An Evening With Three Greats

Last night I had the opportunity to listen to three investing greats talk to group of Loyola University students. Rick Rule, Doug Casey, and Peter Schiff were there to give their perspectives on the future. It was a rare treat to hear these three talk about the things they’d wished someone had told them when they were 18.

They pointed out that the value of the typical undergraduate education has, perhaps, peaked for most people, and Schiff pointed the group to his interviews with workers on Bourbon St a few years earlier. He also gave his prognostications about the political future. He likened Trump to Carter and said that the current administration will fail to live up to its promises leading the country to go hard left, as it went hard right after Carter. It’s a logical argument, but we’ll have to see how good his crystal ball is.

Casey focused the group’s attention on the areas of the world that are growing, and he turned Horace Greeley’s motto into “Go to Africa, young man.” He was pretty sour on Europe and America, and I got the distinct impression he was savoring the set up that these young people face. His new series of fiction was mentioned because it was basically his investment thesis for the new century, so I’ll plug it here.

Rule helped the group focus on how to make themselves successful. He first pointed out that there were many forms of success, but that his experience was limited to financial expense. He went on to give the group two rules. First, create more value than you consume. Second, save that and buy things that are undervalued. It’s just that simple, but I’ll bet less than one in a 100 could have the patience and insight to execute the plan.

All three spoke of a great financial crisis descending on the country due to the overhanging debt. They pointed to a great dislocation in the public markets, and how “some will be cut in half, but you will have a great opportunity.” In the question section, I asked all three to give their estimate of the chances of us coming out of the crisis with the same constitution we enter it with. One refused to answer and the other two basically said the question was too late. That the constitution was already done. “They’ve interpreted it out of existence.” “They just ignore it and do what they want anyway.”

It was a great evening, but for that last part, I hope they are wrong.