Category Archives: Economic Analysis: Tom’s Take

Major Banks Charging Negative Interest Rates

Lots of speculation on when major banks would start charging customers to keep their money in the banks. Appears it is happening much faster than most experts thought.

Earlier this week Dutch bank ABN Amro was first large bank to announce it would pass negative interest rates to customers as early as Oct 1. Then Royal Bank of Scotland, one of largest banks in UK sent letters to business customers that if could impose negative rates also.

Options for you

If you are with one of major banks consider moving some savings to smaller bank or credit union. For now, leave your checking account where you have it. Just start protecting your emergency savings.

Security Ideas for Strategic Planning

Was just reading interesting article on protective security measures by Scott Stewart in Stratfor. Turns out there are many similarities to Strategic Planning.

Author was in business of providing protective services to government officials, religious figures, royalty, business executives and ultra luxury individuals.

Professional protective security people certainly understand weapons and self defense. They realize that if they have to rely on these they actually have failed to do their job. True protective service entails anticipating situations and being prepared for them in advance to avoid confrontations. When confrontation is probable, goal is to structure confrontation on terms the protective service experts dictate.

Action is always faster than reaction. Just watch a football game. Proactive approaches involve “excellent situational awareness, thorough logistics planning, good security assessments, careful trip and individual site security advances, liaisons with counterparts and strict operational security. Protection teams can also employ powerful tools such as protective intelligence investigations, threat and psychological assessments of people with an unusual interest in the protectee, and countersurveillance detection teams.”

Leaders use the same approach when doing their strategic planning, whether it’s to address an emergency or a surprise in business, or to do the annual strategic plan, or long term plan based on business outlooks years out.

It’s already June, are you hitting your strategic plan for first half of year? What adjustments are necessary for second half of 2016? What are your plans for 2017 if economy holds strong? Starts to soften? Either nationally or just in your market or,selective market segments?

What’s Important to You?

World is in different place than ever before. That’s true with every generation over the history of time. Ah, but do you know what pitfalls are this time? Have you taken steps to minimize effect of disasters, natural or government induced?

What’s different this time?   Most countries are broke.

So what are most countries doing? And why do you care?

They are relying on printing presses creating a rapidly expanding money supply.  Historically this has happened to many countries at one time or another. We all know the boom bust times in various South American countries.

This time it’s happening at the same time to most industrialized countries at the same time. Think China, Japan, Great Britain, US, India, almost all of Europe and Africa. Governments are increasingly tied to each other in the ways they exchange money and honor currencies.

Japan and China own trillions of the US debt. Countries have huge amounts of actual US dollars. That means re-pegging the value of US dollar won’t work. In past we were tied to gold standard. That would no work in US this time around. Countries that hold trillions of dollars outside the US could still sell the currency for any amount they wanted and US could not stop it.

Back in 2009 US public and private dept was in neighborhood of $55 trillion. That debt had significant impact on US economy. Today, US public and private debt has climbed to $65 trillion. Total US debt is up 150% since 2000. Additionally rest of world has added another $57 trillion in public and private debt.

This is referred to as “hot money” lending. But does it matter? McKinsey points out that debt, around the world, is outpacing economic growth. When economic growth can’t finance all these loans, only governments are willing to step into the breach.

This debt can only be paid off in 3 ways:

-Paid off by the people, businesses, and countries that took on the debt.
-Inflation
-Declaring the debt null and void…destroying relationships with those who provided the money in the first place. This has been used by many countries over the history of the world…but never by a number of countries in a very short period of time. No one knows the effect if several countries started down this path.

Federal Reserve Richmond, VA branch recently reported that 61% of all liabilities in US are now guaranteed by the government, implicitly or explicitly. In 1999 the percentage was 45% (mostly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Today more and more of our financial institutions rely on the government to access credit.

Unfortunately, government guarantees are not shown on any government balance sheet…in US or elsewhere in the world. Governments are relying on massive currency and interest rate manipulation to fund themselves. World has never experienced anything like this by the major economic powers of the world.

Sooner or later this bubble will pop, like many others have over the years. But when?

Nobody knows. But what it means for your personal wealth is known. The biggest threat to your wealth isn’t a stock market crash. Instead it’s from confiscation and/or devaluation by our government. Think Greece last year that took 25% of savings from citizens bank accounts.

In the 1930’s people and companies suffered massive losses. But the actual wealth didn’t disappear. Wealth transferred from creditors to lenders. This time around we will have the above, but will also have major collapse in governments politically. The US government has pledged a large amount of the wealth of the citizens to other people…through all kinds of government programs. We are all familiar with Detroit bankruptcy. That will occur within America and many other countries…within a few years.  What’s a few years? Again, no one knows for sure, but within 10-20 years seems realistic.

Once inflation takes off it can have devastating effects quickly. Think back to the Carter years when inflation in US hit 20%.

US, and most countries of the world can’t sustain government spending that is vastly outstripping tax revenues coming in. Sooner or later the piper has to be paid.

Previously the world would have a 1930’s situation where loans would be called. Difference then and now? Governments were not the primary financiers of the world debt.  Banks and financial institutions had the primary role.  If government can’t pay all the people that have been promised money there will be riots on massive scale.

So what can individuals do?

10,000 doctors every year are refusing to serve Medicare patients. That means many people won’t be able to get doctors appointments. What you can do? Doctors, not participating in Medicare are starting to charge patients monthly fee to see them. In effect doctors are signing up the patients they want to see to give doctors the income they want. These patients at least are assured medical opinions will be available to them. Start understanding medical coverage options in other countries…like Costa Rica or Panama (there are lots of others.) Those two countries have doctors that were educated in US and majority speak English. Last those countries are just few hours away and charge fraction of US doctors and hospitals.

Above is only one example. Many people have majority of their wealth tied up in value of their homes. What happens in major downturn when housing prices drop? In 2009 housing values dropped by over 50% in some markets. For most Americans that means there houses are worth far less than they paid. What can you do? Work to eliminate as much debt as possible, especially credit card debt and auto loans. If you can, pay off your house…or go to 15 year mortgage. Objective is to reduce debt so you can cover any remaining debt in a down turn.

Wages have remained flat in US for many years. How many? Depends whose figures you want to use. Assuredly since at least late 1990’s. Differences in years typically depends on rate of inflation that is applied.

To minimize this, acquire the things you need if times get tough. For some that’s food storage, for others it’s cash, or other products and supplies that are important to them.  If there’s run at supermarkets toilet paper becomes pretty valuable. Natural disasters have cleared the shelves of supermarkets many times. The economy doesn’t have to tank to cause major disruptions. People who have taken, even just a few steps, to prepare for emergencies that would affect them sleep better.

Most people live day-to-day. They assume things won’t happen. They listen and believe the media. Remember, no government cares much about their citizens. We are each just a number. Any of us that think differently aren’t thinking.

Ending Federal Deficit-Buffet’s Solution

Warren Buffet recently had excellent quote about the debt ceiling during an interview on CNBC:

“I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.”

U.S. Dollar Is Gaining Like It’s the 1980s. Is That Good or Bad?

Read interesting article on Bloomberg over the weekend, written by Chikako Mogi and Shigeki Nozawa.

We know the dollar is strong, but the global financial markets are lacking a cohesive direction.

1985 US Treasury Secretary Jim Baker introduced the Plaza Accord. By persuading Japan, Germany, France and UK to join in a coordinated plan to weaken the dollar. The dollar was to strong, which adversely affected US exports.

Then and Now

In 1980’s US had the leadership and strength of purpose to develop the Plaza Accord which benefited the US and the rest of the world. Today, while the Fed is in a position to raise rates, it is hesitant to do so. Makoto Utsumi was minister at Japanese embassy at time of Plaza Accord (and now chairman of global advisory board for Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings Inc.) Today, “The common understanding for the need for policy cooperation shared at the Plaza Accord is lost and it’s not clear where the true leadership is in each country or in the world.”

International Monetary Fund reports that global imbalances were hindering global growth. There is a Group of 20 foreign countries which meets to address slowing Chinese economy. Their meeting ended without any concrete policy on how to proceed. There is serious lack of coordination or agreement on how to proceed to avoid an economic disruption.

Why? The Plaza Accord came about because of long established relationships between treasury officials of various countries. Those relationships take years to develop and don’t exist in the world today.

It’s understandable that the G-20 meetings lack agreed upon decisions. Getting 20 countries headed in the same economic direction is like herding cats. There are just to many countries involved to expect agreement.

That leaves it up to the G-7 countries. This group of countries  has worked together in the past to return currency markets to an orderly balance. But it is expecting a lot that the G-7 countries can accomplish what they did in the past. 30 years ago they controlled 50% of world’s GDP. Today they only control 34%.

So What Should We Expect?

-The Fed to keep interest rates low longer than expected. That does not mean the Fed won’t raise rates within next few months…but it is unlikely Fed will raise rates much. Fed goal is to protect US economy.

-Unfortunately, there does not appear to be the leadership necessary to coordinate a world wide economic policy that can benefit majority.

-That means, in the US, we can expect the stock market to continue the current trend of ups and downs.

-Fed in the past had plan and policy telegraphed well in advance. That enable companies and countries to plan 2-3 years ahead…instead of current 2-3 months.

Most important take away for all of us?

Two points

-In all things people, companies, and countries, need to be looking ahead 2-3 years.  We all need to be evaluating short-term in relation to longer term plans, except in dire emergencies.  Is it hard to do? Not really. Only question is if we are disciplined enough.

-The importance of establishing  long term relationships. Personally and in business.

 

Here is link to entire article on Bloomberg. .

Theodore Roosevelt’s Ideas on Immigration

Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.

‘In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.’
Theodore Roosevelt 1907

Recent article on immigration on LinkedIn got me thinking about  immigration issues around the world. Immigrants trying to force their way into Europe, but not anywhere in Europe, to the countries with the best jobs. Syrians and other immigrants from Africa just trying to get out. Closer to home,  illegal immigrants coming across from Mexico, many with criminal past or criminal intents. Many from  other countries that are just using Mexico as a conduit into US.

Countries are trying a “one size fits all” approach to immigration. It’s not working.
Appears there are 3 immigrant issues:

-Those desperate to save their own lives and lives of their children from despots. These people, for most part, would take any jobs, and probably do anything to assimilate into the country they go to. These groups are from all walks of life, uneducated and unskilled to highly educated and highly skilled.

-Very selfish immigrants looking to improve their lives who demand that country they immigrate to meet their demands and adapt to their cultures. They don’t expect or want to learn language of their host country, may not want to adapt their religious practices to the customs of their host country, and some want to bring their own legal system with them instead of adapting to their host country.

-Immigrants looking for hand outs from country they move to. Without any real interest in the country they are immigrating to and without any intent of adapting to assimilate.

Foreign governments also are taking three approaches

-There are despotic governments that are just trying to eliminate certain ethnic types to “purify” their country. For political and/or religious grounds.

-Countries where the government simply can’t function well enough to take care of all the population. Some are well meaning. Most of these countries, are just struggling to stay in power and are spending lot of their economic resources trying to “keep the lid on” internal uprisings.

-Still other governments are interested in exporting the criminal element in their societies. Or exporting terrorism.

Countries facing a large influx of immigrants need 3 approaches as well. One immigration policy doesn’t fit all situations.

-Immigrants fleeing for their lives need to be assimilated. Those immigrants also need to be carefully screened to assure they are not criminals in their own countries or terrorists or religious extremists unwilling to adapt to host country. These immigrants must be willing to learn the language of their host country, agree to follow the host countries laws, and agree to take the jobs that are suitable for them. They need to be disbursed within a country, that means they can’t form mini cultures within their host country. That also means the host countries have to work hard to enable the people to assimilate as painlessly as possible.

-Immigrants looking for free ride, or to impose their culture in their host country need to be deported back to their country of origin. That means countries need to adopt standards that let them deport people for up to several years. Most immigrants are smart enough to tell host country anything the host country wants to hear, to get in. Agenda of these immigrants may not surface for months or years. When those agendas come out the immigrants must be dealt with.

-Immigrants that foment unrest in their host countries need to be dealt with very harshly. At very least they need to be deported and not allowed to visit the host country…ever again. If, after deportation, they sneak back in, they need to be dealt with using strong corporal punishment. They have already demonstrated their country of origin can’t keep them in. They have already demonstrated they don’t care about their host country.

No country is rich enough to accept all immigrants who want to come.

Each country needs to come to grips with this. As rich as world thinks US is, we can’t assimilate millions of immigrants who don’t speak English, when majority lack education or skills to perform jobs we need done. Majority of immigrants need at least a few years to adapt to their host country. Countries of the world, including US, don’t have the financial reserves to accommodate all the people who want to immigrate. Most countries are already facing financial difficulties taking care of their own citizens who need help. Each country has an obligation to take care of their own citizens before helping others.That’s harsh, but it is an economic fact of life.

Politicians of the world, wake up. The world is way to complex. Countries can no longer afford “one size fits all” policies.

 

 

Is the Dollar Going To Get Overthrown in October?

Just read great analysis by Jim Rickards in his Strategic Intelligence newsletter.  Jim is great explaining complex issues in terms we can understand.

There are warnings and media talk about major economic upheavals in Sept and again in Oct.

The monetary elites, worldwide, will impact global capital markets, but they do it over years by solving the global debt problem with inflation. Predicting major changes in Sept and Oct isn’t the way they operate. The elites make small moves year after year, by way of technical changes that most of us don’t know about or understand. Major upheaval is to hard to control. Elites don’t want that. So all the rhetoric about major upheavals in Sept and Oct, is likely to be just that…rhetoric.

We each should be worried about their longer range plan to destroy our wealth through inflation.

So What Is the Elites Plan?

To use SDR’s to wipe out debt and destroy wealth. Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s) is money issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They call that money SDR’s.

The Fed can print dollars, European Central Bank prints Euros, and IMF prints SDR’s.

Only real difference? SDR’s are for countries only, whereas we can keep Dollars and Euros in our bank accounts. Countries swap their currency for SDR’s. So whether a country prints trillions in their currency or the IMF prints trillions in SDR’s, the effect is the same…inflation.

What’s the Problem?

No one is accountable when IMF prints SDR’s. US can hold Fed accountable. People won’t know what is happening, all they will know is that their savings have been wiped out by inflation.

The Chronology

Janet Yellen and the Fed determine whether to raise interest rates on Sept 17, 2015.  There are several other political and economic events between then and mid-November. But those events are working against each other, so the effect is not likely to be dire…in spite of all the media hype.

Media isn’t explaining to us that Fed, White House, and IMF are all working together on all of this. It isn’t a series of individual events. It’s a coordinated plan involving several events.

Years past the US Treasury was primary agency in the value of the dollar. Fed focused on the overall economy, but didn’t involve itself with the dollar in international markets. This has changed.

Starting in 2009 the Fed became heavily involved with White House, IMF, Fed,  Treasury, and an increased role for China.

Will Yellen and the Fed Raise Interest Rates Sept. 17th?

No one really knows. Fed has been talking about raising rates for months. Sooner or later they may feel they have to do it politically.

Economically there is no economic reason to raise rates at this time. China’s growth is slowing, US is far from 2% inflation target goal the Fed has talked about for months. Core personal consumption expenditure index is about 1.3% and going down. It hasn’t been above 2% in 7 years. US employment cost index is also trending down. It has long been considered one of measures of inflation. Average hourly earnings, after adjusting for inflation are about zero.

In short, there is nothing in Yellen’s numbers to justify a raise in rates in Sept. Politics can be an entirely different story.

How is SDR Value Determined and Where is China in This?

SDR considers dollar, euro, yen and sterling, based on mathematical formula. China wants prestige of having their currency, the yuan, included. Adding the yuan won’t really change anything.  There are a variety of reasons why adding the yuan won’t disrupt the dollar as the leading global reserve currency. (A number of years down the road, perhaps, but not now.)

US has veto power on whether IMF includes yuan or not. If  China wants in, China has to peg the yuan to the dollar, which they have done.  When a country pegs their currency to the dollar they forfeit partial control of their currency to the central bank, in this case the Fed.

China’s economy is slowing, they should be loosening credit. Instead they are tightening it. When Fed talks about raising interest rates it strengthens the dollar. That also strengthens the yuan, but forces China to tighten its monetary policy.

Politically, What Happens if Yellen (Fed) Raises Rates Sept 17th?

That’s about the time President of China is going to be visiting US for first time. If Yellen raises interest rate China will have to tighten their own interest rate policy. That would have serious economic implications for China. Is Obama likely to do that when he’s meeting with President of that country to strengthen our ties and reduce areas of disagreement?

The Bottom Line

A rate increase by Fed in Sept would have serious implications for China, the US stock market, and probably impact SDR’s. If China’s yuan is admitted to IMF world currency reserve there is a years wait before it takes effect.

The SDR will become the global reserve currency, but not for a few years.

Looking for more detailed information? Subscribe to Jim Richards’ Strategic Intelligence…Making the Complex Simple. http://agorafinancial.com/publications/awn/

Fed Policy is Destroying or Crippling Whole Industries

Just read interesting article on role the Federal Reserve (Fed) in US and their counterparts in other countries are impacting business negatively.

We all know that cranking up the  printing presses creates money out of thin air. That’s  normally, inflationary, which is why politicians like it. Politicians love to spend money. If politicians think they might have to pay it back they want to pay it back with cheaper dollars.

Printing money drives down the cost of capital. Low cost capital encourages companies to expand faster than economic need dictates…think about all the money invested in the oil and gas industries in recent years. Production in US has doubled in the last 6 years…but demand has not doubled.

Creating wealth in the past always started with saving money. Governments are trying to change that with the printing press. It’s working on the mass population.

Now individuals, businesses, and countries can borrow money and make purchases with very little down. They don’t even need the assets to “back” the money they have borrowed. Money creation, done relatively slowly, creates inflation. Done very rapidly, like the world is experiencing now, and money creation can be deflationary before it becomes inflationary.

When the cost to borrow money is almost nothing, it encourages speculation. Today, most major corporations have plenty of working capital to invest, but are they investing it wisely? Or just spending money? Even stock buybacks can be costly if companies are buying their own stock at inflated prices.

Interest rates used to be set based on actual demand for capital. Now they appear to be based on the whim of the Fed and other governments.

Fed has Created at Least 2 Financial Market Bubbles

First is the above mentioned capital that has flowed into gas and oil industries. $5 trillion in last decade, most financed with junk bonds and spent by relatively small, Texas based, oil and gas companies. This is primary reason Texas has created as many new jobs as the rest of the country combined.

Today, these smaller companies are feeling the effect of lower gas prices. It is starting to spill over to the larger oil and gas companies.  Chevron lost over $2 BB in oil and gas operations last quarter. Last time it saw loss like this was 20 years ago.

Share buy back programs coupled with sharply lower oil and gas prices are having serious impact on these companies. Oil and gas companies either have to borrow more or reduce dividends or share buybacks. Either will cause a drop in share prices.

Second, Fed’s easy money policy has greatly increased subprime auto lending. Almost  the same as the subprime lending in housing market 10 years ago. People bought houses they couldn’t afford. Now they are buying vehicles they can’t afford. When bubbles burst, assets lose value…a lot of value..value that takes years to recover. Some is never recovered.

One company has $26 BB in outstanding auto loans, $21 billion of which are subprime.  And that’s  just one of several companies with billions in subprime auto loans. Moody’s expects 27% of these subprime auto loans to default. That effectively wipes out the projected profit margins.

Combine greedy lenders with irresponsible buyers and it’s a recipe with serious repercussions.

The housing subprime crisis occurred when people lost jobs and the stock market lost lot of value in 2008. Today stock market is close to all time high and employment is rising. Even average incomes are increasing…yet, loan defaults are high already.

Something is badly wrong in the underwriting and funding of new car loans.

What’s It All Mean?

Right now everything is good. When auto loans can’t be repaid, or oil and gas companies can’t repay loans we will have deflation short term.  I will start to reduce prices on both new and used cars. It will likely also reduce demand for gas.

When defaults occur credit dries up quickly…for consumers or businesses.

Fleet sales by auto manufactures to rental car companies account for 25% of new car sales. Rental companies dispose of vehicles within 1-2 years. As people default on their auto loans the auto manufactures, rental car companies, used vehicle sales, and those holding the loans will all be negatively affected.

Is All of this Just Conjecture?

No. January 2015 inflation hit negative territory…deflation.  (Measure used was Consumer Price Index including food and energy.) By June we had barely climbed out of negative territory.

The Fed’s printing press policies rather than creating instant inflation are creating deflation in select industries and creating deflationary conditions in others.

How about the rest of the world? Europe is in deflation, Japan spent couple decades in deflation. Asia saw deflation in 2013 and is now facing deflation again.

Practical Solution

None of us can impact the government. Each of us, as individuals, or companies, can increase savings and reduce or re-structure debt. Restructure leases and contracts, whether on buildings, equipment, with vendors, cell phones, or internet services.

Capitalism and You

Recent Pew poll indicated only 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism.

Yet, according to United Nations, poverty has declined more in last 50 years than in the previous 500 years. Adjusted for inflation, incomes have tripled in last 50 years.

Human beings, technology combined with capital markets create a problem solving machine that enables the decline in poverty.

Free market system has a severe branding problem.

John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods  has written excellent book, Conscious Capitalism.  He points out four values of business:

1. Business is good because it creates value.
2. Business is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange.
3. Business is noble. It can elevate our existence as high as our talents will take us.
4. Business is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.

Capitalism is about meeting people’s wants and needs.

Each of us in business need to start branding capitalism positively by reinforcing the above points with our employees and with social contacts we meet.

South China Sea-Why Should We Care Part 3

Last two days we talked about  what China is doing in South China Sea and how it parallels what America did in our early days. About a new type of warfare that is already being tested and has proven effective. Today let’s look at how that can tie up your bank accounts, credit cards, close ATM’s,etc.  Americans have not experienced many of problems that beset most other countries. That has conditioned American’s to be much more complacent than citizens in most countries. Last simple steps to protect yourself.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Assets?

In Greece banks have frozen accounts for the last two weeks. People have not had access to the funds in their own accounts. Many business are shut down. Greek version of Silicon Valley can’t do anything. Their data centers are in cloud in US. Credit card transactions are stopped. Their businesses have been shut down.

An, but that could never happen in US. Don’t be so sure.

Most international financial transactions rely on SWIFT communications.  SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions. If that’s hacked, banks all over the world would not be able to do business. Best move on their part is to freeze assets of customers until situation is resolved. No credit card transactions, no withdrawals, etc.

The Above has Already Happened.

USA used Swift sanctions on Iran. It had and has, very negative effect on Iran’s economy. US Senate recently called for the use of Swift sanctions on Russia. Putin has said if we do, he would consider it an act of war and respond accordingly.

This is the next form of war. Any country can engage in it. Doesn’t require troops or massive arms. Pretty cheap warfare compared to traditional alternative. With countries already starting to use this what should citizens do?

Don’t Become Collateral Damage

What would you do if your bank account was frozen tomorrow? If your credit cards are not accepted? Your investments are frozen. You can’t sell stocks, bonds, treasuries, etc. You may or may not be able to access your safety deposit box.

All it would take for this to happen is an attack on US SWIFT transactions, Mastercard, Visa, Fedwire, etc. All the security breaches through out the world indicate government backed and financed hackers are getting more sophisticated. Several major banks have been hacked…but most have not heard about it.

How Do You Protect Yourself & Your Family?

Have some assets in physical form that can’t be attacked electronically when normal assets are frozen. Normally we think of gold and silver, but stamps and coins fit as well as land, buildings, etc.

Americans are more complacent than citizens in other countries. We’ve watched looting with minor civil disturbances. What is likely to happen when there is a major natural disruption in major city or state (think water in California). If just one major bank had to shut down for a few days it would spill over and impact almost all other banks in US.

When is this likely to happen?

No one knows. Unfortunately we won’t know until it has happened. Government didn’t know when it was going to be hacked and have detailed information on millions of employees compromised. No need to go overboard, but above are simple steps each of us can take.

Remember Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

Of course there are many more steps to be taken to protect your family. Purpose of these articles is to show how government actions can have immediate, direct impact on our lives. How each of us responds and steps we take are up to us individually.

Information for this series came from Jim Rickard’s Strategic Intelligence Newsletter (AgoraFinancial.com) Jim is expert  currency manipulations and how they can be used to disrupt economy for specific countries or groups of countries.