March 2020 Edition of From the Crow’s Nest

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.”
~ Mark Twain

Eleven years ago today the most hated and under-invested Bull Market in history began. The low in 2009 came in the wake of what became known to this generation of investors simply as “The Financial Crisis.”

Fear, panic, uncertainty and outright “catastrophizing” by the expensive suits on financial media outlets were freaking out, talking faster and with higher-pitched voices. The graphics techies featured big red banners with tidbits of “Apocalyptic news” scrolling under the furrowed brows and despairing faces of all the talking heads. All of these are on full display today.

The lessons from March 9, 2009, and from all previous major market declines, are essential guiding principles that must guide PRUDENT investor behaviour RIGHT NOW:

  • Risk is lowest when prices are lowest;
  • Fear and panic do not last forever. This, too, shall pass;
  • When Chicken Little is running the markets and investors are “running from the fire” and willing to “end the pain” by selling the shares of great quality companies at whatever price someone will pay for them, the smart money is using available cash to buy at silly discounts;
  • We never know exactly where the ultimate bottom is until we’re past it, but when retail investors are “purging” the contents of their portfolio, one doesn’t need to wait long for things to stop getting worse, and institutional investors (the “Elephants”) eventually do step in with their big money and help to create the floor for the next move upwards;
  • Equity Market declines are temporary, but the advances are permanent…so don’t mess up your long-term results by joining the panicking masses;
  • Market plunges like this can be viewed as “loading a spring,” creating a significant amount of “stored energy” for a recovery. Some analysts call the signals generated in environments like this as “Springboard Buy Signals”;
  • Martin Armstrong has frequently mentioned that a “Slingshot Move” to the upside is highly likely following the declines off his Economic Confidence Model’s (ECM’s) key date of January 18, 2020. And,
  • Some elements of our well-diversified portfolios are either rising or extremely stable. $USD holdings and currency hedges are also buffering the downside. This is exactly why our very prudent Portfolio Managers always insist on holding securities that are NOT stocks.

Actions to Take RIGHT NOW:

  • Add cash to your investment portfolio if you have some available for long-term investing
  • If you don’t have new cash available right now, then simply allow our Portfolio Managers to do their job without interference. This allows them to remain focused, objective, calm and stoic. It will also allow your portfolio to recover robustly once the bottom is in, whenever that unfolds.
  • Manage your own personal stress levels:
    1. Minimize how much financial media you watch
    2. Resist the urge to obsess over your portfolio’s daily moves, because watching too closely will only increase your feelings of powerlessness and could lead you down the path of doing something that could be financially destructive
    3. Get outside for some sunshine and fresh air, even if it’s a little bit chilly. Being out in Nature puts everything in perspective, and is very soothing to the soul
    4. Listen to some uplifting music

If you would like to chat with us, please reply to this note with the best phone number for us to reach you.

Patience and Discipline are accretive to your Wealth, Health and Happiness; so focus on these.


Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM

Founder, Integrated Wealth Management Inc.

January 2019 edition of Views from the Crowsnest

Welcome to the January 2019 edition of Views from the Crowsnest.

Long-term financial prosperity pre-supposes survival of short-term crises. Survivors are guided by brutally-honest practicality versus high-minded theories and prognostications. People who obsess over appearing impressive rarely are (e.g. cable news), whereas those who focus on being effective usually succeed. Therefore, I will concentrate on practical solutions to a couple key challenges that we see from up here in the Crowsnest. Do what works – and nothing else.

In this issue: 1) easing the burden for those charged with handling the financial affairs of deceased and/or incapacitated family & friends, and 2) allowing the Canadian energy industry to prosper while keeping Confederation intact.

Fortunately, the world is full of smart, dedicated, conscientious and industrious people of good will. It’s our job to find, harness and direct the best in their respective fields to optimize Client outcomes. Leveraging technology positively is the common thread in our solutions. Do what works – and nothing else.

1) In 2019, we’ll be introducing a service to our Clients which will significantly decrease the stress, time and complexity associated with the management and wind-down of an Estate. This will include helping our Clients to minimize the burden left for their offspring, as well as other family members. Anything substantive we can do to reduce preventable stress for our Clients is a priority for IWM. This will be an additional service in our overall wealth management offering, with zero additional cost to Clients. We’ll roll it out no later than this summer, starting with our retired Client Families. Technology is the key.

2) How can we allow the Canadian energy industry to prosper while keeping Canadian Confederation intact? This is THE question emerging from the current Canadian energy industry crisis. Make no mistake; this is a national crisis that just happens to be headquartered in Alberta. The financial consequences for all investors could be disastrous, not to mention the future political stability and peacefulness of our very nation.

The fancy people in the mainstream media are downplaying the rising voices of Western Separatism, and it really annoys me. While we fully expect that from our state-owned broadcaster, the self-appointed leaders of popular opinion are (ironically) completely detached from popular opinion in Alberta. Is this a deliberate choice by owners of The Globe & Mail, Post Media and the Toronto Star? After all, they have to “earn” their piece of the new $595 million slush fund offered by the federal Liberals to help in their October 2019 re-election bid. The longer the mainstream dismisses or ignores this reality, the worse the situation becomes.

Meanwhile, back in the real world many serious people are talking more openly and sincerely about how badly Alberta is treated within Canada, and what must change in order for Alberta to remain. For the 35 years since the National Energy Program hatched by the smarter Trudeau, Albertans have quietly muttered about how Quebec is treated “more equally” than any other province.

Fortunately, we’ve had our time filled with things like work. When economic times are good, everyone is “fat and happy,” busily enjoying the fruits (and carbs!) of their labor. Not anymore. The anger is palpable, the rhetoric is rising, and the financial facts are pretty damning.  Albertans’ collective frustration is legitimate and understandable.

For the sake of crystal clarity, I am NOT a Western Separatist. I am a very passionate and frustrated patriot. I exist – quite literally – because of Canadian bravery, resilience and pure grit during World War 2. My parents recounted the elation they – and all of Holland – experienced as CANADIAN TROOPS liberated their starving, bombed-out country.

Being the 8th born of immigrants whose homeland is largely below sea level, I’m a hard-core pragmatist. Thanks to Jim Dines, I also understand the power of mass psychology; in this case the rising popularity of the desire of many Albertans to self-determine, rather than being treated as the goose that lays the golden egg…and which the political and media elites look down upon as an embarrassment that leaves unwanted treasures on their yachts.

Canada’s golden goose – the fossil fuel industry – has a major image problem. The industry hasn’t fought back early (or strongly) enough against the decades-long “de-marketing” and disinformation campaign waged by the radical environmental activists – funded largely by US donors. Canada’s energy industry is full of ethical, educated, innovative and industrious people…but they forgot to watch their own backs. Vivian Krause will shed more light on this on March 16, 2019.

Now the industry has awakened to how much abuse it has taken, and how deliberate the process of land-locking Alberta oil has been. Anger PLUS feelings of righteous indignation combine into a very powerful – and dangerous – force. We need to collectively inform, direct and harness this energy in a positive way…or there’s REAL trouble on the horizon. We need calm, mature and principled leadership to get us through this; but we currently have Justin Trudeau.

Integrated Wealth Management is stepping up to do its part: a) I’ve already initiated discussions with our Portfolio Managers on defensive measures that need to be in place should this situation escalate, b) I will be travelling to Ottawa in February to participate in a planned rally in support of the Canadian energy industry. We need to bring this problem in front of the Ontario and Quebec media, and c) we’ve scheduled a special event for March 16, 2019 to specifically address this issue.

The event on Saturday, March 16th 2019 will be held at Mt Royal University. When we booked this venue in the summer of 2018, we had a different agenda planned but have shifted gears to adapt to the biggest financial issue facing Albertans. We’ll have four primary speakers: Mark Milke, Josef Schachter, Vivian Krause and Michael Campbell. Click here

Tickets will be free for our Clients, and we’ll also offer a discount PROMO code for our clients to share with their family and friends. We’ll have full registration functions up and going on our website shortly. Capacity for this venue is around 600, so we recommend registering when we send out the first invitation.

We’re also making excellent progress in the development our long-term project: a long-short pool combining the expertise, systems and insights of some key professionals. We’ll be ready when the last remaining analytical tool becomes available, hopefully very soon.

In the meantime, North American equity markets appear to have bottomed since Boxing Day. It’s been an ugly year-end in global equity indices (particularly on Canada), and we’re very grateful that our Portfolio Managers have done an admirable job of buffering client accounts from the worst of the damage. We’ve taken some bruises, but nothing close to catastrophic. Mission accomplished on surviving this recent mini-crisis. Long term financial prosperity can now be pursued.

And just today, it appears that there MAY be some positive movement in the US-China tariff battle. I don’t want to read too much into this just yet, but this headline from the BBC suggests that China’s leadership MAY have just blinked in the negotiation process. I’ve openly criticized Trump’s use of tariffs (a tax on consumers to temporarily save some jobs in key states), and I sincerely hope that he pulls a rabbit out of the hat here. I will gladly “eat that hat,” speaking figuratively, of course.

IF Trump somehow manages to pry open China’s domestic markets for wider American competition – which no one else has ever managed to do – he will have pulled off the greatest economic victory of the last 50 years. Goodness knows there’s been more than enough chaos and hysteria around his administration…it would be nice if a second unambiguously positive policy could emerge from the White House. Tax reform was the first.

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


Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM
Founder, Integrated Wealth Management
t: 403-517-2234

Views from the Crowsnest Nov 21 2018

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,”

Welcome to this special edition of Views from the Crowsnest on November 21, 2018. The quote above is the first two lines of Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem, “If.” It fits today, in ways both obvious and subtle. In these moments, our higher-order executive functions become more important than ever.

Rarely are we in the midst of historic events with a conscious awareness of their significance. Today is one of those rare occasions when we witness the collision of trends and forces so obviously converging; cinematic in their scope, with life-changing consequences for those directly in their paths. We knew it would eventually come to this; it had to. And then there are the ripple effects on the rest of us.

Exact outcomes are still unknown, but the meta-trends make the overall path inevitable, unchangeable and necessary, by force of nature. Such is the nature of recurring cycles, in politics, economics and markets. This is the just and necessary consequence of all the decisions that have led us to this moment.

I refer specifically to the challenging equity market machinations since September, but more broadly to the tectonic events unfolding in and around Europe. The cradle of western civilization is bringing us timeless lessons of the immutable laws of nature: physics, power, populism, psychology, economics, envy, manipulation of the many by the few, and the eventual awakening of those charged with decision-making authority. And the uncovering of secrets long kept through convention, personal utility, and fear.

As if “magically,” Martin Armstrong’s Economic Confidence Model (ECM) once again targeted today (2018.89) as a key date in the future of our institutions and the societies over which various levels of influence and control are exercised. Today is a rare “Pi Day” ,served up for all to witness and ponder. As Marty likes to say, “There’s order within chaos,” but we need to transcend the noise to understand the true big picture before responding to the noise and distraction on the ground. The imminent release of the Socrates Trader-Pro Level will be warmly welcomed when it happens.

Having attended the World Economic Conference 2018 in Orlando – my 4th – followed by a couple days of coastal relaxation and celebration, today we witness major events unfolding with Italy and the EU, the UK and its inept attempts at breaking away from the EU, and what will be a resumption of the most hated bull market in stocks ever…literally by force of nature.

Human history is a rhythmic poem describing the desire for liberty offset by the need for structure. Jordan Peterson describes this as the battle between Chaos and Order. Sometimes the weight of too much order becomes unbearable. Sometimes an unbalanced economic relationship reaches it inevitable end. Think Italy and Brexit.

These tectonic, structural changes lead to fear, uncertainty and doubt around the world. When market makers, traders and high-ranking decision makers get caught up in the drama and tension of the immediate situation (i.e. they LOSE their heads), we all feel the impact via declines like those which have recently buffeted our financial portfolios. This is temporary, not permanent. We know because we have the gifts of perspective from those whose systems and experience have washed away (fear-based) emotional REACTION, and given way to wise and prudent RESPONSE.

What does it all man? Capital flees risk and seeks opportunity. The bigger the systemic risks (Europe), the more violent – and unsettling – the temporary dislocations are, even as capital arrives on safer shores (U.S.). We are all more closely wired than ever before. The downside is a loss of true connection, but that’s a story for another day.

When we look back, we know that market panics pass rather quickly despite being so very painful when we’re swirling in their midst. This too shall pass. Thanks to wise counsel and humble recognition of those who know something we don’t, we remain steadfast in our view that this – the longest and most hated (ever) Bull Market in stocks, especially in the U.S. – remains intact.

There is major support not far below current levels. Even if we test these support levels, the tests will be temporary. Our Portfolio Managers hold some cash for buying bargains, non-correlated debt instruments for diversification and stability, and great companies trading at (or slightly below) their intrinsic values. They remain calm, focused and patient…ready to act decisively when fear is highest and risk therefore lowest.

To our Clients Families we suggest adding to your portfolio if you have cash available for longer term horizons; essentially be an Opportunist. Otherwise, do nothing right now because it would be financially self-destructive; impulsive moves now are giving into fear which turns us into Victims.

We have your back. We are keeping our heads. I recommend reading the entire text from Kipling by clicking here.

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


Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM
Founder, Integrated Wealth Management
t: 403-517-2234

From the Crowsnest November 2018

Welcome to the November 2018 edition of Views from the Crowsnest. Despite less than six weeks elapsing since the last edition, a tremendous amount has happened. Markets, politics, and economics have dominated our various screens.

The civility of public discourse has reached new lows, equity markets appear to have established some interim lows, and the noise from the US mid-term elections have reached 150% of tolerable levels. Thank goodness tomorrow is Election Day. Perhaps we can return to some level of normalcy, or am I too optimistic?

Just before every major election, the hysteria reaches deafening levels, and this undoubtedly unsettles those involved in capital markets. While the US economy remains in juggernaut mode, broader US stock valuations were a little stretched – and some sectors, especially big tech, were very optimistically priced.

Canadian stocks were much more reasonably valued prior to the mid-October volatility, yet still declined with US indices. Capital is flowing out of Canada, at least as it relates to major investments in our resource sector, thanks to our exalted political leaders. That’s not a political statement; it’s a summary of current reality.

Pullbacks within uptrends always challenge our fears. As we climb the proverbial wall of worry, stumbles and setbacks are inevitable; they’re also necessary and downright helpful for patient and disciplined investors. Though unsettling, declines like the one we recently experienced allow our portfolio managers to buy back into full positions they had previously trimmed during strength. Sometimes entirely different and better upside opportunities arise, and pullbacks/corrections provide the cover for our calm portfolio managers to buy these companies from panicked sellers. It’s all about temperament.

While we certainly didn’t plan it this way, the timing of our Straight Talk for Retirement Success workshops was serendipitous. The theme was how to bullet-proof your retirement plan in advance of the next financial crisis, and still generate solid returns in the interim. I focused on a series of very specific strategies that help to generate incremental positive returns AND reduce downside market volatility, as well as how to create a contingency plan in advance of the next financial crisis. It was all about how to avoid being the bug on the windshield yet again.

These workshops were very well-attended, and based on numerous requests from our newsletter readers and the MoneyTalks audience, we decided to record the last session here in Calgary.

You can Click here to watch the recording for free.

I encourage you to download/print the self-assessment form and to realistically assess your current strategies versus those I speak to in the workshop. If you’d like to request a confidential review of your current portfolio and retirement plan, simply reply to this email.

You’re also welcome to forward this note onto others who may have been asking you what you’re doing to protect and grow your portfolio. We know that many people are unsettled by the current environment and are looking for practical and realistic solutions, so perhaps our workshop might be helpful for them?

Speaking of unsettling, the current hyper-partisan screeching around the US mid-term elections is almost over. Thank goodness. Will the “Blue Wave” of Democratic dominance actually manifest itself? Earlier in the year, those on the Left were chortling about taking back control of both Houses of Congress. Not much mention of anything positive they might do with that power, curiously enough. They’re sounding much less confident in recent weeks, though.

Today it appears much more likely that the Republicans will hold – perhaps build – their slim Senate majority, and the Democrats look poised to tip the balance in their favour in the House of Representatives. If memory serves me correctly, the Democrats need to pick up 23 more Congressional seats to gain control. This is really only ever about control, i.e. power. It’s the same for both sides.

Many of these “toss-up” seats are within the “normal margin of error” for pre-election polling, so who knows? And who really knows what the true margin of error is for polls anymore? Does the obvious social stigma of voting for Trump (being smeared as racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islama-phobe, bigoted redneck, white nationalist, transphobe, etc.) cause some people to conceal their voting intentions from pollsters?

Given the level of smearing, it wouldn’t shock me if many people would prefer to publicly disassociate from Trump. He’s now seemingly responsible for all political violence in America – at least according to every media outlet left of Fox News, which is to say > 80% of media. Decent people (i.e. most of the population) abhor the ideas that Trump supporters are accused of espousing, so why risk being labelled as one of these “Deplorables?”

The 2016 election of Donald Trump surprised all the mainstream pollsters, and stunned the mainstream media pundits on election night. Did social stigma contribute to the polls being dead wrong? The pain of losing an election that was supposedly easily won was on full display in the weeks afterward. And apparently these are still open wounds for those on the “Loud Left” as evidenced by their vitriol. Losing power when you were already making plans must have been devastating.

Naturally, the folks on the “Loud Right” are matching or exceeding the rhetoric on the Left, generating their own talking points – some accurate and others caustic and/or incendiary – and the vicious circle of partisan politics continues its escalation. Neither party impresses me, despite the fact that I am a small-c “conservatarian.”

In my September newsletter, I mused about whether or not the Democrats had overplayed their hand with the accusations of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh. It felt like a carefully planned last-minute bombshell to both derail the confirmation process itself and to also gain the upper hand in tomorrow’s mid-terms. They failed on the first objective. Jim Dines famously said, “Over-efforting creates countervailing forces,” and that’s what it felt like to me. No one is ever right 100% of the time and only time will tell if my intuition was accurate on this subject. We’ll know shortly.

Whatever the electoral outcomes are, my deepest hope is that we can get back to reasonable conversations about important subjects that require actual solutions. I know that many politicians would rather perpetuate the problems (as galvanizing issues) than find and implement effective solutions. If there are no problems left to solve, then how to attract votes? The current discourse is socially toxic and has become quite literally deadly. Real leadership on this matter is necessary to re-stabilize volatile America. Leadership from everyone involved.

I’m looking forward to attending my fourth World Economic Conference in Orlando. Martin Armstrong’s insights and his computer’s unbiased analysis will be very helpful in the volatile times ahead. Hopefully we’ll also hear some good news in respect of the full Socrates system getting launched. Everyone’s patience has been tested by the delays, and it would be nice to be able to move forward.

Patience and Discipline are accretive to your wealth, health and happiness; so focus on these.


Andrew H. Ruhland, CFP, CIM

Founder of Integrated Wealth Management Inc.

Views from the Crowsnest, September 2018

In this issue: adapting to today’s faster pace, Trump, Trudeau, voices of reason, keeping our eye on the financial ball, Socrates update, and Straight Talk for Retirement Success workshops.

Trigger warning: this newsletter contains sharp criticisms and politically incorrect opinion. The truth hurts when it ought to.

Adapting to today’s frenzied pace is challenging, lest we also become frenetic. The gap since my last full Views from the Crowsnest newsletter is the longest ever, as I’ve struggled with finding a balance. The inputs have been almost all positive (presenting workshops in 5 cities, improving nutrition & exercise habits, a little R & R, welcoming numerous new clients to our firm, walking my eldest daughter down the aisle, preparing for our fall workshops, etc.) but there’s been little time left to cobble together this missive.

I’ve also been struggling mightily with how to select, filter, decipher and integrate the “outrage tsunami” that is today’s news cycle. The vitriol in today’s media is profoundly disheartening, especially if you welcome vigorous and intellectually-honest debate of important issues. I’m deeply disturbed that the Left has degraded to the point where the typical response to an argument or person they find “problematic” is yelling, smearing, lying, de-platforming, and Twitter-mobbing. And some on the right go down there, too.

What ever happened to dismantling an erroneous argument with facts? This You Tube video is a great summary of why so many “classical liberals” have left the Left in favour of being part of the reasonable conservative center. Dennis Prager does an excellent job of distinguishing between the Left and liberals in this short video.

As someone with a lot to say about current events, one of the “outlets” I’ve adopted is posting frequently on LinkedIn, as well as starting a Facebook page for IWM. We’ll see how long it takes for me to get banned by Mark Zuckerberg for posting real news stories. I don’t wear gloves for these platforms, and take incredible pleasure in relentlessly pointing out the absurdity of the mainstream media narrative and their favored characters. I invite you to find and connect with us and FOLLOW me on LinkedIn (Andrew Ruhland) and Facebook (Integrated Wealth Management).

Twitter is too fast-paced, mean-spirited and left-leaning for me to even bother. Bare knuckle fighting is one thing, but fighting fairly isn’t the culture of Twitter… they’re more brass knuckles, bike locks and garrottes. I wonder how quickly Twitter would crumble if Trump found an alternative? Perhaps Peter Thiel might consider building a platform to rival Twitter, YouTube and Facebook?

Speaking of Trump, since everyone is doing so ALL THE TIME, he has become THE obsession of the Left. When people ask me if I’m pro-Trump or anti-Trump, my answer is “yes.” I hate false choices. Let’s face it, Trump does and says many VERY stupid things. Chief amongst the stupid things is his tariffs and trade war baiting. Politicians always think of tariffs in terms of jobs saved or created while ignoring the cost for consumers; after all, tariffs are collected by governments and paid for by consumers through higher prices. This is clearly Trump throwing red meat to blue collar voters in the rust belt swing states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Imposing tariffs is one campaign promise that Trump should NOT have followed through on.

Trump also does and says some VERY smart things, though every media outlet left of Fox News refuses to admit anything positive. Trump is “such an idiot” that he has managed to reduce the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) below their GDP Growth Rate (4%). With “idiots” like this in the White House, who needs fancy geniuses peddling ineffective policies? Could Obama maybe coach Trump on how to charismatically deliver an extremely well-written epic speech? I suggest you read it and think of someone else delivering it eloquently and skillfully.

Trump is really a centrist with blue-collar populist appeal, and the mainstream media hates the fact that he dominates almost every news cycle, so they have to talk about him…which makes them hate Trump even more. It’s kind of pathetic, actually. And it’s endlessly funny, but dangerous.

Trump dominates the center on most matters, and CNN – which used to be only slightly left-of-center – continues to crumble; MSNBC is picking up former CNN viewers who want a hard-core leftist filter on everything, and Fox News is growing faster than MSNBC. They ALL have their biases, and what irritates me is that you have to invest additional time to hear both sides of any particular issue and try to piece together a fact-based conclusion.

Given that roughly 70% of people get most of their news from Facebook, public perceptions are being aggressively pushed FAR left. Starting at age 6 all the way through Graduate Studies, students are being taught that socialism is good, that gender is a “social construct,” and your group identity is the most important thing about any person, we have “Trouble in River City.” This short video is excellent!

It will take time to reverse the decades of brainwashing, but it absolutely must be done. The continued stability – nay existence – of our prosperous, free, liberal, open western capitalist culture is at stake. That’s not hyperbolic, but it is scary, so we need to be practical, intelligent, articulate, and absolutely resolute in this ideological battle. The battle is to maintain an open conversation between the reasonable left and the reasonable right in pursuit of a certain homeostasis that I’ll call “The Reasonable Center.”

I’ve long been fascinated by the outrage culture of mainstream media and about 18 months ago started devoting some of my personal learning time to understanding this phenomenon. I’ve explored the works of many credible commentators, pundits, academics and philosophers. Here’s the Executive Summary: the tendency for those on the left – personality wise – is to be more expressive about their political views (conservatives tend toward practicality), to experience a much wider range of feelings (emotional lability) versus those on the right; and to prioritize group identity over individuality, whereas those on the right prioritize personal responsibility and the sovereignty of the individual. When conservatives see unequal treatment they want to stop it; those on the left wasn’t to reverse unequal treatment, which is the basis of their obsession with identity politics.

Those on the Left also tend to be easier to “trigger,” which I candidly admit is extremely fun to watch; it’s a hell of a lot funnier than almost every “comedian” out there. Trump does this every single time he Tweets. For those with time, this video is an excellent explanation.

Meanwhile, back here in Canada, we are seeing the catastrophic results of our electoral choices. “Rachel-come-lately” Notley and her merry band of adolescent socialists have worsened Alberta and Saskatchewan’s economic reality. They didn’t cause the plummeting oil prices that precipitated our current situation, but they’ve managed to make it MUCH worse by several orders of magnitude. They’ve hired massive numbers of provincial employees to shore up their union support…exceptionally stupid fiscal policy when Alberta is hurting so badly.

Only recently has the Premier’s office started acting like leaders who support those who fund government-delivered services. Prior to the UCP formation with the media-savvy Jason Kenney at the helm, the NDP bad-mouthed our core industry, demonized those who dare to disagree, and passively aided and abetted the B.C. enviro-radicals and their political pawns “running” the federal government. The NDP’s desperation is now on full display as they launch attacks on Kenney and the UCP related to all things “LGBTQIA…” Hopefully, Kenney is wise enough to NOT get baited by the Left on this one. The CBC cannot feature enough stories painting the UCP as homophobic, sexist, racist, transphobic, etc.

This brings us to Justin Trudeau. Argghh! Let me pause, catch my breath and distill what I think of him into a few words: embarrassing, narcissistic, intellectually shallow, immature, completely out of touch with reality, brainwashed (identity politics and socialism), and yet extremely “well managed” by his closest handlers, Gerald Butts primarily. Justin Trudeau makes me look back fondly on the bumbling Jean Chretien. At least we had Paul Martin running Finance.

For more revelations on Mr. Trudeau, please add me to your LinkedIn network (and FOLLOW me) or join our Facebook page. And then share our posts liberally, NOT Liberally. Trudeau has the CBC, Global, CTV, the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star on his side…let’s get social media working for clear-headed governance!

Our Peter Pan Prime Minister and his team have awakened to the fact that they’ve mismanaged every portfolio under their control. In a curious but shrewd pivot, it looks like they’ve decided to wage their next campaign against Donald Trump, since so many Canadians hate Trump – and not many people know who Andrew Scheer is anyway…literally.

The federal Conservatives are raising lots of money, and starting some early campaign ads during sporting events. Hopefully some of their money will be used to help Mr. Scheer grow a spine before the writ is dropped. Canada is ready for someone who isn’t obsessed with every camera, someone with intellectual substance, and maybe a practical economic plan…as distinct from “budgets that balance themselves,” a series of obsessions with plastic straws and other red herrings, divisive identity politics gamesmanship, and just letting our “gender-balanced” economy “grow from the heart outwards.” The grown-ups in other countries openly mock our current Prime Minister, but their politically correct fancy people humour him by letting him sit at the adult table. Scroll down below the video of Trump’s UN speech

All of this acerbic pre-amble is actually relevant to your financial wellbeing, so hopefully you’re still reading. I don’t care if you hate Trump and love Trudeau, Notley and John “Horrible Horgan.” The fact is that you can ignore economics as much as you like, but economics won’t ignore you. The reality is that Trump’s fiscal and economic policies have strengthened the already stable US economy and their equity markets reflect that. Canada has terribly misguided political leadership and our country is living with the consequences of our leadership.

Europe is in turmoil from Brexit (or not) and facing the very real possibility of the end of the European (utopian) project: Italy, Hungary, Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland are all extremely unhappy with being forced to accept Merkel’s open borders policies. I’ll take the economic and geo-political substance of the inarticulate, bumbling and unfiltered Donald Trump over the clowns we have in power in Alberta, B.C. and Ottawa…8 days out of 7.

My primary near-term concerns are based on trade wars and the US mid-term elections, with the media in full-blown hysteria over anything and anyone that Trump has done or recommended. Have the Democrats leaned too far over their skis, thus awakening the Republican voters who could stop the flip of the House and Senate to the Democrats? Only time will tell.

Our job is to keep our eyes on the “financial ball” amidst all the chaos. And to be logical, patient, disciplined, wise, prudent and effective. We’re staying focused on what’s working and avoiding what’s not. It’s boring an effective. We bring order within the chaos, and we’re extremely good at it. I’d venture to say we’re radically competent; not perfect, but radically competent. And I’m much nicer in person, or at least I should be.

So, what exactly are you doing to protect your family’s nest egg from catastrophic loss in the next financial crisis (whenever that happens) and to grow your portfolio in the interim? It’s best to prepare well in advance…kind of like building a solid structure to store the annual harvest from the coming winter. I love teaching workshops, so I’m thrilled to get back in front of classrooms of great savers, business owners and professionals over age 50 in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton. We’re calling these workshops “Straight Talk for Retirement Success.” Through this newsletter, we’re giving all our subscribers an opportunity for early registration for these free 2-hour workshops BEFORE my next interview with Mike Campbell on Saturday Sept 29th starting between 9:52 and 9:55 am on Money Talks. Click here for more information and to register.

Oh yes, and we’re still waiting for the release of Socrates from Armstrong Economics. We’re ready at our end, and I’ll share more details during our upcoming workshops.

These are the voices of reasons that keep me sane: my wife, Martin Armstrong, Michael Campbell, Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Dave Rubin, Dennis Prager, Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Christina Hoff-Somers, Heather MacDonald, Douglas Murray, Bill Whittle, Rex Murphy, Lorne Gunter, Anthony Furey, Candice Malcolm, Mark Milke, Joe Warmington, Laurie Goldstein, Tucker Carlson, Newshub Nation, and Brian Lilley. My guilty pleasures: Andrew Klavan, Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, Paul Joseph Watson, and Mark Steyn.

Patience and Discipline are accretive to your wealth, health and happiness so focus on these.

Andrew Henry Ruhland, CFP, CIM
Founder, Integrated Wealth Management Inc.

Object Lessons in Mass Psychology and Discipline

Humans are hard-wired for connection, and as such our very nature pre-disposes us to investment failure, because most people want to be part of the “In” crowd. That’s quite a mouthful, and an ominous one at that. Our current U.S. equity market environment provides object lessons in both mass psychology and discipline.

As I write on the morning of March 2nd it’s noteworthy that yesterday saw $8.2 billion go into SPY, the largest ETF on the S&P 500. That’s the biggest single daily inflow since December 2014 and the second largest in six years. Contrast that with recent reports from major institutional investment houses that state they’re either not increasing equity exposure, or they’re planning to actively decrease equity exposure in portfolios.

Since every trade has a buyer and a seller, there was also $8.2 billion worth of trades yesterday wherein “someone” is getting out. The only possible conclusion one can arrive at is that Institutional Investors are selling their positions to Retail Investors. Market tops are often referred to as those times when investments transfer from strong hands (Institutional, “Smart Money” investors) back to weak hands (Retail, Dumb Money” investors), and that’s what this smells like.

So, are you more comfortable investing with the masses – “hard-wired for connection with the crowd” – or are you content being a patient and disciplined contrarian whose investing behavior mimics or follows the smart, patient and behaviours of Institutional Investors? This is the object lesson in mass psychology: are you part of the “smart” money or the “dumb” money?

The stronger the mass opinion that “everything is positive and rosy,” the more likely we’re close to an interim top…one can almost smell the desperation of the recent buyers whose Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has over-taken their Fear of Loss of Capital (FLOC), or perhaps their bias against Donald Trump. As Michael Campbell and others has recently warned, mixing your political opinions with your investment decisions is a recipe for disaster.

So, was yesterday’s retail buying panic driven by frustrated Democrats who had previously believed that the markets had to crumble because Donald Trump is (in their eyes) “the source of all evils soon to be perpetrated on America”…and whose February 28th address to a Joint Session of Congress was widely hailed (by 75% or more of viewers) as positive, strong, clear and, yes, even somewhat Presidential? Was yesterday the hard evidence of shy retail investors throwing in the towel, and proclaiming “Just get me into this market before it gets away?”

While I don’t believe this is a major market top that starts a major meltdown, history shows that buying frenzies like we saw on Wednesday March 1st usually immediately precede pull-backs. Only time will tell if history is once again our best guide…but that’s where our Clients’ (and my family’s) money is positioned. It’s boring, and relentlessly effective. If we get a dip in markets, remaining cash will get deployed, so we’d be completely okay with a sharp little pullback. It would be the pause that refreshes “The Bull”, whose lot in life is to always slowly climb the wall of worry created by the masses.

This begs a second important question for readers: do you have a clearly articulated Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that defines the framework for your portfolio? Is your minimum and maximum exposure to cash, fixed income, stocks, precious metals and alternatives clearly laid out as a guide for investment decisions? If you don’t have an IPS, why don’t you? If you do have an IPS, is it being followed by your investment professional or you – if you’re self-managing? This is the object lesson in Discipline…are you following a smart framework?

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


Andrew Ruhland, CFP, CIM


Calgary Cares: Healing with Compassion


Today, we remain a community in mourning. Calgary is well known for its clear running water; right now that includes the tears being shed in countless homes, offices, and classrooms. Water in all forms can cleanse and heal…if we allow it to by literally going with the flow, instead of resisting.

When a senseless tragedy like the murder of young people happens at the hands of a peer, with a motive yet unknown, it shakes all of us to the core. The closer we are to the victims or the accused, the more acute and profound the pain and grieving becomes. As time passes, many of us are learning just how close we were to being directly and intimately affected by the pain of one very frightened young man; this includes my family.

About a year ago, the Boston Marathon bombing happened. The motto that emerged, “Boston Strong,” expresses the civic resiliency and unity that emerged from their galvanizing tragedy. I’ve seen a few “Calgary Strong” bumper stickers since our epic floods in the summer of 2013, but the Calgary Stampede’s spontaneous adoption of the brilliant “Hell or High Water” motto captured our hearts as THE expression of our own community spirit, teamwork and dedication…quite literally defiance in the wake of widespread destruction.

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2014 Annual “Forecast”


Welcome to the 2014 Annual “Forecast” edition of Views from the Crows Nest. One of the many challenges with publishing a document that is intended to cover a one year period is that so much can change in a year.

Another challenge is choosing a theme, especially now when my creative faculties are wide open to receiving wisdom from countless sources. It’s not always this easy, so I’m deeply grateful when I am blessed with an almost embarrassing abundance of ideas, opportunities and new connections.

The most obvious challenge, though, is getting the actual forecasts themselves accurate enough to actually be useful and helpful to readers. The reality is that high-quality forecasts and advice are only as useful as they are timely, so forecasts that are too broad can actually be counter-productive.

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Party with a Purpose

Integrated Life Management

Have you ever been in a situation where everything you’ve dreamed about just “flows” and wish you could repeat this at will?

Have you ever wanted to connect with a dynamic, diverse tribe of other intelligent professionals and practitioners who “get it” and can enrich your life?

Have you ever wished for a simple, low-cost, effective solution to attracting only ideal clients to your business…and that this could actually be fun?

Have you ever imagined that your business and personal lives could both be in complete alignment with the authentic you, with no B.S. or pretense?

Are you open-minded, collaborative and willing to give and receive wisdom, joy and abundance, so you can share it with your inner circle?

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then we request the pleasure of your company at a lively, meaningful and exceptionally productive get-together early in 2014. You may also bring one other person who fits the criteria above, and first priority will be given to direct recipients of this note.

I’ll send a reminder with more info before 2014, and then you can ask your big questions at the party…there’s a very good chance you’ll love the answers

Friday January 10, 2014 7:00 to 9:00 PM
At Self Connection Books 4611 Bowness Road NW
(Next door to NOtaBLE Restaurant)

Please RSVP as soon as possible to

Can we finally start learning and changing from Remembrance Day?

Remembrance Day is always highly emotional for me, increasingly so as I mature, reflect back on my youth and gain new perspective from these memories. So here is my question for readers: Can we finally start learning and changing from Remembrance Day? Yes.

Before anyone tunes out because they think this article is unsupportive of our Canadian Armed Forces, let me first share with you exactly where I’m coming from.

My parents were born in 1927 and 1934 in small‐town Holland, each part of large Catholic families whose fathers were skilled craftsmen. My grandparents had dignity, made enough to support their families, and wanted exactly what most parents want today: to help their children grow up healthy, strong and responsible with the best of what each parent and their community had to offer.
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