February 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to the February 2017 edition of Views from the Crowsnest. It’s been quite some time since I donned my winter gear, climbed the mast to spend time drinking in the panoramic view from high above the water’s surface, and then had the quiet space required reflect and distill my observations. Thanks for your patience.

We each have our own unique sensitivity to current events, but the last six to eight months has felt eerily similar to the financial crisis of 2008-9 – energetically. Obviously, we’ve not had a market crash like 8 years ago, but the U.S. has definitely undergone, and continues to experience a very intense crisis driven by the sudden disruption of their political status quo. Love him or hate him, The Donald is the Molotov cocktail Americans were warned about. Things really are upside down when Michael Moore nails the story.

Nearly everywhere you look or listen, partisan invective continues to fly, with little relief in sight. The victors continue to dance in the end zone, and the vanquished are still weeping and screaming from their sideline; each side’s response is magnified and amplified by their respective supporters in media. The rhetoric from the left is perhaps more intense, as they grapple with the reality of having lost control of the political power structure – at least its Executive Branch. Can we provide them with participation ribbons? Now we’re facing four years of “Trump is literally Hitler” versus “All criticism of the President is Fake News based on Alternative Facts.”

Thank goodness we have the leadership of entertainment industry elites to show us the way toward peaceful, reasoned and solution-oriented dialogue. Where would we be without their hasty, awkward, angry and ignorant rhetoric? I think my sharp tongue just pierced my cheek…who else can I blame for my own actions? Shall I virtue-signal some more so I can win a medal in the “Oppression Olympics” and then give it away to someone I deem to be more deserving…or should I do something constructive and useful?

Since Mr. Trump is the President for the time being, my hope – as previously expressed – is that he follows through on some of his biggest campaign promises, and moderates the most controversial and extreme ones. Personally, I am very supportive of tax cuts (corporate and personal), term limits for Congressional Members, and School Choice driven by parents. All are controversial to someone in some way, but they’re all necessary to creating meaningful positive change. School Choice is bad for the teachers’ unions and the Democratic Party but offers genuine hope for inner city families yearning to break the cycle of violence and poverty.

No one is above criticism, especially those who volunteer for political office. My sincere hope is that the White House slows down and does a more mature, thorough and professional job as it moves forward. Tactically, why rush things and issue sloppy and incomplete Executive Orders? Haste makes waste.

Oh, how the status quo has started to shake at its core. Canada will have its turn, too, after France, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Poland and Hungary…with yet another “Greece fire” ready to trigger the alarms in the crowded theatre. The dark horse of populism gutted out an amazing “kick” in the final stretch of the Brexit vote, and has excellent financial support and tactical coaching for future races.

In my opinion, the success of populism depends on its various leaders’ ability to distance themselves from the genuinely dark elements on the fringes of their support base. This is the best political ad I have ever seen…it resonates elegantly and powerfully with the spirit of the age, in an obvious attempt to focus on the positive messages connected to LePen’s cause. Recent riots in France are serving to amplify this message…over-efforting creates countervailing forces.

Long-time readers are unsurprised by these events. Martin Armstrong’s Economic Confidence Model (ECM) has obviously been correct yet again: we’ve passed the peak of confidence in government. The non-stop hysteria around all things “Trumpian” is a formidable distraction for anyone focused on becoming or remaining financially independent. The negative energy of our public discourse is causing widespread battle fatigue and stress, and (almost) nobody makes optimal decisions under high stress.

Most of us have our “fight, flight or freeze” instincts triggered…very similar to investor responses during the 2008-9 financial crisis, except that more investors appear to be more influenced by their Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) than Fear of Loss of Capital. This observation inspired an article and a workshop. Last weekend, my colleague Randy Balkenstein and I participated in Michael Campbell’s World Outlook Financial Conference, with excellent attendance at our “Intelligently Investing Lump Sums” workshops. You can view a condensed video of this workshop by clicking here.

One of the “diamonds” uncovered in this media-driven war on free speech is – for me – the very calm, respectful and articulate Dave Rubin . This self-described “progressive liberal” recently discovered that his love of personal liberty forced him to re-think his political allegiances. My hope is that more people like him will emerge; we need people like him to lower the intensity and raise the intelligence of public discourse on political issues. The two videos linked in bold above are well worth the time investment.

One of the most challenging elements of writing and editing material for any audience – especially for a discerning audience with a rapidly shrinking attention span – is being disciplined and humble enough to say only what is absolutely necessary. This practical constraint is a yoke upon all who step into the public forum, and frustrating for those who crave nuance and subtlety – audience and presenter alike. This modern reality is clearly juxtaposed to what we do…which requires time.

Our professional expertise -and passion – is the collaborative creation, real-time implementation and ongoing management of our independent-minded Clients’ wealth management plans. In part, this requires us to listen and think both fast and slow, to reflect and distill the core principals driving our Clients’ decision-making (their Life Goals™) and to work in partnership with Clients in their quest to become and remain financially independent. It also requires us to constantly filter and discard endless streams of trivial information, so we’re left with actionable wisdom.

In an effort to bridge the chasm between communicating both fast and slow, we’ve made the decision to begin the process of mapping, creating and producing a series of videos shorts on both time-sensitive and timeless topics related to comprehensive holistic wealth management. We look forward to sharing more on this project as we progress.

And we’re edging ever closer to the launch of our Socrates-based investment platforms. We have tentatively scheduled a webinar for Saturday March 25th at 11:15 am (Mountain Time) to explain more on how our Portfolio Managers will utilize Martin Armstrong’s system. We will have limited space available for this event, and you can reserve your participation by simply replying to this email with your name and other contact information.

Patience, discipline and compassion are accretive to your wealth, health and happiness – so focus on these.

Cheers,
Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM
Founder, Integrated Wealth Management Inc.