Someone with strong anarchist beliefs might not be the sort of person you'd expect to be speaking at the Hard Assets Convention in San Francisco. However, Jeff Berwick contributes frequently to these sorts of events and there are several reasons for this. He is a successful entrepreneur, having founded StockHouse Media Corporation, publishes The Dollar Vigilante financial newsletter and he has firm and interesting views about what investors should do with their money.
This year he got the early shift again, with a 7:40 start. “I'm going to have to change my contract next year,” Jeff remarks. “I'm not a morning person. But it was really good. I had a full room, I was amazed. It means a lot of people are catching on to a lot of the stuff I'm talking about.”
One of his most controversial claims is that Americans are, right now, one of the most enslaved people in all of human history. He explains: “As an American, you can't even open a brokerage account anywhere in the world outside of the US. They’re really clamping down with all sorts of controls.”
He recommends obtaining a second passport from somewhere like the Dominican Republic or taking residency in Paraguay. The main focus of Jeff's talks, however, is the collapse of the monetary system and how investors should protect themselves and their assets from it. He says: “I talk about how to protect your assets by buying gold and silver bullion and some of the mining companies that do those sorts of things.”
He is in no doubt that the monetary system as we know it is going through major changes and that investors need to be prepared. “As this monetary system continues to collapse, no-one knows when it’s going to happen and I think there's going to be a lot of turmoil,” remarks Jeff. “You have to think, do you want to live at the epicenter, which will be the US and the UK, basically any western country. Or do you want to go and live for a few years in somewhere in South America or Asia.”
As regards what people should invest in, the main message is to go for something over which the government has little influence. Actual money should be avoided and any sort of real assets, such as metals, are a must. He believes we're entering into a major depression and that the winners will be those who lose the least. Jeff says: “It's really not a point in time to be looking to make massive profits, although you probably can still do so in the metals and the metal stocks. But you shouldn’t have that mindset.
“The mindset for the next few years should be safety, how to protect yourself and get your assets out of the control of your own government. As these governments have more problems, as we enter into depression and the tax revenues continue to decrease, they will be striving to stay alive. A government is like a living organism in some ways and they’ll try to stay alive. They will take your assets if they want to. That's been proven over time and it's been done in every country in the world, including the US.”
The message is to keep your assets geopolitically diversified so that, as far as possible, they're outside the reach of governments. Specific recommendations are precious metals. “They've been proven through human history as a means of protection against the collapse of nation states or governments.” comments Jeff. “So gold and silver bullion are a must. I generally say to have a minimum of 30% of your assets in hard assets such as gold and silver, even up to 100%. I've no problems with people telling me they've put all their assets into gold and silver. I think that's one of the most rational things they can do right now.”
Current inflation levels are likely to worsen and could even turn into hyperinflation, which he believes could create a massive bubble in mining stocks. Gold shares have failed to keep up with the price of gold for the last six years and so there is the potential for them to catch up. Jeff says: “Even if they just perform like the last major inflation in the 1970s, they'll do well. We saw a lot of those junior miners go from ten cents to $30 back in that bubble.”
There are a number of stocks he likes, such as Eurasian Minerals, Premium Exploration and several others. “You just have to look into them, “he remarks. “You have to come to shows like the Hard Assets show and really talk to the management and other people. You have to have a certain level of trust and understanding of what they’re doing and what kind of people they are. There are a number of opportunities in the sector.”
Jeff doesn’t claim to be a gold and mining stocks analyst but Ed Bugos, his co-contributor to The Dollar Vigilante, is one of the best experts around. He says: “Ed literally goes through the details with a fine tooth comb, meets the management and visits the properties. He does a lot of the groundwork that the average person just couldn't do. I think it’s very important to do your due diligence but it's not possible for the average person to do that. So it's important to come to the shows and meet the people. You need to define the top analyst you feel you can trust and I think there are a number of them.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about Jeff’s views and recommendations can visit the website (http://www.dollarvigilante.com) for free information. He concludes: “We're talking about a major change in the way the world works. So I think people just need to be safe, be smart and pay attention. If you’re reading this right now, you're in the right space. Pay attention, be smart and do your due diligence. But don't pay attention to anything they say on TV or anything that any politician says.”