Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where do I put my money?

When I last wrote to you (just before summer 2010) I warned that summer was going to reveal the depth of troubles ingrained within the economics of the late great America. As we emerge from the summer the reality of our situation has certainly become more grisly, not just for Americans but for the entire world population. The stock market cannot recover, jobs continue to decline, the average yearly American earnings continue a downward spiral and fraud in corporate America is rampant. I said we would have to face the grim reality by summer’s end but I meant only that we would finally have to tell ourselves, “Okay we’re in this for the long haul. How do we make things work with what bits of this industry and bits of that industry remain?” I did not mean, nor have I ever thought, that we were literally going to face some kind of end time.
The economics of a country are like their vital organs and as each shuts down (for us this is caused by a toxic combination of bad politics and broken business) we witness the lifeblood of this country ebb away.  Massive declines in manufacturing, natural disasters, war, famine and a chilling realization that the things we have come to rely on are the very things that have turned against us make the trial of the times clear but not apocalyptic. We were smokers and gluttons feasting on the corpse of a rotting world, and it was just a matter of time before we sunk to their level. And, like sin crouching at our door waiting for us, the venture vultures could hardly wait for us to drop to our knees to sink their teeth into us. All of this may make it look like the doomsday predictions seem almost inevitable, but they are not. 
The end of our economic structure is not the end of the world; at least it doesn’t have to be. The final moments of our economic doomsday will be more of a gentle slide then a giant thud. After all we have been adjusting to the variations in our lifestyles for the better part of four years already and by 2012 we will have been in a global systematic failure for six years. This is more like starvation than death by a bullet. You don’t just wake up the morning after your last can of beans and drop over…it’s just the beginning of another kind of end.
In that way things are better than you should expect. Truly things will get worse…much worse…before they get better, but we will adjust. We will train ourselves to endure more and find new models to follow - models of virtue and not avarice. We will, hopefully, return to the values that made this country what it was at its apex. We will hold our families closer, our relationships will have more value, a dollar will mean something and a hard day’s work will be the feeling of a good day’s fatigue. The day may be coming when we start them on our knees and not on our Blackberries. A little prayer time would make us a whole lot stronger.
Only God knows when the world will end, not the Mayans or Nostradamus or the Hopi or your corner Palm Reader. We need to tune out our self-proclaimed prophets of the people like Oprah Winfrey and her companion in lunacy Sylvia Brown or the mesmerizing but fundamentally challenged Joel Osteen spreading their beguiling delusions of false spirituality or gospels of prosperity. This country is made of more than a handful of self-made billionaires whose actual life stories play out more like a Stephen King horror novel than a Frank Capra hero flick. Greed, loathing, deception and victory at any cost, including the sacrifice of self-redemption or the values that make such victories worth claiming, are hollow and unworthy of our applause.
So, the end of this time will come and it will skid to a halt slowly and irreparably by the end of 2012 according to my numbers. But by then we will have grown accustomed to lowering the heat and air, walking a little more than driving, praying a little more than preaching and caring a little more than collecting. We will have to start again in a whole different world - but we will start again. We’ve had monsters under our beds before and we will have them again. The great generation of World War II is passing into the deep, long night but perhaps another great generation is looming on the horizon.
So when I was walking the concourse with my placard in hand, warning that the end was coming, my sign may have been wrong. Well, not wrong - but misinterpreted. I didn’t mean the end kind of an end but rather the beginning of a new story. Things are actually better than I expected – although most of that is either a fluke (see my notes on natural disasters below) or a deliberate messy cash infusion from the government (see my notes on that also). Since 2006 (actually to be more precise, I began writing publicly on the subject of the American economic situation in April 2007) my conclusions have been accurate because I am not basing them on the traditional economic formulas we have used over the last forty years. Contrary to some remarks, I don’t get any pleasure out of announcing these predictions...I am as horrified as you! Isn’t it better to be prepared for what our world will look like in three years then to buy into the "everything will turnaround once again" theory?
I am becoming a topic of conversation to more people because more people are arriving at a place where they are beginning to doubt the voices that have guided them for the last five decades. Many of these people are neither clients nor associates – so my words have certainly spread. I am, apparently, gaining a wide audience - which is something I never sought to do nor am I comfortable knowing that it is occurring.
Regardless of the “flukes”, I am not retracting my third quarter 2012 bottom; I am simply saying that new factors seem to indicate that we will be better prepared than I initially anticipated. We will have had ample time to re-establish a new economic reality by the time we run our course. That it is dragging along as it is turns out to be a good thing.
1. I am relatively certain that our President intends to release much of that three trillion dollars he allocated sometime in 2011(re-election needs) which will artificially inflate our wealth. Sadly, unless President Obama somehow becomes much more business savvy then he has proven to date, this infusion of lots of cash will be absorbed by the rich and never have a lasting effect on the average American worker. Nor will that money circulate long enough to sustain its own value (I’ll talk about that phenomena later in this series) and have a positive, lasting impact on the working American and our long term economic picture.
2. In April 2007 my paper “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel….run!” predicted that the end of this mess would occur no sooner than the summer of 2012. My exact words then were… “that (summer 2012) may even be a little optimistic”. I use my own “exclusive” quantitative process - nTelegenz™ (more on this later in the paper) to arrive at my conclusions. My formula anticipates everything from economic markers to natural disasters as elements in my analysis – but (and here it gets tricky), my process is a business production and analytics system designed to be spot on accurate up to three years out on data for random events like natural disasters. Because I am not an economist and no economist has ever been to the economic place we are going to be in 2012, with the end so far out from what my analysis accurately details, I could not know with any certainty (nor can anyone else) that my “rate of occurrence” for elements like earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, etc. could sustain itself beyond my three years. My formulas were meant to analyze up to a three year period. I was saying in 2007 that the bottom would not be evident until 2012. As we approach my markers and they remain true and consistent, it’s my belief that my analysis remains unquestionably valid. But natural disasters are a wild card and remain a fluke in my analysis no matter how I re-run the numbers. After all, who could have predicted BP’s oil spill in the Gulf, right?
So…to the point
In the four years since I started making my predictions it seems now I am being asked for more than analysis of the future markets. The number one question I get asked is “Where should I put my money?”
The answer is simple, even if the process by which I acquire my results is anything but simple. During the years prior to 2006, I had concocted my own quantitative process for the evaluation of a client’s market position to coincide with strategies which would Break]
1.) Reduce company costs while creating a more fluid and adaptable business environment
2.) Structure an ongoing growth anticipation and cost control strategy
3.) Increase sales through a combination of thorough market analysis, closing techniques and eclectic marketing processes singular to the client’s particular parameters
Over the course of a decade I honed this proprietary process to behave in the manner of an economic predictor. Normally I use my formula (nTelegenz(tm) to put my clients unto a playing field in which they are the lopsided favorites to win contracts, increase distributor sales, reduce costs and create a sleeker, far more efficient business profile. I look at my programming as a break through in business genetics. I approach my client’s position in the market the way an aeronautics engineer looks at designing a jet fighter for speed and stealth. Converting it (nTelegenz(tm)) at least in part to act as my own economic predictions model was done to make my programming more accurate over the long haul for my clients. My programs make businesses more competitive in tougher economies and the addition of this piece made sense for that purpose. It is now becoming something of its own command and providing authoritative disclosures for independent economic objectives.
The long and short of this is that I can and do populate a number of specific and non-specific data fields  (recent events, natural disasters, market history, competitor structure, people, etc.) which allow me to identify the problems solely unique to my client. The mirror image of my work shows me the place, methods, modes and madness that my client will exploit to carve out their share of the market. At the same time the process allows me to map out a strategy using both a traditional and non-traditional approach that moves my client to occupy unchallenged frequencies of communication with their buyers; accelerating their sales and reducing company costs (the principle of “less friction brings about faster acceleration”). Using this process I have almost always been correct (no one is perfect) and flawless in my strategies.
As it turned out, my last client brought me into the heart of the mortgage banking business where I polished my skills and techniques while educating myself on the work of an economist. I will not slander the work or the efforts of the really honest and clever economists – no one can dispute the years of education and devotion one must have to become successful in this field. But, and I say this with the utmost respect, I have always and continue to state simply that, in my opinion, the reason today’s economists continue to make awful and clearly inaccurate predictions stems more from the fact that they are approaching the problem incorrectly then they have previously been and this economic collapse has merely exposed them for what they are. They are now more like weathermen in how they go about what they do and how they conclude what they see. I say this because they are using an incorrect set of questions, populating the wrong fields of data and arriving at conclusions that have nothing to do with our current reality.
They do not know what will happen next because at every turn in today’s economy we arrive at a place we have never been before. 
Look it at like this –all economists use a very similar formula (very much the same for each with tweaks and slight variations on the theme to favor their peculiar idiosyncratic views). This sort of thinking has, until now, produced acceptable levels of accuracy - sort of like a weatherperson viewing a particular cloud cover and anticipating what should be the normal weather for that day. But, say that same weatherman was unaware of the earthquake that would consume the area at the same time the rainstorm hit. No one could blame him or her for not anticipating an earthquake. No…of course not! But what they can expect is that once the earthquake becomes a factor they would have the common sense to change the weather report to reflect the impact of the quake at least through the life of the seismic event and the time immediate following. For as long as the quake impacts the area it impacts the weather in that area as well.
Economists are simply denying or are unaware there has been an economic earthquake. As long as they ignore the immense and ongoing damage from the quake and continue to give us weather updates that exclude the gaping hole in the center of our village they will never get the magnitude or the extent of the economic ruin we are finding ourselves buried beneath. All of this leaves me with my formula which was first created to work in a competitive environment rife with change and unexpected interruptions, interferences and influences. My process is data rich, mathematical and observational; structured to work in a highly unpredictable and dynamic environment. It isn’t a “fill in the blanks” process - it’s a hands-on and minds-in game of business chess.
My program incorporates a host of unusual parameters normally not associated with the traditional data common to the field of economists. My conclusions result from data and performance as they relate to the American industry (historical commonalities and evolving social and business trends), sales, marketing and even employment. It wasn’t long after I started to use my own quantitative formula in 2006-07 that I could see the popular economists, who were predicting all sorts of recovery dates from late summer 2007 to early 2010 while revising their predictions as each economic marker passed, that I finally understood they had no clue what they were talking about.
That brings me to the question at hand and where I stand on any answer. More Americans are emptying their savings, raiding retirement funds, finding their home values upside down, dipping into Social Security just to stay afloat and unable to find any source that can give them definitive answers on questions ranging from “How bad will this get?” to “What will our economy look like in 2012?”
I can’t tell you that and no one else on earth can either. We, as a global population have never been where we are going. It means that as many adjustments as we will need to make, we will make. As much as we need to bend we will bend. But in truth, only God knows whether we will simply bend or whether we will break.
Matthew 24
 36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
So, to answer those who ask me…”Where should I put my money?”, let’s wait and see what money is left in 2012 and what that money is worth. Avoid debt, pay down outstanding high interest obligations and, if you can work and you can find work, go back to work until we not only bottom out (2012) but for up to five years beyond as we fabricate our new economic language. Pray if you are so fortunate to have faith in these difficult times I know it helps me. Keep your eye on my blog and I will reveal more about how I come to know what I know and what more there is for you to know.
Frank Bosson (From his series “A New Day Dawns…Sort Of!” CEO, The Bosson Group

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