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Bitcoin Is A Few Bucks Away From Gold

Posted November 29, 2013 at 9:38 am

By Rob Wile, Business Insider

The price of Bitcoin is now within a stone’s throw of the price of gold.

The digital currency already set a record earlier today on the Mt. Gox  exchange, touching $1,242 (it’s since come back down to $1,162).

Meanwhile, gold is at $1,250 an ounce.

At this point, the unending surge in Bitcoin prices appears to be riding a  wave of speculative momentum. The price of a March Bitcoin future on  Swedish-based ICBIT.se (though on  admittedly thin volume) is more than $1,700. 

Here’s a helpful chart, from Bespoke Investment Group:


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>> To read more of our thoughts on Bitcoin, click here:



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Will you have your life turned upside down because of limiting choices?

Posted October 31, 2013 at 10:48 am

By Simon Black

We have entered what I call the Age of Turmoil, a time that is marked by rapid change and fluctuating crises.  The old system of debt and consumption that gave us great salaries, generous benefits, stock market and housing appreciation, and a high standard of living is gone forever.

What’s happening right now is a major sea change: the game is being reset, and the rules are being rewritten.

I’m not being pessimistic, and this is not a cause for fear.  We shouldn’t be afraid of the Age of Turmoil, but rather prepare for it by becoming more self-reliant.  Those who are prepared will survive, thrive, and be well-positioned for the enormous opportunities that await.

Conversely, those who cling to their faith in the old system, desperately hoping for a return to the carefree days of the past, will have their lives turned upside down.

This is because all the major elements of the old system– our political process, our money and financial institutions, the job market, police forces, etc.– only function as long as the system is operating normally.

Think about how things work under the old system– people are effectively given pre-packaged options for the major decisions in their lives. Do you want to be a doctor? Follow this career template. A pilot? Follow that one. Investing your money? Select from these mutual funds.

I call these ‘limiting choices,’ and they are a staple tradition in our modern society. Our realities are defined by people and regulations which govern our thinking, restrict our options, and constrain our creativity.

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Why Japan’s new home run king forebodes the biggest default in history

Posted October 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Simon Black

Suicide has long played a bizarre role in Japanese culture.

In feudal Japan, for example, dishonored samurai would often commit seppuku, a suicide ritual that involved ceremonial disembowelment. It was torturous pain lasting for hours.

In World War II, the Japanese military churned out suicide attackers known as the kamikaze that routinely antagonized allied warships in the Pacific.

And of course, citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply went back into their homes and waited to become burnt toast despite ample warnings from the US military.

Even after the Fukishima disaster, TEPCO employees went rushing back into deadly levels of radiation exposure in what could only be characterized as a suicide mission.

Despite the obvious prospect of certain death, the Japanese collective still did what was expected of them by the state. Even if it meant roasting alive under a mushroom cloud.

This fierce commitment to the nation has often been abused by the Japanese government which disposed of its people like kindling. It’s the same today.

Looking purely at the numbers, Japan’s medium-term fundamentals are among the bleakest in the world.

Total government debt amounts to over 200% of the country’s entire GDP– a figure so large that the Japanese government spends 51.5% of the 43 trillion yen ($430 billion) they collect in tax revenue just to pay interest!

Perhaps even more astounding is that ‘primary balance expenses,’ i.e. normal government expenditures, totaled 70.3 trillion yen, or 163% of tax revenue.

The only way they’ve managed to stay afloat is by issuing more debt, which makes the problem even worse. In fact, 46% of the 2013 budget is being financed by debt.

These guys are running out of rope. And fast.

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New $100 Bills Worth up to $15,000

Posted October 4, 2013 at 8:00 am

By Alan Farnham | ABC News Blogs

When the Federal Reserve Board releases its new, redesigned $100 bills on October 8, how much do you suppose they’ll each be worth? For some of them, much more than $100.

Depending on their serial numbers, their value to currency-collectors could go as high as $15,000 each, according to the Boston Globe.

The Globe explains that collectors view certain 8-digit serial numbers as “fancier” (meaning more rare, and thus more collectible) than others. The fanciest numbers, according to collectors, include ones exceptionally low: A new $100 bill with the serial number 00000001, for example, might fetch up to $15,000.

There will be more than one such bill, because each issuing Federal Reserve Bank prefaces the serial number with a letter code designating which bank produced the bill.

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5 ways the federal shutdown affects you

Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

By Quentin Fottrell

The federal government is closed for business due to the inability of lawmakers to reach a deal before Monday’s midnight deadline. As a result, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will likely be put on unpaid leave. (In 1995, 800,000 federal workers were told to stay home.) “If you get your paycheck from the government directly or indirectly as a contractor, you might get furloughed,” says Charles Sizemore, a financial adviser based in Dallas.

Despite a suspension in so many government jobs, others will continue without much interference. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service — which is not funded by the Treasury — will still send out mail. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will also continue as they are considered essential services by the government.

The State Department will also continue processing foreign and U.S. applications for visas and U.S. applications for passports, according to an internal memo. The shutdown is only partial and could be a lot worse, says David Hefty, CEO of Hefty Wealth Partners in Auburn, Ind. “Essential emergency support services will also be available,” he says. “This isn’t a default.”

Here are 5 ways a shutdown could impact you…


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Singapore Central Bank lost 87% of GDP growth fighting Bernanke

Posted September 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Simon Black

Signapore's Central BankA few months ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank, released its annual report for the fiscal year ending 31 March 2013.

And the results were ‘shocking’, at least for those of us who read central bank annual reports cover to cover like a Harry Potter novel.

The bottom line for MAS showed a mind-boggling S$10.2 BILLION loss (roughly $8 billion USD), about as much as General Motors lost in its worst year.

This is the antithesis of what one would expect from Asia’s dominant financial center. And it begs the question– how can a central bank, which has the power to conjure money out of thin air, even suffer a loss, let alone such a heavy one?

Simple. MAS was desperately trying to hold back the Singapore dollar’s rise against the US dollar.

Because Singapore is a trade-based economy and the US dollar is so central in international trade as the world’s reserve currency, MAS has been trying to keep the Singapore dollar somewhat restrained vs. the US dollar.

Essentially MAS was buying US dollars and then intentionally selling them at a lower price in order to create artificial demand for US dollars.

This was a completely failed strategy.

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The 12 American Universities That Produce the Most CEOs

Posted September 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Peter Jacobs

American Universities that Produce the Most CEOs

If you want to be the Chief Executive Officer of a major company, where you went to school matters, according to a new list from Times Higher Education.

THE recently compiled a list of the universities around the world that produce the most CEOs, based on the alma maters of Fortune Global 500 CEOs.

From the list and speaking with both academics and businesspeople, THE found that — regardless of your major — “the presence of the right institution on your CV reassures potential employers about your likely aptitude for the job.”

According to THE’s methodology, university rankings were determined using “the total number of degrees awarded to CEOs; the total number of CEO alumni; [and] the total revenue of the alumni CEOs’ companies.”

We’ve included all of this information for the top American schools, as well as the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of undergraduate and graduate business programs. We have also included a few CEO alumni from every school on our list. 

Harvard topped THE’s list — both for international and American universities. The school has 25 alumni CEOs currently, more than double the next American university on the list.

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The 3 Most Dangerous Regions In The World

Posted August 31, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Elliott Morss

Investors should always be looking ahead and asking how foreseeable events will affect their holdings. In this article, I identify three regions where serious trouble affecting the world is most likely to occur:

  • The Middle East
  • India/Pakistan
  • The Eurozone

Conclusions and Investment Implications

The world is a dangerous place. The Middle East is close to getting completely out of hand. India, with its rising population and lack of effective governance, could become a global burden. And Europe is recovering? Nonsense.

My conclusion: the US is the safest place for your money. The market has sold  off a bit recently out of fear the Fed will stop buying bonds. That is completely the wrong way to look at the issue. Look at the Fed’s track record.

It has made tremendous efforts to get the recovery going in the absence of an  effective fiscal stimulus because of D.C. gridlock. It is not going to do anything to imperil this.

The Fed’s decision to cut back on bond-buying should be viewed as good news: it will mean the economic recovery is gaining momentum and is sustainable on its own.

See full article and analysis…

safest place for your money


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What Investors Should Think of Japan’s Gross Public Debt Passing One Quadrillion Yen

Posted August 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

By Fisher Investments

One quadrillion. That’s one thousand trillions. One million billions. One billion millions. It’s also, as of June 30, the size of Japan’s total outstanding debt in yen. Or, based on Monday’s preliminary estimate of Q2 output, 206% of GDP.

Some suggest this is evidence Japan is in dire need of, um, a sales tax hike. In our view, it underscores how vital structural economic reform is to Japan’s future—without it, Japan’s economy and equity markets likely face a tough road.

First, let’s get one thing clear: Japan doesn’t necessarily have a debt problem. For one, that one quadrillion refers to Japan’s gross public debt.

Net public debt, which excludes debt owned by the government and the BOJ, is only about ¥815 trillion, or 166% of GDP. Exclude debt held by state-run banking behemoth Japan Post, too, and the tally falls to about ¥676 trillion, or 142% of GDP (both as of 3/31/2013—the latest available Japan Post data). Still really big, but the cost of servicing it is manageable.

Current yields on Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) range from 0.2% (two-year) to 1.87% (40-year). Per fiscal 2013’s draft budget, debt service will comprise 24% of the budget—the same as in 2000—and total about 4.5% of GDP. Yes, it is far higher as a share of expected tax revenue (about 51.6%), but with demand for JGBs still robust, the government isn’t in danger of missing obligations any time soon. Or, simply, Japan isn’t Greece.

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The Best Android Apps of 2013 by PC Magazine

Posted July 28, 2013 at 8:00 am

The 100 Best Android Apps of 2013

by Max Eddy | PC Magazine

I just checked and apparently there are well over 800,000 apps on Google Play. That means if you wanted to see them all, you’d have to download and try over 90 apps an hour for a year.

No one’s got that kind of time, which is why we’ve put together this list of 100 Android apps that are sure to pique your interest.

We’ve been pruning and updating this list for over a year, trying to make sure it has a little something for everyone but also keep it fresh and interesting. While our tastes and yours may be different, we think our list is a good starting point. Hopefully the next time you stop by, you’ll see something new.

Whoa, 10 pages? Uncool. Paginated stories are pretty annoying, I agree. But with 100 apps, we had to break it up just to make it readable. We’ve even divided the article into themed sections, so you can skip over the first 50 or so if you’re only interested in, say, music apps.

Hey, You Missed Something Though we are professionals, we have yet to physically and mentally merge with the Google Play store, becoming an omnipotent being of total app knowledge. Until that glorious day, we’ll rely on our own humble judgment and your feedback. If we missed something, or you have a recommendation, be sure to drop us a line in the comment section.

This App Is Stale While 100 apps is a far more manageable slice of the enormous Google Play store, it’s still a challenge to keep up to date. That’s the nature of a platform as large and dynamic as Android. In order to keep these reviews fresh and accurate we’ll be doing rolling updates to the list.

Hopefully, the next time you read this, there’ll be some new hidden gems for you to discover. As always, tell us what your favorite Android apps are in the comments section below.

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