The Day Capitalism Died

Over the last few weeks on my podcast, I’ve recognized the 50th anniversary of the date August 15th, 1971. 

This is the date when President Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard. It’s one of the reasons the economy is the way that it is and everything’s in a bubble the way it is.

There has been a lot of chatter lately about whether or not the Fed is going to raise interest rates. The Fed is in a precarious position. They’ve propped up the economy for so long with artificially low interest rates that they have to time the increase of those rates nearly perfectly or risk an economic crash.

Consumer prices in July rose 5.3% from a year ago, marking the fourth straight month that inflation had increased by the fastest pace in 13 years. 

Naturally, the Fed has to look at raising interest rates or we’ll be headed for hyperinflation. 

Here’s what Bankrate’s Sarah Foster wrote about the situation: 

A persistent upward movement in inflation could create an environment similar to the Great Inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s, a lengthy period where prices skyrocketed after years of big government spending on the Vietnam War, two oil shocks and a too-accommodative monetary policy. Back then, the Fed had to manufacture a recession to get prices back on track by raising interest rates to intentionally slow down the economy.

For the professional investor who knows how to read the signs of the times, and for big banks on Wall Street who get a heads up well ahead of the time, this isn’t an issue. In these situations, the average investor always gets hurt because they don’t know how to read the signs of the times. 

The rich, on the other hand, know how to read them and move their money accordingly. 

It’s a good time to write a reminder on something that can change the way you look at the world of money…

Money Is No Longer Money

Most people think of dollars as money, but the reality is that it’s not real money. An amusing way of looking at this is to realize you can buy $10,000 in cash from The US Bureau of Engraving and Printing for only $45. 

The catch is that they’re shredded.

More seriously, since Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, it’s no longer money. 

Before 1971, there was a relationship between a dollar and how much gold was backing that dollar in the US treasury. After 1971, that dollar was not backed by anything other than the full faith and credit of the United States government.

In Rich Dad Poor Dad, rich dad’s #1 lesson is, “The rich don’t work for money.” Before 1971, it was possible to work hard and save enough money to enjoy a good life. Once a person retired, they would earn enough interest from their savings to live a comfortable life.

In this new post-pandemic economy, not only are interest rates at record-low rates, but the government continues to print trillions in counterfeit money, an action that destroys the purchasing power of your labor and your savings.

The most frightening aspect of the new economy is the compounding interest on trillions of dollars of debt. I don’t know how this is sustainable. If interest rates rise, as they did in the 1980s, the world will go bust when US taxpayers say, “Sorry, we can’t make the mortgage payment on the national debt this month.” When that happens, the real economic crisis will surface.

The power that debt wields over an economy has already been felt in Japan, Latin America, Mexico, Russia, Iceland, Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Ireland. 

America, England, and Europe are soon to follow. Welcome to the new economy.

The Dollar as a Currency

Today, the dollar can go up and down in value depending on how other currencies are performing and based on many economic conditions. It’s tied to nothing and can move in either direction very quickly. 

So, what does it mean that the dollar is a currency? I find it helpful to talk about electrical currencies. An electric currency carries electricity from one place to another. To survive, a currency must be moving. Once it stops, it dies.

Similarly, the dollar as a currency is simply a vehicle to move wealth from one area to another. For instance, smart investors who saw the rout in the bond market coming most likely moved their wealth from bonds to another sector that stood to benefit from higher interest rates and a rising dollar.

The Secret to Building Wealth

Assets produce cash flow in good economies or bad. Rather than save money in a bank or a retirement plan filled with paper assets, it’s important to convert those dollars into real assets: assets that retain value, produce cash flow and offer tax incentives.

You can never get comfortable and you can never park your wealth and forget about it. You must always be learning and always be moving your wealth to where it will grow. Once you see that area is in danger of falling, you look at the trends, determine the next area of growth in the economy, and move your money there.

An example of this is Ken McElroy and I investing in apartment buildings during the high point of the great recession. Though it was difficult to get people to move their wealth into these investments (the fear made them want to sit on their cash), the smart people saw a ripe opportunity to pick up cash-flowing properties at rock-bottom prices. 

Seven years later, we’re selling those investments at multiples of what we paid for them, and all the while we enjoyed positive cash flow from their operations.

Increase Your Financial Intelligence, Continually

Of course, this takes a high level of financial intelligence. It means reading about money, how it works, and what is happening to it in the global economy daily.

As an investor and entrepreneur, I never rest on my laurels. Just like an athlete, I’m always in training. If I don’t keep training, when it comes time to take the playing field, I stand a significant chance of getting injured or getting beat.

Before it’s too late, start training now. If the Fed raises rates too fast, or not at all, we could see a major collapse. 

By preparing, you’ll be able to survive no matter what the Fed does.

Play it smart,

Robert Kiyosaki