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Why Now Is The Time To Buy Gold

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John Maynard Keynes called it a barbarous relic. Warren Buffett said it has no utility. It’s a curious yellow metal that miners dig out of the ground only to melt down and bury again in carefully guarded vaults. So why invest in gold? As Ray Dalio once said, “If you don’t own gold, you know neither history nor economics.”

This article examines the fundamental and technical reasons why investors should hold gold now. Furthermore, taking Sharpe ratio analysis and macroeconomic trends into account, I conclude that a 10% allocation to gold provides the most risk-adjusted returns and portfolio diversification.

Gold as a hedge

First and foremost, gold serves as a hedge against inflation and the gradual monetary debasement apparent in all paper currency regimes. The chart below shows how cost of living (as measured by CPI) changes over time, providing a visual example of the point made above. Historically, inflation remained steady from 1750-1914, experienced turbulence from 1914-1970, and propelled exponentially higher since 1970. The reason? As economist Peter Bernholz suggests, global monetary regimes shifted from the gold standard, to a limited gold standard, to a paper currency standard.

(Source: Monetary Regimes and Inflation, p. 11)

In a gold/silver standard, governments cannot increase the money supply without an equal increase in gold/silver reserves as citizens can freely convert one for the other. During World Wars I and II, countries moved off and on the gold standard to finance wars, settling on limiting convertibility to central banks under the Bretton Woods system and creating a weakened gold standard. Then, after an official break of the gold standard in 1971, inflation skyrocketed as governments technically had no limit on their ability to expand the money supply. Inflation is strictly a characteristic of paper money regimes, with every episode of hyperinflation (thirty total) except Revolutionary France and the denouement of Rome occurring after 1914.

I am not calling for a return to the gold standard. A break from the gold standard gives central banks the flexibility to reflate economies following recessions. However, one method central banks use to reflate economies involves increasing the money supply. Additionally, governments are tempted to finance deficits by issuing debt or creating money. In fact, every hyperinflation began with large public deficits and unpayable liabilities.

This is the crux of Dalio’s statement. Paper currency regimes, with no mechanism to regulate increases in the money supply, have an inflationary tendency as evidenced by the cost of living chart above. While paper currencies lose value over time, gold has served as a store of value for over 5,000 years. Due to its ability to retain value in the face of a declining currency, I believe gold plays an important role in every portfolio. Think of it as an insurance policy for your portfolio.

How Much Gold?

Gold performs differently depending on the macroeconomic regime. For determining the macroeconomic regime, I use the four quadrants of rising/falling growth and rising/falling inflation frequently used by Hedgeye and Bridgewater Associates. Under normal economic conditions of rising growth (measured by GDP) and inflation (measured by CPI), gold provides an average return of 6.3% YoY compared to 10.6% return of equities. Since 1973, the U.S. has been under “normal” conditions 80.6% of the time.

Under conditions of rising growth and falling inflation, oftentimes considered the “ideal” quadrant, gold returns -2.4% compared to equities’ 19.24%. This ideal condition is a staple of the current bull market. However, it typically occurred 8.2% of the time since 1973.

Under deflationary conditions, both gold and equities provide returns in the realm of -25%, with treasuries serving as the only safe haven. Lastly, during periods of stagflation characterized by falling growth and rising inflation, gold provides an average return of 22.6% compared to 1.8% of equities.

A study conducted by Flexible Plan Investments used these average returns and the average time spent in each quadrant to determine the optimal allocation of gold to a portfolio. It determined that a 20% allocation to gold, with 48% in equities, and 32% in treasuries provided the highest Sharpe ratio as evidenced in the chart below.

(Source: Proactive Advisor Magazine)

As the adage goes, past performance does not necessarily predict future results. Saddled with rising debt and a wave of retiring baby boomers, there’s a chance that the U.S. remains stuck in a Japan-like deflationary spiral. The chart below shows that Japan’s inflation rate poked its head above 2% only twice since 1985, oftentimes falling into negative territory. This “Japanification” of the western world thesis is one to take seriously. The 1970s inflation was largely demographic-based, as baby boomers entered the workforce en masse, purchasing new homes and cars in the process. With demographic trends skewing the numbers in the study above, I would reduce the optimal allocation of gold from 20% to 10%.

(Source: inflation.eu)

However, the U.S. may not follow Japan’s playbook of negative rates and indefinite large scale asset purchases. In the next section, I explore how monetary policy run amok could be a catalyst for a stagflationary era.

The Catalyst to Gold $5,000

With corporate debt at record highs and 50% of corporate credit ratings one level above junk, I believe over-levered corporations, not necessarily banks, will be at risk of defaulting when corporate profits drop in the next recession. When they ask for bailout packages that banks got in 2008, the U.S. will more than likely not have the political will knowing now that QE disproportionately benefited the wealthy. I initially explored this idea in a previous article here. The Fed and the Treasury will have to find other ways to reflate the economy. I will examine two ideas espoused by Modern Monetary Theory (NYSE:MMT) and explain why I believe they will be highly inflationary.

The first MMT idea is debt monetization. This is where the government creates money to finance deficit spending. Increases in the money supply following the 2008 global financial crisis did not lead to inflation for two reason: 1) it was replacing lost credit/combating deflation. 2) the money given to banks was done so with the assumption that they would lend again, when instead banks hoarded the money and shored up their balance sheets.

However, debt monetization is constant, not performed solely under extreme circumstances to combat deflation. Printing money under conditions of expanding growth will bring about inflation. Bernholtz’s in-depth study of historical hyperinflations concluded in the following: “the creation of money to finance a public budget deficit has been the reason for hyperinflations” (Monetary Regimes…, p. 80). Printing money to finance large deficits was disastrous for Argentina, Bolivia, 1920s Germany, Zimbabwe, and 1990s Ukraine. This list only scratches the surface. Debt monetization is the equivalent of an economic poison pill.

Another MMT solution is universal basic income (UBI), sometimes referred to as “QE for the people.” As previously mentioned, QE did not create inflation because it remained in the financial system. However, if you give people money, they will spend it. Like consistent debt monetization, UBI may benefit the economy under deflationary conditions, but consistent helicopter money will create demand-pull inflation. This is common sense in my eyes. If the $4.4 trillion created by QE went straight to the people, most of it would have gone to goods and services, driving their prices up.

In conclusion, gold may chronically underperform if the Fed implements the same monetary policy as Japan. However, if current MMT rumblings come to fruition, gold will skyrocket while other asset classes lag. With 10% being a reasonable percentage allocation given past Sharpe ratio analysis and current trends, I recommend investors insure their portfolios now.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GLD. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Death doulas, the new end-of-life specialists, come to Minnesota

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In the dimly lit room, Mark Quinlan struggles to be heard.

His voicebox has been silenced by his thyroid cancer. He tries to whisper, but the hum of his oxygen machine drowns out the sound. The voice of the bone-thin 67-year-old barely carries to the edge of his hospice bed.

But Christy Marek is listening.

Marek, an end-of-life assistant called a death doula, leans forward to catch every word. She asks him about funerals, the afterlife and memories of happier times.

“Do you want last rites?” she asks.

The whisper: “I suppose.”

She has been with him for months, in a hospital, transitional care unit and a hospice. Every step of the way, she has guided him through a dark and scary wilderness.

DEATH REIMAGINED

In many cases, death doulas are redefining how people approach death. They are breaking away from traditional generic funerals, and pioneering approaches to grieving, memory and death.

“Death is being reimagined at this moment,” said Anne Murphy, owner of the death-consultation business A Thousand Hands.

In the past, doulas were women working as midwives to help the process of birth. “Death doula” is a term for people who help with the other end of life. They also call themselves celebrants or soul midwives.

“They all do the same thing — companioning for people dying,” said Jane Whitlock, a St. Paul death doula.

The National Doulagivers Institute reports that its training has quadrupled in two years. President Suzanne O’Brien said she has now trained 402 certified doulas in a six-month course. The cost is $997.

“I just got back from a month of training in Thailand,” O’Brien said in April. “This is needed around the world.”

Doulas-to-be are drawn to a job that that pays up to $100 an hour in Minnesota. The trainers are proliferating, with names like Doulagivers, Lifespan Doulas, Soul Passages and the National End of Life Doula Alliance.

The traveling doula schools are arriving in Minnesota.

One session starting May 31 offers a three-day program by the International End of Life Doula Association for $750. Or you could get training from the Conscious Dying Institute, which is offering three-day classes starting June 22 and September 26, for $,2,995 and $1,895, respectively.

RELATED: Death doulas branch out into services for animals

The inconsistency makes some uncomfortable.

“I look at the programs where you get certified after a weekend. It is not doing the people you work with justice,” Marek said.

“It is frankly a little bit messy.”

Doulas sometimes overlap the services of a hospice — causing some friction.

“Hospices frankly do not know what to do with the end-of-life doula role,” Marek said.

Millennials Want To Change The Country But Too Many Boomers Are Holding Back

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There’s no question that there are generational differences in the United States, but those differences have hit a new high in recent years. The younger generation is seeking fundamental, radical change in this country, while the Baby Boomers who run the country are trying their best to fight it. There is a lot to understand about what’s happening, some of it that is actually beyond our control. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this generational “war” and why there’s plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the future.
 
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*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

The growing generational divide here in the United States is going to be on full display, not just in the 2020 election, but essentially throughout the campaign. In fact, rashly already seeing it right now what you have is you have the baby boomer generation who for the most part, again, not all of them, but for the most part, they’re kind of fearful of change. They are okay with the way things are, don’t think we should do anything too dramatic or radical to upset the system and let’s just kind of keep going with what we’ve got and we can make small tweaks here and there and find some common ground and just keep on sale and smooth. And then you have the millennial generation who say, you know what, and gen X, to be honest, uh, things are pretty much been screwed up since we were born. We’re dealing with these horrendous school shootings on a weekly basis, sometimes even more frequently than that. We’ve lived our entire lives already seeing the effects of climate change and you guys have done nothing to fix that and we’re just 12 years away from the worst effects of it. We can’t afford healthcare. We don’t have unions to protect us and fight for higher wages. We need to increase the minimum wage. It took you baby boomer generation only 306 hours of work at minimum wage to afford four years of college. It takes us 4,500 hours of work to afford a four year degree. So we’re saddled with hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt. So yeah, we don’t want incremental change. We don’t want to sit down and talk about things for years and years and then maybe do something kind of that fixes a little bit of the problem. We want to blow it up now. We want to fix it, we want to change it and the only way to do it is to just yank that bandaid right off and get it over with.
I am a millennial. I am on like the upper tier of that a generation. But technically by definition I am one of them. And I do agree with him on this. And again, please, it’s not all baby boomers. I see plenty of them on social media out there being activists in the media who want this same thing. But unfortunately the people who control the way things are right now, Congress, the Senate White House court systems, most of them are baby boomers and most of them are terrified of change. And part of the reason for that one, they make a lot of money the way things are, they don’t want to blow it up. But to fear of change is something that naturally happens to human beings as they age. There are plenty of studies that confirm this as age as we get older, our bodies, our minds do not, uh, there are no longer able to do the things they were used to do. And as such, people become a little bit more fearful. You know, I can’t do what I used to do. I’m more frail, I’m more fragile.

#rof #trofire #theringoffire #progressivenews

The Social Needs of the Elderly

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My Elderly Parents Need Help, But Do not Want The Help

Does this sound familiar? Is your mother cooking, and leaving the stove or oven on? Is she forgetting the meal in the oven and it catches fire? Luckily your father was home this time. Many adult children can get very frustrated and worried about their aging parents. If your aging parents live far away, you may feel helpless on being able to assist them. And, because they live so far away, you may not even be aware of that there may be something wrong. Your mother has been reporting to you how many times dad has been driving into oncoming traffic, going through stop signs and red lights, so it may be possible that your elderly father should be giving up his driver's license. What can you do? You can begin by contacting your local driving bureau in your district to report these incidences. The license bureau of your district will be able to tell you the protocol according to your state or province's laws. Laws may be different from state to state, province to province.

What can you do? An older loved one needs help, but does not want to accept it. The frustrations stem from the fact that you can not do much about it if your loved one is of sound mind. As long as this person is considered apt to make their own decisions, they decide what choices they will make for themselves.

You can always contact your local community care center and request an evaluation or information concerning the situation. You will need to find out what the laws are in your state or province, and your local community care center will be able to inform you of the protocol according to your district. Be aware, however, that your loved one can refuse this intervention. In my experience, one scenario that I hear over and over again is that of an elderly person getting hospitalized many times before they will accept help. Only after frequent falls and the temporary loss of mobility due to these, loss of driver's license and / or a decrease in their ability to manage their hygiene, will the help eventually be accepted.

You must remember that losing one's autonomy is very difficult, and one will hang on to their autonomy for dear life. When dealing with this type of situation, try to be compassionate, and understand how this person may be feeling. They are losing control of their autonomy and it is important that you understand that this is a very stressful time for them. Let them know that you care about them and their safety. Further, when an elderly person is hospitalized, they will most likely be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team. This team usually consists of a doctor, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a dietician, a nurse, and a social worker.

After this evaluation, the team will create a discharge plan to ensure the patient's safety once they leave the hospital. The discharge plan takes into consideration the wishes of the elderly person and that of their family. In the meantime, there are things that you can do to ease the situation. First, you can hold a family meeting with your siblings to discuss the situation and division and assign tasks to each so as to determine who will be responsible for what concerns the care of your elderly parents. If you are an only child, this may be more difficult. Considering you are an only child, try to get cousins, nieces, and nephews involved.

You can record and document times and dates and the examples of at risk behaviors your older parents may be engaging in. You can show this evidence to their family doctor. It is a good idea to have a history of behaviors recorded; although it may not be helpful in the immediate future, it will be useful as time goes on. Further, it will help the doctor create a proper care plan and appropriate follow-up. Explain to your elderly parent that you love them and care about their safety. Do not attempt to control the situation or dictate what you will do to help them. This will most likely cause even more resistance to accepting any type of help. Instead, ask your elderly parent what would help them feel safe, what kind of help they would be willing to accept and would respect their wishes.

If the situation is approached with much love, care and compassion, your chances are much greater that your elders will accept your help. If they feel that they are being challenged, they will most likely oppose anything you have to offer or suggest. Remember, they are the one's losing their autonomy, and it is causing them much suffering and pain. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Hip Replacement Gives Life Back To Frisco Grandmother

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A message for children of baby boomers or baby boomers themselves:  If you think the dull pain you have in your knee or hip is a just part of getting old, doctors say that might not be the case.

A Frisco grandmother said she’s proof that a single trip to the right doctor can change your life. 78-year-old Delores Elam said she has big plans plans now that she’s no longer bound to the wheelchair she’s used for the past two years.

She said she had thought her chronic pain would be part of life in her golden years and that even a few a doctors told her they couldn’t help.

“I even think about it now and I want to cry because I am a very active person and it was devastating to me,” said Elam.

Out on a Limb: Bear Hides Out From Cops in Mass. Tree

[NATL] Out on a Limb: Bear Hides Out From Cops in Mass. Tree

It took lots of encouragement from her family not to give up hope and she ended up in the hands Dr. Eldon Hopkins, Medical Director of Joint Replacement at Medical City Frisco.

“I hear it all the time,” said Dr. Hopkins. “‘It’s just a little arthritis or this is part of old age,’ but I completely disagree.”

“Arthritis takes away quality of life and if you accept it, you are accepting a lesser quality of life.”

X-rays showed Elam’s hip had become bone on bone and a hip replacement was her best hope at walking again.

“The procedure has been refined. The implants are better than they were even five years ago, certainly ten years ago and the operation is much more succinct and defined.  It’s not as scary as patients think,” said Dr. Hopkins.

“It had a huge impact, so the day of surgery, literally within an hour, she was walking. She walked 50 feet right after surgery and she hadn’t walked in two years.”

74-Year-Old Man Pushed Off of a Bus Died From Injuries

[NATL] Elderly 74-Year-Old Man Pushed Off of a Bus Died From Injuries; Woman Charged With Murder

“And I haven’t stopped since!” adds Elam.

Dr. Hopkins said anyone who suffers from persistence joint problems for more than a month should get evaluated.

According to the Mayo Clinic, an estimated 4.7 million Americans have undergone total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and 2.5 million have undergone total hip arthroplasty (THA) and are living with implants. Prevalence is higher in women than in men: 3 million women and 1.7 million men are living with TKA, and 1.4 million women and 1.1 million men are living with THA.

Prevalence increases with age. In adults ages 80 to 89 years, about six percent and 10 percent have a history of total hip and knee replacement, respectively.

Why Are Baby Boomers Not Retiring??? – RTD Quick Take

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Baby Boomers are pushing the retirement option to the side

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Barron’s Associate Publisher Jack Otter on the economic impact from Baby Boomers working longer.

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Baby Boomer Music – Top Ten One Hit Wonders From the '60s

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We loved them all. Several "One Hit Wonders" had very successful songs through the '60s. Hey, how could you not shed a tear every time you hear, "Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp, Bomp, Bomp?" Maybe even two or three tears, huh?

Well, as the Baby Boomer Music King, I have my own very valuable Top Ten list of One Hit Wonders. Remember these?

10. "In the Year 2525" (1969) by Zager and Evans – These two University of Nebraska students hit # 1 in the summer of 1969 and stayed there for six weeks. remain friends to this day. Denny Zager still lives in Lincoln where he builds custom guitars.

9. "Do You Love Me" (1962) by The Contours – Four young men from Detroit got their start in 1959 and did not chart with their first two releases. But they hit it big in 1962 when "Do You love Me" went all the way to # 2. The group played for several more years but never hit star status as members came and went like a revolving door.

8. "Rhythm of the Rain" (1963) by the Cascades – All four band members served on the USS Ticonderoga while in the Navy. After leaving the Navy the four formed a group and began creating songs with an emphasis on voice harmony. Two releases did nothing, but then came "Rhythm of the Rain" which rose to # 3 in early 1963. * (Make sure you watch the Cascades do an updated version of "Rhythm of the Rain" from a few years ago. better than the original.)

7. "Who Put the Bomp" (1961) by Barry Mann – Barry's song peaked at # 7 and stayed on the charts for twelve weeks.

6. "Everyone's Gone to the Moon" (1965) by Jonathan King – He was a singer songwriter and a Cambridge University undergraduate in 1965 when he released his one hit wonder. It was a world wide hit that sold over 4 million copies. King is still in the music business after writing several songs for other entertainers for years.

There were many others that did well during the 60's. One Hit Wonders carved out their share of music history and often climbed to # 1 on the Billboard listings.

"Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey" by Steam went # 1 as did "Telstar" by the Tornadoes. There are several great songs that I wanted to add to this Top Ten but that would have made the list a Top Twenty.

So, here are the Top Five One Hit Wonders from the 60's.

5. "Liar Liar" (1965) by The Castaways – This rock group originated in the Minneapolis-St Paul area and released "Liar Liar" in 1965. The song hit # 12 and was originally featured in the movie "Good Morning Vietnam. " The group is still playing with one of the original members.

4. "In-a-Godda-Da-Vita" (1968) by Iron Butterfly – This song was actually recorded on the first take which is almost hard to believe. The original 17 minute version has a great extended drum solo. The song developed a cult following and sold several million copies.

3. "For What Its Worth" (1967) by Buffalo Springfield – Steven Stills and Neil Young became big stars with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) but they were one hit wonders as part of Buffalo Springfield.

2. "Hey! Baby" (1962) by Bruce Channel – Although recorded in 1960, "Hey! Baby" did not become a hit until 1962 when it shot all the way to # 1. Bruce Channel is still in the music business to this day even though he only hit it big time with one song. "Hey! Baby" has had a rebirth of sorts as a favorite among college students throughout the country.

1. I have a tie for the top spot … "Hippy Hippy Shakes" by the Swinging Blue Jeans (featured in the movie "Cocktail"), and "San Francisco" by Scott McKenzie. Listen to both songs and tell me which one should sit by itself at the top.

You can find music videos on all of the songs on this list by simply searching Google. I suggest you watch each one and let these videos take you back to our time … the 60's.

Millennials turn down family heirlooms, thrift shops overflowing – WZTV

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Millennials turn down family heirlooms, thrift shops overflowing WZTV

As younger generations are turning down family heirlooms, baby boomers are left wondering what to do with items passed down for generations. Local thrift …

Neo-Boomers Will Travel Big Time

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Within the next two decades about 78 million baby boomers will reach retirement age. Although this population possesses 80 percent of America's wealth (including 70% of US stocks; 60% percent, foreign), this does not mean they are all wealthy. Some will continue working after age 65 because they have to, some will quit their "career" and begin doing the work they always wanted to do, and a number will retire thankfully and begin having full time fun.

How will many of these boomers spend their retirement? Travel, of course. The industry is the largest in the world, growing 23% faster than the global economy. It is expected to reach $ 14 trillion in the next ten years. And online travel sales is the fastest-growing segment of internet sales.

Baby boomers are already easily the most traveled generation in the US But how many boomers will have the bucks to hit the road big time? Lately I heard a new term, but maybe it is not new to you. The word is "neo-boomers" and it delineates approximately 18 million affluent baby boomers who make up a large percentage of America's biggest spenders. Although at least 70% of boomers take fairly lengthy annual vacations, the neo-boomers are the immediate holiday-takers who can zoom whenever and where they like.

You may find some of the following predictions of a survey surprising. You'd think they'd be "disneyed up", but lots of boomers are excited about visiting Disney within the next few years. Second, they're excited about buying RVs and houseboats and traveling the waterways and the 16,000 campgrounds nationwide. (This sort of free and easy lifestyle holds great appeal to this group). Third, the top five states in which boomers would like to vacation are Las Vegas, Florida, New York, Hawaii, and Colorado. Fourth, in order of popularity, international destinations that are headed for are Europe, the Caribbean, Australia / New Zealand, and Africa.

This tech savvy crowd will book most of their travel on high speed internet and, in spite of the affluence of some, will definitely shop for a good deal. Simultaneously, boomers want to be treated well and they will pay for convenience. Many want to rough it on real-life adventures, but just as many love resorts and quietly luxurious bed and breakfast inns. They are not generally excited about long, stuffy tightly-programmed tours but do like the idea of ​​cruising to exotic locations.

Some may be tempted to be a little jealous of this population, but they worked very hard for their economic standing, they've just weathered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and through the years they've given large amounts of their wealth to charities and churches. Maybe it's time to let them have a little fun.