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Thank You Ecuador

There is a special reason for Americans to thank the people of Ecuador.

The biggest asset in Ecuador is the people.  We can eliminate border blindness by exposing ourselves to the people of other cultures.

christmas roses

Roses from the people of Ecuador.

We are bombarded with so much bad news and focus on governmental conflict that we often have a Border Blindness that stops us from knowing the people around the world.

My novel the “65th Octave” dwelt on this.

In this book, the hero and heroine, Robin MacAllen and Talking Panther, stumble across a group of Controllers who try to gain control of the world’s economy.  These Controllers accumulate huge amounts of shares and dump them after creating terror in the marketplace. With their extensive cash hoards, they buy up the market for pennies on the dollar.  When this was written over a decade ago, I worried the premise was far fetched. Now the plot hardly seems dramatic enough!

Here is one of Talking Panther’s dialogues about our connection with all the people of the world.

“In the beginning, we were one. We were in the middle and this was good. All knew the other and all were in harmony with nature. Then some of us wandered and left the middle. Some went west. Others east. We lost touch.

“In the east and the west as they settled, they forgot that there was a middle. For their sons, the east and the west became the middle. Those in the west saw the sunrise and called it the beginning as those in the east saw the same sun setting and called it the end. The difference was confusing and the confusion made the difference an issue.

“In the beginning we were one. We were united by all that was common.  Then as we moved we became united by all that was different. Spread apart the view was beyond the vision of the eagle and it became easier to look at the horizon than beyond.

“Few could see that we are still part of a whole.

“This was the beginning of ignorance and its son fear. Fear made each feel less and made each want to be more. Fear blinded the truth that all are equal and that we really are all one.”

Sometimes… the people working together transcend these illusions created by the news and do something so heart warming that we remember who we all really are.   Such an event is described by Roberto Ribedineira, head of the Ateam Ecuador in Quito.

Memorial Day

By Roberto Ribadeneira

It’s hard to talk about a Day that brings so many feelings, mainly because I am from Ecuador, but I did my best to bring the emotion that I could feel when talking to the people that were involved in a beautiful experience on this day.

Kevin Clifford (co-Director) is one of the organizers of this event. Ramiro Penaherrera (co-Director) – who is a friend of mine –told me that I couldn’t write this piece without talking to Kevin, who he said “is the one that make this happens.”

So I called Kevin – who is always busy – but made the time to talk to me.


Delaware Valley Floral Group Trucks at Arlington National Cemetery, May 25th 2013

For Memorial Day Ecuador and Colombia donated thousands of roses that were sent through an amazing logistic (thanks to Delaware Valley) to a little over 184 cemeteries across the USA. Between both countries over 220,000 long stem roses arrived for the sole purpose to make Memorial Day a very special event.

Ecuador got to send the vast majority of flowers, making all of us really proud.

Ramiro and Sophia who work for www.memorialdayflowers.org, made that possible reaching to fifteen flower farms to contribute to this cause.


Cub Scout volunteering at Arlington National Cemetery – May 27th 2013

Among the farms and importers that helped we have (in no particular order):
Greenrose, Agrogana, Roses & Roses, Rosaprima, Flores Verdes, Florecal, Ecuatorian Flower, Nevado Roses, Pambaflor, Denmar, Floreloy, Galapagos Flores, Glamour, Ingüeza Roses, ValleFlor, LatinFlor, Royal Flowers, Queens and Sole Farms.


What this team of great people did on Memorial Day was amazing. With all the flowers that went to the cemeteries, they gave some away to family members to put them on the graves of their loved ones. The important aspect of Memorial Day Flowers is that no one has been forgotten, no life was lost in vain, and that every single sacrifice is recognized and will be remembered.

Kevin said that the purpose is to thank, to tell a story and also to support the families of the ones that have lost their lives. The families are the ones that suffer the most, not only their loved ones are gone, but their burden and suffering goes unrecognized by many, which is why on Memorial Day they need to feel that people support them.


Arlington National Cemetery – Memorial Day 2012
Photo credit www.memorialdayflowers.org

This is a simple gesture, handling a rose could seem not that important, but to the hearts of the families and to the hearts of the people involved in this event, things are much more than just being there, it is about understanding and getting a symbol that many will remember and that says… we are there for you.

Kevin would like this to be bigger. The idea is to reach more and more cemeteries across the country. He says that words can’t describe the feeling of being part of this. People feel that this noble gesture means that someone remembers and if this can be bigger every year, the feeling would spread across the USA.

Kevin said that when his daughter helped him out, she couldn’t understand why kids have no parents. But that is the sad reality of many children whose moms and dads have died defending the country. That is why this is really important, so children could also understand the sacrifices that others like them have made, because their moms and dads are no longer there: to watch them grow, to teach them, to love them. She now helps and is aware of what the man and woman that serve the country have to sacrifice to keep the nation safe.

The families can’t thank the participants enough. Kevin said that people were brought to tears and felt so happy receiving roses for their love ones.

Once the volunteers get to see this first hand, their lives are never the same, their views change, they have no idea how different they will feel at the end of the day.

I was so touched after I heard Kevin that I volunteer to help next year; I said I could do anything. Kevin said that he will be pleased to let me help out; the more volunteers and the more people involve in the event, the more awareness that the event will have.


Volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery – Memorial Day 2012
Photo credit www.memorialdayflowers.org

Ramiro didn’t want to take much credit on this. I know him for many years now and he is a good friend and very bright and forward thinking. But my feeling is that without his involvement this couldn’t have been possible in the dimension that it was.

He mentioned that after three years the event has grown. In 2011 10,000 roses were handed out. In 2012 140,000 and this year over 200,000 roses. The logistics are complex and Delaware Valley was great at making it happen. He also said that this helps the families and supports the ones who serve the country. “It’s a way to honor those willing to fight.”

At Arlington they got the most notorious display of flowers. The Memorial Day Flowers Foundation is the organization in charge of making this happen. Ramiro said that the idea is to grow every year and to get more people, more flowers, more volunteers and more farms involved.

“This is a very emotional thing, I have five family members buried at Arlington… so it’s really important to me in a personal level.” Ramiro said to me.

Sophia Romero was behind getting the farms and the roses from Ecuador. When Ramiro mentioned that many roses he said that Sophia was responsible for getting them. The logistics and the quality are also very important, so they made sure they got the best farms on board.

There were over 200 volunteers, among them: boy scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, firemen from Fairfax County, ex alumni from Landon School. All of them making this a unique day to the many visitors. There were also over 200 florists making arrangements all over the USA. At Arlington Cemetery there were also President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, besides Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense.


Cub Scouts and Sole Farms Volunteers handing out roses at Arlington National Cemetery, May 27th 2013

The goal for next year is clear. After hearing and getting to know just how great this project is, I can’t help to think that the more people that know about it, the more involvement there will be, and I have to be a part of it.

There are many things that words can’t describe, which is why it´s so important to be there, to participate and to collaborate.

The following is a link to a video of what happened that day; you can hear and feel how emotional people were and how a small gesture can change someone’s life.


Next year I know many more will be there to help and I sure want to be a part of this; Kevin, Sophia and Ramiro will do their best (as always) to make sure that next Memorial Day reaches even more hearts. I know many of us will be proud to follow their lead.


Section 60 – Arlington National Cemetery – Memorial Day 2012
Photo credit: www.memorialdayflowers.org


What more can I say except to thank the people who made this wonderful gesture!

Protect Your Savings in Ecuador

Old Accord Creates New Profits – Multi Currency Investments.

Earn more with multi currency stock market breakouts.

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Few decisions are as important to your wealth as the value of the markets and currencies you invest in.  This has been our area of expertise since the 1970s and we have worked with and advised some of the largest currency traders in the world.

Gain Protection First – Against the Dollar’s Purchasing Power Loss.  In 1913 the The Federal Reserve Act created the Federal Reserve Bank to protect the purchasing power of the US dollar, which has since lost about 94% of its purchasing power.  Here is its price compared with gold since 1900.

priced in gold

Dollar chart from pricedingold.com (1)

The Fed has let the dollar lose most of its strength plus has allowed interest rates to fall so low, that safe investments cannot keep pace with the drop in purchasing power.


Chart from Grandfather Economic Report (2)

Many investors have forgotten about the risk of a falling dollar because the greenback has been strong for the past five years.  This temporary dollar strength came after the great recession of 2009 just as there was temporary dollar strength after the great recession of the 1980s.  Then about six years after the recession, an agreement was made by major governments to weaken the dollar.

There was a severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The United States and Japan exited the recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect Europe and the UK through to at least 1985.  As a consequence between 1980 and 1985, the US dollar had appreciated by about 50% against the Japanese yen, Deutsche mark, French franc and British pound, the currencies of the next four biggest economies at the time. Then the governments reached an agreement and exchange rate values of the dollar versus the yen declined by 51% from 1985 to 1987.

Now the world is again in the same place.  The recession is over.  Europe is a bit behind in recovery and the dollar is higher than before the recession.

There is no reason for the greenback to be  strong.

The agreement in 1985 was called the Plaza Accord.   Over just two years the greenback dropped nearly 50% versus other major currencies.  The next accord will generate great profits for those who know what to do while it ruins the purchasing power of dollar back investments.

The strong US dollar and low interest rates have created one of the biggest stock and multi currency breakout opportunities in history.  Learn how to create a plan to profit from multi currency shifts ahead.

One reason for the potential gains is that stock markets and currency values are cyclical.  Due to low interest rates created by the 2009 economic downturn, the US and a few other equity markets have risen to some of their highest prices, ever.  These markets offer very poor value now.  The steep valuation creates incredible profit potential but also hides some enormous risks.  Learn how to develop an investing strategy based of earnings, cash flows, dividends and book values to increase potential for profit and reduce the risks.

Next Extra Profit Created by Value Breakouts

Over the history of US equity markets, the  price of overall markets have risen about 9.1 percent, respectively, compounded annually.  Yet over more than a hundred years of stock market activity,  a majority of the profits have come from just a very few dramatic breakouts.

Equity markets are ruled in the short term by emotions that create unpredictable ups and downs.  Numerous fears of defaults, worries of double dip recessions, high unemployment, concerns about fiscal cliffs, hold investors back.  Yet global population growth and advances in production and prosperity are relentless economic fundamentals that increase value.

When fear holds back a a fundamentally rising value, rising profit potential grows.  Values increase as prices stagnate.  Then markets break free and rocket upwards creating wealth, prosperity and growth.

Find out which breakouts are likely to take place next.

Stocks rise from the cycle of war, productivity and demographics. Cycles create recurring profits. Economies and stock markets cycle up and down around every 15 years as shown in this graph.


The effect of war cycles on the US Stock Market since 1906.

Bull and bear cycles are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.  Economic downturns create war.

Here is the war stock cycle.  Military struggles (like the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War: WWIII) super charge inventiveness that creates new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and lastly during the Cold War, the internet.  The military technology shifts to domestic use.  A boom is created that leads to excess.  Excess leads to correction. Correction creates an economic downturn and again to war.

Learn how the Cyber War (WWIV) may change the way we live and act and how this will affect currencies and investments.


* How to easily buy global currencies, shares and bonds.

* Trading down and the benefits of investing in real estate in Small Town USA.  We will share why this breakout value is special and why we have been recommending good value real estate in this area since 2009.

* What’s up with gold and silver?  One session looks at my current position on gold and silver and asset protection.  We review the state of the precious metal markets and potential problems ahead for US dollars.  Learn how low interest rates eliminate  opportunity costs of diversification in precious metals and foreign currencies.

* How to improve safety and increase profit with leverage and staying power.  The seminar reveals Warren Buffett’s value investing strategy from research published at Yale University’s website.  This research shows that the stocks Buffet chooses are safe (with low beta and low volatility), cheap (value stocks with low price-to-book ratios), and high quality (stocks of companies that are profitable, stable, growing, and with high payout ratios), but his big, extra profits come from leverage and staying power.  At times Buffet’s portfolio, as all value portfolios, has fallen, but he has been willing and able to wait long periods for the value to reveal itself and prices to recover.

keppler asset management chart

This chart based on a 45 year portfolio study shows that holding a diversified good value portfolio (based on a  good value strategy) for 13 month’s time, increases the probability of outperformance to 70%.  However those who can hold the portfolio for five years gain a 88% probability of beating the bellwether in the market and after ten years the probability increases to 97.5%.

Time is your friend when you use a good value strategy.  The longer you can hold onto a well balanced good value portfolio, the better the odds of outstanding success.

Learn how much leverage to use.  Leverage is like medicine, the key is dose.  Buffett leverages his portfolio at a ratio of approximately 1.6 to 1.  This rate of expansion by the way is called the “Golden Ratio”.  It is a mathematical formula that controls the growth of most natural things; trees, the shape of leaves, the spiral of shells, as well as the way economies and societies grow.

We’ll sum the strategy, how to leverage cheap, safe, quality stocks and for what period of time based on your circumstances.

Learn to plan in a way so you never run out of money.  The seminar also has a session on the importance of having and sticking to a plan.  See how success is dependent on conviction, wherewithal, and skill to operate with leverage and significant risk.  Learn a three point strategy based on my 50 (almost) years of investing experience combined with wisdom gained from some of the world’s best investment managers and economic mathematical scientists.

Enjoy investing more with slow, worry free, good value investing.  Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies.  These are major foundations of the Behavior Gap, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose.  The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear.  The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress.

Learn how to put meaning into your investing by creating profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal goals.

Learn how to span the behavior gap.  Behavior gaps are among the biggest reasons why so many investors fail.  Human evolution makes fear the second most powerful motivator.  (Greed is the third.)  Fear creates investment losses due to behavior gaps.  Fear motivates us more strongly than desire.  By nature investors are risk adverse, when they should embrace risk.  Purpose is the most powerful motivator,  stronger than fear and greed.  One powerful way to overcome the behavior gap is to invest with a purpose.

Combine your needs and capabilities with the secrets and the math of our good value model portfolio.

Share ideas about my good value portfolio.  My personal investment portfolio comes from a continual analysis of international stock markets and a comparison of their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return.

Markets included in this portfolio are:

• Norway
• Australia
• Hong Kong
• Japan
• Singapore
• United Kingdom
• Taiwan
• South Korea
• China

These markets have been chosen based on four pillars of valuation.

• Absolute Valuation
• Relative Valuation
• Current versus Historic Valuation
• Current Relative versus Relative Historic Valuation

Learn how to use Country ETFs to easily construct a diversified, risk-controlled, equally weighted representative country portfolios in all of these good value countries.

To achieve this goal my portfolio consists of Country Index ETFs that track an index of shares in a specific country.  These country ETFs provide diversification into a basket of equities in the good value countries.  The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.

This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required.  You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices.  A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares.  You can invest in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index.  All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.

Learn the results of a $80,000 share purchase cost test that found the least expensive way to invest in good value.  The keys to this portfolio are good value, low cost, minimal fuss and bother.  Plus a great savings of time.  Trading is minimal, usually not more than one or two shares are bought or sold in a year.  I wanted to find the very least expensive way to create and hold this portfolio so I performed a test.

The Test for Low Cost Trading

Research put every part of this portfolio in place, except knowing the best, easiest and least expensive way to buy.  A search for an optimal way to buy and hold boiled down to two methods.  One tactic to test was to use a unique online broker that appeared to offer the lowest cost deal.  The other approach was to use a community bank in Smalltown USA.  The small town bank that I use looks after my 401K trust account and their service is first class.  The benefit of small banks is that they still treat us as a human beings (instead of a number) and when we need, it’s easy to go right to the top to answer a question or get a problem resolved.  There are no call centers and the bank and the person looking after my account is just around the corner.

I created a test to see which offered the least expensive service.

Working with my banker in Smalltown USA,  I created two accounts, one at the online broker and the other at the bank. I placed $40,000 in each.

I set up the order for the country ETFs online, while my trust manager set up orders for the identical amounts of the same shares in his system.  Then we got on the phone, coordinated our timing and on a count of three each pushed the button “BUY”.

The results of this test  show how you can gain on any purchase of country ETFs.

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(1) Dollar chart from pricedingold.com

(2) Grandfather Economic Report