Banking

Friday, June 16, 2017
BANKS NOTARIZE DOCUMENTS FOR FREE.  This is good to know–banks can notarize your documents for free!

If you need to get a document notarized, a simple, free solution can usually be found at the nearest branch of your bank. Getting a document notarized is typically very simple. Present the document to a notary public and sign it in her presence. After that, she officially notarizes the document using an official stamp, writes in the date, and adds her own signature. The notary usually asks to see photo ID to verify that you are indeed the person whose signature she is notarizing on the document. Having a document notarized is essentially a third-party verification of your identity as the person signing the document.

Examples of legal documents that commonly require notarization are mortgage documents, wills, trusts, power of attorney authorization and medical documents.

Banks and Other Places you can find a Notary Public
Nearly all U.S. banks – certainly all the major money center banks, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company – usually have a notary public on staff in most of their branches. If the branch where you most frequently do your banking is a small one in a rural area, there may be a notary public available. If there is not, the branch manager, or even a teller or personal banker, can usually tell you about a local branch of the bank that has a notary on the premises.

Monday, Oct. 3, 2016
MONETARY INFLATION on COMMODITIES
1.  John Pugsley, The Alpha Strategy, 1980.  The book that dealt with the effects of monetary inflation on commodities.  A couple other essays you’ll want to read on John Pugsley are here and here.
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Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016
BANKING
1. Infinite Banking, Nelson Nash Institute
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 pick up @ the 33 minute mark.

Posted Friday, July 15, 2016
Investing for Beginners.  We all need some direction.

Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Debt: From Crisis to Great Recession.

Watch the following video.  Then check out these 2 sites: ttmygh (Things That Make You Go Hmmm), Financial Sense, and finally the Investment Institute.

Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Start-up Sector Value of Early Stake
1. Dropbox Online file Management Up 1,547%
2. Spotify Music Up 750%
3. Snapchat Online picture storage Up 1,131%
4. Slack Online communication Up 789%
5. DocuSign Paper processing Up 483%
6. Shazam Music Up 488%
7. Evernote Online Information Storage Up 231%
8. Beibei Child Products Up 706%
9. Stripe Online Payment Processor Up 1,624%
10.
And learned tonight that Pinterest is up over 700% compared to Facebook which is up over 100% its opening price.

Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016
INVESTING
Hold onto your hats!
1.  Mark Skousen investment recommendations, news, and alerts.
2.  Mark Skousen’s personal blog on money and economics.  This is Skousen’s investment letter.
3.  Skousen is the founder and producer of FreedomFest, which to my eyes looks like a star-studded, Republican/Conservative conference for business-minded folks searching for social as well as political capital more than ways to find how to build capital.  Their About page states the following

FreedomFest is an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in an open-minded society. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank. Founded and produced by Mark Skousen since 2002, FreedomFest invites the “best and the brightest” from around the world to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. FreedomFest is open to all and is purely egalitarian, where speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are treated as equals.

At first I thought it was a group of investors looking for insights and a leg up.  But it’s not that.  FreedomFest looks like political activists involved in political reform.  And upon further examination, it’s not even political reform; it’s political talking points.  Period.  One of the speakers in their FreedomFest 2015 Review stated that “We realize that FreedomFest is a big tent.”  Ah, you can’t get more of a political statement found on the floor of a political rally than that.  And it seems like an incubator of conservative/Republican people to nominate for the next presidential run.
4.  Tom Woods interviews Mark Skousen on January 22, 2016, where Skousen criticizes the gold bug Austrians and says that there is always opportunity in stocks or equity markets.
5.  Gary North had the following article on Monday, February 1, 2016, and made the following point on the Bank of Japan’s announcement that it would start negative interest rates:

On Friday, January 29, investors proved around the world that they are blithering idiots. The Dow Jones is up almost 400 points.

Why did it move so fast? Because there was a story that the Bank of Japan was going to introduce negative interest rates.

The story was essentially fake. Almost immediately, a columnist for The Washington Post described in detail just how fake it was. You need to read this.

This might be the Jedi mind trick Japan was looking for.

Markets, at least, sure seemed to think so. Japanese stocks surged almost 3 percent and the yen was down about 1.5 percent, which helps exporters, on the news that the country’s central bank had done something it had never done before. That’s cutting interest rates into negative territory. Instead of paying banks 0.1 percent on any deposits they have with it, the banks will have to pay the central bank a 0.1 percent penalty for the privilege of holding their money there. Or will they? If you read the fine print, it turns out that this negative interest rate barely applies to anything at all. So in a way, it’s almost about tricking markets into thinking that it’s doing more than it actually is.

And it’s kind of working.

It worked flawlessly. The lemmings streamed back into the equity markets all over the world.

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SPECULATING
1.  Doug Casey on speculation.
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Posted on Sunday, January 31, 2016
MAKING MONEY ONLINE: IS IT POSSIBLE?
1.  Paid Social Media jobs.
2.  Yaro Starak so far is the best presenter on how to make money blogging.  It’s not like he shows you advertising tricks or what widgets make you money and none of those sales-y type of speils.  To the contrary, his presentation does almost go step by step.  You should know first that the blog itself is merely a platform for your digital tools, like e-book, podcasts, e-letters, white papers, what have you.  The blog is not the end-all and be-all, you build it, set it, and it starts making you a passive income.  That model is a lie, always has been a lie, one that some people have profited handsomely from.  Give Yaro a listen and see if blogging is for you.  See if you can commit yourself to such projects.
3.  Social Media Manager.
4.  I want to get 1000 subscribers to my email list via the free ebook available on my website.
5.  IdeaLady, Cathy Stucker.
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ENTREPRENEURS
1.  How This 25-Year-Old Made $66,000 in a Month by Teaching an Online Course, Business Insider, 11/14/2014.
2.  This Entrepreneur Increased Salary to $400/Hour, Business Insider.
3.  Profitable Side Businesses at $1,000/month, Business Insider, Jan. 8, 2015.
4.  Clarity.fm.

MONEY
1.  Investing.com.

2.  MotleyFool.com.
3.  Wolf Street
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Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015
REAL ESTATE
1.  Dr. Housing Bubble Blog.
2.  Building Wealth Buying Foreclosures, John Schaub, 2008.
3.  Case-Shiller Composite Home Price Index.  Not a bad place to learn about the market.  Posted on July 12, 2016.  And as to market commentary, check this out.  This site, too, might be helpful.
4.  Real Estate resources.
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STOCKS
1.  Bill Fleckenstein.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 29, 2015
ECONOMIC TRENDS
1.  How You Can Profit  from the Coming Devaluation, Harry Browne.
2.  Wolf Richter.  Wolf Richter covers useful and interesting topics.
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ECONOMIC THEORIES
1. Economics in One LessonHenry Hazlitt, 1946.
2. Whatever Happened to Penny CandyRichard J. Maybury, 1978.
3. Mises Institute.
4. Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, Ludwig von Mises, 1920.
5. A terrific list from Tom Woods.
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ECONOMICS
1. Hormageddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster, Bill Bonner.
2. Austrian School Business Cycle Theory, Murray Rothbard, 2014.  Buy this book today!  If you want to understand economics in all countries that have a central bank, which is all of them, then you’ll need this book to learn how the machinations of the different central banks’ inflationary policies produce wild swings in prices and devalue your currency and savings.  Apparently, this book is just the first three chapters of Rothbard’s “America’s Great Depression.”  As soon as I earn more money on my job, I will buy more of these books.
3. The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method (Liberty Fund Library of the Works of Ludwig von Mises), Ludwig von Mises, 1962.
4. Economic Calculation in the Social Commonwealth, Ludwig von Mises, 1920.
David Gordon on Murray Rothbard’s Favorite Books, 2009.
5.  An Introduction to Christian Economics, Gary North, 1973.
6.  The Clipper Ship Strategy: For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book), Richard J. Maybury & Jane A. Williams, 2003
7.  The Failure of the New Economics: An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies, Henry Hazlitt, 1959.  The book is also here at the Mises Institute.
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Posted on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, 2015.
Economics from Rodney Dangerfield.

Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015
1.  Marc Andreesen and Ben Horowitz at Andreesen Horowitz “Software Is Eating the World” review the interaction between businesses and technology.  I haven’t found much of it relevant.  I hope I am wrong.

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Joshua Sheats at his podcast website, http://radicalpersonalfinance.com/contact/, likes interviewing people with the inside scoop of various financial and retirement options.

GOALS
1. How to Achieve Your Goals, Chris Brogan, January 25, 2016.
2.  Inspiration to help reorient your thinking to success, wealth, and making more money.  I’ll have to read their books to find out why Tom Woods likes these guys:
a.  Chris Guillebeau.
b.  Josh Tolley.
c.  T. Harv Eker.  This guy’s story I liked.  I took notes.  Give this a listen.

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on GOLD
Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016
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INSURANCE

1. from Gary North’s Specific Answers

What is the most conservative investment in the world?

Not stocks. Not bonds. Not real estate.

Life insurance.

. . .

Central banks can adopt mass inflation. This raises long rates. But it also makes life insurance policies and annuities less desirable: depreciating real income. Also, such policies either go to hyperinflation or recession, or first one and then the other. Both of these monetary policies hurt life insurance companies.

Dr. North’s recommendation to capitalize on the situation above: Buy 30-Year T-Bonds.

2. In an answer to how to invest $30,000, Dr. North offered this:

Put the money in a local bank. You will use it to buy repossessed 3-bedroom, 2-bath home in two years.

3.  A few more insights by Dr. North:

“Compounding interest works for positive habits as well as savings.”

This is basic to the concept of personal sanctification. It also applies to corporate sanctification.

LABOR
1.  NBER, National Bureau of Economic Research.
2.  Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.
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MONEY BLOGS
Posted on Monday, February 1, 2016
1.  Time on Money.
2.  Economic Policy Journal.
3.  King World News.
4.  Money & Markets.
5.  Moody’s Investor Service
6.  Kyle Bass
7.  Mark Nestmann
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ECONOMICS
1.  Economic Policy Journal.
2.  Target Liberty.
3.  Business Insider.
4.  Marginal Revolution.
5.  Mises.
6.  Mark Perry.
7.  ZeroHedge.
8.  Zenconomics.
9.  The Economist.
10.  MarketWatch.
11.  WSJ.
12.  Economic Commentary on the Bible: Genesis to Revelation.
13.  King World News.
14.  Safe Haven for Liberty.
15.  Acton Institute: For the Study of Religion & Liberty.
16.  JayTaylorMedia.

1.   24/7 Wall St.
2.   BarStoolSports@Twitter.
3.   Politico.
4.   Carl Menger Center.
5.   NBC Bay Area.
6.   San Francisco Chronicle.
7.   Mashable.
8.   Washington Post or WaPo.
9.   Mother Jones.
10. New York Post.
11. Bloomberg.
12. Businessweek.
13. SFist.
14. Breitbart.
15. American Enterprise Institute, AEI, via Carpe Diem, via Mark J. Perry.
16. Financial Times.
17. WESH.com.
18. Economics21.
19. Diana Furchtgott-Roth.
20. Investor’s Business Daily.
21. New York Sun.
22. Epic Times.  Richard M. Ebeling.
23. Money & Markets, Charles Goyette.
24. Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution.
25. The Week.
26. Will Oremus, Slate.
27. Wall Street Journal.
28. Economist Magazine.
29. George Selgin, CATO Institute.
30. Smaulgld.com.
31. JessesCrossroadCafe.
32. Martin Hill, Liberty Fighter.
33. ZeroHedge.
34. Martin Feldstein, MarketWatch.
35. Payscale.
36. Robert J. Ringer.
37. Life Hacker.
38. Daily Mail.
39. Harvard Business Review.
40. Moody’s Investors Service.
41. Gene Callahan.
42. Forbes Magazine.
43. Fusion.net.
44. Proven Ways of Making Money.
45. Zenconomics by Joe Withrow.
46. Gawker.
47. McClatchy.
48. Mark Perry.
49. Marginal Revolution.
50. Devour.com, videos worth watching.
51.  Jon Rappaport.
52.  Rappaport’s Blog.
53.  Russ Baker’s WhoWhatWhy.org.
54.  Economic Principals, David Warsh.  Wenzel cited this article by Warsh.
55.  Mark Nestmann.
56.  Kyle Bass website.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
I had no idea that the currency printed by the U.S. Mint was done on paper provided by Crane & Co.  “The Crane company . . . has provided paper money for United States since 1879.”

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Held on July 3, 2012 at the Fundación Rafael del Pino, this conference reviews Paul Krugman’s book, End This Depression Now!, 2013. Besides the author, Pedro Schwartz, Professor Emeritus at the Universidad San Pablo CEU, also spoke as did M.Conthe, Director of the Editorial Board of the newspaper.

If you don’t have the time to watch the entire video, at least watch the Pedro Scwarz segment beginning at the 35:22 mark, where he destroys Krugman, his theory, and its disastrous consequences on economies around the world.

At the 48:30 mark, Krugman charges Schwarz with pulling “credentials” as a way to dismiss him.  Listen for yourself.

Krugman:  “It’s exceedingly disappointing how many people on one side of this debate have resorted to . . . ah, ah . . . attempts to pull credentials to claim that people on my side of the debate don’t have the intellectual standing to weigh in on these issues.  This is not an appropriate way to argue.”

Schwarz:  “Who did that?  I didn’t do that! I said I used your book.  I didn’t run you down!”

Krugman, “Yes you did, Sir.”

Schwarz tweeted later that he put his hand out to shake Krugman’s hand.  Krugman did not shake his hand.

Posted on Saturday, February 7, 2015
Ron Paul v. Paul Krugman, 2013

Posted on Saturday, January 31, 2015
Looks Like I’ll Be Able to Retire Comfortably at Age 91” by Charles Hugh Smith, January 30, 2015

My advice is to focus not on retiring comfortably, but on working comfortably.

You’ve probably seen articles and adverts discussing how much money you’ll need to “retire comfortably.” The trick of course is the definition of comfortable. The general idea of comfortable (as I understand it) appears to be an income which enables the retiree to enjoy leisurely vacations on cruise ships, own a well-appointed RV for tooling around the countryside, and spend as much time on the golf links as he/she might want.

Needless to say, Social Security isn’t going to fund a comfortable retirement, unless the definition is watching TV with an box of kibble to snack on.

By this definition of retiring comfortably, I reckon I should be able to retire at age 91–assuming I can work another 30 years and the creek don’t rise.

Since I earned my first real Corporate America paycheck at 16 in 1970 (summer job for Dole Pineapple), I’ve logged 45 years of work. Now if I’d been smart and worked for the government, I could have retired 10 years ago with generous pension and healthcare benefits for life.

But alas, I wasn’t smart, so here I am, a self-employed numbskull.

The articles and adverts usually suggest piling up a hefty nestegg to fund that comfortable retirement. As near as I can make out, the nestegg should be around $2.6 million–or maybe it’s $26 million. Let’s just say it’s a lot.

This presents retirees without generous government pensions two basic problems. One is making enough money to pay the bills of survival and set aside the two million or whatever the number is to retire comfortably.

The average full-time earned income in the U.S. is around $50,000, depending on how the statistics are massaged. At this income, the worker would need to to save every dime for 40 years to assemble the nestegg. Needless to say, this isn’t practical (unless you inherit a trust fund, in which case you don’t even have to bother with earned income.)

The magic solution is unearned income, i.e. dividends, interest, capital gains on investments, etc. If the worker aiming for that comfortable retirement socks his/her retirement nestegg in high-yielding investments, the nestegg will grow over time to the sky (i.e. the $2 million needed to retire comfortably.)

This raises the second problem: identifying those magical high-yielding investments that won’t suddenly turn to dust when the long-awaited retirement approaches.

In the good old days, plain old savings earned 5.25% annually by federal law. Buying a house was not a way to get rich quick, it was more like a forced savings plan, as over time real estate earned about 1% above the core inflation rate.

But all the safe ways of gaining earned income have been eradicated by the Federal Reserve. As I described in The Fed’s Solution to Income Stagnation: Make Everyone a Speculator (January 24, 2014), the status quo “fix” for economic stagnation was to financialize the U.S. economy. What this means on the ground is eliminate safe returns and make everyone a speculator in high-risk, high-yield financial games.

The essence of financialization is turning debt into a tradeable security that can be leveraged into speculative pyramids. If I loan you $100,000 to buy a house, that loan is called a mortgage. The collateral for the mortgage is the property. In the pre-financialization era, I held the mortgage to maturity (30 years) and collected the interest and principal. This trickle of earnings from interest was the entire yield on the loan.

In the securitized economy, I divide the loan into tranches that are sold to investors like stocks and bonds. I can “cash out” my entire gain in the present, and then sell derivatives on the securitized debt as a form of “portfolio insurance” to other buyers.

Clever financiers can pyramid security on security and debt on debt, all collateralized by debt on one property.

This enables the generation of vast profits not from producing goods and services but from financial churning. The more debt I underwrite, the more I can securitize and the more debt instruments I can conjure out of thin air.

The key dynamic of speculative financialization is that pyramiding credit expansions lead to bubbles which eventually pop, wiping out the phantom wealth created by the bubble.

In effect, the central bank/state’s policies of low interest rates, easy money and limitless liquidity sought to compensate for the decline of real income by generating speculative income on a vast scale.

The problem is that speculative financialization only benefits speculators with access to nearly free money and the securitization markets–Wall Street financiers, corporate raiders, hedge funds and other financial Elites. These Elites pocketed immense fortunes but very little of this wealth trickled down to households for the simple reason that there is no mechanism for such a transfer except taxes–and this mechanism is controlled by the central state, which is easily influenced by wealth (campaign contributions, lobbying, etc.)

The Federal Reserve’s solution to stagnating household income was to make every homeowner into a speculator. The Great Housing Bubble of the 2000s was the perfection of this strategy: as every home in the nation was floating higher in valuation as the result of an enormous credit/financialization bubble, homeowners were granted a form of “free income” via home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and second mortgages.

That this increase in home equity was a form of phantom wealth that would necessarily vanish was not advertised as being an intrinsic feature of the solution.

In the wake of the implosion of the housing bubble, the Fed sought to repeat the exact same strategy of inflating speculative bubbles in widely held assets: stocks, bonds and real estate.

So anyone assembling a nestegg for retirement is gambling that the bubbles don’t all pop before he/she cashes out. If the bubbles keep inflating steadily for another decade, making assets ever-more richly valued and unaffordable to anyone who isn’t using leverage to buy them, then maybe I could retire after only 55 years of work at age 71.

But what are the chances that monumental bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate will continue inflating for another decade? Most gigantic asset bubbles pop after five years of expansion. The current bubbles are in Year 6 of their speculative expansion, and it seems highly unlikely that they will be the only bubbles in the history of humanity to never pop.

If the current bubbles follow the pattern of all other speculative credit-driven bubbles, they will pop, without much warning and with devastating consequences for all those who believed the bubbles couldn’t possibly pop. In that case, it looks like I’ll need to work another 30 years, logging 75 years of labor before I can retire comfortably at 91.

My advice is to focus not on retiring comfortably, but on working comfortably. Line up work you enjoy that can be performed in old age. That’s a much safer bet than counting on the serial bubble-blowing machinery of the Fed to keep inflating speculative bubbles that magically never pop.

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Swiss Central Bank by its action admitted it was wrong for engaging in QE.  Peter has the story.

When the Chinese decide to abandon their peg, that is going to be a 10.0 on the Richter scale of economic activity.  And the dollar will take it on the chin.

INVESTMENT TERMS
1. EBITDA, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization.
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