The Downfall of “Safe” Gold

“The irony of the precious metals bubble is that it was the guys yelling ‘bubble’, bubbles of every stripe—bond, stock, credit—who sought refuge in the only asset class that was truly in a bubble. In other words, the fear of bubbles created its own bubble, trapping the bubblers. Karma really is running over dogma.”

Precious Metals. The Second Wave of the Bubble Unwind is Upon Us

I have no idea where Gold is going, but I do remember when it nearing $2,000 an ounce and many said it was the only “safe” place to your money…I guess I have a different view of safety.

Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MPAS, AIF

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NYTimes Bernard: Before the Advice, Checkout the Adviser

This NYTimes article fits in nicely with a previous blog post I wrote.

Before the Advice, Check Out the Adviser

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More Howard Marks

Another great quote from OakTree’s Howard Marks:

“Whatever few awards are presented for risk control, they’re never given out in good times. The reason is that risk is covert, invisible. Risk—the possibility of loss—is not observable. What is observable is loss, and loss generally happens only when risk collides with negative events. This is a very important point, so let me give you a couple of analogies to make sure it’s clear. Germs cause illness, but germs themselves are not illness. We might say illness is what results when germs take hold. Homes in California may or may not have construction flaws that would make them collapse during earthquakes. We find out only when earthquakes occur.

Likewise, loss is what happens when risk meets adversity. Risk is the potential for loss if things go wrong. As long as things go well, loss does not arise. Risk gives rise to loss only when negative events occur in the environment. We must remember that when the environment is salutary, that is only one of the environments that could have materialized that day (or that year). (This is Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s idea of alternative histories, described in more detail in chapter 16.) The fact that the environment wasn’t negative does not mean that it couldn’t have been. Thus, the fact that the environment wasn’t negative doesn’t mean risk control wasn’t desirable, even though—as things turned out—it wasn’t needed at that time. The important thing here is the realization that risk may have been present even though loss didn’t occur. Therefore, the absence of loss does not necessarily mean the portfolio was safely constructed. So, risk control can be present in good times, but it isn’t observable because it’s not tested. Ergo, there are no awards.”

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Howard Marks Quote

Howard Marks Book

I’ve been reading Howard Marks’ book “The Most Important Thing” and the number of quotes that are brilliant are adding up, it’s a great book. I thought I’d share this one from my reading last night:

“But even when we know the shape of the probability distribution, which outcome is most likely and what the expected result is—and even if our expectations are reasonably correct—we know about only likelihoods or tendencies. I’ve spent hours playing gin and backgammon with my good friend Bruce Newberg. Our time spent with cards and dice, where the odds are absolutely knowable, demonstrates the significant role played by randomness, and thus the vagary of probabilities. Bruce has put it admirably into words: “There’s a big difference between probability and outcome. Probable things fail to happen—and improbable things happen—all the time.” That’s one of the most important things you can know about investment risk.”

Brilliant.

 

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MPAS, AIf

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Bombshell: The Goldman Sachs Tapes

The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes

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PragCap: Buffet on Gold

Warren Buffett is Right to Hate Gold

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Shiller: Parallels to 1937

When Robert Shiller talks….it means something:

Parallels to 1937

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