Three Year Update to Permanent Portfolio

So, although the portfolio is doing well overall, I almost feel like Warren Buffett during the late 90s runup of tech stocks. The portfolio has taken a hit over the last six months, while the overall market is running on all cylinders. NVR and Bitcoin are notable hits and the overall portfolio wiped out 50% of gains over the last six months. It is still up over 125% since I posted it three years ago which is an average of over 42% per year. That sounds great, but the original 3% of funds to buy Bitcoin messes with the numbers a bit as it has now grown to be 37% of the portfolio. Not that that is bad, as it was originally a speculative investment, but in the real world I would have sold off a large chunk of it. The four main contributors to the growth of the portfolio have been PYPL, Bitcoin, VSMAX, and NVR. As well, there have only been two securities which have turned in a loss, and those losses are tiny (around $5,000 of a $1 million portfolio). This portfolio is meant to be truly static so Bitcoin will remain whether it goes to zero or to $500k a piece. The portfolio has not fully been tested and for that we will need to wait over time and/or a serious challenge to the traditional markets, not just a correction.

See here: https://karldickey.wordpress.com/karl-dickey-investment-portfolio/

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Paul Tudor Jones rolls out “JUST” ETF with Goldman Sachs in effort to ‘modernize capitalism’

Today, June 12, 2018, legendary macro investor Paul Tudor Jones did a commercial free interview on CNBC to promote tomorrow’s rollout of the new ETF “JUST”. Jones is someone I have followed for decades and is someone worthy of respect as he has built a multi-billion dollar fortune while privately preserving thousands of acres of land around the globe. Jones has long had the confidence of life and business strategist Tony Robbins and recently opened offices on Palm Beach, Florida.

JUST Capital – Ranking America s Most Just Companies

“JUST” is based on backtesting the performance of socially responsible companies based on a nationwide poll of Americans to their definition of what it means for a company to be socially responsible. Based on that backtesting it is projected to outperform the Russell 1000 and the S&P 500. As one can imagine, there is a wide array of opinions about social investing and conscious capitalism.

First and foremost, there is nothing wrong with conscious capitalism and I personally would subscribe to many of its standards. Conscious capitalism is completely in tune with the base term of capitalism though some try and twist its true meaning. Before going further, I welcome JUST to the ETF stage so this is simply a brief examination of Jones’ interview and whether we need to “modernize capitalism.”

During the interview, Jones took issue with the Milton Friedman philosophy that the responsibility of a corporation is to return profits to its shareholders. Jones said, “When Milton Friedman said, that tax rates had just come from 91 percent to 70 and income inequality was one-fifth of what it is today. You can see how it was relevant at the time but fast forward to where we are today, it’s a different deal.”

I would argue that trying to redefine “capitalism” or “modernize” the word is an unneeded exercise. People need to understand what capitalism actually is as opposed to the distortions made by many. Capitalism is only the free voluntary exchange of value from one to another. That is it. There is no other valid definition. Where we run into the weeds is when we confuse cronyism and government force with capitalism. When a company uses government force or taxpayer money in the name of “economic development” to advance itself over its competition then that is NOT capitalism. When are corporate uses fraud and other deviant means to profit, then that is NOT capitalism.

An interesting fact not asked of Jones during the interview is that arguably the best investor alive today is Warren Buffett and he has long held through his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) the same opinion of Friedman. Buffett holds that it is the duty of the corporation to profit well, compensate employees & stockholders, and through an employee’s personal income and investor’s profits of stock to donate to their preferred charity. It is not the corporation’s responsibility to be charitable, but to maximize profits. BRK and Buffett do not believe corporations should give charity directly but it is expected of their employees and shareholders to perform charity on their own terms.  So, while Buffett is personally the single most charitable man in America, one would be hard-pressed to find any meaningful charity from BRK. It is because BRK has grown to such a level that Buffett is able to personally be as charitable as he is.

It is important to bring up Buffett because he is mostly an equities investor as JUST will be as well, while Jones is more of a macro investor which extends far beyond equities. It will be interesting to see how JUST develops and performs over the coming years in its returns to investors and society as a whole. And by the way, although I hold Buffett in high esteem, he is not without his own flagrant crony capitalistic exploits.

Jones and Buffett do agree that the government is a horrible redistributor of capital and it is best to leave it to private business through voluntary exchange rather than forced government takings. Buffett has said, “The free market’s the best mechanism ever devised to put resources to their most efficient and productive use. … The government isn’t particularly good at that. But the market isn’t so good at making sure that the wealth that’s produced is being distributed fairly or wisely.” On the same issue of government redistribution, Jones said during the interview, “THAT’S THE WORST OF ALL OUTCOMES BECAUSE THAT’S THE WORST WAY TO REDISTRIBUTE INCOME.” Through JUST and his other causes, Jones is looking to redistribute wealth organically, outside the inefficiencies and force of government.

Karl’s Permanent Portfolio – 2 year update

So it has now been exactly two years since I made my version of the Permanent Portfolio public and it has outpaced the DOW and the S&P. The net return has been 79.4% while the DOW has had a return of 31.9% and the S&P 23.2% during the same time period. And, for the naysayers regarding my small investment in Bitcoin for the portfolio then one would have to say the same about NVR and PYPL, etc. But if one was to remove Bitcoin from the mix completely, the investment would have been within a point of the DOW’s return without any of the risks in holding just 30 equity stocks or a single ETF for the DOW. This portfolio is eclectic, to say the least, but is designed to weather some heavy financial storms as well. It also has a minimum 10-year horizon, so at two years, it is still in its infancy.

See the full page here: https://karldickey.wordpress.com/karl-dickey-investment-portfolio/

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The Future of U.S. Economic Growth event on Dec 4th in D.C.

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Featuring Edmund Phelps, Columbia University; Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute;Erik Brynjolfsson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Edward Glaeser, Harvard University; Robert Gordon, Northwestern University; and Dale Jorgenson, Harvard University.The Great Recession ended over five years ago, so why does the U.S. economy remain so sluggish? Fears are mounting that growth rates well below the long-term historical trend line may now be the “new normal.” Labor-force participation has been falling, while growth in labor skills has slowed considerably. Furthermore, the main engine of innovation — the “creative destruction” of entrepreneurial dynamism — appears to be sputtering, as the rates of both gross job creation and destruction and new firm formation have been declining steadily. Meanwhile, some experts even argue that the low-hanging fruit of major transformative breakthroughs has already been plucked and that, consequently, technological progress itself is winding down.

The purpose of this conference is to assess the long-term growth outlook of the U.S. economy and explore what policy changes might be needed to arrest and reverse the growth slowdown. We will bring together top economists and other experts for a full-day conference on these vital issues, with the first three sessions devoted to diagnosis of the key problems and the final two sessions focused on prescriptions for growth-enhancing policy reforms.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND FOR MORE INFORMATION