Bill’s Blog | March 9, 2022
These last few months have been very chaotic globally in the markets, and as I have warned many times, you need to be attentive and take timely action to protect your wealth. We have many significant cycles bearing down on us that increase instability and volatility. In my Wealth Foundation Series course, I cover several critical cycles and help people know what to do. Today I will cover several of the big trends and then provide action steps for you to take.
Trend # One: Inflation intensives on many fronts, and expect to pay thousands more this year for the average family compared to last year. Housing, taxes, energy, commodities and food continue to increase rapidly, and I do not see this trend reversing any time soon. We see double-digit inflation in thousands of categories and triple-digit in a few commodities.
Trend # Two: Sadly, we are in a war cycle, as many trend forecasters have warned for several years. Russia crossed the line and invaded a sovereign nation, and the tragedy of the human loss of life on both sides is devastating. Let us hope this war does not escalate and pour over into other nations. My concern is that this may also encourage other countries to take similar action with clearly stated goals to invade their neighbours and expand their territory. Think of China, Iran, and North Korea as a starter. Talks of nuclear war, cyber-attacks, EMP, and global supply disruption are genuine. Let us all hope and pray these things do not unfold!
The war in Russia has far-reaching impacts on the global economy. They are the 2nd largest oil producer globally (behind the USA) and a large natural gas provider, and the sanctions on this supply have serious consequences. In addition, several EU nations are 100% dependent on Russian energy, and 40% of the EU’s natural gas comes from Russia. Also, Russia is a major exporter of wheat, nickel, aluminum, palladium, fertilizer, gold and other critical commodities. The financial sanctions will also destabilize the global banking sector, and the EU is particularly vulnerable. Also, please think of the 100s of thousands of businesses that traded with Russia that can no longer receive payment or continue their business.
Trend # Three: We see the 500 years East vs West power shift cycle unfolding before our eyes. Europe dominated the world economically and militarily through several empires from the 1500s until the USA has dominated after WW2 (West). Now the shift is moving to the East, with China, Russia and their allies. China makes more trade globally than the USA. Not only have they built massive armies with advanced military weapons and satellite systems, but they have also created powerful economic alliances, trade agreements and an alternative payment system to SWIFT (the USA controlled). These and many other factors contribute to the war cycle and the demise of the West. If history repeats the transition of power is almost always by war.
Trend # Four: We have a severe energy crisis unfolding that was 100% predictable. Politicians globally have created this crisis by preventing capital flows and permits, developing energy infrastructure and shutting down reliable and stable-energy sources with no thought to the consequences. Look at the crisis in the EU and now global. Yes, we all want greener energy and less pollution, but we need a well-thought-out plan and an intelligent transition phase. I have listened to several energy experts. They assess that we need a timeframe of 20 plus years, 30 to 50 trillion dollars in infrastructure cost, and more advanced technologies to make this a reality. Unfortunately, we are not there yet for a couple of decades.
Due to political agendas with no sound plans, we have created $120 a barrel for oil, and it is not unrealistic to see oil prices go to over $200 a barrel short term. Think, $3, $4 or $5 a litre at the pump. The price shock is severe to most people’s budgets and profoundly impacts our economy. Everything becomes more expensive, and everything in society is related to energy costs and feeding the inflation loop.
Carbon fuels for the last 120 years have been the most crucial factor in creating economic growth and quality of life worldwide. Almost everything you and I have enjoyed in our lives has a 100% correlation to responsible oil and gas development (warm homes, clothing, travel, stable food sources, medical advancements, new technology, and the list goes on and on). I am all for developing green energy and finding alternative energy, but this requires carbon fuels to make this a reality for many years to come.
Finally, for the record, Canada has the highest environmental standard in the world to develop our natural energy resources and transmission. We should all be proud of the energy patch in our nation instead of demonizing it. We all need to think critically on this matter. So why do we import oil and gas from countries with little to no environmental standards and take critical jobs away for Canadians? Why do we not have pipelines coast to coast that would incredibly increase the nation’s GDP so we can develop new technologies, increase the standard of living and provide excellent careers for 100’s thousands of individuals? So think long and hard about who you put into political office. Why do we allow environmental extremists with no valid science or data to form our political agendas and indoctrinate our children? These same extremists have been telling us for over 50 years the world will end in a year or two. Think, Gerta, screaming at the top of her lungs nonsense!!!
Trend # Five: As many have forecasted, including me, this would be a year of extreme market volatility. Volatility has played out, and I foresee it continuing for the remainder of the year and possibly beyond. We see daily swings of 500 to 1000 points on many indexes and regular large jumps or swings in commodities.
Trend # Six: Historically, central banks have tamed inflation with rising interest rates. They would have to raise rates to 15% plus to contain inflation. As I and many others have stated, central banks created this mess and are trapped and cannot raise rates significantly without crashing the economy and causing massive debt defaults. The Fed and other CBs will not raise rates much (possibly a few times and then reverse course). Due to a stalling economy, I foresee them going back to QE (money printing) which further destroys our purchasing power. However, interest rates may rise through the markets forces as investors question the creditworthiness of many countries, severe inflation forces and geopolitical risks. There have been hundreds of interest rate hikes in many countries in the last few months. The Fed can only influence short-term rates, while the markets determine long-term rates. If you are carrying a lot of debt, this should concern you.
Trend # Seven: Believe me, I do not like being the bearer of bad news, however without looking at the current financial world realistically, you cannot make the necessary adjustments or sound decisions. The data is coming in, and the global economy is slowing as expected with multiple crises unfolding. The probability of a severe recession increases in this environment. This probability should motivate you to make several important decisions and prepare for this likelihood. So let’s transition to several possible solutions.
Solution # One: I encourage you to reduce expenses with severe inflation. Take an honest look at your budget, fixed costs and discretionary spending and adjust accordingly. You may need to cut several thousand out of your annual budget to not get into financial trouble. I would advise this is not a time to take on more debt. Instead, work on eliminating debt through a realistic plan.
Solution # Two: I am often reminded just how little control I have over the big stuff, like wars, inflation, and even other people’s lives, for that matter. Focus on the things you do have control over and take responsibility for your own life and choices. Here is something FREE and may help you. If you haven’t signed up to the UPCOMING WEBINAR MAR 19, 2022, Saturday 10:30 AM PST: SPECIAL GUEST NORMAN WRIGHT: IS MY LIFE VISION STILL IN FOCUS? ARE YOU SURE, AND WHY NOT FIND OUT? I invite you to this Zoom webinar.
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Solution # Three: With raging inflation, you need to have a sizable portion of your assets in hard assets like gold, silver, commodities, and select real estate that goes up in this environment. Gold was $1762 US per ounce in early December 2021 and broke above $2060 yesterday. On December 15, 2021, silver was $21.54 and broke through $26 US and ounce yesterday. Oil was $68.60 on December 20, 2021, and pushed through $120 US a barrel. These are just a few examples that help offset other losses (Hedges) that you may have experienced as the stock markets have corrected in many sectors. Yesterday, I just read a report that provided several commodity and bank analysts’ forecasts for gold and silver for 2022. Without exception, they saw both assets going up significantly—gold from $2150 to $3000 range and the silver price in the high twenties to mid-thirties. For those who need guidance, I have provided education and facilitated the purchase of millions of dollars in investment-grade gold and silver and have provided world-class storage to protect my client’s investment. To learn more, please visit my website:
Solution # Four: Did you know that you can have your stock portfolio managed by one of the top discretionary active portfolio managers in Canada with as little as 100K? Mark has nearly 25 years of experience managing and protecting clients’ wealth with an outstanding track record in all market conditions. With all the market volatility and uncertainty, it is imperative to have someone daily managing your wealth, taking risk management seriously and providing proper diversification and hedging strategies. If you would like to learn more, please visit my website and listen to a short interview I did last year with Mark:
Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog, and please let me know if you would like to further the discussion. Also, let us all pray for things not to escalate. These are genuinely challenging days.
All the best,
Bill Westmacott, Owner