My Last Death Threat in 2011

I got this email the other day:

“Just saw you on CNBC. Shocked! I thought for sure I read you had hung yourself.
Well, now I have a new wish for Christmas!”

It was signed and he was referring to a recent TV appearance I made where I was bullish on the economy in 2012.

I don’t know a so it was effectively anonymous. This is why the Internet is great. I am particularly ugly when you see me on TV. Everyone is very beautiful on TV. They always try to put makeup on me or make me brush my hair or tuck my shirt in. Ugh. Are you my mommy? I also had particularly big headsets on. Like Keith Partridge in the Partridge Family. “I Think I Love You”. You know the song.

So its perfectly reasonable that an anonymous person from Washington DC (I tracked his IP address) would send me that note. He just saw an ugly person on TV. Kill him! It’s a natural survival instinct for the species. And now, with the Internet, he can act on this natural genetic instinct and send an anonymous email message. I’m in favor of that.

I tried to think what else could upset him. Well a lot of people get upset that I’m very bullish for 2012. A lot of people, both citizens and the warlords in our own government, want America, capitalism, the Internet, the economy, all of our established insitutions, to go down in flames. I don’t know why they want this. They think it will be fun. Like we’ll party like it’s 1999. That sort of thing.

You can stop reading here if this makes you irrationally angry for some reason.



I’m giving you one more chance to go to a different page. If you go to the top of this page and search on “prostitutes” you will find many fun stories.


Home sales: Housing prices still stink. Nobody should ever buy a home again, in my opinion. The myth of the white picket fence was invented by a trillion dollar mortgage industry powered by an over-accelerated Federal Reserve. Prices are down 2.8% from a year ago. But there’s very good news. Inventories are at the lowest levels since 1963. And at current demand, months of inventory on the market are at six months, the lowest since 2006. In fact, home sales have been up considerably the past few months. Guess what happens in any market when supply goes down and demand goes up: prices go up.

Corporate profits are at an all time high. This is for three reasons. All the companies fired people two years ago. Demand is coming back (see below), and the Internet is actually allowing companies to do things for free that they used to use expensive people for. What happens when corporate profits are at an all time high?

Cash in the bank is at an all time high:  Non-banks in the S&P 500 have two trillion cash in the bank, the highest levels ever. This cash is sitting around doing nothing. Do you know what happens when cash is sitting around doing nothing?

Announced Stock Buybacks are at an all time high: Since 1990 you know who the biggest buyers of stocks are? It’s not mutual funds or retail investors. It’s other companies by a factor of 4:1. Through buybacks and mergers. Announced buybacks for 2012 has hit over $1.1 trillion, the first time this number has breached a trillion. Oh, and guess what, the number of shares outstanding has now gone down for three years in a row, for the first time since 1990. You know what happens in any market when demand goes up (the stock buyback announcements) and supply goes down? See above.

Consumer spending is up at an all time high. How can this be? Isn’t unemployment still at 8.6%. Yes. But: A) unemployment is 1.2% lower than it was a year ago. And B) many of the unemployed were in lower paying jobs. I’m just the messenger here but it’s the truth. Personal incomes are actually UP 4% over the past year. Not only that but temp jobs are up and the average hourly work week is up. Which means full time employment is going to continue to grow, as it has been all year.

But, you can ask: isn’t this the same problem we had before? People spend, spend, spend, and then owe, owe, owe?


(consumer spending at an all time high)

Household debt obligations are the lowest since 1993. Mortgages, rents, car loans/leases and other debt services added together divided by income after taxes is the lowest since 1993.

But what about Europe? I know this blog might have European readers. In fact, we might even have readers from Greece. Hello out there! But do you really think a beach resort in the Mediterranean is going to have an effect on the US economy? Greece’s economy to the Eurozone is equivalent to Rhode Island to the US economy. I live 40 minutes from Rhode Island and I don’t think I’ve ever even set foot in that state.

Well, what about Italy and, god forbid, France! Voulez Vouz Coucher!?

History Lesson: 1981: The top 8 US banks were 260% exposed (through leverage it goes higher than 100%) to South America in 1981. All of South America defaulted. Nobody in Europe has defaulted. We had to do massive bailouts combined with down on our knees old-fashioned prayer and still we had a 20 year stock market boom. Meanwhile, the top 5 US banks (mergers) are 8% exposed to Europe and there’s been no defaults.

So why are we so worried? I bring this up on TV and the response is always: you might be right, James, but what about “investor psychology” of these events. No problem! TURN OFF THE TV. These are not the droids you are looking for. Recession news gets a lot more press (and money) than good news. We have this biological instinct to protect the places where we pee regularly. So if there’s going to be news that’s going to upset these sacred peeing grounds then that news drives ratings. I make it a habit to avoid all news.

Bank cash: The Federal Reserve printed up $1.6 trillion in cash for “QE2”. Guess what. Bank reserves increased by $1.6 trilion in cash. They haven’t spent the money! The Federal Reserve DID NOT NEED TO PRINT THAT MONEY.  But the banks will spend it. It typically takes 6-18 months for quantitative easing to have an effect on the economy. Nobody tells you that in the news. Guess when the last dollar of QE2 was printed? Six months ago. The only issue with all this is that the accelerator is going to hit too fast. The Federal Reserve should NEVER have done QE2. The accelerator is going to be so fast only the nimble will be able to keep up with it and the middle class will once again be left behind while the banks and the people who “Occupy Money” will win. While the short-term might appear to stimulating it will be stimulating like a roller coaster. The Federal Reserve needs to tell it’s employees to go on a vacation for a decade or so.

More on Stocks: The S&P 500 trades for just 13 times 2011 earnings versus the historical average of 15 times. Given that earnings will probably continue to improve, the market could move back to the historical average. If you throw in that interest rates are at the lowest levels since 1960 (important since you compare the relative safety of investments by looking at interest rates), the market is at its lowest level since 1960. Going back to historical averages when you take into account interest rates could cause the Dow to more than double (Source: Brian Wesbury at First Trust Portfolios.) If rates go up, as expected, we can still see a 40-50% quick move up from here.

But aren’t things overvalued? AAPL is at less than 10 times next year’s earnings compared to a historical average of around 20. Should AAPL, which grew it’s earnings 100% this past year, be valued like an electric utility company? I can give more examples (CSCO, MSFT, INTC, all growing, all equally cheap) but AAPL is good enough. (See, “Why Apple Will be the World’s First Trillion Dollar Company“)

Technology. Two years ago I never even heard of an iPad. I had nothing stored in the cloud. I had a dumb phone instead of a smart phone. Fracking was a pipe dream and is going to shortly make the US the largest producer of energy in the world, beating the Middle East. Biotech and genetic diagnostics continue to make astounding improvements. Facebook has 800 million users. The fastest growing company in history (in revenues), Groupon, started in just 2008. And the more ideas we have, the more ideas mate with each other and create new generations of ideas. Those grow and provide jobs, and lead to venture capital, and IPOs, etc.

Remember 2000 when everyone said, “man, I wish I knew a boom was coming in 1996.” Well, here we are again.

By the way, in the title I mentioned this was the last death threat I got in 2011.

Here is the first death threat I got:

“I hop that your foolesh feels relizes that peapl in indea are dieing in indea just to go to collige and you have the odasity to tell the world its a horribil thing . Ill bet that both your douters well think your a complet ass hole when they get older. You making the Us look like a ovly confedent jackass of a country. Pray that i dont find you becase i well kill you with no mercecy then devour your body. I shal never messege you agean Nor shal i reply….we speak no more.”

You have to love the Internet. I love how I can make friends like Taylor Northcutt (the author of the above) without having to meet face to face. What was his problem? He didn’t like my post: “10 Reasons Parents Should Never Send Their Kids to College”?

We all have opinions. We all want to argue. My main goal for 2012: reduce the things I get anxious about, increase the things I feel contentment about.

And guess what – you might hate me for that. Even want to kill me! I hope not, though, because 2012 can also be great for you if you take advantage of the opportunities. There’s a few hours left in 2011 Good riddance! Time to Occupy 2012.

James’s latest book is I Was Blind But Now I See. You can follow him @jaltucher.

The Journey towards Personal Freedom Starts with YOU

It's time to make the most important decision of your life: Choose Yourself.

I will show you how...

Every weekday I'll send my latest stories, ideas and exclusive interviews straight to your inbox.

Sign up below for Altucher Confidential, my FREE e-letter.

By submitting your email address, you will receive a free subscription to Altucher Confidential. This daily investment newsletter delivers free independent financial forecasting and commentary along with carefully selected products and services that we think might interest you. We will not share your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Statement.

  • Usually it’s high school classmates that are behind these death threats. At least in my experience. I have survived so far.

  • Mg

    First a happy new yer to you and your much better half, an intelligent piece as always but wrong on timing also the greece R.I. companison as goes R.I. does not go the other 49, the Euro rmains in danger as does the whole european financial alliance, the potential affect of that on our economy is enormous, next how do you eqate the positive if QU 2 without looking at the other consequences of increasing money supply, every time M1 and 3 fly this way we face inflationary pressures which we are not now correctly compenating for, I haven’t read your whole piece carefully, Lynda is waiting in the ca so im rushed but think again and leave your darn hair alons,
    Michael Gardner

    • Ha! Michael!

       I totally agree with you. Since the euro has been around the US stock market has gone down. So if the euro goes away perhaps we will see a good effect on the economy.

      In terms of the money supply, the best hedge against inflation along with precious metals is the stock market, particularly with over 60% of S&P 500 revs coming from abroad. Also, with the decline in faith in the eurozone, we are seeing a surprising pop in durable orders that would’ve once come from Europe (boeing getting a huge order from Emirates. an order that should’ve gone to airbus, as an example).

  • FarrenWest

    Nice work James as always ;-) love to hear you chat it up! This decreased my anxiety a bit, too! We are planning a family trip to Europe and wondering if we should just Squirrel away the money instead…nah! Live the DREAM ;-) Thanks again…for your insights!!!

  • Altucher, did you have to blog today? I mean I have to clean and do laundry, I can’t do those if I know you have blogged. 

    Death threats: I would say people have too much time on their hands, they need to get those waitress pads and lots of it to start writing down positive ideas and live a more productive life. 

    Now back to cleaning.

  • Nice outing the Jackass!

    kosoverh needs to learn that 1) No, you are anonymous on the internet; and 2) Actions have consequences — including threatening comments and emails.

    Too bad it wasn’t a dot edu email — if the threat is too overt (Im not sure this one was), you can always send it to “Abuse@” or” Legal@” in this case, Bellsouth 

    • A few months ago I had a threat from a senior. I reported it to their dept of public safety who did nothing. Its always odd to me that universities are the only places that are privately policed. Which is why its so hard to get stats on campus violence, campus rapes, suicides, etc.

      • Well not the only place that is privately policed. The Catholic church pretty much works the same way. You have to substitute civil actions for police actions to get any results.

  • Lori

    what’s the opposite of a death threat? i send you a life blessing for 2012. your blog brings a lot of humor and happiness into my life. cheers to you & yours!

  • Anonymous

    Normal people who go the grocery stores and gas stations realize that inflation was well into the double digit range over the past year. (See for the truth)

    Near zero interest rates reward borrowers while penalizing savers and investors. How can that be good for America? If you were prudent/smart/productive enough to accumate $2 million you can now earn a whopping $10,000 – $20,000 in annual income (unless you’re willing to take on risk). Meanwhile the money printing is set to destroy the trade-weighted dollar’s buying power.

    Everything imported will cost us 50% – 150% more before too long. (See Iceland post-2008 for what it will look like here in the near future).
    Unfunded pension liabilities for government workers at all levels (including civil servants, policemen, firemen teachers, toll takers etc.) are bankrupting our nation.

    The 48% of earners that actually pay federal income taxes now support themselves and their non-contributing neighbors. Comrade Obama thinks that is just fine because he has been supported his whole life by others. He wants those that contribute the most already to pay for everything. The payroll tax ‘holiday’ is simply a veiled way of putting further burdens on the most productive people and capital investment while eliminating much of the only federal tax many salaried workers still pay.

    It also makes current national debt increase around $150 – $200 billion greater per year at a time when SS is already running a current account deficit.

    Democracy = 2 wolves and a lamb voting over what to have for dinner. The majority vote will be obvious to predict but immoral to implement.

    I believe stocks will go up but only because good companies will be able to mark up their prices to adjust for inflation. Those who deferred gratification and saved (paper) money will see their lifetime earnings destroyed by Uncle Ben and B.O.

    • I agree with all of the above. Long erm there are issues. But short-term, i believe in the innovation in America and I believe that we over-inflated too quickly, which short-term leads people to believe that things are going well.

      meanwhile, I deal with just the basics of supply and demand to suggest where the undervlued gaps might be.

      • Anonymous

        Fair enough.

      • James,  If you agree with all of the head poster’s notions then you should know that shadowstats overstates inflation by using a fixed market basket and doesn’t believe in hedonics which is a measure of changes in quality and captures the effect of technology and innovation on purchasing power. 

        If you are gormless enough to structure your $2 million portfolio in bonds with a huge principal risk then you would earn meager returns and the poster is correct.

        As far as excess reserves being leant out too quickly sparking inflation the Fed can drain those reserves fairly quickly if it needs to.

        Also, the poster doesn’t understand the structure of our democracy/republic.  Our Senate balances the tyranny of the majority (no lambs for dinner).

        The poster believes that a strong dollar will lead to higher import prices.  Huh?

        The poster also believes that the personal income tax is a measure of the majority of Federal tax obligations.  The working poor pay more than 16% of their income (including foregone wages for employer contributions not to mention other government imposed employment costs which dampen the rate of wage increases particularly for the unskilled (teenagers) and semi-skilled).  In total their taxes are onerous and when you add in state and local sales taxes and personal property taxes the poor and lower middle class subsidize the wealthy and middle class in their homes and their retirement and pay more than their fair share of educating middle class kids.

        Obama is not really attacking the wealthy but the poor and lower middle class by adding to the cost of employing people through regulation and hidden taxation.  The PPAACA will do more to harm the poor and lower middle class than any action of the government since the SSA and Medicare.  It is really a middle class subsidy.

        Obama will raise over a billion dollars from the wealthy, college professors and the poor this year but it is the poor he continually attacks.  Talk about irony.

        Your notion that innovation is a short run phenomenon is also wrong.  Innovations take as long as 20 years to diffuse.  Entrepreneurs who are first movers can capture monopoly profits like Microsoft did and anger government who is in league with crony capitalists (inefficient rent seeking witlings) and their companies’ stock price can soar in a short time frame like Microsoft’s did.  But the initial innovation will play out over years and perhaps decades by increasing productivity and increasing purchasing power, particularly for the poor and lower middle class.  Economists call this a positive externality or an economic benefit that is captured not by the entrepreneur in profits but by everyone in a better life.

        Libertarian ideas benefit the poor and lower middle class more by removing barriers erected by government which is why they never get any traction in Washington the game is rigged to keep middle class voters happy and the wealthy entrenched in a rent seeking paradise.

        The true irony in all of this is that the wealthy would do better as would everyone else if the government would just get out of the way. 

        • Bogususer

          The problem with the current CPI calculations and hedonics is that the prices would rise and the government would say everything is all right … you have food to eat (dog food) and lights (by candle) and warmth and shelter (with 3 jackets on and a hoodie).

          We should be able to have a currency backed by real money that gains in value instead of one that forces us to speculate in stocks.

          The Fed has bought assets that are toxic and will have trouble unwinding its balance sheets.

          In our constitutional republic, the election of senators by the States was taken away during the Progressive era thereby weakening the one of parties that should have representation at the federal level.

          The head poster is predicting a weak dollar that will cause higher import prices as pointed out by the shadowstats reference.

          The right response to income taxes is to abolish them all since they imply that we are not free people and the government owes you and the therefore is entitled to your life’s work.

          I agree with the rest of your post. Have a Happy New Year!

    • Davidus Romanus

      You are right but so is James.  These people are not stupid, just immoral.  All of the QEs were meant to goose the economy and get Obama reelected.  There will be enough good news in the economy to make that happen. (Unless Ron Paul is the Repub nominee)  The consequences you describe will certainly come about and we will be screwed, but only after the election.

  • Anonymous

    James, if I ever see you I’m going to give you five bucks. Happy new year!

  • info

    Blimey James, I’ve had a lot of people say a lot of horrible things about me and my work (especially lately) but so far I’ve not had death threats! I guess I need to work a little harder on that…

    But seriously, that’s not nice. You do a good job of making light of it (and I agree it’s a neat idea to ‘out’ them here!) but I know it hurts. For what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job, and that’s precisely why people are angry – they feel threatened by your honesty and intelligence (not to mention boyish good looks:)… keep up the good work.

  • David White

    Interesting post. I follow your reasoning. But the elephant in the room is the US government debt. I can’t see anything positive about that one.

    Did you make predictions for 2011, James? If so, how did they fare v reality?  

  • James, I fear for you. 

    It’s not the idiotic death threats that worry me.  It’s the fact that you pose a threat to our way of life.   Posts like these represent a menace to the well being of the nation as a whole. 

    Over the years we’ve become accustomed to being afraid.  Afraid has become normal. So much so that we feel like something is wrong if we’re NOT afraid.   We need a constantly evolving stream of impending disasters – not only for the proper functioning of the economy – but for our own sanity. 

    If you keep picking apart all of our reasons to be afraid we’re…. not gonna have any reason to be afraid.  Then what?  A chaos of tranquility.  Placid pandemonium. 

    There are people who don’t take that kind of stuff lightly. 

    I worry about that.

    You should be careful.

    • Hugh

      You worry too much my dear

  • Zip22

    “Inventories are at the lowest levels since 1963.”

    Not sure where you got this dinger from, but it’s absurd, at least according to SP/Case Shiller.  Then there’s shadow inventory.  You can find the links.  You’re bright people. 

    I want to be as bullish as the next guy, but I refuse to accept fantasy numbers.  As another poster said, the debt is the 800 lb gorilla in the room.  I’m hoarding cash too, not because I’m waiting for opportunity, but rather because I’m scared to death…

    • Source: First Trust Portfolios, Data commentary.

    • david levy

      1. the fact that  the “shadow inventory” is known information and treated like a reality means its existence is already discounted.  Current prices already reflect this shadow supply, so if, in fact, it does not exist, or does not come to market like all the “experts” predict, that would mean current prices are a fantasy…fantastically low.

      2. in the case of armageddon, financial, or otherwise, hoarding cash or gold or any asset that only has value because we say it does….will not ease your fears or feed your family.  

      • Anonymous

        This is why I’m hoarding LAND…

  • Lubi166

    Well, I’m a new-ish reader (sorry about the moniker) and this is fun. The trading and stock stuff is, er, Greek to me, but that’s fine. Keep writing, and I second the life blessing :o)

  • I can’t imagine why anyone would ever send you a death threat. Every blog post you put up gives me at least one laugh (this one gave me two) and so I think you contribute lots to the collective orgone of the English-understanding world. Maybe it’s from having a video-game culture; people think of anyone on a screen as someone they can just laser down if they make them at all nervous. Anyhow, thank you for the viewpoint you offered here on the non-death-threat related stuff. You are awesome. 

  • wendy day

    I work with famous rappers, so I may be clueless thus far about what causes anger in the masses. I don’t think it’s based in intelligence (their anger at something you’ve said), I think it’s more based in jealousy, rooted in their own insecurity (he’s on tv with millions listening to him, and I’m not, therefore fuck him!). Anyway, regardless of what caused his petty, poorly articulated outburst, we can agree on one thing: he’s an idiot. He took the time to search you out, find a way to contact you, and dis you without even knowing you….I smell Loser…

    • Wendy, I think you are right. A lot of people find the Internet an easy place to project their own insecurities. I never take these things too seriously.

      • FIsher

        There are a lot of psychopaths in the USA thanks to government public schools and TV programming (Read John Taylor Gatto) who are envy-ridden runts but not actual murderers. The bellsouth dude(tte) is just a runt and did not actually threaten your life.

  • Kj

    I just found your work and I love it. Happy New Year to you and your family James. Illegitimi non carborundum.

  • sorry you have to deal with this extreme level of douchebaggery, James.

    one point:  you wrote “The Federal Reserve printed up $1.6 trillion in cash for “QE2″. Guess
    what. Bank reserves increased by $1.6 trilion in cash. They haven’t
    spent the money!”

    the banks CAN’T spend that money – they can only move the reserves around amongst each other, but they can’t “spend” them in a way that decreases the total.  the Fed can reduce the reserves by selling assets back to the banks (in exchange for reserves)

    • Derek Scruggs

      I believe this is incorrect. QE2 was an outright purchase of US Treasuries from banks. They are under no obligation to buy them back. However, you are correct that the effect will be a lot less than $1.6 T.


      • Derek, nowhere did I say that QE2 was not an outright purchase of US Treasuries from banks, nor that anyone was under any obligation to buy the treasuries back.

        What I said was that the banks cannot reduce the amount of reserves they hold by “spending” them.   Reserves “spent” by one bank end up at another bank.  The total reserves do not change, unless the Fed does something to change them.

        • Derek Scruggs

          Not according to the linked article. See the part where banks make a profit on the sale. Also, it states unequivocally that it will inject more cash, not just stay in reserve. The goal is to stimulate inflation.

          Brad Delong estimates the direct cash infusion to the economy will be much smaller, though. About $7 billion.

          • You are on a different topic entirely.

            now I think that you are talking about a variant of the Cash on the Sidelines fallacy.  If the Fed buys Treasuries from Bank A, the Fed increases the amount of reserves in the system.  Then, if BankA turns around and re-buys treasuries from Bank B (because BankA just sold their expsoure to the Fed), the reserves that the Fed created don’t disappear.  They move from BankA’s account to BankB’s account.  The reserves in the system cannot and do not change – they cannot and do not get “spent” by banks. that was my point here.

            I’m only talking about reserves, Derek.  You’ll notice that your linked article doesn’t even use the word “Reserves” a single time.  It’s a different topic.

            best of luck.

          • girl gone mad

            QE2 was just an asset swap. Demand for loans is what drives lending, since banks are never actually reserve constrained. IOW, banks are not about to start lending just because they have excess reserves. What’s more, the banks are now earning interest on those excess reserves. There is no opportunity cost to the banks for not lending.

            QE2 is based in nonsense neoclassical economic religion, not reality. The notions that QE2 was somehow long-term inflationary or that these reserves are all going to get “spent” at some point are both empirically wrong.

  • Such an optimistic post!  Great –  even if buried under a gloomy headline.

  • Anthony


    Happy new year, hope it is a great one.

    I also hope you do not invest too much of your cash into these “insights” of yours because I dont want to be reading this blog in 2013 with stories of how 2012 was the year you lost your shirt and moved to Iowa.

    You cant be that desperate for material mate!

    Some great posts in 2011, keep it up. Just one point though Claudia took a “magic potion” from the Chinese herbalist that made her better and gave her tons of energy but made her nose bleed. This Chinese guy didnt recommend that the pills he gave you be crushed on a mirror and ingested by a rolled up bank note via a nostrel did he?

    Happy new year to everyone else too.

    • Hey, I gave a talk in Iowa a year ago. Iowa is great, beautiful,  and a lot of smart innovation happening there in the energy space.

  • Overall that bullish reasoning seems correct (except the missing part about huge US government debt).
    But I think AAPL is not a good example.Since Steve Jobs died, Apple is missing charisma and reality distortion field. That was very significant market advantage which is now gone. I think in ~3 years Apple is going to stagnate and then decline after that.Investors worry about that too and that’s why AAPL may never cross $1T in market cap.

    • Startupjerkfest

      CNN had a story on about Apple TV, and that may be the next tipping point for them to gap up above $1T.

  • Anonymous

    Happy New Year, James. I think your hair and point of view are refreshing. That can be very threatening to those who are too afraid of thinking positively or differently. Too bad for them!

  • James, I was trying to read between the lines, but were you suggesting that all of your readers re-direct their e-mail accounts so that their spam messages are all sent to ?
    I’ve been looking for an eco-friendly way of dumping mine, but hey, that’s just me.

    Ugly person on TV? Are you referring to a very recent appearance on Fast Money? I don’t get offended by very much, but some of the comments from the panelists after your Skype appearance have convinced me that among the universe of knuckle scraping individuals, they do lay claim to being best coiffed and most adorned by highly pressed vestments.

  • Startupjerkfest

    What about 2012 being an election year? The Obama Administration wants to push the economy in the upward direction to make the election go in their direction… the Republican party could try to force the economy to get worse, to swing the election to their side (but it seems like they’ve already decided they can’t win – judging on the weakness of the candidates)…

    and most other people want the economy to get better, but probably have no idea what to do about it… 

    if we move our cash out of the 0.5% savings account and into the stock market, but we don’t know what we are buying or why we are buying it… then is that just an opportunity for the traders to take it away from us that much quicker. i wonder if there is still a large amount of people afraid to get into the market because of it’s terrible performance during 2011, and they don’t have the trust nor faith to get back in now…

    • Yeah, I think all of that is probably right.

    • Anonymous

      “then is
      that just an opportunity for the traders to take it away from us”

      This phrase alone tells me that you shouldn’t go anywhere near the market — ever.

      Pop quiz. What makes more sense?

      A) Collecting fees in the process of losing all of your client’s money.
      B) Collecting fees while making more money for your client.

      • Fred

        Either way, you’re still collecting fees.

  • PC

    Hey James, Glad you are looking forward to the new year. Hope you reach your goal of less anxiousness / more contentness. Thank you for the moments of inspiration and the fundamentals of the practice that you preach. Hope I get to meet you this year and good luck to the rest of the altucher community in 2012.


  • Roy

    do you get paid when you go on the news shows as an expert?

  • Dr. Jim

    You have helped me recover from my blunders in the marked in 2009.  You have helped me think better thought in a negative but not hopeless world.  Thank you!  Happy new year to you!   

  • Renée

    I can’t blame you for seeing the glass half full I guess.  What you’re seeing is just that the rich are getting richer and the poor and middle class are getting poorer.  There’s still a lot of money being made, but it’s just not in the hands of the largest number of people.  Sure, there are temp. jobs but most with no benefits and the salaries have gone down. 

    And don’t forget – Statistics lie.  Debt to income looks great but that’s only because it’s harder to get credit plus with all the bankruptcies and foreclosures of course debt is down, but what about the big picture that caused it?  With fewer stores out there because so many of them have closed, sales in the stores that are left will seem to go up, but overall what are sales doing?  So it depends on what you’re looking at as to how good things seem to be.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah that glass half full thing of James is something else. myself I have a more negative view, From 1980 onwards the USA government started a debt binge ponzi to battle the 1980’s recession, but it should not be able to be sustained, thus leading to a second great depression. The debt to gdp ratio was 150%, but stands now at 350%, which means alot of credit has gone into malinvestments. If we party like it’s 1996 the ratio wil simply go more out of whack, until it’s unsustainable, and then we go back to earth. Last time the ratio was out of whack like this was in 1929-1930, when it stood at 300%. Something to think about. It’s funny how 2 people can look at the same data and come to different conclusions.

      • Davidus Romanus

        You are correct, but so is James.  See my comment above.  It’s all to get Obama reelected, and we will reap the whirlwind after Nov ’12.

  • Yossel

    What a delightful beginning to the new year!  All good wishes to you!

  • Traderez

    Girlfriend of the month said why would someone do that to James.
    i said i have no idea *$&$%*#$& them. 

  • As soon as you stop saying interesting stuff, the death threats will stop. 

    • By corollary, when you’ve stopped getting death threats, you’ve stopped saying anything interesting.

  • Lupan3se

    Thanks for thinking out of and in the box… and more importantly ;) letting us hear your opinions. Keep it up and don’t let the freaks get to you!

  • nonewsnocrisis

    Hey James I’m a reader from GREECE! Ha actually I’m from the US but here in Greece doing research for an idea. There IS NO crisis here. If you ever get a chance to go to the northern parts of Athens, that’s where all the money is hidden…

  • André Felix


    Happy new year, hope it is a great one.

  • AnneMarieTrades

    Well done, sir

  • Michael Koniotakis

    Hello, I am a Greek reader from Greece. History repeats as a comedy or a tragedy? Masters were always selling a crisis to Slaves in order to keep them working for nothing so that they make more money. Is Slavery extinguished? or is it sold as education and company shares?
    Free new year to all.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe you should review the concept of slavery and get back to us on that.

      • Michael Koniotakis

        Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.
        The modern slavery is really advanced since people don’t realize they are slaves and have no idea who are their Masters… this way slaves will never rebel.

    • It is more like indentured servitude if you have student loans, because they are one of the few forms of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

      Think of it as “golden handcuffs” if you have to wait so long for your shares to vest.

      • FIsher

        You choose to obtain student loans…Did the black man choose to get on the boat from Africa? Insead of “indentured servitude” maybe it is just a bad choice like taking a loan from a Mafia.

        We are all slaves of the global political terrorists…We are nothing but their tax livestock. Choose not to give them your money and they will kidnap you and throw you in a cage for 10 years.

  • Anonymous

    1. This isn’t really a death threat. He is wishing you dead, by your own hand. He might be dangerous. Or maybe he thinks he is witty. I suspect he is a jackass.
    2. Maybe you should write a death threat tablet or sample. The ones you receive are of poor quality. Bad grammar, no clear plan, etc..
    3. Perhaps you should write a blog post about it? 7 ways to write an effective death threat.
    4. Stay safe and Happy New Year.

    • Nearly Retired

      Betmo — great post.  I nearly fell out my chair laughing!

      I suggest the  “death threat template” use check boxes for those who can’t spell or write a cohesive sentence.

      • Anonymous

        Ha! That’s funny. Like ordering fast-food. Have pictures to make it easier.

  • Great post. I share your optimism.

    I’m not sure it will really takeoff until we know what’s going to happen with the election. And fracking will never takeoff with democrats in charge.

  • should be hanged, not hung. ugh. people need to take more care in their db threats (not that i approve). 

  • Anonymous

    Haha, the Fed employees need to take a permanent break! Completely agree with you on your forecast of the 2012 economy though. We just have to wonder when Bernanke will inevitably raise rates due to the increasing inflation and the economy will sink again.

  • Tgxman

    maybe its because im an ugly guy too but i find you very likable. i wish i knew more people like you. 

  • Nearly Retired

    It’s great that you’ve identified the people wishing for, and even threatening, your death.  I wonder if either of them will see this article and say, “Oh crap, I never realized I’d be exposed!” 

    Regarding “investor psychology”, I sure would like to hear your thoughts about investors driving the market.  I mean, when CNBC, MarketWatch, et al say something like, “DOW down on investor concerns about (insert perceived crisis here)”, who are the investors they’re talking about?  It’s certainly not the average guy or gal just looking to make 5%-7% total return on a conservative portfolio.

  • dbspike

    James, I could raise questions about the various points that you make, but it doesn’t matter.  Anyone over the age of 50 knows that they cant make money in the stock market and that the emotions and sentiment drive the stock market, not fundamentals.  The baby boomers know this from experience, and they always buy high and sell low.  The banks comprise most of the daily trading volume, and banks are not buy and  hold investors.  To think a retail investor can effectively trade stocks or rely on the stock market as a reasonable place to park his or her savings is wishful thinking.  But of course, I learned that from you!!!

    • Nearly Retired

      I’m over 50 and have stocks in large, stable, dividend-paying companies.  That means I get quarterly paychecks of $x.xx/share from each of them, regardless of share price.  And many of the companies even raised their dividends during 2008-2009.

      • Anonymous

        Care to tell us which stocks you hold? I mean, if we all here turn around and buy the same it’ll only help you so what do you have to lose?

        • Nearly Retired

          Here are a handful of companies that pay more than 4% dividends at
          current share prices.  You’ll need to determine whether or not they’re a
          buy right now.  Personally I’d wait for the first market downturn in 2012.

          AEP, HCN, MO, NGG, PAYX, RDS.B, SO, WR.

          For balance, you may want to look at short- and intermediate-term bond
          funds, like VFSUX and VBTLX, which currently pay 2.0% – 2.4%
          respectively.  VBTLX grew 7.7% in 2011, with share price appreciation
          and reinvested dividends & capital gains.  When interest rates rise,
          the share price will FALL, but a bad year for a good int term bond fund
          is -2% to +2%.  Turns out VBTLX has grown approx 75% over the past 10
          years (with dividends and cap gains reinvested), without one losing
          year.  Short term funds are much less sensitive to interest rate

          • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    James, How will QE3, if it happens, change your outlook? 

  • Richard

    I disagree with you.  In the 70s we had declining margins and low PE’s.  There’s no reason history can’t repeat itself.  Most importantly, European banking is responsible for nearly half the credit supply in the U.S. (through shadow banking) and the incontrovertible pullback (as incontrovertible as growing world population) will affect risk premia.  As such, it actually makes sense that P/Es have (and perhaps will continue to compress).

    By the way, I also think it was irresponsible of you to post someone else’s email address – it can be picked up by spam email sites, etc.  Just not a sensible thing to do.  As such, I will make sure to not leave you a real email address (concern you would do the same.)

    • Otto Rotate

      Are you kidding me?  Someone gets their email address published to a blog for wishing death on the author and you’re concerned about the offender getting SPAM!?

      • Nearly Retired

        Yeah, God forbid the person wishing for James’ death be inconvenienced by SPAM.

      • Agreed.  Maybe it will act as a deterrent to anyone else who wants to send death threats in the future…

  • yo

    why would anyone send you a death threat when they can have you around to write humorous articles like this?

    Was it supposed to be funny? It was. Bullish on America?  Funny as heck!

  • James747

    James, you’re beautiful.  Thanks for the upbeat post.  Get a big, ugly, hungry dog.  Works for me. 

    • Maybe a Newfoundland Retriever would be better.  They weigh 120 pounds or so and will lick you to death.

  • FreeThinkerGuy

    Your columns are terrific and good points here. You sound like Brian W (I read his stuff every Monday). Unfortunately, he turned out completely wrong for 2011. My Q is the same as another commentator; how did your predictions fare for 2011. 
    PS – I read your column on your child as I was going through the metamorphosis of a quite unexpected pregnancy with my GF. Helped me quite a bit. My daughter is now here and she is beautiful and a blessing in my life. 

  • BamBam

    OK, stock valuations are below historic averages.  But, what would be the catalyst for a sharp rise in stock prices?  Political changes, or anticipation of political changes?

    • Raquel86soeiro

      The catalyst was qe2 itself. And you can’t stop a tsunami.

  • Check out:

  • Luca Corinaldesi

    Hi James,

    I’m Italian. If I understand correctly, you think that deflation is over and that we will have soon a period of high inflation?

    So now is the right time to invest, even in the eurozone?
    If we do not invest, our savings will be eaten by inflation?

    Thanks in advance for your response!

  • Tim


    I wish you and family a Healthy and Happy New Year, all the best to you.

    I don’t always agree with you but always appreciate the honest and usually upbeat outlook. I am winding down my first career and planning for the next third of my life and have enjoyed reading your outlook on things. I am fairly optimistic about the immediate future and think 2012 will be better than last year. Absent any drastic events in the year, it should be a double digit set of gains in many industry segments.

    As far as the dick that wrote you that silly note,  F him and the horse he rode in on


  • Anonymous

    James, The banks are not lending money. I’m a dentist who has practiced 25 years and talking to colleagues it is unbelievable what I’ve been hearing. The economy has taken an incredible toll on their practices. The local hospital has had to buy up all the medical offices, they can’t survive. You can’t refinance. SBA loans are impossible to get. Until the government forces the banks to lend, these are the banks we bailed out,nothing will change.

    • Raquel86soeiro

      Yes doc, sb is struggling, but not dead, and ur right, until the banks feel they don’t need suspenders, a belt, and overcoat to keep everyone from seeing their butts, then money will remain tight. But in our system, in the end, we can’t force it, hence free markets. But James is right too, it won’t be long before they all star walking around in g strings again.

      • Anonymous

        Raquel86soeiro, Let me tell you, when professionals can’t make it in this country that is a very bad omen. Peoples retirements have been wiped out, people can’t afford treatment, the cost of medical insurance is soaring. Look out. Obama had to become FDR. He didn’t

        • Is it possible that we are experiencing necessary change?  Generally when something is really hard to change we must experience a crisis to usher in that change.  Is this the crisis?  And if so, then is it a bad thing? 

  • James if I ever see you on the streets of New York I’m going to give you a hug.  You are one of the few voices making bullish arguments.  A stock market that has gone no where for 12 long years has made market commentary way to gloomy.  A cloud of doom and gloom sits over the country.  People are blinded to all the positive news that is developing.
    Apple is changing the world for the better.  The company would trade at 1,250 a share today if it traded at a 25 forward PE.  The US is becoming an energy superpower.  We exported gasoline in 2011 for the first time in 60 years.  Natural gas is cheaper in the United States then anywhere else in the world except the Middle East.  The Ag economy is booming.  Silicon Valley is booming.  America will be fine.
    When Apple’s market cap breaks through one trillion CNBC’s Fast Money better have you back on.  I would love to see the talking heads eat crow.  CNBC talking heads snicker when you make your bullish arguments but you will get the last laugh.
    Thanks for fighting the good fight,
    Steve Brass

  • For more balance, we need interest and inflation free money >> 

    • Raquel86soeiro

      If that were the case, it would, by necessity, not be money.

  • James, I look forward to having a level of success one day so that people will wish I am dead as well.  Until then, I will keep reading your blog.  I like it.  I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but that is kind of the point.  I appreciate different viewpoints without wanting to kill anyone.  Keep it up.  I will be purchasing How to be the Luckiest Person Alive today as well.  That is as close as I can get to the opposite of wishing you dead.

  • Spock

    Thank you for sharing your perspective on the coming year for the economy and stocks, it was outstanding.
    Live long and prosper!
    \//  (Vulcan handsign)

  • Chris Houseknecht

    Great post!  I don’t hate you.  In fact, I think you might be on to something.

  • me

    Are you kidding?? People write such nonsense? Dafuq? I’m totally confused. Not only are you awesome and you run an entire blog to HELP people, but even if you wrote an entire blog being mean to people, I still wouldn’t understand why. People are weird. And they need to go to collige so they can be a better example to their own douters. (giggle)

  • Ya Carajo

    James you’re better than the second coming and as foretold likely to be overlooked by the masses.  Your work is liberating in so many aspects that those who have lived cozily, neurotically wrapped up in a world of manufactured by fears in multifaceted manner to keep them there, it would be like waking these people resigned to existing brain dead up and out of such a hallucination addiction to which is no surprise they would hate you the dream police. 

  • Tuzo

    You anti-news message reminds me of a Marshall McLuhan quote:
     Real news is bad news — bad news about somebody or bad news for somebody.

  • While AAPL is definitely not overvalued.  I do believe that most of the private tech market and the subsequent recent IPOs, are significantly overvalued.

  • Thank you for sharing your articles, I hope you have an interesting and creative new year.

  • Puzzled

    It’s not that they want things to go down in flames.  It’s that they want everyone to be afraid.  I do disagree with you on a few things, though, particularly your analysis of that 1.6 trillion.  

  • Marc Hansen

    I got my first death threat back in college for an editorial cartoon in the school paper (some people have NO sense of humor). The best thing you could do is what you did – put his email address on display for everyone to see.

  • Beach6

    Dear James I am reading your blog because I have been a brainwashed idiot for 40+ years… your helping me see the light even though I will pay dearly for being so stupid all those past years I am now seeing the light so there is hope down the road.
    Keep calling all the other brainwashed idiots and we might get out of this black tunnel.

  • I don’t worry about death threats unless the spelling and grammar are perfect. 

  • Donna

    James, I LOVE when you are lucid.  Love it.  Happy New Year to you and Claudia and the girls.

  • Ri

    This is the second time you’ve dissed Rhode Island in the past few months.  I am sending you a poisoned quahog.


    Ahhh, death threats. They prove you are alive!

  • Hugh

    Man reading this post made me burst a laugh like no other… I just love how you can beautiful take the piss out of those crappy people. its even refreshing. so thanks

  • I don’t want to argue.  I don’t care.  Because everything is the same unless you personally change something.  I thought I was changing things last year, I was working on it, but something was missing.  Something really important was lacking – dedication. 

    I was happy to get this done and that done, but so much more remains.  The snow blew in with the stress of the holidays and I froze…literally and figuratively

    I hope that 2012 is a good year for everyone.  Yes, everyone. (even those I think are crappy)

    Thanks James for your consistent effort you put into your awesome blog! 

  • Anonymous

    Taylor Northcutt didn’t need college, but he should have at least paid attention in his 4th grade spelling class !

  • Scott Powers

    Hi James,
    Got my first hate mail on my blog as I was about to head out for a NYE party. I can’t say I wasn’t bothered at first, but it was happy to see this title in my inbox the next day. It made me feel like I was in good company. Plus maybe it means I am starting to get somewhere with my writing. I am happy to say I have gotten a lot out of this blog and your weekly Q&As. It is deeply appreciated.

  • Reduce anxiety. Increase contentment. awesome.

  • Finally someone agrees with me.

  • Kjp712

    Correct me if I am wrong,but wasn’t Taylor Northcutt the brooding adolescent in”90210″.He was the one always sitting in the corner reading a book.Once a big star,he now roams the internet injecting his venom onto every website.So sad when once the future was so bright.Maybe he can join Shannen Doherty and start online classes to recapture the magic.

  • Your smart for not giving a shit. Good post. check out:

  • clothespin

    I just want to rip a big one when we are in an elevator. Then a hot blonde gets in on the next floor and I blame you!

  • bubster

    “I thought for sure I read you had hung yourself. Well, now I have a new wish for Christmas!” I have a new wish for Christmas too – that everyone who can’t speak English ‘hang’ themselves.