I am calling it quits for the year. And what a year it has been. Over 26 trips and 40 speaking engagements in 20 countries, I managed to log 75,000 flight miles, a distance of roughly three times around the world. Some 250,000 frequent flier miles were posted to my various accounts. Whenever I board Virgin Airlines, the crew lines up at attention and snaps off a brisk salute. Needless to say, first class, for me, is the Land of Milk and Honey.
The research I gathered was enough for me to publish 260 daily letters totaling 350,000 words. That is about half the length of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I also managed to pump out 52 trade alerts with a success ratio of 84%. That was enough to generate a year to date return of 40.18%, compared to a feeble -2.7% for the S&P 500. According to the email traffic, many of you did much better than this. If you are into triple digits, please send me an email. I would love to get a testimonial from you. And this was a year that many professionals describe as the most difficult of their careers.
You know that when they are advertising power tools and Pajamagrams on CNBC, it is time to get out of Dodge. This morning I will be driving through on icy roads to get to the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. There, I will consume a suitcase full of research and, after much cogitation, write my 2012 Annual Asset Review, which I will publish on January 3.
I will also be rethinking my business model, so if any of you have suggestions on how I can improve this service please send me an email at email@example.com. Just put “suggestions” in the subject line. Please forgive me in advance if I take a few hours catching some “big air” off of Squaw Valley’s treacherous XX black runs.
The following week will find me in Chicago for my annual New Year’s strategy luncheon, which is always packed to capacity. If you are nimble enough you can still pick up some tickets before it sells out. It gets so warm at these events that I have learned to bring along a summer suit.
To get home, I have booked a first class cabin on the California Zephyr, a 48 hour Amtrak ride back to San Francisco that will carry me over the snow covered Rocky Mountains and the High Sierras. New Year’s Eve should find me clickety clacking my way across the northern Nevada desert.
Here is my reading list for that sojourn:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
That Used to Be Us by Tom Friedman
Boomerang by Michael Lewis
The Pale Criminal by Philip Kerr
Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson by Hampton Sides
A Thousand Barrels a Second by Peter Tertzakian
License to Pawn by Rick Harrison
The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler
Back to Work by Bill Clinton
Decision Points by George W. Bush
During my absence I will be posting some of my favorite pieces from the last year. I have thousands of new subscribers who will be reading these for the first time, and many legacy readers may have missed them the first time around, or forgotten the data. I hope you find them as another useful step towards your education on the global financial markets.
Finally, I want to thank you all for an incredible year. I rode the Orient express from London to Venice. I lived in the lap of luxury at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and at Raffles in Singapore. I had the opportunity to meet heads of state, CEO’s, top money managers, our nation’s military leaders, and even a Maori chieftain. I had the pleasure of flying the length of the Grand Canyon at low altitude, weaving my way along the Colorado River.
I really did get to rub shoulders with the high and mighty who run the world and harvest their pearls of wisdom, which I passed on to you. I logged 200 hours as a pilot flying to such diverse locations as Molycorp’s (MCP) Mountain Pass mine, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and Honda’s loading docks in San Francisco. I never minded the horrendous jet lag, the well deserved hangovers, or the traffic jams in China. Your subscriptions to my products and your support of my research made it all possible.
I always tell people that I am not in this for the money, and it’s true. Not a day goes by when I don’t receive an email from a grateful reader who claims that I have paid off their mortgage, a kid’s college education, a parent’s uninsured operation, or a child’s chemotherapy. They tell me that I am teaching them to fish; thus, sparing them from the frozen tasteless kind they sell at Safeway that they must wait in line to pay inflated prices. You can’t buy that kind of appreciation, not with all the money in the world.
It certainly beats the hell out of spending my retirement scoring a 98 on the local golf course. And I’ll never beat Tiger Woods, no matter how many blonds I date.