Chart of Dow Jones Industrial Average at www.finance.yahoo.com (click on image to enlarge)
In the last five years the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from 10,000 to 18,000, about 80%. Despite this, during the entire five years, US shares have been poor value.
During the same five years the Vanguard Total World ETF has risen from $40 per share to $60 per share about 50%.
Chart of Vanguard World Stock ETF (symbol VT) at www.finance.yahoo.com
In a moment, we’ll review why the Vanguard Fund is a far better value. First, let’s review why one of your biggest obstacles to good investing has been and remains Wall Street, especially the big banks which promise to look after our money. The reality is that these banks have been structuring investments that are sure to lose. Then the very same banks bet against us, because they know our investment will lose.
The New York Times best seller “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” tells the tale of another way big banks and brokers have been ripping off investors. The book shows how since the late 1800s banks and stock brokers and traders have been legally stealing (and sometimes illegally) from investors by front running.
Front running is the practice of a bank, stockbroker, trader or someone taking advantage of advance knowledge of your order to buy or sell a stock or bond. The front runner executes an order for its own account and passes on a higher (or lower if you are selling) price to you.
“Flash Boys” tells the story partly through the eyes of Brad Katsuyama, a chief stock trader for Royal Bank of Canada and Ronan Ryan, a fiber optics tech who connects Wall Street traders to the stock exchanges and says: Ronan for his part couldn’t quite believe how ordinary the people on Wall Street were. “It’s a whole industry of bullshit”, he said. The first thing that struck Ronan about a lot of big investors he met was their insecurity. “People in this industry don’t want to admit they don’t know something.” he said. Brad soon realized that the most sophisticated investors didn’t know what was going on in their own market. Not big mutual funds like Fidelity. Not the big money management firms like T. Rowe Price and Janus Capital. Not even the most sophisticated hedge funds.
“Flash Boys” looks at high-frequency trading (HFT) in equity markets created by electronic trading.
The book claims that HFT traders front run orders on most US stock exchanges placed by investors.
The book explains how electronic trading creates a shift in trading times. Never before had the speed of data been so important and measured in such short spots. The faster the data travels, the better the price of the trade and differences in fiber optic routes, switches and cable allowed some traders to gain just milliseconds advantage. That’s a millionth of a second, but with this edge, when a trader placed order, HFTs could see the order, buy the share and the resell at a higher price.
The slice in each case was small but it is estimated that these high frequency traders were pulling as much $5 billion per year, perhaps as much as $15 billion per year or even higher.
Speed was so essential that one company spent 300 million dollars to bury an 827-mile fiber optics cable that saved just a few milliseconds off of the response time of trading shares.
This exposé shows once again how so much of the financial industry (as with mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps) and the automated stock market trading functions more for the profit of insiders rather than investors. The system creates a gap between investors and the market, a group of middlemen who earn fees, commissions, and rebates from order flow and volume. They add little actual value to the market for huge amounts of pay.
The day after the book’s release the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced an investigation into high frequency trading, in particular about possible front running, market manipulation, and insider trading.
On May 1, 2014 the SEC announced a $4.5 million fine for the New York Stock Exchange and two affiliated exchanges, on charges related to Lewis’ book. The exchanges neither admitted, nor denied the charges.
The book reveals that the cause was a loophole in a law that aimed to stop front running. Research back to the late 1800s found the entire history of Wall Street littered with scandals.
Every systemic injustice arose from some loophole created to correct a prior injustice. The book says: No matter what regulators did, some other intermediary found a way to react so there would be some form of front running.
If you read the book you’ll see that your chances of knowing what really goes on with your stock buy and sell orders are pretty slim.
Here is the rub. Despite the predators on Wall Street who are waiting to take big gouges out of our savings and wealth, equities are still the best place of all to invest for the long term. This chart from the 24 page Keppler Asset Management 2014 Asset Allocation Review shows that over the past 80+ years equities have dramatically outperformed other types of investments.
Subscribers to our multi currency report can access the password protected 24 page Asset Allocation review here.
Rule #1 of our global investing strategy (you have seen it many times if you have been reading my messages for awhile) is “there is always something you don’t know. And that’s okay.”
Not knowing everything means our search for good investments requires a relentless search for value. Our investments have to be good enough to reap a good reward even after the parasites, that have and will always infect stock markets, have siphoned away part of the profit.
Another good ETF diversification is in short term bonds. ENR Asset Management’s Market Outlook for December 2014 says:
Every segment of the bond market has recorded a gain this year with the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index gaining 5.85% and yielding 2.2%. This benchmark includes all investment grade bonds in the United States, including Treasury Securities. We continue to recommend a short duration bond portfolio of no more than four years with an emphasis on high quality investment grade corporate debt. Inflation might be super low at the moment but we believe a major correction is inevitable in the bond market over the near term. Investors are advised to maintain a conservative duration.
The ENR Viking Low Risk Portfolio holds the following ETFs:
Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (symbol BNDX)
Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (symbol BSV)
Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (Symbol VCSH)
For more information contact Thomas Fischer at Thomas@enrasset.com
Global Earnings Seminar
Regain Real Security
There is a path to true security.
I was reminded of this once when I made a horrible mistake. Almost!
The supposed error? Letting my mind wander six decades back to an hour I spent with a girl.
Learn from this near disaster, seven most powerful sources of wealth, health, security and fulfillment in this era.
The girl was pretty and blond. Terry was her name. My imagination spanned decades returning to my Oregon roots seeing her as if she were there.
We were 11 or 12 and had known each other since we started Rockwood grade school. Just buddies, our non-romantic friendship lasted 12 years, from first grade till high school’s end. Then she went off to Pepperdine College in California. I started traveling the world. Never saw her again. I hope her life has gone well. But until that reflection I’d never thought much of Terry in so many years.
What could have been the tragic error was letting that memory touch my heart. Two kids, walking on a crisp, Pacific Northwest autumnal afternoon.
We walked down a sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt path. Huge, fat, green Douglas firs lined the road. Traffic was no problem, not many cars. Crossing Stark Street we turned left, hiking three blocks to 182nd. There we passed an old clapboard candy store. I can still hear the wooden sidewalk of that store slap beneath my feet, felt the soggy planks sag and smelled astringent pitch from the fir trees. Then we turned right, up 182nd for about a mile. There was Terry’s house.
I carried on, walking through a big field, waist high grass turned straw brown by an early frost. There were dozens of paths made by who knows what. Animals perhaps or countless generations of other kids walking home alone from school. I chose one following it to another wood of tall, rough-barked fir. Crossing one more field, I climbed a rock wall, struggled through a barbed wire fence (my Mom hated that fence ripping my jeans). I was home!
Sweet simplicity, that dream. Two kids holding hands, walking on a dirt trail under a crisp, but blue, sunny sky. Pure innocence.
My tragic error was looking back. I returned to Rockwood, Oregon with Merri and my kids to show them this part of their roots. Following the route, Terry and I had walked were the candy store, grange hall, old wooden buildings and their home spun honesty and charm.
Instead we found six lanes of fast, frantic traffic and road rage. McDonalds, KFC, strip shopping centers. The car radio blared warnings of local gangs and drive-by-shootings. Beauty, innocence, sweet simplicity, replaced by drive ins and drive bys. Gangs and drive-by shootings replacing a tender walk in the sun. Good bye memories, good bye.
How can our kids walk in places like this? How can we return to those old feeling of security and comfort?
How can any of us possibly keep pace in this world that’s moving so fast? Then something inside snapped. “There has to be an answer for honest, hard working folks to enjoy the wonderful opportunities of today and regain what we’ve lost over the past forty years”, I swore to myself.
How can we keep up, without having such a fast paced life we turn into machines? Where do we find time for God, family, charity, and our friends? How can we rediscover those sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths we want to walk?
“There has to be places that are still innocent and pure”, I thought. “There has to be a way of life that does not pound us with stress”.
This thinking led me to begin reviewing the thousands of economic and business experiences I have shared with readers over the decades. This started a search for a simpler way of life and a better place to earn and protect our wealth.
By digging, asking and observing, traveling and talking to investors and investment managers all over the world I found that there are true paths to real security in the here and now. That knowledge helped me develop courses on how to have natural health, everlasting wealth and purposeful investments.
This knowledge helped Merri and me invest in stocks and real estate all over the world. It helped us find and develop Merrily Farms into a sanctuary here on Little Horse Creek.
That almost error led us to create an entire portfolio of information on how to keep pace, get ahead, enjoy our modern society but, to enjoy life wherever you choose without having to move too fast.
I want to share this information with a special few in our summer course in the Blue Ridge Mountains where the air is dry, crisp, with a bright sparkling sun. Our North Carolina woods is a place where we can once again walk down sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths beneath huge, fat, green fir and hemlock.
We start the course with this question that can help us get our lives back.
“What would you think in the last 30 seconds of your life if you were the richest man in the world but were unhappy?”
This quote is from the opening slide of our Value Investing Seminar, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”. This a vital question because few investors think about the value of comfort and happiness. Yet the truth is, those who are comfortable and happy with their investments are likely to make good investment decisions. If not, no matter how much money an investors has, changes are, they’ll lose.
Bring Value and Purposeful Investing Together
Join us to learn how to make safety and profit easier and less time consuming so we can focus on our individual purposes in life.
Become an International Club member and join like-minded souls, who take a positive view and think outside the box for better health, greater income and safer, more profitable investments. Share ideas on how to add value to everything and make 2016 -2017 your best years yet.
In 2016 Merri’s, David’s and my mission is to share our 50 years of experience in international business, investing and living to make ourselves happier, healthier and wealthier.
To reach a wider audience we have shifted our seminars online including the seminar “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.
Here is a partial syllabus of this seminar.
- Three common sense ideas: Avoid lines. Go where you are a name not a number. Decide who you are and what matters to you.
- Why three economic trends that have make smart investors rich every 30 years are ready for cashing in now.
- How to look for short term problems that create long term value.
- Update on the best ten markets for safety and profit.
- How to diversify in value with Country ETFs.
- The value of time in investing and life.
- The economics in cyber wars. How to look back at the economics of war to see ahead.
- Great new innovations that will ignite a 16 year bull market from 2016 to 2032.
- The next great fuel.
- Timing long cycles, economic cycles and seasonality.
- Investing in Demographics.
- Trading Down, the biggest global trend ahead.
- Hidden Inflation .
- How to protect against pension loss.
- The Silver Dip 2016. When and how to invest in gold and silver . How to double your position with loans.
- How to spot currency distortions and borrow low to deposit high.
- How, Why When & Where to bank abroad.
Club membership is for an entire year and the recorded seminar is just one high point.
In 2016 and 2017 we are conducting online seminars about value investing, natural health and how to write to sell.
International Club members receive all the online seminars free.
In addition club membership includes:
- Personal investing Course (Pi), normally $297, FREE
- Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher, normally $299, FREE
- Eventful Business, normally $349, FREE
- International Business Made EZ, normally $299, FREE
- Report “Three Economic Conditions for 50% or More Profit,” normally $29.95, FREE
- Report “Silver Dip 2015” normally $27, FREE
- Three online Value Investing Seminars, normally $477, FREE
- One online Natural Health Seminar, normally $119, FREE
- One online Writers Camp, normally $299, FREE
Merri and I have been organizing courses, seminars and newsletters about international and Super Thinking lifestyles for over 30 years. The importance of this sharing… by like minded souls… was reinforced when a delegate from a course sent an email that said:
My Dearest Merri and Gary, Thank you for your most gracious hospitality last weekend. I am just thrilled at being a part of your group. You and Gary were exactly as I imagined you to be, warm friendly, kind, considerate, genuine, helpful, fun, sincere, what else can I say……I felt so comfortable in your presence and learned so much in your course. I was sad to leave the farm that Sunday afternoon. You made us all feel so welcome and cared about. You were so kind to make arrangements for a ride with the other delegates from the Charlotte Airport. They were so nice to me and so helpful, by the time the weekend was over I felt like they were my long lost brothers. Monday morning we all had breakfast at the airport together and I was so sad to see them go, I was sad the weekend was over, perhaps sad is not the right word for how I was feeling perhaps Gratitude is a better way to describe it. Grateful for having the opportunity to share the weekend with such wonderful, like minded Human Beings, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Thank you Merri and Gary. Thanks to you I now have new hope and a new direction to move forward in my life. I know by attending your classes and conferences that through education and due diligence I will make the right choices.
I invite you to be a member of the International Club.
Let’s prosper in these times of change. Won’t you join us in this exciting club and share Merri’s and my lifestyle for the next year? Join us online.
Club members receive everything we offer in 2016 and 2017.