Bob Fitzwilson: 2012 is the "Most Difficult Year Ever" for End-of-Year Financial Planning

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It should go without saying: this discussion should not be construed as individual financial advice by those listening to it. The content should be taken as informational and educational in nature only. Investment advice must be tailored to your specific personal situation (which Chris and Bob are obviously unaware of) and should be obtained directly from a financial advisor you trust. Before acting on any of the statements made in this podcast, we advise you do just that.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bob Fitzwilson (38m:41s):

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

"Ah knew itty".
I am glad that I hung in there because the good stuff came at the end.

How did I guess that that was coming?  A government seizure of the Pensions and they give it back to you as an annuity. Here in Australia the Govt has forced us to "save" into a pension fund, not dissimilar to Al Capone's. The pool is now $1.4T. The Government can't help themselves, they are already begining to nibble around the edges.

If you had not corresponded with your fund for a year they confiscated it. There was no outcry, so they decreased the time to 3 Months. If you haven't communicated with the fund for 3 Months they consider the fund "Lost" and they had better look after it.

On investing. If you know that you are out of your depth then you are ahead of the pack.

The fuse has been lit for the Silver Rocket but we don't know how fast it burns. I am betting that it burns faster and faster.


…and frankly brought to us well in advance of when most think about Tax liabilities and that is year end. Only here at our site PP do we get this.
Ironically I have a couple hour meeting with my accountant on Monday. It is a strategic planning session and we will run expiration of Bush tax cut scenarios etc…More an accountant straightening up some of my assumptions, and bring me up to speed with some of the rumors out there. Additionally and we have discussed this that we have no idea how even after a Fiscal Cliff passing and nothing is done we still won't know what these Folks in Congress will do. We don't know if we take the cash this year whether we could retroactively go back and redeposit these funds, and take no cash (I understand I have 30 or 60 days with regards to IRA but who knows after the 1ST, and after I took it what Congress will do). Just a very crazy time but then again just business, and it is better to discuss our plans well ahead of time than to wait until the last minute. Better a month early than a day late, and in keeping with Chris's simple and correct logic here.

I must give a hat tip to my Lady as she makes everything so easy as her income and benefits are more than enough to live on and routinely purchase the Gold and Silver (mostly our Estate shopping purchases of Silver, our hobby) we have for 4 years now. This on top of a core physical position I jump all over back in mid 2009 and 2010…

I cannot say how much this site means to me, and the challenges it motivates me to get a grip on.

Professor, in researching Hyperinflation I have yet to find one country that was Reserve currency that did fail completely that had the laws and consumer protections that we do… In researching further I haven't run into one where the lawful options to Bankruptcy and other Debt destructive measures that didn't have as a benefit the fact that you can Bankrupt all Debt yet keep all retirement accounts segregated, and not subject to confiscation during Bankruptcy. Plus you get to keep your home and have less of a burden to renegotiate the terms of your 1st mortgage, and just completely rid yourself of a 2ND mortgage. As you may know, I see this as a stay ahead of the game type strategy, and one I would have no issues with personally. I would have no issues advising any family members either of this materials as I see no reason they should lose it all when a few hundred bucks changes their lives immediately.

I have NO DOUBTS that printing is the future and a new currency but I have NO DOUBTS that Bankruptcy is a viable option for the individual as the laws and rules are written now. As we go forward the public will see more and more how laws are circumvented ny the Elite, and will chose the legal way out before those Bankruptcy rules are changed too. I just don't see where you can trust anyone in politics at this point. With Bankruptcy I apply the same logic you use here, and that is if you are really in serious Debt then Bankrupt NOW because the options and rules are known now so why wait. I base this on the end of the Bush years before Obama, and the rules changes made with regards to bankrupting credit cards.

This Hyperinflation could be 5, 10 years out still or we could just Bankrupt a great deal of our problems away too as there is a tipping point for the private/consumer household too. My thoughts are Debts could out pace any Inflation, and a Recession or two are still in the cards as we wash, rinse, and repeat the ups and downs of Oil prices (Oil I use because I understand it best), and just add to our other physical holdings with the profits.

I will research this further but this implies that at least Bankruptcy as an option is a rather good place to reboot, and then create a new financially responsible life.

Adam and Chris, thank you again for this Podcast as the next few weeks can cost us a great deal of cash value depending on what Congress does or doesn't do.

My strategy is to sit tight, leave all cash where she sits, and deploy this cash for what will be a very profitable 2013 as Recession will most certainly hit our economy regardless of what happens in Japan, Europe, UK, or China. I believe my Oil E&P's for instance will benefit greatly to a 20, 30, or 40% correction in the market. It's coming are my thoughts and worth the risk to hold onto all the cash I can, and then jump back in to get the extreme upside.  I have more than dabbled in shorting Oil and have the kinks worked out on that strategy I will deploy also.

An unlimited spending budget, really, are we nuts or what?

Respectfully Given

Happy Holidays


…John Mauldin and friend:

By Ed Easterling, Crestmont Research

 December 7, 2012
 All rights reserved

 "There are numerous problem-solving and decision-making processes in the military and civilian sectors. All of them start with a common first step: Identify and define the problem. Get the first step wrong, and there is no chance for success.

 Public employee retirement systems across the nation have a major problem. Yet the issues are not isolated to investment portfolios managed in the basements of cold, dark government buildings. Nor is the impact limited to retirees or near-retirees of those programs. The tentacles reach out to the taxpayers that backstop those plans and the people served by the government workers in those plans.

 Pension plans are simple programs. They are set-up to receive contributions from employers and employees to be distributed later back to the employees as retirement benefits. But the plans expect to distribute more than the contributions that go in—and it almost always can. Down in the basement, the pension plan invests the contribution money over many years to produce a return. The return and the contributions combine to meet the obligations promised to the workers upon retirement. However, if that combination of funds is insufficient, then the taxpayers are expected to make up the shortfall.

 So there are three components to the pension machine: contributions, returns, and distributions. Two of them can be easily and accurately estimated. The third component is an assumption—a very important assumption.


 Most often, the process starts with an estimate of retirement benefits. For each worker that the pension plan covers, the analysts (called “actuaries”) estimate the expected years in retirement, the time to retirement, and the inflation rate across the entire period. This exercise is not very accurate for any single worker, yet it is surprisingly accurate across a population of workers.  The total of all expected retirement payments is known as the pension plan’s liability.

 Contributions are also easy to estimate because they relate to a percentage of workers’ wages that are covered by the pension plan. The same actuaries grind numbers in big computers with good accuracy. They estimate the expected total contributions to the pension plan as well as the ultimate distributions for retirement benefits. The accumulated total of the past contributions is known as the pension plan’s assets.

 This is where the third component comes in. The contributions alone are never sufficient to cover the liabilities. Pension plans expect the contributions to earn a return while they wait in the basement between employees’ working years and the retirement years. And, as they say, there is the rub.


 What is a reasonable assumption for returns?

 Well, it’s complicated. The return assumption should reasonably relate to the types of investments that are used by the pension plan. The mix of investments depends upon the risk profile that the pension plan is willing to accept.


 Actually, the pension plan is not accepting the risk. The pension plan is just a conduit, a legal entity that stands between the retirees and the taxpayers. Most states have laws that provide some or complete protection for specified benefits promised to retirees. Therefore, the ultimate risk falls upon the taxpayers—not on retirees or the pension plan itself. It is more accurate to say that the mix of investments depends upon the risk profile that pension plan managers are willing to place on the taxpayers.

 The Social Security trust fund invests exclusively in bonds and securities issued by the U.S. Government. These investments are considered to be virtually risk-free and have little risk of loss. As a result, taxpayers bear little risk from a loss in the value of investments in the Social Security trust fund.

 In 2005, there was an effort to change the investment mix for the Social Security trust fund to include stock market investments. That initiative failed because the public rejected the additional risk that it represented. The stock market was considered to be far too risky for nation’s largest retirement plan. Taxpayers refused to accept the risk associated with potential losses from stock market investments.

 Nonetheless, states have convinced taxpayers to accept stock market risk for their government retirement plans. Ironically, the national plan would have had national taxpayers accept stock market risk for virtually everyone’s potential benefit; the state program has state taxpayers accepting stock market risk for plans that are limited to state and local government workers.


 State pension plan investments are not limited to the stock market. They include corporate bonds, U.S. Treasury debts, real estate, private companies, hedge funds, commodities, and a wide variety of other investments. This mix of investments enables state pension funds to justify the assumption of a higher rate of return.

 This is critical because a higher rate of return means that state pension funds can contribute a significantly smaller amount of upfront contributions based upon worker’s wages. If state pension funds were investing in less risky, lower return state and federal bonds, the states would have to contribute a lot more money at each payroll.

 It’s the Big Tradeoff: contributions vs. returns. Lower expected returns means that higher contributions are needed so that the combination of contributions and returns can pay for retirement benefits. By assuming and hoping for a higher rate of return, the amount of contributions is less because the states expect for investment returns to make up the difference.

 To illustrate the tradeoff, assuming typical pension plan assumptions—including an expected annual return of 8%, the combined contribution between employee and employer is approximately 19% of the payroll.  That’s about 8% or 9% of the employee’s wages paid by each of the employee and the employer.  It’s not too far from the rates that have been used by many states and public employment plans.

 But if the outlook for future annual returns falls to 4% (as current conditions warrant), the required contribution rises substantially to 68% of the payroll—more than three times typical current contribution rates. The reason is the power of compounded returns, the eighth wonder of the world that so enamored Albert Einstein. Unachieved or underachieved returns significantly reduce the ability of public pension plans to meet retirement promises in the future.

 To illustrate the effect that investment return has on supplying funds for retirement benefits, consider the following example. Assume for simplicity that the time horizon is thirty years. That’s about the amount of time from the first dollar of wages to the first dollar of retirement. It’s also about the time from the last dollar of wages to the last dollar of retirement. Clearly there are other considerations including wage gains and retirement benefit adjustments, yet thirty years provides a representative example.

 One dollar grows to just over $3 after thirty years of investment returns at 4%. But, the same dollar grows to more than $10 after thirty years when returns are 8%. That is more than three times the assets to pay retirement benefits. Investment return does not change the amount paid in retirement benefits, it only changes the amount of funds provided by investment returns. The difference must be provided through additional contributions.


 Clearly, taxpayers have a strong interest in the riskiness of the investment portfolio and the reasonableness of the assumption for returns. The only investment that assures its rate of return is a U.S. bond. Beyond that, the rate of return from investments generally increases as the chances of investment success decreases. Risk is not a knob that can be turned for higher returns. Instead, as investment risk increases, the odds of investment success decrease. Taxpayers accurately read the situation with Social Security and rejected accepting the risk of reaching for higher returns; yet they are now on the hook for substantial risk at the state level.

 Why? And what can be done about it?

 The “why” goes back to the assumption for returns from investments. Pension plan administrators know that higher return expectations make it easier to appear to meet the retirement benefit obligations. Despite the well-known tenant that “past performance is not an indication of future returns,” state pension funds rely upon the results of past years to set the expectation for future years—the rate of return assumption for the pension plans.


 The reason that past performance is not a reasonable indicator is that conditions change. For example, as recently as five years ago you could walk into a bank and receive 4% on a certificate of deposit; the U.S. Government paid 5% for investments in its short-term notes. Today, with the same money, the interest rate is less than 1%. It is not reasonable to assume yesteryear’s rate of return for the future.

 Yet that is exactly what the public pension plans are doing. They continue to assume that their investments will average around 8% annually despite the change in conditions.

 Bonds held by public pension plans return far less than 8%. Real estate and other non-traditional investments struggle to achieve 8%. Finally, the largest part of the portfolio for most public pension plans, investments in the stock market, has not been priced to return 8% for more than a decade!

 What? Conventional wisdom attributes the 2008 recession and stock market losses to current pension plan shortfalls. How and why could this discussion relate to the past decade?

 This leads to the most important point in this discussion—defining the problem. If the current shortfalls for public pension plans are the result of a unique gap created by the 2008 recession, then the solution is to refill the gap over time. Many states are attempting to do this by increasing slightly the level of contributions over the next ten or twenty years to plug the hole.

 But instead, if the shortfalls are the result of a trend that was merely recognized by the 2008 recession, then the current and future gap is destined to be ever-widening. That is the $4 trillion question.

 Markets go up and down, especially the stock market. The stock market has historically gone up or down by more than 10% each year during almost seventy percent of the years; it has gone up or down by more than 16% each year about half of years. That is a lot of up and down.


 More importantly, for long-term investors like pension plans, the combination of ups and downs across the decades is not driven by good or bad news. Nor is it a random walk of years that provides some constant average rate of return. Instead, longer-term returns from the stock market vary depending upon the starting point. As a result, longer-term returns from the stock market are quite predictable.

 To understand the predictability, consider that the average long-term annual return from the stock market has been almost 10%. Yet the so-called “long-term returns” refers only to one really long period, typically 1926 to present. Instead, consider long-term returns across each and every ten-year period since 1900.

 As it turns out, the average annualized return for decades of ten consecutive years is also near 10%. But the range for decade-long returns is quite wide and few of them deliver near 10% returns. Almost eighty percent of the decade-long periods over the past century ended with annualized stock market returns either above 12% or below 8%. So the odds-on bet for stock market investors is an outlook of well-above average or well-below average.  Average is a bad assumption.

 Why can we say that long-term returns from the stock market are relatively predictable? The thirty-five percent of periods that averaged 12% or more have a common element—they started with the stock market having a value that was fairly low. The value of the stock market can be measured by comparing its price to the amount of annual profits generated by its companies. This is known as the price/earnings ratio, or simply P/E.


 The forty-four percent of periods when returns averaged 8% or less started when the stock market had a value that was fairly high.  In general, the higher the starting value, the lower the decade-long returns. This is particularly relevant because today’s stock market on a normalized basis is priced fairly high. It was very, very high after the market bubble in the late 1990s. Since the early 2000s, the stock market has been treading water—with normally dramatic ups and downs—as its value has settled from very-high to high.  But it is still high. And that means that future returns from today are destined to be below-average.

 Here’s where it gets tricky. As we know from history, at some point in the future the stock market will again be cheap. That will enable new, future contributions to be invested at lower prices with the expectations of higher returns. But, and it’s an important but, current investments are destined to deliver low returns when measured from today. Returns from existing assets are baked-in at current prices.

 So not only will today’s bond investments fall short of the current assumptions currently used by state pension plans, stock market investments will also fall short. The level of shortfall is dramatic. Bonds can be expected to contribute 2% to 4% annualized returns. Stocks can be expected to contribute 0% to 6%, depending upon the future inflation rate and the level of economic growth. Real estate and other non-traditional investments could reasonably be included at 4% to 10%. All in, depending upon the relative mix of investments that are used, the blended rate of return will more likely be 3% to 5% instead of the 7.5% to 8% currently assumed by most state pension plans.

 The result is an ongoing gap of near 4% annually that will cause an ever-widening shortfall for state pension plans.  The problem is not a gap created by a unique event in 2008, but rather it is the result of an environment that started about a decade ago.

 That gap, moreover, will not move at glacial pace presenting a subtle 4% shift each year. Rather, with the force of an earthquake, periodic market declines will reveal large chasms. Subsequent surges may cure much of the hole until the next plunge. Yet over time, the gap will never seem to close and will attract excuses for why it is widening. Hope will spring eternal as the ship slowly succumbs to drowning waters.


 The implications are significant.

 First, public pension plans have very large gaps to fill as well as ongoing shortfalls. Solutions must be dedicated to shore up the plans. Policy makers must resist the temptation to use pension reform as a way to fund obligations outside of the plans.

 Second, solutions will require additional contributions that will further challenge the budgets of state and local government employers. The magnitude of the additional funding will only increase with delay. Every year that additional funding is missed compounds and concentrates the problem into fewer future years. Further, state and local governments will be able to make much better decisions about sourcing additional funding if they are aware of the full magnitude of the problem. Likewise, the participants in these retirement pension plans will experience less change and will have more time to plan if their part of the solution is decided and implemented sooner.

 Additionally, there are significant implications for citizens. Budget shortfalls at the state and local level will drive higher taxes: income, property, sales, and other taxes. Higher taxes among the broad citizenry to fund retirement benefits—where the benefits are greater than in the private sector—may generate resentment and unrest. Such emotional responses often result in less-rational solutions. Higher taxes and social anxiety can lead to slower economic growth, which can reduce standards of living over time. The last comment is intended to recognize a significant risk with the hope of encouraging solutions; it is not intended to be a foresight.

 Finally, there are significant implications for investors. Some municipal bond issuers that appear solvent under current investment return assumptions will fail under the more realistic assumptions. Caveat emptor. Investors also tend to be targets for higher income and wealth taxes, which can lower net returns from their other investments.

 The solution to public pension woes is not a stopgap series of contributions; it will require fundamental reform to address the ongoing effects of the existing conditions. A successful solution requires an accurate assessment of the problem. An inaccurate assessment begs disaster. Without a comprehensive solution, the likely actions will be marginal plugs introduced with hope that ultimately result in ineffective results."

Hey Arthur, anyone really, are you noticing that we are talking a Trillion here a Trillion there, print a Trillion,there a Trillion everywhere a Trillion! Honjestly this is truly "nuts" as Chris would certainly say, I would guess.

Happy Holidays Folks











Ed Easterling is the author of recently-released Probable Outcomes: Secular Stock Market Insights and award-winning Unexpected Returns: Understanding Secular Stock Market Cycles.  Further, he is President of an investment management and research firm, and a Senior Fellow with the Alternative Investment Center at SMU’s Cox School of Business where he previously served on the adjunct faculty and taught the course on alternative investments and hedge funds for MBA students.  Mr. Easterling publishes provocative research and graphical analyses on the financial markets at

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And to anyone who wondered at RJE pasting an entire article in full, John Mauldin's policy is you can repost an article as long as you repost IN FULL and add all the links and atributions at the bottom of his articles.

Thank you Wendy, and a huge assist by Adam that is a certainty. Thank you both.
Happy Holidays


Dear Bob,
When you say that we will probably restart with a commodity-based currency, do you mean a preexisting one like Canada or an entirely new one?

Economic Constitution

I don't remember ever volunteering how this would work out. I am not the one with strong views on this EC. I happen to think we have what we will have in the short to medium term (5 to 10 years). I believe the Reserve Currency, the Dollar, for a good while yet. I know others here have other thoughts but I could immagine Gold as a part of a basket of currencies. I like the Canadian Dollar very much but I have no expert convictions or understanding frankly. This is the Professors domain as he is most qualified to answer this for you. He has expressed his opinions on this and perhaps he or Adam would direct you to a past article or Podcast where Chris could show a well written opinion on this. I wish I could have opinioned better but I just cannot.Have a Great Day EC
Happy Holidays

…anyways, I have read many previous reports by John Hussman this weekend and Dec.3RD was just very enjoyable. The math is over my pay scale but I understood a great deal because he is a master at explaining his thoughts.
A couple of quotes he attributes to a friend/mentor of his: “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”…“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.”

There are many gems like this and I have them now tact to my office map that I will view often.

The full article for those who haven't read this weeks addition. Enjoy as I did.

Celebrating my 58TH birthday today with those I would die for in a moments notice. Have a great day Folks. 72 days before the catchers and pitchers report for spring training. Cool


Hey Bob - Happy Birthday! Hope it is a good one! EC, what in tarnation are you talking about - Canada has a commodity based currency?!?!? That is news to me! Our economy is largely resource based, and the rise in commodity prices, most notably in oil, of which we have large exports, contributed to the increase in our dollar the past few years. Our dollar is fiat money, just like all the others who abandoned the gold standard. The Bank of Canada largely allows the market to determine the value of our dollar, with minimal interventions. Right now our dollar is showing strength in global markets due to the perceived economic stability of Canada during this crisis. That is not to say that we don't have our deficit/debt problems too. Perhaps the one thing we have going for us is that we seem to have a pretty rock solid banking system. But I personally am concered about what kind of exposures our banks have to the derivatives markets - that is an unknown that could tilt the tables in a bad way.

there is way more than 1 billion oz of silver.  this would be only 32000 tons or so, whereas there are 164000tons of gold.  so a reasonable guess would be between 20 billion and 100billion oz of silver., worth in the neighborhood of 1T$

Hi Dave,Do you have some stats or sources for us so that we can decide if there is validity to your statement re the quantity of silver?

Jan,  Mr. Blau already cited his source:  Reasonable(in_his_mind)  I don't use that website much myself.  
At this point in time, registered, deliverable Silver at the Comex is 40.4 M Oz., and all Silver (including that held by customers but not for sale) equals 146.5 M Oz. Given that the 1 Billion Oz figure is usually described as, "total investable Silver", i.e.  that which could be bought… I find the figure credible.  Most Silver that is used industrially ends up dispersed to such a degree that recycling is not presently practiced… Maybe if Silver were $250/Oz more recylcing would become economic…but not today… so for all practical purposes that Silver is gone.  Dave Blau can try to wave his magic guess wand and induce you to believe that there is 30x more Silver out there… which is certainly a narrative that the Bullion Banks would like you to believe… but I think you would be foolhardy to forego further Silver investments based on a lie.  Dave is apparently a paper bug type… he argues that there is lots of Silver so that you hold on to your rare, valuable, paper instead.

By the way, come 20 or 30 years from now… there will be almost no Silver coming out of the ground anymore… what will it be worth then?   Look at the rate of ore grade depletion implied by SRS Rocco's chart in the attached post;   


I appreciate your clarification on that. As I am of the belief that the only real silver (or gold) is that which one holds in their hands, I will continue my planning around that. Paper certificates are just paper backed by a promise, and we all know how well things backed by promises are going these days…Thanks Jim

One of the recurring themes in the investing podcasts is to invest in "things". Hard assets.
It seems to me that although and RV (recreational vehicle) is a hard asset, it has flaws such as being a depreciating asset as well as the need for gas (or diesel) to operate. However, it has a lot of utility and it is very easy to be nearly self sufficient in an energy sort of way.

I was wondering what others here think of trading dollars for an RV or even highly financing it and watch inflation reduce the debt to near nothing.



One of the recurring themes in the investing podcasts is to invest in "things". Hard assets.
It seems to me that although and RV (recreational vehicle) is a hard asset, it has flaws such as being a depreciating asset as well as the need for gas (or diesel) to operate. However, it has a lot of utility and it is very easy to be nearly self sufficient in an energy sort of way.
I was wondering what others here think of trading dollars for an RV or even highly financing it and watch inflation reduce the debt to near nothing.
Whenever I think of any kind of vehicle, the question of fuel comes up first and next the assumption that roads will be open and passable.  Although RVs are supposed to be for camping, they can't get anywhere I ever go camping.

My original post was intended for the speaker on the podcast Bob Fitzwilson.  Hopefully he will read this and respond too.
RJE Bob, thank you for your responses.  I look forward to looking through the material you suggested when I get time.  Happy Birthday.

Westcoastjan,  I got the idea of Canada being a commodity currency from the book Currency Trading for Dummies.  (I am still  learning so please be patient with me.)  In the currency traders world, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are considered commodity currencies because their countries have an abundance of resources such as oil, metals agricultural and mining industries.  As paper money loses value, some investors put their money into the resources that humanity needs itself and that includes investing in commodity currencies.  The author, Brian Dolan, points out that in recent years there has been a correlation (not causation) of commodity currencies and the commodity values themselves.

In the past week I have heard talk on both CBC and BNN news of the Canadian dollar becoming a researve currency.  Thus my question.  When Bob Fitzwilson talks about a resource-based currency in the podcast, is he talking about a commodity currency like Canada's becoming a new researve currency or is he talking about a new type of currency based on resources altogether?  

Good news.  Canada never deregulated its banking system and did not allow the same exposure to derivitives that the US did.  That is why Canada did not suffer the same crisis and why Canada now has the soundest banking system in the world.  Canada is producing about four times as many jobs per capita as the US and most of them are full-time jobs with benefits.  The OECD recently released a report saying that Canada will lead G7 growth for the next 50 years.  Yes, Canada is playing the same fiat money game and will suffer if the system collapses, but it is not nearly as deep into the problem as the US.  I think Canada will do better than most of the other countries.

I certainly hope so because after studying Canada for around nine years I decided to migrate there myself.  I just retired from teaching in the southeastern US and moved my family to British Columbia.  I guess that makes me west coast too.




RV's, or recreational vehicles do not strike me as a good investment. Mostly, they sit in you driveway.
Around here, we call them "guest cottages."

Hi EC,Welcome to the west coast - a darn great place to live, but shhhh, don't tell too many people.
No worries re the terminology on currency names. This is a learning curve for me too, big time. I just did not want you or anyone else to think that we had a secret thing going up here and we are really back-stopping our bucks with something other than hot air.
I am glad to see such a great cheer-leader for Canada! I am optimistic too, but that optimism is tempered by the fact that we are, and always have been, joined at the hip with our good neighbors to the south. What happens there can and does affect us, strong Canadian banks not withstanding. And again, there is that domino effect re the derivatives scene. Everything is so interconnected now there is just no telling where the fires are going to flare up…I remain cautious in that regard.
Sorry if I came across too hard - that is a problem with the written word - nuances, tone and meaning are easily misinterpreted. I have to remember when I write cuz what is going on in my mind, which might be a humourous take on something, is not  necessarily how it is being received on the other end. My bad if I offended you :frowning:

No worries.  I just turned 50 and taught teenagers for the past 20 years so I have a pretty thick skin.  It could be thicker though and this site seems like a place to obtain that considering the people here have well grounded (energy, energy, environment) wisdom.  I have learned a lot from this site and have even showed part of the crash course (the part about net energy) to my students.Yeah, I'm a cheer-leader for Canada.  I researched the migration like crazy and the move turned out better than I had hypothesized.  The best part is moving into a reason-based democracy as opposed to a greed-based democracy.  It is like stepping out of the sunset of the currupt Roman Republic and into the sunrise of the Athean golden age.
As you can tell, I am optimistic too.  Too optimistic really and in need of tempering.  I look forward to tempering my ideas with the wisedom of the people on this site.