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3.26.2016 - Financial Intelligence Report Bookmark

I wrote this article back in 2014 at this very time of the year. I had gotten so many emails from people sharing a similar story that it became one of my favorite letters, and thus I’m reposting it for the Easter Season.

Big Money and Easter

(Rich and Wealthy aren’t necessarily the same)

In many circles this is the most holy week of all. From Palm Sunday through “Spy Wednesday, and Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and Easter itself, this particular time of the year is incredibly important to millions of people.
Because of its solemn importance to so many, I’m not going to go off about the elites, the criminal bankers, the crooked politicians. I’m not going to diatribe about provoking Russia, endless mindless wars, race problems, gay activists, or any of a million other topics just ripe to discuss. No. We’re not going to talk about “bad things” and what you have to do about it.  If you’re looking for a rant, stay tuned for next week because I have some things to “go off” on that need discussing. But for today, in the spirit of the season, I want to talk about being rich. Do you need big money to be rich?

Unless science comes up with something new; the fact is you’re born, you spend the first 18 years of your life trying to figure things out, you spend the next 40 or so years making money, raising kids, etc, and then somewhere between age 75 and 95 you die. In between 1 and your eventual death age…is the totality of your “life”.  How do you measure how “rich” you were?

95% of people tend to associate rich with how much money you have, how many cars/boats/houses/vacations you have.  Is your bag from Coach, or from Kohls? Do you drive a Lexus or a Hyundai? Are those shoes from Jimmy Choo, or Payless? All I’m asking is this…is  the amount and price of possessions the correct measure of rich?  It depends who you ask.  See we can measure your wealth easily. But your “richness” is something considerably harder.

I know all the age old adages about “money doesn’t buy happiness” and “money isn’t everything.” I also know that most of the folks that say that, never had much money. If having money “sucked” then wealthy people would be giving it away. I haven’t seen much of that particular activity. But I have seen people drop out of the rat race to live a much more sedate lifestyle and they appear to be happy as a lark.  Are they not rich? Not materially, no…but mentally? Hmm….

In 1983 a young lady named Cyndi Lauper wrote a song that became one of her biggest hits. It was called “money changes everything”.  Truer words were never spoke. Isn’t it so?  You can be happy being poor. You can be happy being rich. But “money” changes everything in relation to how you ‘get” happy. For the billionaire businessman, money gives him power, and he might derive his happy from that power. For the dirt poor family in Appalachia, money might give their kids their first “new” Christmas presents. Lack of money has caused a billion marital fights. Gaining lots of money has caused millions of ugly divorces.  Many is the lotto winner, now in worse shape than before they won the money.

Money does change everything. However, how you get and then use that money; makes a world of difference.

Yet I’m going to ask the philosophical question here folks. When we reach the end of our road, we leave it all behind, right? . All of it. According to 1Timothy  6:7 For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. All the cars, all the houses, all the boats, all the fine jewelry, all of it…left behind. So while all the money in the world may have let you live far and above the status of so many millions, in the end you will pass away just like them. In other words, monetary “Rich” has a time span.

Not only that, but unless you are one of the very very lucky who inherited or won your money, getting “rich: probably took a toll on your life. The 70 hour work weeks, the stress, the endless meetings, the forced travel. At the end of your “gaining big money” accomplishment, you find yourself maybe worn out. Over stressed, heart problems, overweight, ulcer, you name it.

I do not judge a man by the thickness of his wallet. Money does not mean character. Some of the Mexican drug cartel leaders are fabulously money rich. I’d like to see them dead. And yet I’m in the money business. I help people make money in the stock market. I help folks understand the precious metals market. Obviously I’m not ‘anti-money”. I’m not, not at all.

My point is this. We all say we want the big money. Well what’s big money?  Do you really want a jet, and 15 homes and 30 cars? Then you’ll need big money and the headaches that come with getting it. But if what you really want is a decent home, and a decent amount of time to spend with your wife/kids, your hobby, some vacations,  and some money left over at the end of the month… you don’t need big money. You simply need pretty good money. And guess what? Pull that off, be a good human being with good character and you’re rich in my book.

I’m 58 years old this month. In all those years I’ve been blessed enough to do quite a few things in my life. I’ve been to many places, and seen a lot of things. Yet in all those years, the SINGLE most memorable time of my whole life was not the travel abroad. It wasn’t the ski trips, or the fishing trips. It wasn’t building a new house, or getting my first luxury car. Interestingly the best summer of my entire life was in 1991 and I had broken my neck.  What’s up with that???

It was a bad break. My left arm was paralyzed. When I got out of surgery I said a prayer of thanks because I could move my fingers. Yet I had a long way to go. I had a metal “halo” screwed into my skull to keep my head and neck aligned. Obviously there wasn’t much I could do.  When I was released, they told me I couldn’t drive, pick up my son, lift anything, blah blah blah. What could I do? I could walk. And walk I did. I made it my goal that every day I’d walk from my house, through town, across the bridge and onto the beach. It was the beginning of June, and I had all summer to “walk”.

The first day didn’t go so well. I got to about the center of town and I felt a bit faint. The next thing I knew I woke up in the back of an ambulance. Okay, a bit too much too soon. I get it. But I didn’t quit. The next day my goal was just to the center of town and back. I made it. Then to the end of town and back the next few days. Then to the bridge. Each day a bit further.  Yes I looked crazy walking through town in those June days with a big metal halo which eventually was reduced to a big collar. But I was out, and all I had was time. There was nothing else I could do.

By mid July I was literally walking 5 days a week from my house, through town, over the bridge and to the end of Sandy Hook State park and back. That’s about a 12 mile round trip. But because I had nothing but time on my hands and since I couldn’t do anything else, if I wanted to sit and watch a tidal pool for an hour and see if the crab was going to get the minnow, I did.  If I wanted to sit on the rocks and watch the dolphins swim by, I did. If I wanted to explore an area of the park I’d always wondered about, I did.

I saw amazing things that summer. I saw nature “up close” and personal. I saw things that I’d have never been able to witness had I been back “on the job” striving for more money. I taught a young man how to make a fish lure out of a shiny key. I used my knife to fashion a makeshift bikini top for a gal who’d lost hers in the surf. I showed a group of young school kids how the sand worms live along the water edge, and taught them how to catch fiddler crabs for their class. Every day was a new experience and it was incredible.

A lot of times when someone goes through what I went through, they tend to amass a lot of weight because they lie around and watch TV for months. I lost 26 pounds. I got the tan of my life, strengthened my legs and heart, and experienced things I talk about to this day. Yet monetarily it was a disaster. I still didn’t have enough control over my left hand yet to  function as a jeweler, so basically I was “out of work”. But as far as my life went, I was “richer” in a way that I never was before.

It was the first time in my life that I sort of understood what all those old adages meant. I “got it” about how none of the things I saw had anything to do with money. It also tossed a wrench in my whole view of this thing called life. It was the first time where my every waking moment was NOT about money and wealth.  All of a sudden nature, spirituality, and “deeper meaning of life” hit me like a truck.

That is why to this day Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc, mean so much to me. They ” pull me back” to remembering that rich and wealthy are different and they need to be respected as such. I can help you understand the things that go on globally and help you increase your wealth. I can show you stocks to buy and how to buy foreign currency for safety. But the part about “rich” is a personal journey. That’s about your wife and kids. It’s about taking some time to “smell the roses”. Because as sure as the old adage says, when you’re at the end of your life you are NOT going to look back and say to yourself that you should have worked more hours.

Happy Easter folks. Enjoy it.

The Market…

Did you see it?  On Thursday the market was in a foul mood at the open and shortly after we had the DOW down over 100 points and the S&P quickly falling toward its 200 day moving average.  But I wasn’t quite buying the idea that they were going to let us fall like that ahead of a 3 day Holy weekend. In fact, at the 10:40 morning update to our paying members I said this…

This is proving to be a yawner of a day so far, but please remember this.... very low volume days have a way of turning green, as it doesn't take much buying at all to move things higher. So while I see the DOW off 90 as I type this at 10:30, they could green this up by the close. As I said earlier the last couple hours should be interesting to watch because a lot of the bond trading will close at 2.

Sure enough they started inching things higher and by the closing bell, the DOW was GREEN by 13. The S&P missed being green by 0.77.  Amazing how that happens. Almost like ….”magic” - our new National Treasure.

So we just had our first red “week” out of the last 6. Does it mean anything, or was that just some profit taking after one of the biggest short squeeze run ups in years? Frankly it doesn’t mean anything yet. While this market belongs thousands of points lower, seeing it dip a bit after a massive run up means nothing.

What we need to see is if it holds the “levels”.   The 200 day on the S&P is at 2016. The S&P closed at 2035. So as long as it holds above that 200, we can feel reasonably sure we’ll trade sideways and choppy. If however the S&P were to lose that 2016, it could start some significant amounts of short sellers that got squeezed out, to come back in and push us lower.

The whole mechanism is geared to always push the markets higher. The Wall Street crowd loves it, the Central banks desire it, and people love seeing a rising market. But when markets rise for the wrong reasons, they always end up with a sharp and painful correction or crash. Well this one has risen for the wrong reason for years, and each day brings us one step closer to that inevitable rug pull.

My guess is that this week, we trade sideways and choppy as they try and defend that 200 day, but without the help of sustained “stock buy back” activity, I think it will ultimately fail and we’ll see a series of lower tests. Next stop would be S&P 2000.

Folks enjoy the rest of this most important Holiday, and I’ll see you all on Wednesday.

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