Netflix lost $17.8 million for each of its 112 Emmy nominations

It was only a few day ago that Netflix was riding high.

The streaming company had been nominated for a whopping 112 Emmy awards, more than any other network.

And they’d further managed to unseat HBO’s 17-year reign as the undisputed king of Emmy nominations.

That’s all fine and good. Netflix certainly has some great shows.

But reality started to set in yesterday afternoon when the company reported its quarterly financial[...] Click here to continue reading

IRS to revoke 362,000 passports from US citizens

About two and a half years ago, I told you about a particularly nasty piece of legislation that President Obama quietly signed into law towards the end of his administration.

They called it the “FAST Act”, which stood for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation.

Yet despite $300 billion earmarked for infrastructure repairs, they didn’t manage to fix very much of America’s surface transportation.

The legislation did, however, have two major effects:

1)[...] Click here to continue reading

How to retire in style even with Social Security going broke

We’ve spent a lot of time in our regular conversations talking about the looming retirement crisis around the world.

The data is horrific. Pension and Social Security programs in nearly every developed nation are woefully underfunded.

In the United States, senior government officials including the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, have stated unequivocally that Social Security’s trust funds will run out of[...] Click here to continue reading

The root of the debt crisis: every $1 in debt generates just 44 cents of economic output

Exactly ten years ago, in the middle of the summer of 2008, the world was only two months away from the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression.

At the time, the size of the US economy as measured by Gross Domestic product was around $14.8 trillion-- by far the largest in the world.

And the US national debt back then was about 64% of GDP-- roughly $9.5 trillion.

Fast forward[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a great example of a company using Blockchain to solve a real problem

Today I just wanted to send you a quick note to highlight a great example of a company that’s using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to solve a real-world problem.

I thought this would be important given that most of the noise in the crypto space these days is still almost invariably focused on the Bitcoin price.

A quick Google search for “Bitcoin” reveals headlines from CNBC to Fortune Magazine, all about whether or[...] Click here to continue reading

Some historical context on the future of Bitcoin

On March 29, 1879, a widely circulated newspaper called the American Register published a scathing editorial stating that “it is doubtful if electricity will ever be [widely] used” because it was too expensive to generate.

Several months later, the Select Committee on Lighting and Electricity in the British House of Commons held hearings on electricity, with experts stating that there was not “the slightest chance” that the world would run on electric power generation.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Guess which bank just froze my funds over a simple transfer

What I’m about to tell you is a true story that highlights just how pathetic the banking system has become.

A few months ago I was presented with a compelling opportunity to invest with a prominent, well-established private business based in the UK.

And, after extensive due diligence, I decided to make the investment… around $4 million.

Because this particular investment happened to be denominated in US dollars, though, the funds were[...] Click here to continue reading

The worst deal anyone ever made…

It’s considered the worst merger in history.

Back in January 2000, AOL bought Time Warner for $162 billion, which was considered an astonishing amount of money back then.

Their goal was to create a tech/media giant. And they failed miserably.

Time Warner was having a difficult time establishing an online presence, so they thought they would benefit from AOL’s 26 million dial-up subscribers.

And AOL, the leader in “online” at the[...] Click here to continue reading

The latest casualty in the global pension catastrophe is…

In the year 6 AD, the Roman emperor Augustus set up a special trust fund known as the aerarium militare, or military treasury, to fund retirement pensions for Rome’s legionnaires.

Now, these military pensions had already existed for several centuries in Rome. But the money to pay them had always been mixed together in the government’s general treasury.

So for hundreds of years, mischievous senators could easily grab money that was earmarked for[...] Click here to continue reading

Do you have a cryptocurrency addiction? This British hospital has a treatment for you

By the time Louis XIV passed away in 1715, seven decades of his absurd extravagance had nearly bankrupted France.

His reign was marked by constant warfare and the most excessive spending imaginable, from opulent palaces (including Versailles) to a costly welfare state-- public hospitals, parks, monuments, museums.

Louis XIV had turned France into the world’s leading power. But it came at a heavy cost.

The national debt was nearly as large as[...] Click here to continue reading

This former trillionaire is flat broke

It’s hard to imagine, but today is actually Sovereign Man’s 9th birthday.

Nine years ago, on June 19, 2009, I sent out the first ever Notes from the Field email.

To commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d republish that first article… because I think it still captures the challenges we face, as well as the boundless solutions ahead of us.

I hope you enjoy.

=====

William “Bud” Post is flat[...] Click here to continue reading

Surprise! Taxpayers have been footing the bill for sexual misconduct in Congress

On January 23, 1995, President Bill Clinton signed into law a piece of legislation that had been almost unanimously approved by both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives.

It was called the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995-- CAA.

The idea behind the CAA was to force Congress to abide by the same rules of workplace health and safety that private companies have to follow.

And one notable example was[...] Click here to continue reading

The Hitler of South Africa tells white people he won’t kill them. . . yet

Earlier this week while most of the world was transfixed on the World Cup, the Trump/Kim handshake, or a multitude of other sundry events, Julius Malema, aka the Hitler of South Africa, was busy telling white people in his country that he’s not going wage genocide against them. Yet.

In an interview with TRT World News published this week, Malema said, “We have not called for the killing of white people. At least for[...] Click here to continue reading

The most successful investor in modern history is selling… here’s what it means for you

It’s typically pretty hard to find anything exciting to say about drywall.

Yes, drywall… as in, the building material that’s used for interior construction.

Drywall, also known as wallboard, is manufactured from rehydrated gypsum to produce a calcium sulfate plaster, that’s later mixed with mildew-resistant foaming agent. . . hello? Are you still there?

Seriously, though, in this particular case, drywall is a big deal.

I’ll explain.

The largest distributor[...] Click here to continue reading

The real opportunities in cryptocurrency… aren’t cryptocurrencies

Hallelujah.

After almost a decade since Bitcoin was created, the SEC announced last week the creation of a new, senior position to coordinate the agency’s cryptocurrency and ICO efforts.

As usual, the government showed up late to the party. But at least they showed up.

The good news is that the person chosen by the SEC to fill that position is quite sharp.

She has an engineering background, obtained her law[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s official: Medicare trust fund will run out of money in 8 years

Two days ago the respective Boards of Trustees for Medicare and Social Security released their annual reports for 2018.

As usual, the numbers are pretty gruesome... and the reports plainly stated what we’ve been talking about for years: the trust funds for both Social Security and Medicare are going to run out of money.

Soon.

In the case of Medicare, the Trustees project that its largest trust fund will be fully depleted[...] Click here to continue reading

How many more banking scandals will it take to make a change

This morning after my plane landed from Bangkok, I was having breakfast in the business lounge in Sydney and glanced at the local paper, The Australian.

The front-page headline told the story of yet another banking scandal:

“Cartel case nets six bankers”

The article was about how six prominent investment bankers in Australia colluded to defraud investors.

This comes the day after Australia’s financial regulator hit Commonwealth Bank with an AUD[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s Long-Term Challenge #4: Erosion of the Middle Class

We’ve all seen the headlines: the middle class in the United States (and much of Europe for that matter) has been in decline for years.

CNN May 18, 2018: “Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food”
Marketwatch June 2, 2018: “50 million American households can’t even afford basic living expenses”
Wall Street Journal February 13, 2018 : “US households shoulder record $13.15 trillion debt”

This is the opposite[...] Click here to continue reading

Three critical lessons from Europe’s recent mini-meltdown

Trying to trace the origins of the latest political crisis in Italy is like… well… trying to trace the origins of the decline of the Roman Empire.

There simply is no good starting point.

You can’t talk about the decline of Rome without a lengthy discussion of how destructive Diocletian’s Edict on Wages and Prices was in the early 4th century.

But you’d have to go further back than that and discuss[...] Click here to continue reading

Why you’re likely exposed to one of the dumbest investments in history

Last June, in one of the most egregious displays of economic insanity, Argentina was able to raise $2.75 billion by selling bonds with a ONE HUNDRED YEAR maturity.

Even more miraculously, the bond turned out to be wildly popular with investors.

So basically investors willingly forked over billions of dollars to a country that has a history of defaulting on its debt, confiscating private assets, and engaging in rampant corruption… for an entire[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s long-term challenge #3: destruction of the currency

On April 2, 1792, George Washington signed into law what’s commonly referred to as the Mint and Coinage Act.

It was one of the first major pieces of legislation in the young country’s history… and it was an important one, because it formally created the United States dollar.

Under the Act, the US dollar was defined as a particular amount of copper, silver, or gold. It wasn’t just a piece of paper.

[...] Click here to continue reading

HUGE opportunity in Puerto Rico… and the developed country whose looming debt crisis is far worse

We just finished a really -sensational- conference here in San Juan over the weekend showcasing Puerto Rico… with all of its challenges and opportunities.

We've talked about this before-- Puerto Rico is an attractive place to live and do business thanks to some forward thinking tax incentives which stem from its unique status as a US territory.

All US territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, etc. are technically part of[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s long-term challenge #2: the looming retirement crisis

Last week, the financial services giant Northwestern Mutual released new data showing that 1 in 3 Americans has less than $5,000 in retirement savings.

It’s an unfortunately familiar story. And Northwestern Mutual’s data is entirely aligned with other research we’ve seen in the past, including our own.

The Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances, for example, shows that the median bank balance among US consumers is just $2,900.

And Bank[...] Click here to continue reading

It gets worse: Tesla now has to compete with $50,000 electric BMWs going for $54/month

As if things weren’t bad enough for beleaguered Tesla…

The company lost $1.1 billion in cash in the last quarter, executives are leaving the company in droves, it’s facing production issues with its Model 3 and, as I recently discussed, Elon Musk insulted analysts on the latest earnings call by dismissing their questions – regarding the company’s survival – as “boring” and “boneheaded,” (just after shareholders approved his obscenely large pay package).

Now,[...] Click here to continue reading

Breaking down America’s worst long-term challenges: #1- Debt.

On October 22, 1981, the national debt in the United States crossed the $1 trillion threshold for the first time in history.

It took nearly two centuries to reach that unfortunate milestone.

And over that time the country had been through a revolution, civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, the nuclear arms race… plus dozens of other wars, financial panics, and economic crises.

Today, the national debt stands at more[...] Click here to continue reading

One family’s TWO YEAR nightmare of having their child taken by the state

This one is really infuriating.

It started back in 2016… on April 6th to be specific. A Philadelphia-area mother walked into a clinic because her 7-month old baby was being excessively fussy.

The doctor performed a cursory examination, concluded the baby had an ear infection, and prescribed an antibiotic.

Later that day, the mother noticed what seemed like a bone popping in the baby’s side and thought this might be the source[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet America’s next pension casualty: the inventor of chocolate sprinkles

In 1923, a young Jewish immigrant from a small town in modern-day Ukraine founded a candy company in Brooklyn, New York that he called “Just Born”.

His name was Samuel Bernstein. And if you enjoy chocolate sprinkles or the hard, chocolate coating around ice cream bars, you can thank Bernstein-- he invented them.

Nearly 100 years later, the company is still a family-owned business, producing some well-known brands like Peeps and Hot Tamales.
[...] Click here to continue reading

And . . . yet another Wells Fargo banking scandal

Is it Friday again? Must be time for another banking scandal!

Seriously-- these banking scandals are happening with such regularity and predictability it would be almost comical. . . were it not for the millions of people who have had their lives turned upside down.

The latest transgression involves, once again, our old friends at Wells Fargo.

Bear in mind that the ink isn’t even dry yet on the $1 billion check[...] Click here to continue reading

More hilarious facts about Tesla from a hedge fund manager who’s short the stock

A few weeks ago, we shared a note about Tesla from the hedge fund Vilas Capital Management. The firm, which is short the shares, said “Tesla is going to crash in the next 3-6 months.”

I received an update from Vilas this morning explaining why they’re even more bearish on Tesla today. The firm pared its short positions after the recent selloff. And Telsa now comprises about 98% of their short book.

Clearly[...] Click here to continue reading

US government says its budget deficit will PERMANENTLY exceed $1 trillion

Yesterday the US government’s own Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a pretty sobering report about the state of Uncle Sam’s finances-- and what the future holds.

According to the CBO, the federal government’s spending habits are in such dire straits that its total budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion by 2020. That’s just two years away.

The budget deficit, of course, is the amount of money that the government overspends each year.

[...] Click here to continue reading

090: Can’t miss podcast – Recorded live from the 2018 Investor Summit at Sea

I’m writing you today from a cruise ship, on my way to Puerto Rico.

Every year, I get together with some of the smartest guys in finance and investing for my friends, the Real Estate Guys, Investor Summit at Sea.

I almost never speak at conferences outside of Sovereign Man events. But I always make an exception for this one.

It’s rare that you get to spend a week chatting with and[...] Click here to continue reading

And the fastest growing bank asset in 2017 was… SUBPRIME!

They say that goldfish have the shortest memory in the Animal Kingdom… something like 3-seconds.

But it turns out this isn’t actually true.

Researchers at the Israeli Technion Institute of Technology conducted an experiment in 2009 proving that even the tiniest fish could be trained to recall certain sounds after as long as FIVE MONTHS.

According to another study from the University of Chicago, Dolphins ostensibly have the best memories in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Elon Musk’s bankruptcy joke on Twitter isn’t funny

Nearly 4,000 years ago in the mid 18th century BC, the King of Babylon passed away, leaving the throne to his 18-year old son Hammurabi.

Hammurabi was smart enough to know that his kingship would be incredibly short if he didn’t do something quickly to assert his power.

So as his first order of business, Hammurabi made a bold proclamation that won him incredible support from his people: he forgave ALL citizens’ debt[...] Click here to continue reading

US government issuing $300 billion in new debt– just this WEEK

I’m doing my best to take a few days off this week, and have the pleasure of spending time with some friends here in a fairly remote corner of Vietnam’s magnificent coastline.

This is one of the most pristine places I’ve ever been-- a high-end resort nestled at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere overlooking Vietnam’s postcard-perfect Vinh Hy Bay.

I’ve traveled extensively through Vietnam over the years, from[...] Click here to continue reading

“Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.”

Just a few days ago, shareholders of Tesla approved an almost comical pay package for their cult leader CEO Elon Musk that could potentially put $50 BILLION in his pocket over the next decade.

Let’s put this figure in perspective: at $5 billion per year, Musk would make more than every single CEO in the S&P 500. COMBINED.

In other words, if you add up the salaries of all the CEOs of the[...] Click here to continue reading