Thursday, March 21, 2013


Click to enlarge.

I made it to number nine on Rocksmith's Scale Runner mini-game. It took me 5 1/2 hours of continuous play to get there (in addition to the massive number of hours played over the past 7 weeks). I hobbled my way off to a hot bathtub after making the attempt, lol.

9 (number)

The Japanese consider nine to be unlucky because in Japanese the word for nine sounds similar to the word for "pain" or "distress".

Anecdotal evidence sides with the Japanese on this one, not that I'm complaining! :)

In related news, the economy continues to hobble along as well. I suspect many investors may someday take a bath after their attempts to set new high scores in the S&P 500. Once again, this assumes that the Fed hasn't permanently put a stop to recessions even as our economy remains incredibly weak. Just a theory!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How Do I Safely Diversify Against Inflation?

I was asked by a reader to share my thoughts on the following article. Oh yeah, I'll share! ;) How do I safely diversify against inflation?

Don't you just love the title? Really drew me in! The inside was not quite as juicy as the outside appeared though. Bad chef! So anyway, here are my thoughts.

1. If you made it nearly to the age of 80 and are just now thinking about getting a good deal on inflation protection, then you are probably too late. Sorry! There are too many people just like you.

2. If you made it nearly to the age of 80 and are convinced that inflation is going to be a problem, then why are you asking for "expert" mainstream financial advice? You seem to already know what's going to happen. (For the record, we've had a century of inflation. It's not exactly "on its way".)

3. If you made it nearly to the age of 80 and *always* knew what was going to happen next, then you should easily be a billionaire by now. Are you? If so, why are you asking financial advice from a non-billionaire? Feeling lucky?

4. If you are a Ph.D., CFA, and CFP who thinks that TIPS rates are too low to invest ("the music has to stop"), then you probably did not read thought #1 above nor did you read about other times throughout history when real yields were even lower than they are now (the 1970s, World War II).

5. If you are a Ph.D., CFA, and CFP who thinks 0.0% I-Bonds are still a worthy investment (as do I) and yet you do not think that 0.0% TIPS are a similarly worthy investment (if held within a tax-deferred IRA) then you must not have heard of the concept of buy and hold to maturity. Might want to brush up on that. (That said, I'm not suggesting that an 80-year-old should probably buy 30-year TIPS of course.)

6. If you are a Ph.D., CFA, and CFP who can mention "stocks, bonds or cash" in an inflation article without also at least mentioning "gold, silver or oil" (especially after their meteoric rise over the last decade) then you probably haven't studied what monetary policy, bubble blowing, and a lack of worthy alternative long-term mainstream investments can do (think stocks since 2000). Too bad! It was a good decade to think outside the box.

For what it is worth, I think hyperinflation theories are likely to be poned again soon. Oil's having a very difficult time pushing through $100. Should this be unexpected? I'll start to worry more about heavy inflation when non-Japanese 80-year-old investors ask the "experts" how to safely diversify against deflation. Let's just put it that way. (I'm always worried some about both inflation *and* deflation.)

And lastly, this is not an endorsement to buy gold and silver. I sold long ago (way too early in hindsight) and have no desire to buy back at these prices (relative to toilet paper). I might even suggest that both are looking a bit toppy lately (silver's taken a serious beating over the last 2 years), and I'm not speaking of world's first cloned working dog. What precious metals do next is anyone's guess, but I doubt they do it "safely" (in a non-volatile manner).

Just opinions!

Rocksmith Scale Runner (Blues)

That's me playing. My girlfriend shot the video. It was my third or fourth attempt at a reasonable score. 12.3 million is a keeper, much to the delight of my girlfriend. I warned her that it could take 20+ attempts, especially with the added pressure of someone watching me (and being videoed)!

At 136+ million as a total for all 11 scales, I currently hold the 34th best score on Rocksmith's Scale Runner mini-game. I expect to move into the top 10 in the not too distant future.

Is it a guitar addition? A video game addiction? Let's call it both.

Once again, sorry for not posting much lately. I doubt it is permanent. If/when the cracks begin to form in the dam again my posting activity will surely increase. That's assuming that the illusion of prosperity has not been replaced by actual prosperity of course. I don't really think it is much of an assumption!