How to Avoid Financial Wipeouts


How can we avoid financial wipe outs?

I know a man… a CPA and a good guy… who was successful.  He knew taxes. He knew markets and finance and prudently managed money for his clients.  Then he had an ugly divorce.  The spouse told the SEC he was mismanaging money. She told the IRS that he was not paying his taxes.  Neither claim was true yet the IRS froze his (and his client’s) accounts.  That did bring in the SEC and complicated the situation to such a degree the man had a heart attack brought on in part by the stress.  By the time this good person, who had always followed the rules and done well, left the hospital and corrected everything, he was financially wiped out.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.44.52 AM

Picture of a market wipe out in 1932.

The lesson here is get along with people, especially your spouse!

Yet there are three other common ways to get financially wiped out.

One wipe out comes from joining market hysteria when stock markets… like the Dow in 1934 and the early 1980s and 2009 are blasting up like a rocket.

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 10.49.33 AM

More wipe outs… in the early 1980s and 2009.

Sometimes people are financially wiped out through no fault of their own.  This is just bad luck… or karma. Call it what you choose.

Here are several steps you can do to make sure your luck is good instead.

First, remember a golden rule about all markets that can help you avoid a financial wipe out.

“Periods of bad performance are followed by periods of good performance AND vice versa.”

One way to avoid financial wipe outs from crashing markets is to always seek value… diversify and do not speculate with more than you can avoid to lose.

The second rule is to look after your health.  A dollar of natural health prevention may be worth thousands of dollars of medical intervention care.

An article at entitled “Eleven Thousand Bucks for Eleven Minutes: Hospital Overcharging” by Gordon Gibb tells why.  Here is an excerpt.

Washington, DC: Jean Poole describes the nation’s current health care environment as “a broken system.” The medical billing advocate, in comments published last month in an exhaustive report in The New York Times (6/23/12), spends much of her day helping patient clients unravel emergency room charges and other hospital bills that seem to defy logic.

Eleven Thousand Bucks for Eleven Minutes: Hospital OverchargingOne elderly patient, who was taken to the emergency room of a hospital after falling out of bed, wound up being diagnosed with a series of problems requiring intensive testing and a stay in hospital followed by rehabilitation in a nursing home. The nursing home charges of $65,000 were the responsibility of the patient, given the elderly couple had no long-term disability insurance.

However, various additional charges stemming from his hospital care totaling $22,000 were analyzed line-by-line, as is Poole’s habit in her detective work. She had reason to dispute the medical bill. Poole found charges for brand medications where the patient had ordered a generic. Some services were double-billed. The patient was also billed for a private room he didn’t ask for, but got simply because the hospital had nowhere else to put him.

In total, after going over the emergency room cost and other examples of hospital overcharging, a bill for $22,000 was whittled down to $3,915.

There’s more. The total hospital bill came out at $132,000. The patient was billed, for his share in one area, at $9,200 and was told he had ten days in which to pay. Upon investigation of ER charges and other costs by Poole, the patient actually had to pay just $164.99.

Emergency room fees and other costs related to hospital care have become fodder for a growing dialogue over what are the real costs of health care, v. what is actually billed. The New York Times revealed an $11,000 bill received by a patient for minor surgery to his hand that took no more then eleven minutes to complete.

Simply put… medical bills can wipe out even the most conservative and fiscally prudent person.

All you can do in a situation like that above is hire a lawyer and fight the bill.  Right?

Wait a minute… legalese is the 3rd way to be wiped out.

A New York Times article “Suit Offers a Peek at the Practice of Inflating a Legal Bill”  by Peter  Lattmandam shows why this can happen.

Here is an excerpt form the article.  H. Victor, an energy-industry entrepreneur, accused the law firm DLA Piper of overbilling.

The e-mails, which emerged in a court filing late last week, provide a window into the thorny issue of law firm billing. The documents are likely to reinforce a perception held by many corporate clients — and the public — that law firms inflate bills by performing superfluous tasks and overstaffing assignments.

The internal correspondence of the law firm, DLA Piper, was disclosed in a fee dispute between the law firm and Adam H. Victor, an energy industry executive. After DLA Piper sued Mr. Victor for $675,000 in unpaid legal bills, Mr. Victor filed a counterclaim, accusing the law firm of a “sweeping practice of overbilling.”

Mr. Victor’s feud with DLA Piper began after he retained the firm in April 2010 to prepare a bankruptcy filing for one of his companies. A month after the filing, a lawyer at the firm warned colleagues that the businessman’s bill was mounting.  “I hear we are already 200k over our estimate — that’s Team DLA Piper!” wrote Erich P. Eisenegger, a lawyer at the firm.

Another DLA Piper lawyer, Christopher Thomson, replied, noting that a third colleague, Vincent J. Roldan, had been enlisted to work on the matter.

“Now Vince has random people working full time on random research projects in standard ‘churn that bill, baby!’ mode,” Mr. Thomson wrote. “That bill shall know no limits.”

William G. Ross, a law professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law who specializes in billing ethics, said that the DLA Piper e-mails appeared to support what several of his studies had shown: that churning, while not endemic, is an insidious problem in the legal profession.

In a survey of about 250 lawyers that Professor Ross conducted in 2007, more than half acknowledged that the prospect of billing extra time influenced their decision to perform pointless assignments, such as doing excessive legal research or extraneous document review. There is also the issue of “featherbedding,” he said, or throwing armies of bodies at every problem.

This is where the six point command posture and good legal planning can really help to make any judgement resistant.

The ultimate multi currency position is a six point command posture.

Live in one country

Bank in a second country

Invest in many countries

Earn in two or more countries

Use a company incorporated in a fifth country

Have an office in a sixth country

I originally introduced this idea in my first book, “Passport to International Profit “published in 1978… 35 years ago.  This is a fairly complicated structure that can run up legal bills in its own right but even if you use even two of these six points you dramatically improve asset protection.

For example if you earn your income with an LLC that has an overseas bank account… the chances of a judgement creditor reaching your assets are seriously diminished.

llc report photo

“Borrow Low Deposit High – Multi Currency Subscribers” and  can read a report on how to use LLCs with overseas bank accounts here.

Learn how to subscriber to Borrow Low Deposit High 

Crashing markets, medical bills or legal costs can wipe out a lifetime of savings.  The steps above and the basic advice… always seek value and diversify can help you avoid being wiped out.

Gary

Multi Currency Value Investing Seminar

Old Accord Creates New Profits – Multi Currency Investments.

Learn about multi currency stock market breakouts at our Online Value Investing Seminar and save $502 or more.

The Value Investing Seminar is our premier course that we have been conducting every October and February for over 30 years.  Now you can join the seminar online.

Multi Currency Seminar

Improve Safety – Increase Profits

Learn how to improve the safety of your savings and investments by selecting good value and diversified investments in a multi-currency portfolio.

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.

multi-currency-chart

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 50% higher than before the recession and 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.

Learn how to use value as a guide for spotting these breakouts that create fortunes.

Sign up for our current Value Investing Seminar and learn the latest breakout possibilities in global equities, currencies, real estate and commodities.

For example the seminar shows the potential for a breakout of the Singapore dollar.

singapore dollar chart

US dollar rising against Singapore www.finance.yahoo.com chart

The US dollar has been rising without valid economic reasons versus the Singapore dollar since the middle of 2011.  The rise has been especially strong since mid 2014.  This currency distortion creates extra value opportunity because the fundamentals for the Singapore dollar are strong and fundamentals for the US dollar weak.  This is exactly the type of breakout position we look for and share in this seminar.

Here are the currency fundamentals:

US GDP Growth last year: 2.2%

Singapore GDP Growth last year: 2.9%

US current account balance for last year:  -$758 billion or -2.5% of GDP

Singapore current account balance for last year: +$49 billion or +21.2% of GDP

US Budget Balance as % of GDP for last year:  -2.6%

Singapore Budget Balance as % of GDP for last year was a low: -0.7%

US Unemployment: 5%

Singapore Unemployment: 2.0%

US$ Interest Rate 10 year bonds:  2.19%

Singapore $ Interest Rate 10 year bonds: 2.57%

These are economic signs of a currency’s strength.  They show a classic indicator that it is a good time to borrow US dollars and invest in Singapore dollars.

Where to Invest

The seminar reviews many ways to diversify currencies for investors large and small.

For example almost anyone can invest in the Currency Shares Singapore Dollar Trust (FXSG)  managed by Guggenheim Partners.

Guggenheim manages a stable of currency ETFs under the Currency Shares brand.

These ETFs are traded on the New York Stock Exchange so even small investors can diversify in other currencies.

One of the ETFs is the CurrencyShares Singapore Dollar Trust (FXSG).  The investment seeks to reflect the price of the Singapore Dollar.  This provides a low cost, simple, cost-effective means of gaining investment benefits similar to those of holding Singapore Dollars.

Find out which breakouts are likely to take place next.

Merri and I have been able to help readers have better lives, less stress and to make fortunes during up and down markets for over 30 years.  The simple reason for this is that we aim for the really big profits earned at the start of a breakout.

In 2016 I want to kick off the year with you and share why I have confidence and enthusiasm about the breakouts that are near.

Here is a partial syllabus of this online seminar:

International & Value Investing Outside the Box.  This session shows how to take advantage of unusual currency breakouts.

Here is an example.  At our October 2012 seminar we told delegates that the Japanese yen was too strong and was likely to weaken early in the next year. In the next six months, the US dollar rose 13% against the yen.  On December 12, 2012 one USA dollar would buy 82 yen.

finance.yahoo  chart

Delegates who acted and sold the yen short picked up an extra 13% forex profit in nine months.

There is a second way they could have earned.  They could have borrowed Japanese yen at a low interest rate (2.5%) and invested the borrowed yen into a Dow Jones Industrial ETF for this six month period.

In this example $100,000 was invested and used as collateral to borrow $100,000 worth of Japanese yen at 2.50%.   The rate was 82 yen per dollar so to get $100,000, 8,200,000 yen was borrowed.

The $200,000 was invested in a Dow Jones Industrial ETF… a mutual fund traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

The ETF rose, along with the Dow, 12.85%.

The Dow as shown in this chart rose over 12% from January to July 2013.

yahoo finance chart

The loan cost per year is $2,500 (2.5% on $100,000).    The $200,000 portfolio rose $25,700 (12.85% of $200,000).  In other words, the $100,000 originally invested grew $23,200 in six months.

That is the positive carry without the forex profit.  Plus there is a forex gain as well.

By July a dollar would buy 100 yen!

To pay off the 8,200,000 loan would have cost $82,000 at the rate of 100 yen per dollar adding another $18,000 of profit.

The portfolio is worth $223,200 less $82,000 loan payoff or $141,200. That translates into a total six month profit of 41.2%.

How to spot value from cycles.  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.

stock-Charts

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.

Details in the seminar include:

* 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   xxxxxx

The seminar also reveals 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.

The seminar also discloses 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”.

I share the results of this test in the seminar.  The savings you can gain on any purchase of country ETFs has the potential to be more than the cost of the seminar.

I have good news about the cost of the seminar as well.   For almost three decades the seminar fee has been $799.   Now because we have conducted the Value Investing Seminar online, you can save  thousands.  With the webinar, you save the cost of travel and accommodations, plus due to the fact that we don’t have to hire an expensive seminar room, we have dropped the fee from $799 to $297.  You save $502 on the fee alone plus eliminate the cost of travel and accommodations.

Enroll in the current Online Value Investing Seminar for only $297.

You can sign up for all three of the seminars that we’ll conduct this year and save even more.  As markets change we update the Value Investing Seminar, every four months, October, February, May.  Then we conduct the seminar in person in July or August.   The seminar available now has just been updated from our October 2015 seminar.

We have a special program for those who would like to join two, or all three of the seminars.

Two online Value Investing Seminars seminars: $397.  You receive the updated October 2015 seminar now and the February 2016 seminar online.

All online Value Investing Seminars in 2016 $447.  You receive the updated October 2015 seminar now and the February and May 2016 seminar online.

Gary

(1) Dollar chart from pricedingold.com

(2) Grandfather Economic Report

(3)  www.finance.yahoo.com currency charts

 

“Eleven Thousand Bucks for Eleven Minutes: Hospital Overcharging”

Suit Offers a Peek at the Practice of Inflating a Legal Bill


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