenarios, yet at the same capable of consistent growth above and beyond the rate of inflation.

Such a plan is both simple, and possible for the concerned individual.
See: "Financial Safety Rule#1":

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Maximizing State- Anthony de Jasay

Published in my "mythbusters" blog, here, a new essay by the great Anthony de Jasay,

Onebornfree commentary: An excellent essay by one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Anthony de Jasay , author of "The State", one of my favorite books on political theory.

Regards, onebornfree.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New York Times: Fed Ready to Dig Deeper to Aid Growth, Chief Says

New York Times: Fed Ready to Dig Deeper to Aid Growth, Chief Says

Onebornfree commentary:

Dangerous Assumptions

Most people who save money for retirement and investing hold many false assumptions, most of which have their origins in misunderstandings about economics, markets, human action, and governments.

Their assumptions cause them to make serious errors in their long term savings plans and strategies, often unknowingly [often until its too late], thereby exposing money they cannot afford to lose to extreme loss.

Naturally, as with anything else, dangerous assumptions will lead to dangerous consequences.

For example, people who read this headline, Fed Ready to Dig Deeper to Aid Growth, Chief Says, from the New York times sat 08/28/10, and actually believe that the central bank actually can "improve" the economy, suffer, to my mind, under many many dangerous, false assumptions.

Here are just two :

Dangerous assumption [1]: that government people [and related institutions such as the Federal Reserve] can do things more effectively than other people.

Dangerous assumption [2]: that governments [and related institutions such as the Federal Reserve] will produce beneficial results.

I am not going to try to explain to you as to why both these assumptions are completely false [those types of discussions are reserved for clients], I will just make the assertion that these, and many other very similar common assumptions about governments and central banks are simply not true out here in the real world.

Suffice to say that both present and former clients of mine usually understand why this is so [because the issues have been fully explored with most of them].

Making Things Worse?

For the purposes of this blog, however, I would simply state that any further proposed interference by the Federal Reserve system [see NYT article below for its stated options], will either have an even more negative effect on the economy than its prior actions have already had to date, or, simply no effect at all.

In short, the Fed cannot, and will not, "fix" "the economy", only the markets can do this, if it/they are left alone [an extremely unlikely event].

Similarly, other government or quasi-governmental agencies cannot "fix" health care, the environment , or "fairly regulate" markets, institutions etc etc., although, of course, they always claim that they can.

[Tip: never believe any government claims, about anything].

Are You In Serious Trouble- But Don't Know It Yet?

If you believe articles like this and in the magical powers of the Federal Reserve and Mr Bernanke [ or whomever ], I would suggest that you and your life savings are in serious danger .

If you would like to know exactly why those two listed common assumptions and many more like them are false, and how to protect your savings and rid yourself of these and other false assumptions that can and will dramatically reduce the value of your savings/investments in the future, let me know.

Can You Afford It?

As I see it the question is, as I'm expensive and exploring fundamental core assumptions of a client can take a considerable amount of time and mental energy for both parties [its a bit like going to a psychoanalyst!], so, can you afford to talk to me?

I would suggest that since your life savings might well be at risk, a better question might be: can you afford not to?

Regards, onebornfree.
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Fed Ready to Dig Deeper to Aid Growth, Chief Says
By SEWELL CHAN

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. — The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, signaled once again on Friday that the central bank was prepared to act if the economy continued to weaken, as yet another economic report confirmed that the recovery had slowed to a crawl.

Mr. Bernanke made clear that while the Fed could take various steps, including large purchases of government debt, “central bankers alone cannot solve the world’s economic problems.” Speaking at the Fed’s annual symposium here, he hinted broadly that political leaders had to take steps to tackle the deficit and the trade imbalance.

Hours before Mr. Bernanke spoke, the Commerce Department lowered its estimate of economic growth in the second quarter to an annual rate of 1.6 percent, after originally reporting last month that growth from April through June was 2.4 percent. Economists had been predicting a steeper decline, and stock prices rose after the markets opened.

While Mr. Bernanke announced no new steps that the Fed would take immediately, he said the central bank was determined to prevent the economy from slipping into a cycle of falling wages and prices, a situation he said he did not think was likely. Instead he predicted that growth would continue modestly in the second half of the year and pick up in 2011.

Mr. Bernanke said the Fed, having kept short-term interest rates at nearly zero since 2008, had essentially four options:

It can purchase more government debt and long-term securities. It can try to coax down long-term interest rates by announcing its intention to keep short-term rates extremely low for even longer than the markets currently expect. It can lower the interest rate it pays on the funds banks hold at the Fed. And it can raise its medium-term target for inflation, which would discourage banks from sitting on their cash.

Mr. Bernanke suggested that the first of those options was the most likely, and all but ruled out the last two............."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/business/economy/28fed.html?th&emc=th

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Expatriate Your Wallet

Onebornfree comment: I've been a big fan of Mr Coxon's thoughts/writings/suggestions for around 20 years or more, in fact, ever since his pamphlet explaining the use of warrants.

His classic wealth protection manual, "Keep What You Earn"
although published a while ago, should be closely studied by those concerned with protecting their wealth and long term savings.

Mr Coxon employs easily to understand essential principles of wealth protection that need to be consistently and judicially employed to protect one's acquired savings from confiscation by private parties, courts, and/or governments around the world.

Onebornfree's [free:-) ] advice, take anything Mr Coxon says very seriously indeed!

Regards, onebornfree

Expatriate Your Wallet

by Terry Coxon



If everything you own is held in your own name in your own country, then you are not merely exposed, you are vulnerable absolutely, to whatever decisions the government might make about how you should behave and who gets the wealth you’ve earned. Tomorrow's new government measure, which might land out of the blue, could be a law that affects everyone, or it could be a rule devised to deal with people like you. Or, it could be an administrative action aimed at you alone. In any case, with all your assets at home, you'd find out how the lobster feels when his trap is being hauled out of the water. Nothing he can do about it.

The only way to protect yourself against the risk of being boiled in a government pot is to keep some of your assets in another country. Depending on how you go about it, the specific benefits you might achieve are:

* Protection from currency exchange controls
* Protection from the confiscation of precious metals
* A lower profile as a lawsuit target
* Income tax planning advantages
* Estate planning advantages
* Easier access to investments in other countries
* A measure of financial privacy
* Practical readiness to move additional assets quickly
* Psychological readiness to think and act internationally when you need to

There are many ways to go about getting those benefits. None is right for everyone, and they all come with some element of cost or inconvenience. Here’s the main menu.

Small bank account. A small account at a foreign bank gives you a ready and private landing spot if you ever decide you want to move a large amount of money in a hurry. If you're a U.S. person, the account is non-reportable, so long as the balance (together with any other foreign financial accounts you own) never reaches $10,000.

Large bank account. A large account at a foreign bank also provides a landing spot for anything you want to send later. If foreign exchange controls are ever imposed, the new rules may require you to repatriate the money – or they may not. Depending on the specifics of the new rules, your account may be grandfathered. In that case, the overseas funds would enable you to travel outside your own country while others are forced to stay at home.

A foreign bank account also slows things down if you’re ever under attack. It’s safe from an instant seizure by functionaries of your own government or by the unassisted order of a court in your own country.

The disadvantage of a large bank account vs. a small bank account is the loss of privacy. If you’re a U.S. person, you are required to report your foreign financial accounts if their aggregate value reaches $10,000.

Physical gold. Gold stored in a safe deposit box in a foreign bank is not a foreign financial account, nor is physical gold in segregated storage with a non-bank safe-keeping facility. So a U.S. person can store an unlimited amount of metal that way without triggering any reporting requirements. Avoiding a need for annual reporting is a plus, but don’t rely too heavily on the privacy you get with a safe deposit box, since the steps the gold takes to get there may create records of their own.

Foreign variable deferred annuity. As with an annuity issued by a U.S. insurance company, a variable annuity issued by a foreign company is tax-deferred for a U.S. investor until he withdraws the earnings. The annuity can be invested in major currencies or in portfolios of international stocks and bonds. If the annuity is big enough (a minimum of $1 million or more, depending on the insurance company), it can be invested in real estate, a private business, or just about anything else.

It’s only conjecture, but if foreign exchange controls are imposed, they are unlikely to disturb any foreign annuity that’s already in place, which is a big plus for an annuity vs. a foreign bank account.

A foreign variable deferred annuity isn’t private for a U.S. investor. When you buy one, you generally must file an excise tax return and pay a 1% tax, and you must report the annuity as a foreign financial account.

Swiss immediate lifetime annuity. A Swiss annuity that begins paying you an annual income when you buy it isn’t a foreign financial account, which may save you a reporting burden. And under a tax treaty with the U.S., Swiss annuities are exempt from the 1% excise tax. There’s nothing private about it, however, since part of each annual payment you receive will be taxable income.

You can make it difficult for a creditor (such as someone who won a lawsuit against you) to get his hands on a Swiss immediate lifetime annuity by electing not to have the option to cash it in. A forced assignment to a creditor generally would not be valid under Swiss law.

Offshore mutual funds. The array of mutual funds available internationally is even broader and more varied than what’s available in the U.S. And, like a foreign bank account, your share account with an offshore fund is safe from a lightning seizure by your own government. But for a U.S. investor, an investment in a foreign mutual fund comes with certain tax disadvantages. They are tolerable if you handle the investment properly or truly ugly if you don’t. And your shareholder account would be a foreign financial account and so would be reportable.

Offshore LLC. You can use a limited liability company formed outside your home country as an international holding company. It, not you personally, would buy and hold the overseas investments you want.

An offshore LLC can be designed to be very unfriendly to your potential future lawsuit creditors, even more so than an LLC formed in the U.S. An additional plus is that while many banks, mutual funds, insurance companies, and other financial institutions shun business from individual Americans, many of the shunners will welcome business from a non-U.S. LLC even if it is American-owned.

An offshore LLC owned by a single U.S. person (or by husband and wife) can elect to be treated as a disregarded entity for U.S. income tax purposes, which makes it absolutely income-tax neutral. Or it can elect to be treated as a partnership, which makes it almost income-tax neutral. The LLC also can be used for estate-planning in the same way as a U.S. LLC.

By the ratio of benefits to cost and complexity, an offshore LLC rates especially high. But it does not eliminate your reporting burden. If the LLC owns a large foreign bank account, you will be required to report it. And there will be annual reports for you to file about the LLC itself.

Foreign real estate. A direct investment in foreign real estate is free of any special U.S. tax or reporting rules. It’s just like buying a farm in Kansas. It would also present added difficulties for a lawsuit creditor looking for ways to collect. And it is unlikely that any regime of foreign exchange controls would touch existing foreign real estate investments.

Foreign real estate can also pay you a psychological dividend. Knowing you have a place to go to, should you ever want or need to go, provides a sense of security. That apartment in Buenos Aires or the acreage in New Zealand means you’ll never be a lobster.

Foreign real estate partnership. By investing in a private foreign partnership or LLC that owns foreign real estate, you can achieve all the advantages of a direct investment. In addition, you increase your protection against foreign exchange controls and lawsuit creditors because there is no ready resale market for your partnership interest.

International IRA. An IRA or a solo 401(k) is permitted to own anything other than life insurance and so-called “collectibles.” Anything.

Some IRAs and solo 401(k) plans own a domestic limited liability company and use it as a vehicle to buy and hold other investments. Such an LLC can own an offshore LLC that does the real investing. As with your direct ownership of an offshore LLC, this does nothing to reduce your reporting duties; in fact, it adds to them.

The advantage of such an arrangement is that it allows you to internationalize your retirement plan. Anything international you might do with your personal investments, you can do with your IRA’s investments. And it’s the ideal structure if you want to invest in offshore mutual funds. The IRA short-circuits the special tax rules that apply to investments in offshore funds, and the offshore LLC’s shareholder account application is likely to get a warmer reception from the fund than would your own American hand knocking on the door.

Private international investment contract. Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to structure an investment contract between you and an international financial institution that is tax-deferred, non-reportable, and protected from future exchange controls or prohibitions on owning gold. This is custom work, so, of course, it’s only practical for large chunks of capital.

International asset protection trust. A properly structured international asset protection trust provides the maximum level of protection from anything that happens in your own country. It does so by leaving you with a measure of influence, but not control, over the trustee. The trustee is outside of your home country and thus is not subject to its laws. And you don't possess the authority to compel the trustee to invest or distribute the trust fund in any particular way. Thus there is no direct means for your own government to impose any regime of exchange controls or investment restrictions on the trust fund.

An international asset protection trust is far and away the most powerful of all financial planning devices. Handled properly, it is virtually impenetrable to future creditors and is especially helpful in estate planning. It is also the most complex device and hence the one most likely to be handled ineptly. And of all the tools mentioned in this article, it comes with the heaviest reporting burden if it is funded by a U.S. person.

Of course, this is the briefest of overviews of a complex topic. For specific guidance on each of the menu items listed, and pros and cons related to your own circumstances, you’ll need to seek qualified counsel.

With an ever-growing number of regulations and financial restrictions that gradually choke your ability to build and maintain wealth, protecting your assets by getting them out of the country should be a critical part of every investor’s strategy. We recommend you get started before it’s too late. Read more about the 5 best ways to internationalize your assets.

August 12, 2010

Terry Coxon is contributing author of Casey Research’s ‘Going Global’ Special Report.
Article reprinted from here
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Copyright © 2010 Casey Research

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is It a Deflationary Depression?

07/28/10Onebornfree's commentary:
Below, a thought provoking article concerning imagined future economic conditions.The article below asks the question : "are we at the start of, or actually in, a deflationary depression right now?".

The truth is, there is no way to know for sure, and no way to anticipate/predict that this might be the case at some point in the future, either. Economists , investment advisors and such like who trumpet that they can see the future are just blowing smoke, its as simple as that, in the end.

A more important question to ask, regarding an individuals long term savings plan, is not "Is It a Deflationary Depression?", but rather : " are my savings going to be protected if it is, or is soon to be [a deflationary depression], regardless, and if not, are my savings still equally protected from what ever else is coming and cannot be reliably predicted in advance [e.g hyper inflation, economic stagnation,stagflation, etc. etc.] ?

For more on long term savings protection please see my post "Financial Safety Rule #1"

Onebornfree Update 07/29/10: Have Money You Can Afford To Lose?

Of course, my comments above only address the safety issue for your long term savings. If you have money you can afford to lose [see Financial Safety Rule #1], and you would like to make a speculative bet with that money on the occurrence of a deflationary depression in the near to medium term future, then certain classes of investments will most likely profit, while others would most likely collapse in value. As to exactly what those classes are, and the best way to speculate in them- well that is between myself and my clients[!].

Also my original comments do not address the just as important issue of how to physically protect oneself and ones family and possessions in[ imagined] future times of great social unrest that might occur during times of economic hardship for many, such as deflationary depressions, where unemployment would be a fact of life for many of us, and socio-economic boundaries would become very defined [i.e. "the haves" vs. "the have-nots".]

Regards, onebornfree.

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Is It a Deflationary Depression?

Original article here.

Drip after drip of deflation data ... Today's release on manufacturing activity by the Richmond Fed is pretty ghastly, as you would expect given that the effects of fiscal stimulus are now wearing off at an accelerating pace – before the happy handover to the private sector is safely consummated – and given that the structural East-West imbalances that lay behind the global crisis are getting worse again ... This follows yesterday's horrendous fall in the Texas business activity index from the Dallas Fed, which fell from -4 in June to -21 in July. "Thirty-one percent of firms reported a worsening of activity, up from 22 percent in June," said the bank. Texas New Orders were -9.6 in July, -8.2 in June, and +15.8 in May. Capacity Utilization was -0.6 in July, +2.7 in June, and +18.7 in May. This of course is why Fed chair Ben Bernanke has been giving strong hints of QE2 (helicopters again) if necessary. – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: A deflationary depression coming at ya.

Free-Market Analysis: The Telegraph has been very good at diagnosing deflationary trends in the larger economy, and we have agreed with this analysis because it seems obvious. What is noteworthy, however, is that prices keep going down, as the Telegraph analyzes above, even though there are numerous proclamations that the "recession" is over.

In fact as much as we find the economic analysis of the Telegraph to be intriguing, the emphasis on deflation and the central banking response inevitably gives rise to a kind elitist dominant social theme: "If only central bankers would respond diligently and with the right monetary formula, all would be well or at least better."

Of course this theme plays right into the larger meme of central bankers as a kind of priesthood tending to a monetary Godhead. It is a secular religion, encouraged by the bankers themselves, that a technocratic elite can "manage" the economy to a monetary Nirvana. History and present day events of course show that bankers can do no such thing. But the meme will be continually trotted out, especially during times when central banking is seen as evidently and obviously failing.

What the Telegraph warns us about is a deflationary depression, which the Telegraph believes is the worst of all possible worlds. Various writers at the Telegraph then express their preferences for immediate and vigorous activity by central bankers to rev up the printing presses so as to prevent additional price deflation. Central bankers are in charge, according to this reading of economic history. But are they really? As we have pointed out in the past it is possible to see falling prices in another context as the inevitable outcome of a crack-up boom.

This is an Austrian free-market analysis. Such analysis perceives central banks as over-printing money, which fools people into believing that the economy is better than it really is. Thus, businesspeople over-expand and consumers splurge. Eventually the larger market realizes the reality of what is occurring and stocks pull back (often crash) and a "recession" sets in.

The crash and subsequent retrenchment have been worse than normal, as evidenced by the sharpness of the decline in 2008-2009, and its lingering effects. This, too, is entirely to be expected given that the current economic crisis is the end-result of decades of monetary stimulation starting at least as far back as the early 1980s. In fact, Western economies are bollixed up because constant monetary stimulation makes it very difficult for anyone to know what economies would actually look like – or how they would function – without it.

Even the words themselves are suspect. While there are formal definitions delineating the differences between a recession and depression, they do not get at the cause of the problem from our point of view. Recessions occur because central banks print additional money when the economy starts to slow. By printing a lot of additional money, central bankers can ease the economy into a "soft landing. "

But a "soft landing" is actually counterproductive because the larger economy is never allowed to wring out distortions. This is of major importance because if businesses are not allowed to fail and are always supported by monetary stimulation (and now bailouts) then price discovery ceases to work. Once price recovery doesn't work, lending stops because banks and other lenders don't know whom to lend to. The economy tends to freeze and the velocity of money diminishes.

That's where we are today, in our humble opinion. Because of constant monetary stimulation, the larger economy never had a chance to wring out excesses. Eventually there must be a much larger bust. According to this definition, smaller busts are times when bankers are successful in reflating, but larger busts (the Great Depression, the 1970s crises and now the Great Recession of the 2000s) are indicative of epochs when monetary stimulation doesn't do the trick.

Within this context, it is certainly understandable that prices head downward as they are doing now. The question one must grapple with – especially if one is an investor who wants to understand such things – is whether central bankers can do anything to reflate during a "larger bust." We've indicated in past articles that the unwinding and diminishing prices are probably inevitable and that when central bankers print money during such times they are simply raising the odds of price inflation down the road.

We have little doubt that at some point, price deflation (deleveraging) will come to an end. Central banks will do everything in their power to prevent the natural unwinding of economies, thus storing up additional trouble for the next business cycle. Additionally, by making banks and certain other entities "too big to fail," the powers-that-be have added another level of confusion that further obscures economic indicators and increases the difficulty of normal price discovery.

From our point of view, these are all natural processes stemming from the determination of central bankers to use fiat money, which is inevitably prone to exaggerated booms and busts. The use of fiat money also makes figuring out what is going on economically very difficult. It even obscures the issue of what money actually is.

By constantly injecting money into the system and by not allowing businesses to fail, central banks further distort the business cycle. In this case, the distortion in the economy is very great and the central banking response has been proportionately greater, thus ensuring that the Great Recession will stretch out in length. Eventually, once prices have normalized, there will be some sort of "recovery." But because bankers have already baked "inflation" into the cake by printing so much money, price inflation will inevitably be generated by any recovery, causing bankers to raise rates, etc.

The above is a purely monetary approach to depressions, recessions, deflation and inflation. Ordinarily, economists like to speak about supply and demand and business factors influencing the economy. But in fiat-money economies, we would argue that there is little that matters beyond what is being accomplished monetarily. The ability to print money at will is such a powerful activity that it virtually overwhelms most if not all other business-cycle influences.

There is little from our point of view that central bankers can do to "cure" an initial downward spiral in prices in the context of a major crack-up such as the one the West is currently undergoing. It is a most normal part of the business-cycle. The idea that central bankers can "manage" the economy or even salvage it through money printing and bailouts gives the modern banking community more power than it actually has. The only power that central banking really gives to bankers is the power to inflate – a clumsy one at that. Central bankers can also retard the unwinding process of an economy by trying to inflate yet again and by promulgating "too big to fail" policies.

Since central banks have taken an unfortunately proactive approach (as they always do) this Great Recession will be even longer and more painful than it would have been otherwise. Prices will continue to fall and banks and other entities will be reluctant to lend until the distortions wring themselves out of the economy. Then, as activity picks up, prices will rise rapidly as central banks have already printed and attempted to circulate an overabundance of money. The question that will be asked in the meantime (though never in the mainstream media) is whether people will continue to tolerate the system as it is or demand changes.

Conclusion: The bankers already have a fallback plan, of course. They will apparently suggest a kind of IMF money, and insist that such new money will ameliorate past problems. The dollar (and perhaps the euro) may be sacrificed to popular wrath and a basket of currencies implemented as a new world money. But what won't be pointed out, were this scenario somehow to take place, is that the Anglo-American axis controls the IMF as thoroughly as it currently controls the dollar. Thus a change to IMF SDRs won't really be much of a change at all, were it to happen. What is really necessary at this juncture is the emergence of a private gold and silver standard. Perhaps one will emerge spontaneously. These are strange times, so perhaps it is possible.

Article source

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Does Jim Grant Really Predict an Interest Rate Rise Here?

He Does?

In this March 31st 2010 Youtube interview below, Mr Jim Grant, a famous financial author and originator of "Grant's Interest Rate Observer" for 28 years and author of 5, [and counting] books on the economy, markets etc., and consequently a well respected figure in the financial and investment community, appears to say that interest rates will rise soon [the implication being that inflation is due for a return] , at least according to the videos' Youtube headline. [The full headline reads:" James Grant Says U.S. Treasury Yields `Likely' to Rise: Video"]

He Does Not

However, if you listen closely to the end of the interview, it is apparent that in fact he does not claim to be a predictor of interest rate movements, at least, not any more.

Perhaps, after all of this time, Mr Grant has learnt a small measure of humility regarding the mysteriousness and inherent unknowability of the future movements of all markets?

His admission here makes a point I have repeatedly made in this blog : nobody can consistently, reliably predict the future state of the economy.

Use Money you Can Afford To Lose For Speculations on Interest Rates etc.

If you wish to make predictions and place bets on interest rate changes [or changes in anything else] do so with money you can afford to lose [if you are lucky enough to have some!] not with precious long-term savings that you cannot afford to lose, which must be saved in such a way as to protect against a broad range of economic scenarios, without a need to second-guess or predict any possible future market movements and thereby have to execute buy or sell orders.

Such a long term savings plan is possible.

For more on this, please review my article "Financial Safety Rule #1"

Regards, onebornfree.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Money Privacy Crisis: 'Banking' Secretly in the U.S.A.

The Money Privacy Crisis: 'Banking' Secretly in the U.S.A.

by Grant Hall

[N.B. by Onebornfree: anonymous banking is also possible with a properly set up Nevada Incorporation. Contact me for more detail. As for LLC's New Mexico LLCs can also work well for various privacy issues .]


"Banking" Secrecy Prevents Identity Theft and Seizures

Ever wonder why Americans give up their financial privacy so easily? Slowly condition a population over a generation or two to believe it’s normal to let government, quasi-government agencies, and private investigator–types have access to citizens’ money and banking information – and privacy becomes obsolete.

Throw in a numerical identifier that nearly everyone has – the good old Social Security Number – and a national money-tracking system is created. And the most sophisticated and otherwise security-conscious individuals roll over and accept it like timid little puppy dogs.

Why? Because they lack the information, assertiveness, and persistence necessary to create a banking and asset privacy plan. This article is about doing just that – establishing a financial privacy plan for your money and other liquid assets. Once you have a banking privacy plan in place, you’ll be able to effectively eliminate the threat of theft of your money by identity thieves and others who may be attempting to find your cash.

Why should you be so concerned about your financial privacy? Since identity theft is the fastest-growing fraud crime of the century, preparation to conceal business and personal money is a prudent move. In the event you or your business become the successful target of an identity thief, you can expect an average personal loss of $2,400 and an average business cost of over $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to clean up the mess (Hall, 2006).

What about intrusions from your own government? Violation of financial privacy is a necessary first step to gaining control over every business and individual (Hill, 1998). Would it not be best to have assets and money hidden and out of reach from everyone – government included – in order to avoid unlawful theft or seizures?

Recently, a notable property seizure occurred, as FBI agents raided offices and seized property, equipment, and cash of Liberty Dollar maker, NORFED corporation. The seizure warrant – case 1:07-mj-100119-DLH – was issued and signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Howell in Asheville, North Carolina, on November 9, 2007.

Privacy advocate and author W. G. Hill warned us of the current trend and wrote: "In so-called western democracies, the state has increasingly granted itself the power to simply take from you whatever it desires" (Hill, 1998, Banking in Silence, p. 43). While Hill advocated banking secrecy through the use of offshore accounts and jurisdictions primarily, he acknowledged the increasing difficulty of financial privacy worldwide in his book on the subject, Banking in Silence.




Financial Privacy in the U.S.A.

Readers may be surprised to learn that banking privacy can be accomplished in the U.S.A. In fact, if you reside in the states, you’ll be best served in most cases by keeping your funds in the country. The exceptions are high-net-worth individuals and those who spend substantial time out of the U.S.A.

Offshore bank accounts and assets may be vulnerable to discovery and seizure, and few jurisdictions offer complete banking secrecy. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) between the U.S.A. and forty-eight countries enable the exchange of financial information without "probable cause" and with only "reasonable suspicion" (Barber, 2007).

As you work, live, purchase goods and services, and make investments in the U.S., you need immediate access to your funds and timely clearance of negotiable instruments. Otherwise, you face lengthy hold times on deposits – sometimes in excess of thirty days for offshore banks, not to mention the withdrawal restrictions on many foreign accounts.

Years ago, the most private bank account known to privacy seekers was the Austrian Sparbuch account – an anonymous passbook type of account with only an associated password as an identifier. This bearer account belonged to whoever held it and could recite the password to the banking official. This account is no longer available through Austrian banks. Numbered accounts previously offered by the Swiss banks are also no longer offered. These two stalwarts of banking secrecy have gone by the wayside following pressure from outside forces – mainly the U.S. government.

Today in the U.S.A., you, as a believer in freedom and privacy, can have your personal and business financial privacy once you gain the information and know what resources to use for privacy. Stop listening to the "talking heads" who tell you that your privacy has been taken from you or that you have to give it up in the name of national security.

America has traditionally been a land of free people who have been entrepreneurs and innovators. Business men and women risk time and capital to produce products and services to supply the demands of the marketplace. Take advantage of what is available to you for your privacy needs and learn how to best utilize these resources to create a bulletproof "banking" privacy plan.

Check-Cashing Stores

The most secure way to "bank" anonymously is through the conversion of checks into cash within a system where funds are accessible and your personal and business information and location is known to as few people as possible. Check-cashing stores have become a growth industry within the United States of America, as demand soars for the clearance of checks by those illegally working in the country, banned bank customers, and others who choose these pseudo-banking operations as a means of turning checks into greenbacks.

For the privacy seeker, check-cashing stores offer a way of cashing checks without the risk of storing money in a deposit account. Bank accounts and the associated taxpayer identification numbers and names have been stolen by identity thieves, liened by government agencies, and confiscated by investigators without proof that the account holder is liable for a debt. You won’t run this risk as you cash your checks and carry your cash away from a check-cashing store.

Certain check cashing stores will cash checks payable to a Trust, Limited Partnership, or Limited Liability Company. An individual manager or trustee will necessarily have to prove that he or she is authorized to receive money on behalf of the company or trust. Portions of the trust, partnership agreement, and articles of organization may have to be shown to the manager of the check-cashing store.

Typically, the individual who is the trustee or manager of one of these entities will provide verification of his or her identity, a mailing address, and a telephone number. Social Security Numbers and Employer Identification Numbers are not necessary for "accounts" with certain stores, and these should not be given in order to preserve your privacy.

Once you have opened an "account" with a check-cashing store, the most difficult part of your future business will be awaiting their verification of funds by telephone for those new checks you present for clearance. You must understand that privacy living is always more inconvenient and more expensive than the way the masses choose to live. So you will have to expend some extra time in order to accomplish your "banking secrecy" and expect to fork over three to six percent of each check for service fees as you cash your checks at your favorite check-cashing store.

While those who issue checks to your business or trust will be aware of where the check was cashed, only your company name or trust’s name will be known, and your name will not be revealed to them, as the check cashing store’s name, bank, and account number will be stamped on the back of the check – not your name or account number. An illegible endorsement signature will assure your anonymity. Therefore, only your "banker" will be aware of who is authorized to receive money and sign on behalf of the LLC, partnership or trust.

Once you accept the responsibility of taking charge of your cash, you will be faced with finding a suitable, private place to store the money. Safe deposit boxes have served this purpose for those desiring the utmost in privacy. However, bank safe deposit box holders risk unwanted intrusions by government agencies, disgruntled spouses, identity thieves, and others. Also, banker’s hours do not allow for the "withdrawal" you may need for an unexpected expense or a weekend emergency.

Private Vaults

24/7 Private Vaults, Las Vegas, Nevada (telephone: 702-948-5555) offers complete secrecy to their private vault clients at reasonable prices. Founded eight years ago by world-renowned privacy expert, radio talk show host, and businessman, Mr. Elliot, the company’s private safe deposit boxes are available in a variety of sizes. You may choose to store U.S. dollars or foreign currency, gold, silver, rare coins, stock certificates, bonds, or anything of value in your private vault.

Regardless of your storage requirements – small or huge – 24/7 Private Vaults will meet your business or individual demands. Totally private, more secure than any bank I’ve seen, and staffed with excellent personnel, this unique company is a privacy seeker’s dream. Someone is available to take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Knowledgeable, customer service–oriented staff answer the phone and field questions 24/7. The president of the company, Mr. Elliot, is available at certain times during the week.

No identification, no Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number, address, telephone number – not even a name – is required to store your valuables and cash at 24/7 Private Vaults. Access to the customer’s private vault is accomplished through iris recognition and a numerical code, anytime day or night. And your privacy is assured as the scanned recognition of the eye is encrypted once it enters the database, and it cannot be reproduced. Therefore, your "banking" privacy is guaranteed.

Think it might be inconvenient to have your own private vault at a distance? Privacy has some concessions and is always more inconvenient and expensive than living an "average" lifestyle. However, with the proper information and knowledge of how to use those quality privacy resources available, neither you nor your business will suffer huge losses through theft of property or money.

According to Mr. Elliot, president of 24/7 Private Vaults, no business or person’s private vault is subject to seizure, because of the total absence of identity information required of customers. The company has no records of the names of individuals or business customers. I encourage you to call this reputable company (702-948-5555) and to stop in for a visit when you are in Las Vegas. 24/7 Private Vaults is located at 3110 East Sunset Road, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Now that you have a totally private vault – more secure than any bank I have ever seen – you have essentially created a "current account" or a place to store your money once you have cashed your checks. Certain privacy seekers have explained that they convert excess cash into money orders, while separating the "check" portion from the proof of purchase and receipts. These safety measures make it possible to receive reimbursements if the money orders are lost or stolen. Then, once they are ready to make a trip to their private vault, either the money order itself or the cash from cashing it is stored in their private vault.

Serious privacy advocates – especially those facing an emergency – believe the inconveniences associated with total privacy are a necessary and worthwhile trade-off for the guaranteed safety of their money.

Nevada Limited Partnership

During my research for the book, Privacy Crisis; Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living (James Clark King, LLC, 2006), I discovered the most private and safest entity for holding liquid assets to be a Nevada Limited Partnership. In fact, at last check, a Nevada Limited Partnership has never been pierced to satisfy a judgment for an individual who is a limited partner in any Supreme Court case. Please consult your attorney for advice on limited partnerships for the purpose of holding investment funds.

A Nevada Limited Partnership has been used successfully by privacy advocates who require privacy and asset protection. Liquid assets, including cash, stocks, bonds, and stock funds may be held in the partnership’s name. An EIN and partnership information will be required by the brokerage firm when the limited partner and signer opens the account.

Providing you’re timely in the transfer of personal holdings to a properly structured Nevada Limited Partnership, I’m told by a reputable attorney that no one – not the government, your ex’s attorney, not the taxman, no one – can legally seize it for the debt of a limited partner. And when you insist that Mr. Stockbroker titles the account in only the partnership name – a name totally unrelated to any partner – and equip the account with password protection, a company-name debit card without the signer’s name on it, and other privacy precautions as described in my e-book, Privacy Crisis, you will have a private account for holding assets.


Brokerage companies generally provide better customer service than do banks, in my opinion. They have even been known to accept checks for deposit payable to a partner, individually, into the limited partnership account – a service that no bank I know of will provide.

Summary and Recommended Reading

Through the combined use of check-cashing stores, an anonymous private vault, and a Nevada limited partnership, one can accomplish personal and business financial privacy goals. Brokerage accounts may be suitable for holding liquid assets of a limited partnership. Individuals and businesses can accomplish high-level "banking" secrecy in the U.S.A. For in-depth information and details concerning all principles and concepts of financial privacy, refer to the e-book, Privacy Crisis, available from the publisher, James Clark King, LLC.

References

* Barber, Hoyt. Tax Havens Today: The Benefits and Pitfalls of Banking and Investing Offshore, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.
* Hall, Grant. Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan and Guide to Anonymous Living, James Clark King, LLC, 2006.
* Hill, W. G. Banking in Silence, Scope International Ltd., 1998.

January 5, 2010

Grant Hall [send him mail] is the author of Privacy Crisis: Identity Theft Prevention Plan & Guide to Anonymous Living. Visit his website: http://www.privacycrisis.com/

Copyright © 2010 Grant Hall