How to Invest Like the Swiss: Buy Gold

Zurich is a delightful city. So much history! So much beauty! So much money!

You can barely throw a Kruggerand in any direction without hitting a rich banker or his model wife.

They stroll along the Limmatquai. They dine at the Kronenhalle. They shop on Bahnhofstrasse.

And what do they think of today’s markets?

It’s crazy what is happening,’ said our friend. ‘But crazy things happen. You just have to make sure you’re not doing something crazy too.

What crazy thing happened yesterday? The Financial Times says stocks rose when investors got good news from the manufacturing sector.


We noticed a big bounce in gold. The metal was up $32 an ounce. And beaten-down gold miners showed even more gains.

Whassup? End of the correction in the gold market?

Only a fool would pretend to know where gold will come to a bottom. I guessed $1,100 yesterday. Colleague Chris Hunter (who will be providing us with our new Market Insight notes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday) thinks it could be lower.

Nobody knows. But a lot of people think they know. And when people think they know something that they can’t really know, it is an opportunity for those who don’t know and who know they don’t know. Is that clear?

Gold — No Longer Necessary?

Our old friend Mark Hulbert at The Hulbert Financial Digest reports that independent financial advisors have never been more bearish on gold than they are today. Other indicators tell us that the public and the professionals are overwhelmingly against the yellow metal…

Even at the ‘top’ — when gold was near $1,900 an ounce — few investors owned gold. It was considered kooky. Bizarre. Vaguely seditious.

Since so few people owned it, few were unhappy to see it go down. And when it did begin to correct, all those investors who had jumped into the gold market at the last minute, because they didn’t want to be left behind, thought they should get out immediately. Their rush for the open door is what brought about the sharp sell-off.

Meanwhile, serious investors are not speculating on the next move of the gold price. They’re accumulating gold…and measuring their wealth in it.

We’ve heard investment professionals recently tell us that gold is no longer necessary. It’s just a hedge against central banks going wild, they say. And, now that the Fed has demonstrated its willingness to ‘taper’ its bond buying, there is no need for gold, especially when official consumer prices are rising at an annual rate of just 1.4%.


But consumer prices aren’t the only kind of inflation…

Nor are they the first kind…

The first kind of inflation is the kind that raises values for the lucky 1%. People who own financial assets — stocks, mainly — see their wealth increase as a result of central bank manipulation.

That’s the kind of inflation that most people like. Even if they aren’t part of the 1%…and they don’t own stock…they are happy to see a bull market on Wall Street. They imagine — like Ben Bernanke — that somehow this ‘wealth’ will trickle down to the working stiffs.

They’re right. It does seep into the consumer economy, eventually. But not as wealth. As anti-wealth. Prices for toilet paper, parking spaces and cookies increase. The working stiffs end up with lower real purchasing power.

We’re not there yet. Consumer price inflation is still — apparently — very low. In fact, we are in what looks more like a period of disinflation than an inflationary cycle.

In fact, we’re so far away from consumer price inflation that investors can’t see it coming. They think the feds have everything under control. They think the economy is fundamentally sound…and that monetary policies are fundamentally sensible!

They’re betting that Mr. Bernanke can work things out with Mr. Market…

We don’t approve of speculation — not in gold and not in anything else. Most people — including us — don’t have the stomach for it.

Instead, put your money to work the way serious people do. The way the Swiss do. If you haven’t done so already, begin a lifetime program of gold accumulation, not gold speculation.

Set aside some amount. Buy gold every month. And hope the price goes down so you get more for your money.


Bill Bonner
For Markets and Money

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Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities.

Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and MoneyDice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010. 

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4 Comments on "How to Invest Like the Swiss: Buy Gold"

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Joe Cotter

I have become very sceptical about the forces that drive and effect the share market, gold appears to have a relm of long term security not provided with most other forms of investing.


‘ the public and the professionals are overwhelmingly against the yellow metal…that what I like to hear, plus their rush for the open door is what brought about the sharp sell-off. The panic of the ‘expert’ investors, gives more to those whom are prepared to wait.

An expert is someone whom knows more and more, about less and less, untill she or he, knows absolutely everything about nothing.

SC: “An expert is someone whom knows more and more, about less and less, untill she or he, knows absolutely everything about nothing.” Interesting adage, but probably less accurate than one which argues that an expert is who knows so much about a very narrow field that it obscures The Big Picture. Take Keen for example. One of his fallbacks is that without government intervention, his housing crash predictions would have come to pass. In fact, to leave government intervention (or interference, if you like) was negligent. His claim now, of course, is that he _meant_ the Australian property crash… Read more »

Yes BP, i’ve heard that argument about a narrow view of events, and I suppose its true in some circumdtances. Intervention is always fraught with danger, when things turn out as predicted, your a hero. We have these mini property spurts to, mostly in London, upsets the first time buyers. Cameron puts another scheme in place and round it goes. The world has changed and I leave that to the more adventurous, just dabble in PM’s now and see if I can outpredict the experts, who knows, I may be one myself someday, heaven forbid.

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