Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who Will Save Us From The Great Recession?

Dear Investor's Daily Edge Member,

As a member of Investor's Daily Edge you've already gotten a full week of powerful, actionable advice that will change the way you grow and protect your wealth.

With Investment Director Bob Irish and his team of analysts you're learning to spot the trends behind the trends, where the world economy is really heading, and how to sort through the "bull" put out by the government, big business, and Wall Street.

And on Saturdays we continue that theme by giving you even more strategies, tips, and techniques for jumpstarting your wealth, as well as health and personal success, with the Michael Masterson Journal. The Journal is part of your subscription to Investor's Daily Edge. And it's totally free.

This is Early to Rise Founder and self-made multimillionaire Michael Masterson at his most off-the-cuff and direct. You'll get not only his no holds barred guidance and counsel, but first crack at his latest breakthrough business ideas and marketing strategies. He gives you both specific recommendations in the world of business and investing and in-depth explorations of economic issues. And when he spots something that can improve your well-being – he'll write about it.

If a myth needs busting, Michael is there… if the Wall Street Journal got it wrong, he'll expose it… if the Fed needs to be knocked down a peg, he'll be ready… and if there is something you should be doing right now to accelerate your success, Michael will tell you about it.

The Michael Masterson Journal will arrive in your inbox each Saturday. Don't miss it!



MaryEllen Tribby
Publisher and CEO, Investor's Daily Edge


MM Journal

Saturday - August 15, 2009  

The Great Recession won't be solved by the government. The government is a leech and a whore. It doesn't mean to be, but it is.

The solution will come from wealth creators – people who work hard, save and produce assets with real value.

Wealth creators are not bankers, lawyers and brokers. Nor are they the big corporations that are tied in with government. True wealth creators are small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and the people who work for them.

These are the people who create and sell the new ideas that grow our economy. They are the employers who hire and train the unemployed. They are the conveyors of the Benjamin Franklin work ethic: Get to bed early, wake up early, work hard for profits ... and save them for a rainy day.

During the period of the Three Great Hoaxes (the tech bubble, the financial bubble, and the housing bubble) many people were lured into thinking they could make easy money by gambling on a never-ending boom. Whether it was tech stocks, derivatives, or real estate, they jumped on the bandwagon of greed, hoping to make a fortune.

They traded their wealth-creating values for wealth-destroying dreams. And now they are broke.

But some of them are wiser now. And many haven't given up. According to a MetLife survey, one-third of Americans polled said they are spending less and intend to keep spending less, even if they earn more. In other words, they are simplifying their lives.

Nearly half of those polled said they already have whatever they need. This is up from 34 percent in 2006.

That's a good sign. And that's how our economy is going to recover.

The Obama administration is hoping it can "invest" our way out of the Great Recession by spending money (tax dollars) it doesn't have. But that is exactly how we got ourselves into this situation in the first place.

If we survive -- and prosper -- it will be because a new generation of Americans (actually, two generations) changes the way they deal with money. And that is what I'm predicting they will do. They will:

* Work harder and longer.
* Spend less.
* Save more.
* Invest more carefully.

I don't have time to follow the markets closely. But I do know it's important to invest according to the big trends.

As a consultant to publishers of financial advice, I read dozens, if not hundreds, of writers on the economy and the stock market. When it comes to understanding the big picture, two of my top choices are Bill Bonner, founder of Agora Inc., and Addison Wiggin, executive publisher of Agora Financial. Their writings can be found, among other places, in The Daily Reckoning newsletter.

I credit Bill and Addison and a handful of other thinkers with alerting me to the dangers early and safeguarding me (and my money) from the Three Great Hoaxes I mentioned above.

You might not have a direct line to Bill and Addison like I do. But in their books, Financial Reckoning Day Fallout and The New Empire of Debt they explain why the economy is in the mess it is in today. And they give you practical advice for weathering the storm. If you have any interest in protecting your financial well-being, I urge you to check them out today.

Contracts for homes rose by 3.6 percent in July, according to the National Association of Realtors. That statistic has been offered as a sign that the tumbling real estate market has finally hit rock bottom.

"Not true," says Andrew Gordon, editor of our INCOME newsletter. "Remember, Michael," Andrew told me, "July is always a strong month for closings. This is a seasonal blip. Moreover, companies in the business of building and selling homes are still very pessimistic ... and with good reasons." The reasons cited by Andrew:

* Foreclosures are still climbing.
* Inventory levels are still high.
* Unemployment is increasing.
* Bank credit is still tight.

All that's very true. But Andrew says there are good buys out there, and I agree. Just this past week I bought two rental properties:

* A three-bedroom for $160,000 that sold for $380,000 in 2006
* A two-bedroom for $110,000 that sold for $300,000 in 2005

It's a buyer's market ... if you know what and how to buy. I'll be filling you in on what my partners and I are doing in the coming months.

You always knew that coffee was good for you, didn't you?

I hope you don't believe those wussies who tell you that caffeine is evil. As Early to Rise's health reporter, Melanie Segala, notes, caffeine can prevent, reduce, and even reverse memory loss.

In a test conducted by University of South Florida researchers, aged lab mice bred to develop Alzheimer's had their memories restored when they consumed the equivalent of five cups of java a day. And when coffee was given to young mice bred for the disease, it never developed.

So enjoy your cup of joe. And tsk-tsk the next supercilious simpleton who says, "I don't drink coffee!" as if that were something to brag about.

Oh, and Melanie wants to remind you to drink only "healthy organic coffee." Commercially grown beans are sprayed with toxic pesticides.

Opinion is divided on the importance of passing a major healthcare reform bill this year, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll.

Fifty percent of those asked said it was either "extremely" or "very" important. Twenty-two percent thought it was "somewhat" important, and 25 percent thought it was not important at all.

More revealing is this: Nine out of 10 said there should be no limits on whatever tests or treatments a doctor recommends.

I understand why people say this. If you or someone you love is dying, you want to be able to exhaust every possible option. Even if that means spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on chemotherapy, which, statistically speaking, does nothing but give the patient an extra few months of pain.

In his excellent book Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America, Nortin Hadler points out:

"In the academy and in the lay mind, the proximate cause of death is foremost, so that great energy and great wealth is expended trying to spare you death from a particular cause without considering whether you will die at the same time from some other cause."

Bottom line: The healthcare initiative may be the dumbest thing our well meaning but foolish politicians have done since starting the War on Terrorism. It will cost us trillions. And it won't have any real, positive impact on the health of the American people.

Last December, attendees of the annual Stansberry & Associates Alliance meeting in Hong Kong were warned that municipal bonds aren't the safe haven they used to be.

If you're a municipal-bond investor, you need to be careful. Recently, Standard & Poor's (late to the party, as always) placed $67.1 billion worth of California's general obligation bonds on watch for a downgrade. California faces a $19.5 billion budget deficit, and says it'll be out of cash if the fiscal 2010 budget isn't changed.

S&P seems truly concerned that California might actually miss an interest payment. Missing interest payments on GO bonds must be about the worst thing that can happen in the munibonds world. These bonds are backed by the full faith, credit, and taxing power of the issuer. California is the seventh-biggest economy in the world. If it can't service its debts ... wow!

True to form, Standard & Poor's still gives California's GO debt an "A" rating, and it delicately mentions "the state's impending liquidity shortfall" instead of saying that California is going broke. Remember, S&P said AIG wasn't insolvent, just illiquid. "Illiquid" is financial speak for flat broke.

I wonder if Warren Buffett is buying California GO bonds. He nearly doubled his munibonds holdings from last summer through the first quarter of 2009 -- from $2.05 billion to $4.05 billion. They've appreciated to $4.35 billion recently.

But Buffett is also scaling back on insuring  municipal bonds. He thinks city and state governments might choose to default rather than raise taxes.

When we created American Writers & Artists Inc. in 1997, one of the core principles we used to teach non-writers how to become master copywriters was to have them read and copy the works of the great copywriters of the day.

In AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I said:

"Rote exercises are more than just memorization. They teach you on a deeper level. You create motor pathways in your brain. Through the exercises you'll be doing in this program, your ear will develop a sense of what good copy sounds like. Your mind will instinctively know when copy is powerful and when it's weak. You'll be able to carry these senses over to your own work."

This method has proved to be very effective. Almost every month, AWAI hears from a former student who has achieved master copywriting status.

The list of master copywriters who used mimesis to further their careers includes Clayton Makepeace ... John Forde ... John Carlton ... Bob Bly ... Paul Hollingshead ... and Don Mahoney. In fact, I imagine there are very few top copywriters who have not relied heavily on imitation to learn their craft.

None of the people I listed above were "born writers," never mind born copywriters. They learned how to write winning, profitable sales copy -- as just about anyone can.

Even if you don't think you can write, all you need are the right mentors to guide you. You'll find them in the best course available today: AWAI's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

One of the most powerful marketing concepts I ever learned is one that you have probably heard of. It's called The Big Idea.

But in an essay I wrote earlier this week for Early to Rise, I said that most business owners and marketers I talk to don't fully understand what it is and how it works in real-life marketing situations.

I said, "A big idea is an idea that is instantly comprehended as important, exciting, and beneficial. It also leads to an inevitable conclusion, a conclusion that makes it easy to sell your product. Furthermore, it is an idea that will continue to be important and exciting for a long time."

If you want to discover how you can use the Big Idea in your work, and I think you should, you can read the complete article here.

© 2009 Early to Rise, LLC.

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