Even the houses of disrepute are feeling a little abandoned. According to an item in the European press, “Credit Crunch Pinches Prostitutes.” Brothels in Nevada say their revenues have been cut in half as truckers can’t afford the gasoline to make a detour.
What is this country coming to? We don’t know. But we don’t like the looks of it.
Still, what can we do? The subject came up this weekend. School has finally ended for summer. One son is back from Boston. Two others have finished their tests in France. We took them with us to Normandy for the weekend, so we could all work at painting the windows and doors of our old house, barns and stables. The nice thing about painting is that it is an invitation to conversation.
“Dad, what are you investing in?” one of the boys wanted to know.
We explained that we had put the family money in a variety of things.
“I’m not really an investor – except in the business,” we began our explanation. “But I know some people who are good at it. They do research on individual companies – like Warren Buffett. And if they’re good, and if they’re lucky, they do a bit better than the market itself. In a single year, it wouldn’t matter very much. But over a very long time, it adds up. So, I gave them some of the family money.
“Emerging markets, for example. I don’t know about next year. Or even 5 years out, but it seems a reasonable bet that 10 or 20 years from now, those investments in emerging markets will have done better than putting the money into U.S. stocks. And if you have someone you trust on the case, you can take a long view, spread out among several different markets, and not worry about it.”
“You mean, you put all the money into emerging markets?”
“No…no… only about a quarter of it. The rest is in gold, natural resources, and European stocks – same thing there, I have someone I trust making very long-term investments. I don’t know if gold is going up in the short run. But over the very long run, there’s never been anything better as a way to store wealth. And I think also that over the long run natural resources will be a good place to be – if you’ve got someone you trust making the choices. I’m in a very privileged position in that I get to see so many different people trying so many different ways to make money. In my business, I see them…I meet them…I study their theories and see their results. Most of them are a waste of time. Worse than that, they’re a danger to your money. But a few are real pros…people you can trust…and people who will do a good job for you.”
“Yeah Dad, I’ve been reading Markets and Money. My thinking is probably getting warped by it. Because I’m putting the money I save this summer into gold too. But Dad, what if gold goes down like it did in the ’90s…and what if those managers lose the money? What are you going to do? Shouldn’t you have a lot of money in the bank to retire on?”
“Nah…I’m not going to retire. And when I get too old to work…just ship me out to the ranch and let me dry up and blow away.”
“Okay Dad…sounds like a plan.”
Markets and Money