June 20, 2020
Publisher’s note: You do NOT want to miss this event…
A few weeks ago, Chaos Chronicles editor Kim Iskyan spoke with international real estate expert Ronan McMahon. He’s one of the most well-connected folks in the sector, and he spends six months of every year on the road – finding and negotiating opportunity to buy low and make serious profit from capital appreciation, rental income, or a mixture of both. And now, you have a chance to listen to Ronan in person next week as he speaks with Dr. Steve Sjuggerud about one of the most exciting real estate opportunities available today.
You’ll also hear from Kendra Todd, the winner of Season 3 of the hit NBC show The Apprentice. Kendra managed one of Donald Trump’s high-end renovations that became the most expensive real estate transaction in the U.S. at the time. Since then, she’s regularly appeared all over TV as a trusted name in real estate. And has been featured or quoted in Forbes, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
And there’s one more special guest, too, who will help Dr. Sjuggerud present to you an entirely new investment opportunity — one that few Americans even know exist. Click here to reserve your seat.
Last week, I shared the first part of my conversation with investing legend Jim Rogers. I’ve got the second part here for you today.
To refresh your memory, Jim Rogers was the co-founder of the Quantum Fund, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds. After generating returns of 4,200% over 10 years, he quit full-time investing in 1980 to do whatever he wanted.
Since then, he’s become a best-selling author and holds several Guinness World Records – including “most countries visited in a continuous journey by car.” He’s traveled around the world by car and motorcycle – trips that were the basis for two of his books, Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist.
Jim has fantastic insight on investing – as well as on how to find and follow your passion.
He’s also a fellow resident of Singapore. I’ve met with Jim a number of times here, and earlier this month I chatted with him over video. Click here to check out the video interview, and below are some of the highlights, lightly edited for clarity…
On asset diversification – or concentration
Kim: Investing 101 is all about diversification and reducing your risk by spreading money around. You’ve said before that it’s much smarter to really concentrate your risks, and understand your risks and manage them that way.
Jim: If you want to succeed, put all of your eggs in one basket… It has to be the right basket, and you better watch that basket very, very closely. But that’s how you succeed. You don’t get rich diversifying.
I understand the story, but most people who are investing are there to get rich, they want a hot tip and they want to get rich this week, which is a horrible way to invest. But that’s the reality.
I of course say, “Don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t do that at all.” … Don’t listen to other people, stay with what you know, and don’t diversify.
On figuring out what to do in life
Kim: What would you tell a young person who is trying to find his or her way in life?
Jim: Well, really, my answer is figure out your own passion and follow your passion. You know, your parents might say, “Go to the university, your friends are going… ” But if that’s not for you, please, for goodness sakes, Kim, don’t do it. Join the Army, see the world for a couple of years, do something to help find yourself. And then, what you need to do is find your own passion. If that means more education, do it. If that means practical experience, do it. Find yourself, find your own passion.
Now, a problem is many people will never find their passion. When I was 21 years old coming out of university, I had no clue. I was going to go to medical school and law school and business school. I mean, you know, I was a totally confused young man, like many other people. Fortunately, I stumbled on to my passion. I found it, but many people don’t. But I suggest to you, rather than just take a job that your classmates or your professors say, wait, and find your own passion. And if people laugh at you… you’re doing the right thing.
I stumbled onto my passion. I happened to have a summer job on Wall Street and fell in love… I didn’t know about Wall Street, had no clue, it was just a summer job. I didn’t go to law school. I didn’t go to business school. I didn’t go to medical school. I went to Wall Street as soon as I could.
On driving around the world (and dying happy)
Kim: You went on your first round-the-world trip about 30 years ago, and the second one about 20 years ago… What kind of advice would you give to a person wanting to travel around the world today?
Jim: Well, my advice is do it. It’s extremely educational. It’s extremely fun, but you better be sure you mean it, because it’s not easy. It looks easy… But it’s not… Many get killed, many go home, many have accidents or injuries or whatever. So do not even think about it unless it’s a deep passion.
But if it’s your passion, I’ll tell you, there’s nothing better. You cannot get a better education. You cannot learn more about yourself… There’s nothing quite like it. It’s magic, but it ain’t easy. People used to say to me, “You’re probably going to get killed.” I’d say, “Well, at least I’m going to die happy.” You know, if I got hit by a bus on Broadway in New York, I wouldn’t die very happy. But at least if I die going around the world on a motorcycle… I didn’t want to die, don’t get me wrong, but at least I was going to die happy.
On the road not taken
Kim: A lot of life is figuring out the things to avoid… Sometimes the road not taken is the most important thing to decide.
Jim: Boy, Kim, you want to hear about my first wife? Oh my God, things to avoid. I mean, I’m sure she’s a wonderful woman, but you know… she’s certainly not for me. And it’s something that she should have avoided and I should have avoided. We eventually did, fortunately, but be sure to try to learn what to avoid as well.
On investing in commodities
Jim: Commodities are probably the cheapest asset class around right now, because they’ve been going down for a while. Now that doesn’t mean it’s the bottom, and doesn’t mean you should buy them. Sugar’s down 80% from its all-time high.
Farmland in some countries, it’s very cheap, because it’s been such a disaster for so long. If you go to Japan, they’ll give you farmland because nobody wants to be a farmer. The problem is who’s going to farm it, you know? And that’s why it’s so cheap… The average age of a farmer in Japan is 66. They give you a farm if you show up. But then unless you know how to farm, you’re going to be in trouble, like everybody else. “I got this cheap farm. What am I going to do with it?”
On the next great country in the world
Kim: For years, you’ve been a huge advocate of China. Has your perspective changed?
Jim: I still expect China to be the next great country in the world. I don’t see any other country on the horizon. The 19th century was the century of the U.K. The 20th century was the century of the U.S. The 21st is going to be the century of China, whether we like it or not, and a lot of people don’t like it. But looking back through history, somebody’s always been at the top… Spain at one time, and France. I mean, that’s the way history works. Somebody is always rising. Somebody is always falling. So I don’t see anybody else except China in the 21st century. I’m quite happy to be wrong, but that’s the way I see the world right now.
That does not mean there won’t be bear markets, Kim. America became the most successful country in the 20th century. We had a horrible Civil War. We had many depressions… We had massacres in the streets.
So China is going to have plenty of problems… They’re having them now. Probably going to have more soon, because of all the debt that’s built up in China. But I don’t see who else it could be.
On investing in catastrophes
Jim: Venezuela’s a catastrophe. It’s very cheap, but now what? Americans cannot invest in Venezuela because it’s under sanctions for America. So, you know, I’m a citizen of the land of the free and citizens of the land of the free are not allowed to invest in Venezuela. But boy, is it cheap.
I learned in my life that if you invest in a country when it’s a catastrophe and in total collapse, you’re usually going to be OK five or six years later, but be sure you don’t get caught by sanctions.
Zimbabwe’s a total catastrophe right now… I bought a few stocks there recently, not enough to talk about, but… You know, there are some catastrophes and things that are cheap and as I said, in my experience, if you can buy a catastrophe, you’re going to do well in the long run.
What to do now
Jim: Right now, Kim, go wash your hands.
Now here are some of the stories we’re reading…
How Brazil’s uncoordinated approach to COVID-19 gave the country the second-highest death toll in the world
Infections in this nation of 210 million people are widespread, fueled by stark social inequality, especially in the densely-packed slums, rural areas, and rainforest communities.
Florida has the makings of the next COVID-19 epicenter
Because of the state’s aging population and the prevalence of nursing homes and retirement communities, the potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences.
Americans Skip Millions of Loan Payments as Coronavirus Takes Economic Toll
The largest increase in skipped payments occurred for student loans, with 79 million accounts in deferment or other relief status at the end of May.
The end of tourism?
The pandemic has devastated global tourism, and many will say ‘good riddance’ to overcrowded cities and rubbish-strewn natural wonders. Is there any way to reinvent an industry that does so much damage?
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
Chaos Chronicles Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke and the Editorial Staff
June 19, 2020