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Protect Your Savings: Central Banks, the Inflation Fallacy, and the Mountain of Debt

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Since the end of the financial crisis, or some would say that since we entered the eye of the storm, central banks all over the world continued to pursue “extreme” measures to prop up the world’s economy and avoid a deflationary spiral. So far, we can say that the experiment worked, although the underlying problem, debt, didn’t go anywhere, and growth is far from being stellar.

 

The Balance sheets and interest rates of the major central banks (source: resilience.org)

Stock markets had an eight year bull-run, and they are sitting near their all-time highs as we speak, boosted by the free money that is looking to squeeze all the returns out of every asset class. Still if we look at what the trillions of liquidity achieved, the picture is not pretty, wealth inequality skyrocketed, wages stagnated, and corporate profits surged to historic highs compared to the size of the economy.

Income and wealth inequality in the US in 2016 (source: Marketwatch)

Is Deflation the Real Enemy?

Central banks are still fighting the deflation demon with their policies, as in a deflationary crisis the current global debt levels would cause a massive wave of defaults and probably would force the restructuring of the financial system as we know it. But is deflation as bad, as the “powers” want to world to believe.

First things first, there is “good” deflation and “bad” deflation, although at the end its very had to differentiate between them in practice. Good deflation is the product of technological progress, basically the improvement in productivity, which, by definition, causes prices to fall as less and less work and resources are needed to produce the same product.

Bad deflation happens when the economy contracts, demand falls that causes a decline in prices too, which in turn causes a decline in output… and the vicious circle begins. Couple that with a high nominal level of debt, and you have the recipe for a deflationary credit crisis and a depression.

The Benefits of Deflation

Having said that, it is important to note that deflation also has a more positive role in the economic cycle. In a crisis, those companies that are weaker, have inferior products go out of business, lousy lenders go bankrupt, and the field will be perfect for the more productive and able businesses to shine. If this “cleaning” effect is delayed or interrupted by cheap credit, growth rates will be lower after the end of the crisis, debt levels will remain high, and there will be less “fuel” for the next cycle to expand.

Also, cheap credit that is the direct consequence of low interest rates, discourages saving, and with that, it destroys the very fundament of the free market, while also creating asset bubbles all over the economy. Why? Because, with no real yield in bonds, capital will naturally look for alternatives and, boosted by the forces of momentum and mass psychology, real estate, stocks, and other yielding assets are all suspect to the development of speculative bubbles.

If we look at the recovery since the Great Recession, we see slow growth globally, a very slow labor market recovery in the US, and a stock market that’s being led by record stock-buybacks by the giant companies, not exactly the signs of a healthy productivity cycle.

Inflation Targeting and Price Stability

In theory, the economy needs a certain amount of money to function properly and, to put it simply; if the economy grows it will need more to keep prices stable. Now, in today’s world, price stability in some weird way is, according to central bankers, 2% inflation per year. It is hard to justify this inflation targeting as, and it’s kind of funny to call an exponential function stable (with 2% inflation in 15 years your money will lose more than one-third of its value, get that you stupid savers).

Dollar lost 97% of its purchasing power since 1913, the creation of the Federal Reserve

Also, there is a huge problem with the standard calculation of inflation, as it is based on consumption basket, and it doesn’t take other prices in the economy into account. Why is that a problem? Because to measure the “general” price stability, you should probably count housing and stock prices as well, as they represent a large part of the assets held by the population, and their prices have the same kind of effect as the prices of the goods that are in the inflation basket.

The reason that inflation should include other asset classes is that the economic growth is in part the function of those assets, and that means we are in a phase the measured inflation is slower than the real one, while debt levels are still growing, meaning that the problems that led to the crisis are actually being reproduced rather than healed through the blowing of the bubbles and structurally inefficient spending and production patterns.

Bubbling up the economy

So what’s the problem with the bubbles? The main trouble is that the wealth bubbles create is imaginary, and it will disappear as soon as the bubble bursts. As an example, imagine a stock bubble where your holdings go up 10 times. So investors are happy and they calculate that their wealth went from say 100 to 1000. The huge problem is that the market-price only reflects the latest transaction, and not the price that all investors could cash in by any means. And in a bubble below the last price there might be huge “air-pockets” with no new buyers—this is how crashes occur.

And if the economy is propped up by spending based on bogus wealth, imagine what will happen when (not if) those bubbles pop, deflation will be back in earnest, and the central banks will be forced to start the printing presses again.

Long-term consequences and the Strategies to Follow

So will a deflationary crunch happen or not? It will depend on how the central banks will react to the next crisis, and how far the bubbles grow until then. A good example is the case of Japan where they are still trying to re-flate the economy for more than two and a half decades now without much success. To be fair, the world as a whole doesn’t suffer from the same demographic headwind that Japan, but still not letting the system to clean itself might be a huge drag on future growth, even if technological advance will likely pull the global economy out of the “mud” of deflation.

Until then it will be a hard feat to achieve significant returns. A selective investment strategy to the most promising segments will likely perform well, but the currently popular passive strategies will likely disappoint investors. Also, gold and cryptocurrencies should perform well during credit and currency troubles, while diversifying into international markets with relatively better growth prospects, and buying hard (but not overvalued) assets globally will likely be a good way to go.

All in all, the job of an individual investor will be harder, but more rewarding compared to the majority of passive investors and managed funds based on those. So investing in your knowledge about selective investing and entrepreneurship will likely be the one with the highest ROI in the coming decade.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 277 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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  1. embersburnbrightly

    June 26, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Wonderful and timely article; although a bit scary to see the true facts as they are consolidated together here. I suspect the lion’s share of so many of our ongoing financial troubles relates directly back to this statement:

    “Dollar lost 97% of its purchasing power since 1913, the creation of the Federal Reserve.”

    In short — in times of financial crisis, we continue to rely on the mechanism that caused the problem in the first place.

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My CFD Journey: 72,000 USD Up Today

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Wow the indexes are falling globally now. Dax is down with 1% today – same as Dow Jones. I would love to do a short call on these indexes, but that have seriously hurt my financial standings previously since we still are in a “bull” market with earnings reports beating forecasts and macroeconomic numbers excelling analysts viewpoints. I only want to trade by using trend following, so even if the markets are down, I love to do short buy calls as they most likely will rebound to new ATH (all time highs). The reason for just doing short buy calls is that we might be on the tipping point to a bearish market, but that’s something I would like confirmation on from e.g. macro numbers, earning reports and such. Until then, I’m quick in and out.

Here is my results

Order Entry Price Take Profit Stop Loss USD Bank Roll USD % Change
Start 258 064,52
Day 1 25.01.2018 Dax Buy 13268 13274 13262 6 472,52 264 537,03 2,51
Day 2 26.01.2018 Dax Sell 13342 13318 13392 7 642,84 272 179,87 5,47
Day 3 29.01.2018 Dax Buy 13331 13336 13313 12 508,39 284 688,26 10,32
Day 4 30.01.2018 Dax Buy 13226 13233 13176 6 625,94 291 314,19 12,88
Day 5 31.01.2018 Dax Buy 13217 13230 13187 26 474,06 317 788,26 23,14
Day 5 01.02.2018 Dax Sell 13291 13265 13327 10 834,58 328 622,84 27,34
Day 6 02.02.2018 Dax Buy 12797 12825 12772 72 314,97 400 937,81 55,36

Using ProRealTime

As I wrote yesterday, I’m using IG.com to trade CFDs. They got a tool called ProRealTime that I started to use yesterday. It’s a great tool with many more indicators and tools, and best of all, you get a good look at your stats. Here is my stats so far on ProRealTime in NOK (1 USD = 7.65 NOK – click on the images to get a larger view):

As you can see from the image above, I got 8 winning trades and 1 losing trade. I tried to buy the dip on Dax but managed to enter a bit too early. The Dax index fell quite rapidly after I initiated this trade and I wanted to keep it open as long as possible as I knew a rebound would happen. But I was not comfortable enough to sit it through so I closed it. Still feeling certain that the price would rebound I entered a buy position yet again at what I thought would be the lowest low. And thankfully, that worked and it rebounded above my initial entry point for the first trade. To ensure that I got the profits I wanted, I did a third trade buying Dax when RSI showed a trend reversal (rose above 50). I closed the trades once I was happy with the profits and because I became nervous that the price would turn back down. Then I initiated the last trade of the day going long on Dax yet again.

Here is the total overview of my trades today:

I would again like to highlight that trading CFD is very risky, and I’m still significantly down in total these last 3 years.

My trading rules

  1. Only risk max 2% of my bank roll per trade.
  2. Have 0 active positions during the night (first of all, I lose sleep, second; you are charged an interest fee for leaving a leveraged product overnight.)
  3. Always trade on last month’s trend including the previous day(s). If they do not correlate, I will not trade.
  4. If one position is lost, I’ll double the amount (martingale) and do a second trade. I’ll only stop doubling after 3 consecutive losses.
  5. Do not think about lost trade opportunities.
  6. Markets to trade: Dax & Dow (minimum spread).
  7. Stay updated on economic releases prior to entering a trade.
  8. Do not have emotional ties to the money. I like to call them “points”.
  9. Only enter a position when an asset is overbought or oversold shown by both RSI & Stoch at the same time.
  10. Always write down your trades and elaborate what went right or wrong.

What is the meaning of this?

Why I’m I writing all these posts? My main goal is to find a working strategy trading CFDs and be able to mentor Hacked.com members and do live sessions together. However, I would like to keep going for at least one month until I feel comfortable that the strategy I have, actually works. I would rather lose my own money, than lose any of yours.

I wish you all a great weekend. We are going to visit our family this weekend and have a nice time.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Who Moved My Cheese?

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It’s been a while since I wrote a post. I’ve been busy with creating CCN.com and migrate CryptoCoinsNews.com over to the new domain with a fresh design. And It’s been Christmas with daily family dinners. I decided to quit my job at Wilhelmsen.com as a Digital Trainee. I’ve worked there for a year now, and with the growth of CCN and Hacked.com I had to take a choice. I want to make CCN and Hacked to one of the strongest crypto sources and our team is rapidly expanding. We are now more than eight full time employees and more than 20+ as part timers.

I also bought hvy.com in December, and I want to develop MoneyMakers.com into something more during the coming year. We are building a small media empire with a very decentralized structure. I love the team, and I especially love our dedicated readers and members.

I started 2017 by posting the following:

  1. My own longterm goals, what are yours?
  2. Join me to my first goal of $1 000 000
  3. My First Investment Towards $1 000 000

What is a bit ironic, is that I reached my “longterm” goal last year. It should have taken at least ten years, but I managed it in one. I managed it because of a few things:

  1. Dedication
  2. Team work
  3. Luck

Who would have thought that the crypto scene would blow up like it did last year? It was insane, and we still keep setting records.

Then to a few “lost activities” on hacked.com. The 33% club lost some steam this fall, purely due to my priorities at that time. I’ve still been investing, and I now have approx. 1 million USD in different assets (not cryptos). I will continue the 33% club from February and onwards, and I want you all to join. I will do a new post later in January with a better setup.

Then to my “Robot” affair. First weeks I made $5000, but then things started to go terribly wrong. I had multiple issues with using robots on MetaTrader 5 (I used Roboforex as my trading platform). One of the main issues I found was that the robots did well on certain days, but then when they made the wrong moves, I lost twice of what they originally made. And sometimes, my VPS went down and the orders were stuck until I manually exited them. Mostly with a huge loss. I do not think there’s any good robot out there where you can just leave your money and “forget them”. I’ve decided to focus more on investing my money in secure assets, stocks, indexes, and bonds. I’m still looking for the golden opportunity, and once I find it, I’ll share it with all the members on hacked.com.

Who Moved My Cheese?

I read a short book here the other day called Who Moved My Cheese? and it’s really worth reading. It’s stupid simple, but it’s so true. Basically it says that people who are stuck in the same patterns will end up depressed and “broke”. Your “cheese” or “money” will always be fluctuating, you have to chase it to new grounds. You might think that you can work for your employer until you die, but that will most likely be a terrible mistake. To believe that what you have now will be lasting forever. Successful people manage to change quickly, spot new opportunities, and move forward with their lives. I personally have experienced being stuck for a while, but now I feel free and I want to keep chasing the cheese in new arenas or mazes. Risk and failures are a part of your learning curve. Same can be applied in so many aspects of my and your lives. I recommend reading that book.

After I’m done 31st January at Wilhelmsen (my regular 9-5 job) I’ll focus more on Hacked.com and its community, and I’ll definitely write more and share my thoughts with you.

Thank you for a great 2017, now let’s make sure 2018 becomes even better for all of us.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Searching for the Meaning of Life in Dubai

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Last week I traveled to Dubai with a group of people in Wilhelmsen, where I work as a Digital Trainee, for our third module in Design Thinking with Pracademy. We are a group of 24 people which Wilhelmsen considers to be Leadership Potentials. We are fortunate to be a part of this year’s company program, and we have all learned so much about ourselves. In this post, I will try to communicate what we learned during last week’s module. Be aware that this is a four months program, and it’s hard to get the feeling of it by just reading about it. But I hope I can share some of the knowledge that I acquired and get you more interested in improving your own life.

Find your passion and go all in!

Most motivators and teachers say that you need to find your passion, make work a hobby that you enjoy every single day. I have even caught myself saying that over and over again (on Hacked). However, as I learned during the sessions in Dubai, more than 80% of us do not know what their passion is. I started to wonder if I knew what my passion is. And I’m still insecure about that. I do know that I want to contribute to the world, I want to help and serve people. I want to create things that I know other people will love; I want to leave a footprint on this earth.

I often have this mind experiment where I picture myself as 80 years old with bad health in my nursing home. Do I think that I managed to get the most out of life? Am I satisfied with all the things I achieved? Or do I have regrets and feel remorseful? The goal for every person on this earth is to be satisfied with your life when you’re near the end. I guess most people aren’t in reality. And that’s a big shame. Some people might regret that they worked too much, had too little fun, too few good experiences with their loved ones, too few memorable memories.

I pray that I will be happy with my life and what I accomplished.

How to find your passion

If you do not know what your true passion is, there’s still hope for you. You can spend years trying to find your ultimate passion. Think of what makes you happy, what you enjoy or care for. My strong passion for creating things started in my childhood. I always drew new inventions on a piece of paper and started small kid businesses. I played music; I was a drummer in a nu-metal band, I started to sing and rap and create songs. I painted and used my creative skills to visualize my thoughts. I traveled during holidays and experienced new cultures, new food. Oh, I love good food. I love cooking a great meal for family and friends.

I could probably achieved anything that I had/have passion for. I could have been a:

  • Cook
  • Artist
  • Painter
  • Drummer
  • Entrepreneur

I chose to become an entrepreneur mostly due to financial possibilities. As being financially independent was and is very high on my priority list. But that does not mean that I wouldn’t have a meaningful life being an artist with less money on my hands.

Economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman researched happiness and money in 2009 where the focus was on US standards, and it’s population:

So, where does the $75,000 come into play? Researchers found that lower income did not cause sadness itself but made people feel more ground down by the problems they already had. The study found, for example, that among divorced people, about 51% who made less than $1,000 a month reported feeling sad or stressed the previous day, while only 24% of those earning more than $3,000 a month reported similar feelings. Among people with asthma, 41% of low earners reported feeling unhappy, compared with about 22% of the wealthier group. Having money clearly takes the sting out of adversities.

At $75,000, that effect disappears. For people who earn that much or more, individual temperament and life circumstances have much more sway over their lightness of heart than money. The study doesn’t say why $75,000 is the benchmark, but “it does seem to me a plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” says Deaton. At that level, people probably have enough expendable cash to do things that make them feel good, like going out with friends. (The federal poverty level for a family of four, by the way, is $22,050.)

So if you live in the US, a goal for financial freedom could be $75 000 or $100 000 as income per year. If you make more than that, you won’t necessarily become happier just because of the money.

However, if you make too much money and you are in an in-group where your peers make much less than you do, you can be in a situation where jealousy and envy will affect your life. And that is not a good feeling at all. I believe that the people in the middle of the scale live the happiest lives. There have been numerous cases where people that won in the lotteries have ended their lives due to envy and jealousy from their friends and family. Where they thought winning a lot of money would make them happier, while it only magnified their problems.

Empathy

In Design Thinking, empathy is a crucial part of the process. The ability to feel compassion for other human beings. To understand their problems, feelings, and emotions and to share their pain, grief, happiness or sadness. I know for a fact that I could be much more empathic and that is something I will improve. See the video below that shows what empathy is:

We saw this video in Dubai, which almost made me cry (we were in a particular mood..):

There’s so much going on in that video. Mo Cheeks felt empathy with the girl singing the national anthem, and he could feel compassion since he had a daughter at that age.

Things change when you get a child, for me that has a daughter who is seven months, I can relate to the video above. You might not.

What characterizes a great leader?

We did a session where everyone in the room in Dubai explained what a great leader is for them. The list included:

  • Good listener
  • Empathic
  • Understanding
  • Good motivator
  • + more

Most of the points we as leadership potentials defined as a great leader had nothing to do with “IQ.” Most of them had everything to do with “EQ,” emotional intelligence. It is mindblowing that we do not learn more about emotional intelligence during school, and that all businesses focus on “IQ” when hiring, not “EQ.” I believe that is skewed and is important to reflect upon.

Mindfulness

We also learned how to be more mindful. They encouraged us to use 30 minutes to sit quietly, close our eyes, focusing on the now. Breathing slowly and try to get as calm as possible. There’s scientific research on how mindfulness can help you become more happier, healthier and more successful:

And then one of the many guides on mindfulness:

Communication

We did a session where we were paired up to use mindfulness to listen and repeat. A was given 6 minutes to talk about a challenge at work, B was given 3 minutes to repeat what he/she heard, A was then given 2 minutes to clarify what B might have misinterpreted, B was then finally given 2 minutes to repeat what A clarified. This was a session that made me realize how easy it is to misinterpret. This can be used in every aspect of your life. It is so easy to misunderstand what a person is saying or meaning, so try to ask a question after a discussion: “Did I understand you right, that you want…” or “Could you please clarify what you meant by…”.

Writing

A professor of culture and psychology from South Korea gave us a session on writing. How writing in a notebook can help you learn better and understand what was communicated. From now on, I’ll always bring a notebook in meetings and write with my hand. Then I’ll add the written information to my computer later on.

Emotions

We often say: “I am angry.” That is a big mistake. We are not angry, but we do feel anger. So whenever you “are angry, sad, or irritated,” say in your head that you are “feeling angry, because..” and you will be able to control your emotions in a much more sufficient manner. Do not let the feeling itself take over who you are. You are not your feelings, you simply feel them and they will pass.

And Finally, you have the Siberian Railroad: SBNRR: Stop, Breathe, Notice, React, Respond.

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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