Compared to prices in the past few years, US real estate is cheap.
Compared to real estate prices in most other Western countries (and Japan), US real estate is really, really good value.
There are numerous reasons why there may be growing international investments in the USA.
#1: The ever falling US dollar. A falling dollar helps US business.
The US dollar is almost certain to continue its long term fall. US debt is too high. It probably cannot be repaid. The question is how does one eliminate the debt?
The two most likely losers are America’s lenders and those on fixed incomes.
Debt only makes sense when it can be repaid. When it cannot be repaid, the problem is usually greater for the lender than the borrower.
The first way the US will default on its debt is via a shriveling US dollar.
China has about 3 trillion dollars of reserves about 65% of this ($2 trillion) is in US dollars.
The US dollar this decade has fallen from 8.30 yuan to about 6.6 yuan or 20% as shown in the chart above. The US wants the dollar to fall much more.
In other words, the Chinese already lost about 400 billion dollars on their dollar reserves. They’ll lose more.
Viewed another way, the US eliminated 400 billion dollars of debt and will eliminate more debt.
This means that a lot of foreign investors will be wanting to buy some asset in the US that will rise against the loss of the US dollar… such as a US business or US real estate.
A reader sent this note last week. Gary, A question for you. I have a friend..who is basically a doom sayer about the USA is saying the dollar is going to go completely under etc… to buy gold and bury. How would you respond?? My 88 year old father a World War II vet… tells me not to worry. We will be ok… that from the time he was a kid there are always people telling you the sky is falling. I would like your wisdom and opinion…Thanks… Be Well.
This question requires such a lengthy reply that I answered this as one message. Here is my reply: This question can be answered with an excerpt from my newest email international investing report entitled Running Risk.
This report shows why my portfolio rose 12.9% last month alone and looks at my portfolio and seven places where I am investing which are:
Since I am investing in US real estate, I am positive about the USA. Back in 2000 everything in Ecuador looked really bleak. The country ran out of gas. All the banks shut down. There were demonstrations in the street. A huge part of the population fled the country.
What an opportunity!
Then during the 1980s US recession, I jumped in again buying Naples, Florida real estate that over the next 20 years skyrocketed… until it was so high… we exited. Proudly (lucky really) we sold our last condos in Naples in April 2007… just before the market began to crash. The profits on these went immediately into more Ecuador property.
“Life goes on” is also a financial message.
If you have been in despair about our economy, you might be wondering if things can ever revive. Yes, they can and will! Life and business will be a little different, but mankind carries on. Living in the United States we’ll have to be a little more cautious but the western world will survive. Economies will continue to grow in an up and down way as they have for hundreds of years.
Once you believe this… you see troubled places with delight.
So when everything headed south and the economy tanked, I could not wait to get started in Ecuador. Merri and I created an active Ecuador business, plus began buying property. We bought a 962 acre hacienda, condos in the mountains, a house, a hotel, a four story office building plus condos and apartments on the beach.
As I read the recent New York Times article by Michael F. McElroy “After Century of Growth, Tide Turns in Florida” I was reminded why. Here is an excerpt: HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — The smiling couple barreling ahead on the cover of Liberty magazine in 1926 knew exactly where to go. “Florida or Bust,” said the white paint on the car doors. “Four wheels, no brakes. So it has been for a century, as Florida welcomed thousands of newcomers every week, year after year, becoming the nation’s fourth-most-populous state with about 16 million people in 2000. Imagine the shock, then, to discover that traffic is now heading the other way. That’s right, the Sunshine State is shrinking. Choked by a record level of foreclosures and unemployment, along with a helping of disillusionment, the state’s population declined by 58,000 people from April 2008 to April 2009, according to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Except for the years around World Wars I and II, it was the state’s first population loss since at least 1900.
“It’s dramatic,” said Stanley K. Smith, an economics professor at the University of Florida who compiled the report. “You have a state that was booming and has been a leader in population growth for the last 100 years that suddenly has seen a substantial shift.”
The loss is more than a data point. Growth gave Florida its notorious flip-flop and flower-print swagger. Life could be carefree under the sun because, as a famous state tourism advertisement put it in 1986, “The rules are different here.”
But what if they are not? Or if those Florida rules — an approach that made growth paramount in the state’s sales pitch, self-image and revenue structure — no longer apply?
“It’s got to be a real psychological blow,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who predicted that census data in December would confirm the findings. “I don’t know if you can take a whole state to a psychiatrist, but the whole Florida economy was based on migration flows.”
Recall what once passed for normal. Florida grew from 2.8 million people in 1950 to 6.9 million in 1970, and by about three million people each decade after that. Even during stagflation in the ’70s, Florida added about 200,000 people a year. More recently, from 2004 to 2006, Florida added about 1,100 people a day, as housing construction’s proportion of the state economy grew to twice the national average.
Now consider Broward County in 2009. The county, between Miami and Palm Beach, was one of the first areas to shrink — losing 21,117 people from April 2007 to April 2009, according to University of Florida data — and its experience offers a glimpse of what could be on the way elsewhere.
Now, we are selling several Ecuador properties to plow back into the “Sunshine State.”
I believe in Florida for one of the same reasons I believe in Ecuador… sunshine… warm weather in the winter. This is the Florida-Ecuador connection.
I also believe in Ecuador as one of the closest to Florida, practical, low cost places to live with something even better…year round really great weather!
Jyske seminars are really informative. I especially enjoy them… getting to speak, getting to hear the other speakers and then getting to spend extra time with many of these speakers.
This year’s Jyske seminar in Copenhagen had an added benefit (for me) because two speakers had quite differing views on America and the importance of innovation.
Here I am speaking with David Darst.
The first speaker was David Darst. David David Darst is managing director and chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney with responsibility for asset allocation and investment strategy. He was the founding president of the Morgan Stanley Investment Group after he joined Morgan Stanley 14 years ago from Goldman Sachs where he held senior management posts within the Equities Division and earlier, for six years as resident manager of their private bank in Zurich. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and was awarded a BA degree in Economics from Yale University. He has lectured extensively at Wharton, Columbia, INSEAD and New York University business schools. For nine years he served as a visiting faculty member at Yale College, Yale School of Management and Harvard Business School.
Wow… what a resume.
David is an incredibly powerful speaker and a key point in his speech was that the power of American innovation could create a huge positive economic recovery and offered excellent investing opportunity.
The other speaker, Jeff Rubin, (a Canadian) had a differing view. Jeff stated that the US was in a secular decline (the definition is Declining consumer prices – Declining real estate prices – Declining stock market values) and that American innovation will not create a recovery.
Jeff Rubin and speakers at Jyske Copenhagen Global Wealth seminar.
Jeff Rubin has credentials as well. He has been has been one of North America’s top-ranked Canadian economists in oil markets for more than a decade. He is best known for his work on global energy markets and is recognized for good calls on oil prices and their economic impacts. He was chief economist at the large Canadian CIBC World Markets and authored the book “Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller.”
See other Jyske speakers, Gary Scott… Steve Forbes and Ken Rogoff on… Jyske TV.
The Small Stuff can be huge!
Everyone else… as a banker or economic analyst had to be dressed in dark or black. We writers get certain liberties and my message was as upbeat as can be… “There are few times as ripe with opportunity now”.
#2: A double dip will only increase opportunity in the USA!
This site has continually reviewed the 15 to 17 year economic cycle as outline by Austrian economist Joseph Shumpeter. The global economy (and US stock market) enjoys a 15 year bull…. then a 15 year bear (a period of no growth) and the moves back to start a 15 year bull. These stock market bull and bear cycles are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.
These cycles are intricately connected with the new waves of productivity that grow from the great human platform of combat. The cycle goes like this.
An economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war. Struggles for survival in the war (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.
Each new invention helped win a war. Shifting the technology to domestic use… after the war… created a boom.
Each boom leads to excess.
Each excess led to a correction. The correction creates an economic downturn.
The economic downturn enhances a war or threat of war.
Here we are… in the correction again… at the correct time when we should expect that another war (or threat of war such as the Cold War) should begin to build! This latest downturn started almost exactly (1998), 16 years after the last boom began (1982)…which began after the last great human struggle called the Cold War.
If the cycle repeats, the struggle should build now due to the poor economy. If the cycles repeat then the bottom is around 2012. Everything will seem bleakest… darkest…blackest and this will be the best time of all to invest… hence my light suit!
One of David Darst’s graphs showed these cycles.
The key for spotting the greatest investment opportunities is to spot the next big invention… the technology that will spin out of WWIV.
The key is that a problem must have such severe consequences (such as losing the war and being destroyed) that all stops… all logics of return on investment are ignored. Technology and research are pushed full steam ahead regardless of cost.
The key to great success now is spotting the war. It could be against global warming. The battle could be against a plague…. new bacteria that resists antibiotics. A bad year of crops could create famine and the war would be on hunger.
The solutions could be the small stuff… like removing ties… or even smaller… really tiny…even itty bitty. Yet the opportunities they create will be huge.
I have to agree with David Darst in this case. The USA has a huge innovative streak. This is the one nation where failure can be viewed with respect.
Which war… or combinations of wars will change the world? I do not know… yet. Which small solutions will be huge? I do not know that either. Which companies will be the winning suppliers of the solutions? That is also still beyond me.
We live in the richest, most incredible era that mankind has ever known. Our poorest have more than the richest of just centuries ago. Yet this can be hard to remember when caught in the day-to-day rush of the material rat race. Inspired investing is doing what we love and figuring out how to make money from it. We increase our odds of success and enjoy what we are doing more. When times are tough and the economy slows, this perspective can give us time to sit back for at least a few moments and ask, “What do I really want to do with the rest of my life?”
The answer is the most important asset you will ever receive.
#3: Gloomy Markets Always Oversell.
I recall a New York Times best selling book written in 1992 written by Harry E. Figge Jr. and one of the country’s esteemed economics professors, Gerald J. Swanson entitled “Bankruptcy 1995: The Coming Collapse of America and How To Stop It.” This book told how US Federal debt would create a huge economic crash in 1995. The book sold millions of copies and many of us (including yours truly) shook in our boots. The lesson learn was that the sky was not falling. 1995 was the beginning of the biggest stock market boom in recorded history.
Then I remember Y2K. A reader sent me a note yesterday telling me how much he had lost because he had invested everything based on his expectations of a huge crash in 2001.
So when everyone is saying something is getting really bad, I usually begin to think that its good. If I am wrong betting this way at least I have bought my bad investments at low prices!
I expect innovation to change the world again and America usually does well with innovation.
Plus I agree the US dollar is most likely to fall. This reduces US debt and makes US assets even more attractive.
Here are some really important reasons we cannot discount another American rejuvenation.
Americans are getting younger. Unlike most of the western industrialized world.
In 1950 Europe had Twice US Population. Then in 1980 US fertility rates rose and the US began growing much faster than elsewhere. At current growth rates by 2040 there will be more Americans than Europeans.
Yet there is plenty of space. This is another reason I am positive about the USA.
#5: Lots of Real Estate
The US is the world’s third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India).
Yet it has plenty of space. By 2040 America might have 400 million people. Compared to China’s 2 billion and India’s 1 billion.
The US is only about half the size of Russia; but it is 30% of all of Africa; about half the size of all of South America (larger than Brazil); larger than China; almost two and a half times the size of the entire European Union.
Most of that land is temperate or tropical (Hawaii and Florida). The only arctic area is Alaska.
The population density of 28 people per square mile is 168th of 256 nations compared to China’s 133 per square mile.
The country is rich in coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber.
The US has the world’s largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world’s total.
Plus the US has 18% arable land. That’s the 68th best of 256 nations and because the USA is so large this means it has almost the largest amount of arable land.
China with 15% arable land is 79th among 256 nations.
This leads to another great American fundamental benefit… it is the breadbasket of the world.
#6: The US Produces a Lot of Food
A recent article at a food website said: The world is facing the monumental challenge of doubling its food production by 2050 with fewer resources, scientists say.
More than 1800 scientists are in Brisbane for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science, with food security a key focus.
With the global population expected to top 9.2 billion by 2050, experts say the world will need to repeat the Green Revolution that saw food production double between 1960 and 1985.
But with less land, water and fertiliser available, the focus will have to be on working smarter.
According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report the USA is
#1 producer of:
Here are some graphs from this UN report.
The USA is also among the top five (often #2) producer of:
pumpkins and squash
Debt for Food
I often worry about American debt and deficits. Sometimes it is hard to remember that just over a decade ago the US government had a surplus and was reducing debt. The next 15 year economic bull could do a lot to overcome debt. So to could the price of corn.
The price of corn shown in this chart has almost doubled from $2.30 a bushell to $4.30
At an extra $2 per bushell… the USA has earned an extra $25 billion dollars… per year!
Just corn alone.
Corn production in 2009 was 13.2 billion bushels, 1 percent above the previous record of 13 billion bushels set in 2007, and 9 percent higher than 2008.
There is a reduced projection for 2010 corn production. The projected harvest of 12.7 billion bushels, is still the third-largest crop in history and will still provide a surplus, or ending stocks, of nearly 1 billion bushels.
#7: The US Innovates and Embraces Risk
Farming benefits from innovation and this is where the USA excels.
The US is famous for Yankee ingenuity, investing venture capital and accepting failure.
Times of great change (like now) require new solutions that create previously unimagined opportunities.
Yet we must face the burdens (and delights) of the future armed with educations created by the old ways.
Imagine putting old solutions to new problems. What if Bill Gates had tried to develop a more efficient paper filing system? Picture Jeff Bezos trying to develop a better land based supermarket instead of Amazon? Would Larry Page and Sergey Brin had the same success if they had developed a more efficient paper telephone book instead of Google or Sabeer Bhatia a more efficient AOL instead of Hotmail?
They may have failed. At best… they might have modest success. By finding new solutions to circumstances created by change, each built a fortune.
#8: This leads us to see another American strength… being so multinational.
The USA is a nation of immigrants… so as the global economy unfolds… it is better able to adapt to a multi cultural approach.
Look at the names of the American great innovators above again… Bill Gates… Jeff Bezos… Larry Page… Sergey Bringreat… Sabeer Bhatia.
As Newsweek put it in an article: Americans like to think there is something about their culture that’s especially conducive to innovation–the open geography and frontier spirit; a flexible economy with limited interference by government; the Protestant work ethic; an immigrant workforce, constantly renewed by the next generation of talent from around the world. Other countries can perhaps emulate some of these traits, but none can replicate the creative cocktail that is America.
Here are a few American innovations this decade. Look at the creators names.
2001 Microwave Anisotropy Probe. A microwave anisotropy probe, or Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, measures the temperature of the Big Bang’s remnant radiant heat. Conceptualized by Professor Charles L. Bennett, the mission was a joint project between the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Princeton University.
2001 Artificial Liver. As the world’s first artificial liver which serves as a “bridge” between a damaged liver and a donated liver permanently transplanted into a human being, the artificial liver is an external device which also enables damaged liver to heal or recuperate until a donor can be found and transplanted. Dr. Kenneth Matsumura.
2002 SERF. A spin-exchange relaxation-free (SERF) magnetometer achieves very high magnetic field sensitivity by monitoring a high density vapor of alkali metal atoms precessing in a near-zero magnetic field. SERF magnetometers are among the most sensitive magnetic field sensors and in some cases exceed the performance of SQUID detectors of equivalent size. Michael V. Romalis.
2003 Fermionic condensate. A fermionic condensate is a superfluid phase formed by fermionic particles at low temperatures. The first atomic fermionic condensate was invented by Deborah S. Jin.
2007 Nanowire battery. A nanowire battery is a lithium-ion battery consisting of a stainless steel anode covered in silicon nanowires. Silicon, which stores ten times more lithium than graphite, allows a far greater energy density on a steel anode, thus reducing the mass of the battery resulting in energy conservation and cost savings. Chinese-American Dr. Yi Cui.
2008 Bionic contact lens. A bionic contact lens is a digital contact lens worn directly on the human eye which in the future, scientists believe could one day serve as a useful virtual platform for activities such as surfing the World Wide Web, superimposing images on real-world objects, playing video games for entertainment, and for monitoring patients’ medical conditions. 2008 creation of Iranian-American Babak Parviz.
2009 Composite aircraft. The Boeing 787 Tom Cogan, chief engineer and designer.
Americans and Seminars
Merri and I have enjoyed a terrific seminar business for over 30 years. We serve mostly small American business people. We could not have such a business in Europe. I know. I tried. Europeans are not as willing to pay for adult education. When we marketed in Europe we had to market to businesses to pay for their employees. Americans always have been and remain easer to learn and improve themselves.
#9: Trading Down
Industrialized countries especially the US have a lot of bad habits they can reform… energy… house size etc. For example… An October 26 Time magazine quote said: Men spent twice as much on grooming products last year as they did in pre recession 1997.
USA Can Especially Benefit From Trading Down
A special Economist report “The World turned upsdie down” explains when it says: Developing countries are becoming hotbeds of business innovation in much the same way as Japan did from the 1950s onwards. They are coming up with new products that are dramtically chepaer than their wetsren equivalents. $3,000 cars, #300 computers and $30 mobile phones that provide nationwide service for just 2 cents a minute.
Multinationals expect 70% of world’s growth over the next few years to come from emerging markets, with 40% coming from just two countries, China and India.
Both Western and emerging country companies have also relaized that they need to try harder if they are to proper in these booming markets. It is not enough to concentrate on the Gugi and Mercedes crowd; they have to learn how to appeak to the billions of people who live outside Shanghai and Bangalore form the rising middle class in second tier cities to the farmers in isolated villages.
The potential market is huge: the populations are already much bigger than in the developed world and growing fatser and in both hina and India hundreds of millions of people will enter the middle class in coming decades.
But many of the most important innovations consist of increemental improvements to prodcuts and processes amed at the middle or bottom of the income pyramid. look at Wal-Mart’s exempplary supply system or Dell’s application of just-in-time-production to personal computers.
The report shows how the Wal-Mart dell approacxh: smarter ways of designing products and organising processes to reach billions of consumers who are just entering the global market.
The key is to be willing to break all the rules. This is something that Mmericans with their democratic beliefs and aversion to hierarchies are especially good at.
Examples in the Economist report include:
How Ashish Shah developed a handheld electocardiogram that simplifies the process so it can be sold for $800 versus the current prices of $2,000 and has reduced the price of an ECG test to $1.
Another example is of Tata Consulatncy Services creating a water filter from rice husks It is strong portable and csts about $24 and $16 a year to keep up.
The idea is to take the needs of the poor and work backwards.
Another example is of Devi Shetty a heart surgeon who has applied Henry Ford production tactics to open heart surgery. He uses eocnomy of scale and specialization.
His hospital has 1,000 beds (compared to an American heart hospital average of 160). This allows Dr. Shetty and his 40 cardiologists to perfrom 600 procedures a week. This huge volume allows the surgeons to acquire world class expertiese in specialized operations and by remaining focused reduces paper work. Some of the Doctors have performed 15,0000 procedures. These factors allow them to charge $2,000 for open-heart surgery that would cost $20,0000 to $100,000 in the best American hospitals. Yet the success rate is as good.
US multi national firms are especially adept at reaching mass markets like this. America is the home of the production line and mass marketing.
We can see trading down already taking place in the airline industry.
A USA Today article by Roger Yu entitled “More airlines ditch first-class seats as fliers get stingy: says:
The number of first-class cabins is shrinking.
A small but growing list of airlines are eliminating or reducing rows in the most expensive part of their aircraft as customers increasingly look for cheaper seats.
The global slowdown has put a damper on first-class flying as fewer corporate travelers can afford $15,000 seats. Premium traffic on international flights — which includes business and first class — fell 16% in 2009, the International Air Transport Association says. While demand has improved this year, premium traffic in August was still 11% down from the pre-downturn size in early 2008, it says.
Here’s what’s going on:
* AirTran (AAI), which is being bought by Southwest Airlines, will drop first-class seating once the merger is completed next year. Southwest (LUV), which has never had first- or business-class seats on its planes, says it’ll phase out AirTran’s first-class service.
* United Airlines has been revamping its long-haul aircraft since 2007 to reduce and improve first- and business-class seating while installing more coach seats. United’s (UAL) merger with Continental Airlines has also triggered speculation that United may abandon its first class after the merger and adopt Continental’s simpler approach of flying only two cabins: business and economy.
United “is evaluating which configuration or configurations make the most sense based on customer demand,” United spokesman Rahsaan Johnson says. “Continental has fewer 13- and 14-hour flights than United does.”
* Australian carrier Qantas said earlier this year that it’s eliminating first-class service on most of its long-haul flights except for a few flagship routes to Los Angeles and London from Australia.
* British Airways received delivery on some Boeing 777s last year that didn’t have first class for the first time but says it will invest $150 million to upgrade existing premium seats.
“There’s been a clear trend for long-haul international flights to reduce or eliminate first-class cabins on all but the most lucrative and competitive routes,” says Bryan Saltzburg of TripAdvisor.
As airlines eliminate first class we can see where the trading down takes place as airlines test seats where one almost stands up!
Here is how those seats would look.
A New York Times article “Legroom Tight Now? New Seat Is Less Spacious” by Joe Sharkey tells about these seats and says: The SkyRider seat in a test. The airline seat would give less legroom to passengers, and is intended for short flights.
“LIKE riding a horse,” said Dominique Menoud, the director general of Aviointeriors, the Italian aircraft seat manufacturer, after I had slid into the company’s new “stand-up” airplane seat on display last week at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas trade show. As television cameras poked around the display seats for angles, Mr. Menoud asked me, “It is very comfortable, no?”
“No,” I replied, though Mr. Menoud, beaming, seemed to take that as an assent.
I didn’t argue, but it was definitely not comfortable, although the seat, under the name SkyRider, is being promoted as resembling a horse saddle. I wasn’t buying that either. I have ridden many a horse, and the SkyRider seat is nothing like being in the saddle, whether Western or English. Sitting in one was more like being wedged, legs braced, on a stationary bicycle.
Still, I give the folks at Aviointeriors credit for finally bringing this thing out. Long rumored and joked about, the so-called stand-up airplane seat has now emerged from the imagination, the drawing board and the factory and into the bright lights. The SkyRider introduction was easily the most talked about event of the trade show.
The seat is being marketed mostly for shorter haul flights of two hours or so. But Mr. Menoud said that the seats could also be used on flights up to four hours.
Aviointeriors said the seat allowed for a new basic class of seating with a “much reduced seat pitch.” Most coach seats have 31 or 32 inches of pitch, the industry definition of the distance between one point in a seat and the same point in the seat ahead. A few discount airlines have seats with 28 inches of pitch, but the SkyRider is intended to have 23 inches or less, depending on how an airline installs it.
A Daily Mail article shows even more. The article is entitled Ryanair to sell standing room only tickets for £4… funded by charging passengers to use the toilet by Ray Massey and makes air travel look even worse!
The article says: Air passengers might soon be able to fly from just £4, with ample leg room to boot.
There’s just one small catch, it seems – they’ll have to stand.
Instead of being allocated a seat, Ryanair travellers would perch on a narrow shelf and lean against a flat padded backboard.
They would be restrained with a strap stretching over their shoulder, the budget airline said.
But the bizarre initiative ran into an immediate obstacle.
European aviation safety regulators said the perches would not meet safety rules.
Last night Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary went ahead regardless with his announcement of plans to remove the back ten rows of seats from 250 planes and replace them with 15 rows of so-called ‘vertical seating’.
Two lavatories at the back could also be removed, helping to allow up to 50 extra passengers on each flight.
Standing up and removing toilets on flights might seem crazy… but look at the facts. Less Western fliers can afford the low fares. Maybe 1 billion Indians and Chinese are getting ready to be able to afford their first trip. Standing up might seem impossible to those of us who were raised with the concept of champagne flights… but this new wave of consumers have just come off ox carts or bicycles at best. The stand up flight is a big step up for them.
That lower end is the growth sector and the middle and even upper middle may well be drawn down. Function will become more important than service.
Other Ways to Profit From Trading Down
American is becoming a leader in renting instead of buying. Zipcar allows meebers ot rent cars by the hour picking up and returning cars to scattered parking lots. Netflix allows to rent CDs instead f buy (they made $116 million last year).
Household sizes grow as children stay at home longer and parents move in.
Boarding house concepts emerge.
Americans are viewed as being big spenders. This does not add up to the facts.
For a couple of decades, US consumers have been lured into debt by financial innovations such home equity loans, credit card promotions and securitized house and car loans, rent-to-own, check-cashing-stores and chain pawn shops. This pushed the savings rate down.
Between 1950 and 1980 US personal savings averaged 9% of disposable income. Then by 2007 this rate had dropped to 2%.
This is changing. In 2009 the rate rose to 4% and continues to rise.
In 2009 the number of Visa, Master Card, Diners and American Express cards fell by 32 million an 11% drop. Personal lines of credit dropped 92 billion dollars.
Europeans and Japanese used to save more than Americans but their savings rates are coming down as their populations age and savings are drawn down in retirement.
At time the younger US population is saving more.
In addition as a people Americans were thrifty even when they are not saving.
They may ave been spending too much but they were still looking for value.
Though American culture has had a huge impact on the world (Mcdonalds… Coca Cola… Levis and much more) have been insular. This means that much of America’s might has never been focused on the global economy. As more and more Americans are now forced to do so, their exports will rise dramatically and Americans may be leaner and meaner in their ability to do so..
Outsourcing… especially in English Becomes Harder
Three huge economic forces of the last 100 years of industrial growth have been:
#1: Increased use of fossil fuels for energy. This has increased productivity and led to the second force.
#2: Globalization. From the first trip of humnity has realized that specializing and trading make everyone more abundant.
#3: Human Fuel. Once huge ingredient of the industrial revolution has been moving poor farmers from the farm to the production line. As they move from rural to urban and then suburban, they have dramatically improved productivity at minimal cost. As they earn more thy build the middle class and increase consumption.
Both India and China have far less farmers than they did 30 years ago. India also has less cheap English speaking labor for the call center service industry.
This will equalize the playing field, especially as the US dollar falls.
Plus as the US brings back outsourcing and exports more, there are added sources of energy.
As mentioned the US has almost a third of the world’s coal… a fuel ripe for innovation.
Google recently announced a plan to invest $5 billion wind transmission line off the Mid-Atlantic coast.
The “Atlantic Wind Connection” is split between Google (37.5%), an investment company called Good Energies (37.5%), and the Japan trading company Marubeni (15%).
This is just one sizable bet among a series of ongoing American real estate investments by Google.
Shale gas is natural gas produced from shale. Shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. One analyst expects shale gas to supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020.
Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply. A study by the Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University concluded that increased shale gas production in the US and Canada could help prevent Russia and Persian Gulf countries from dictating higher prices for the gas it exports to European countries. The Obama administration in the US believes that increased shale gas development will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Horizontal drilling is often used with shale gas wells, with lateral lengths up to 10,000 feet within the shale, to create maximum borehole surface area in contact with the shale.
Improved extraction technologies open up huge new arenas for oil including shale oil.
There are around 600 known oil shale deposits. There are estimates that technically recoverable reserves up to three trillion barrels with the largest reserves in the United States, which is thought to have 1.5 to 2.6 trillion barrels.
Well-explored deposits, which could be classified as reserves, include the Green River deposits in the western United States, the Tertiary deposits in Queensland, Australia, deposits in Sweden and Estonia, the El-Lajjun deposit in Jordan, and deposits in France, Germany, Brazil, China, and Russia.
At 380 billion metric tons, the oil shale deposits in the United States are easily the largest in the world. There are two major deposits: the eastern US deposits, in Devonian-Mississippian shales, cover 250,000 square miles (650,000 km2); the western US deposits of the Green River Formation in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, are among the richest oil shale deposits in the world. In Canada 19 deposits have been identified. The best-examined deposits are in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
There appears to be a lot of controversy about whether this oil is worth recovering but what i do know is that friend has a lot of land on the Green River reserves (Colo. and Wyoming) and oil companies are drilling and have been getting good returns.
America may also be sitting an additional massive 200 billion barrel oil field that could potentially make America Energy Independent hanks to new technology.
The Bakken Formation in North Dakota runs into Montana and could boost America’s Oil reserves by an 10 times. With new horizontal drilling technology there is talk that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel.
I am no geologist nor am I an oil expert but setting aside a lot of hype… America may need to import a lot less oil in the years ahead.
#10: Americans Work More and Are Industrious
As countries emerge labor habits evolve. Usually one sign of a growing middle class is reduced work time.
In the USA this has not been so much the case. Because America is a nation of immigrants there is always an emerging nation within… that keeps the population energetic and working.
In recent decades increased social benefits have hindered this energy but as impossible pension and welfare system breakdown this energy is returning.
Data from the United Nations showing the average hours worked show the USA #3 behind only Japan and Australia.
Rank Countries Amount
# 1 Australia: 1,814 hours
# 2 Japan: 1,801 hours
# 3 United States: 1,792 hours
# 4 Canada: 1,718 hours
# 5 United Kingdom: 1,673 hours
# 6 Italy: 1,591 hours
# 7 Sweden: 1,564 hours
# 8 France: 1,453 hours
# 9 Norway: 1,337 hours
Weighted average: 1,638.1 hours
The same data base showing minimal paid vacation is also right at the top.
Argentina 14 days
- Australia 28 days – Austria 35 days -
Bahamas 14 days
- Belgium 20 days
Brazil – 30 days – Bulgaria 20 days – Canada 10 days – Chile 15 - China Not required – Colombia 14 days – Costa Rica 14 days – Croatia 18 days – Czech Republic 28 days – Denmark 42 days Ecuador 14 days – Finland 35 days – France 49 days - Germany 28 days – Hong Kong 7 days – Hungary 20 days – Ireland 20 days – Israel 14 days – Italy 20 days – Japan 18 days – Korea, South 10 days – Latvia 28 days - Mexico 7 days – Netherlands 28 days – New Zealand 28 days – Norway 25 days – Paraguay 14 days – Peru 14 days Poland 20 days – Puerto Rico 15 days – Romania 20 days – Saudi Arabia 15 days – Singapore 7 days – South Africa 21 days – Spain 30 days – Sweden 25-32 days – Switzerland 28 days – Taiwan 7 days – Tunisia 30 days – Turkey 12 days – Ukraine 24 days – United Kingdom 20 days – United States 7-10 days – Uruguay 14 days – Venezuela 15 days – Vietnam 10 days.
#11: The USA Has the Potential for Numerous Paradigm Shifts
America obviously has some educational problems… however these are due much due to organization and philosophy… not facilities. The USA still has great potential for education and due to the recession… teaching has come back as a very desirable profession. Recently a friend formerly in construction applied to start teaching again. For every empty position there were over 100 applicants.
This much labor availability could cause the education system to sprint ahead!
Dis-Ease Potential From Gluttony
America has another great asset… experience in gluttony. The US is the first nation where a majority of the population has been able to have so many material possessions that stuff becomes a burden rather than an asset. The USA has been a leader in gluttony to the point where vast numbers have been able to ask…. “what’s this stuff all about”.
This realization that striving just to have more does not equate to happiness…. the learning that things do not create much joy for long, has created a vast pool of Americans who desire to shift from quantity to quality.
America’s adventure into the laws of diminishing returns has created a vast pool of Americans bent on sustainability and this is the wave of the future.
As mankind shifts from a conquering to nurturing mode, the US may have an edge in leading the way.
Potential Ease From Innocence.
America’s system for stating a business is still one of the easiest in the world and finally we reach the matter of innocence.
Watch an American and then a European or British TV program or movie some time. The US attitude is almost always optimistic the European pessimistic. Americans always get the good guys and American heroes almost always fight the establishment Dirty Harry style.
I have lived and worked in many parts of the world and the term the Ugly American was coined in the late 1950s because Americans in so many ways were so innocent.
They were (and to a degree remain) assuming and believe that things will always get better if they work hard.
A big nation… really big… with vast resources… a pretty fair democracy… labor mobility… and easy immigration… a melting pot of hard workers… backed by a strong financial system… dramatically reduced costs due to the falling dollar available right now at bargain prices and the majority still believe in the system.
I know… one of the original international citizens of the world, 40 years later…. Merri and i still feel it. That is why we have increased the weighting of our portfolio in the USA.
This is the end of the excerpt from my newest emailed financial Report “Running Risk”.
Belong to the International Club
How to Have Real Safety
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. However we are conducting one in person seminar this year, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan” (August 12-13-14 2016). Attendance is strictly limited to the few International Club members.
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 20116. 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.
Join us for a high mountain retreat that is strictly exclusive to club members and save over $2,000.
Here is a group of International Club members meeting at our North Carolina farm.
Club membership is for an entire year and the 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 plus can attend the August 2016 Value Investing retreat which is exclusive to club members.
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
- Exclusive Value Investing Retreat in North Carolina, normally $799, FREE
- Three night’s accommodations at Merrily Farms, normally $315, FREE
This is every offer in our catalog. To purchase everything would cost $3,509.95. Club membership for 2016 is $1,199 so you save up to $2,310.95.
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.
The International Club fee has been $1,799 but due to the savings of conducting our courses online, we have been able to reduce the fee to $1,199. This is less than the normal fee we have charged in past years from one seminar (without accommodations).
If you cannot attend the High Mountain Retreat, you are still entitled to a three night stay on a space available basis at the farm any time during the season we are open (June into October) or at our grove in the winter months.
Club members meeting at out home.
I invite you to be a member of the International Club which allows you and a guest of your choice to join us for all our seminars including our exclusive August 2016 High Mountain retreat.
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 at our farm and online. We look forward to being with you.
Club members receive everything we offer in 2016, plus the exclusive High Mountain Retreat in August that includes the seminar and accommodations.
We want couples! As a member of the program, you are entitled to add another personas email address to every single course or tour, plus bring a partner to the m,members only retreat. The cost for that extra person will be ZERO! You can enroll bring whomever you wish. Choose your spouse, a friend, son or daughter, partner, accountant, adviser to accompany you.