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    • The current market is disturbing; very low interest rates, courtesy of the Federal Reserve or other central banks, help create stock market bubbles, because no one can achive a safe return in financial instruments - bonds, or savings accounts. Money in a savings account in America is returning a net loss due to the low interest rate being lower than the nominal inflation rate. And it is even worse in much of Europe.

      Previous recent market crashes have been softened and retarded by dramatic lowering of interest rates by central banks not only in the US, but across the western world.

      What do you think might happen if the market had a crash like 1929 now? With interest rates near zero to even negative real rate or even just flat NEGATIVE rates? Think of the political consequences if we had a market crash like 1929 now....... Whoever believes they know the political outcome of that sort of financial difficulty, here in the USA, is probably misinformed.

      One thing I always remind myself, is that when prices of anything are really high, one should sell, and then buy them when they become cheaper, or really cheap.

      But most stock market buyers buy when things are going up, and ultimately end up selling when things are cheap, even though that is the pathway to personal financial armageddon.

      I have been giving serious thought to covering much of my portfolio with calls which are best sold near market tops, but find there is little real profit offered on selling calls right now - which says to me that a lot of other folks think the same way I do, or do not expect the market to continue to rise exponentially forever.

      Mr Grantham's discussion sounds pretty accurate to me, even though I have have generally been optimistic most of my life. Artificially holding down interest rates does not allow people to save in a safe and timely manner.

      Mr Granthan alluded to my comment in the previous paragraph with his comments about doubling times of saving with lower interest rates - 4 X more years to double savings. Dramatically extended doubling times are more concern to living people with finite lifetimes to invest in, but far less concerning to governments and other organisations with potentially infinite lifetimes. Government debt due in a century is someone elses problem.. Running out of money in ones own lifetime is your problem.

      I really liked Mr Grantham's comments about bit coin and gold too. One does kind of feels like a chump watching them rise right now, but parabolic arcs usually end badly too.

      I have chosen to stand aside the rush to bitcoin for now - I have faith that governents will quickly learn how to steal them too.

      I would suggest being debt free if possible is always a good plan.

      When will the bubble burst, you ask? When there are more sellers, than buyers.

      Or as Mr Grantham stated, when the current enthusiasm begins to meet reality..

    • I 100% agree with everything you’ve said. I’m personally sitting on the sidelines having changed my investments to cash equivalents. I don’t have that much money yet so it makes it more bearable knowing inflation is eating away at it. My work/government pension is something else entirely. I’m frustrated that house prices are crazy high because the government has lowered interest rates to make the wealthy richer while I have to rent and see my wealth growth slow. My pension has been growing at about 8-12% over the years and I have a decade to wait for it to go up if there’s a crash. I feel especially appreciative I at least have that. I sometimes consider gambling/speckling some of my cash but it just goes against all the investing principles I’ve tried to live by.

    • I continue to be amazed that the senior citizens of western nations haven't rioted over minimal to negative interest rates for years - maybe they've just lived with low interest rates for so long they have accepted that governments, politicians, and central banks have been using their retirement savings without paying anything for the rental for years and years.

      I fully get that when we are young and buying homes and cars and such, we would all prefer lower interest rates. But the other side of that transaction, is those folks who are loaning the funds to rent as mortgages - which tend to be senior citizens who have dutifully scrimped and saved to prepare for their own retirement, and now find themselves unable to earn any real returns at all, without venturing into riskier markets - eg stock and limited partnerships.

      The folks who are enjoying cheap mortgages then find the real estate properties even more expensive, as you point out - partly because buyers must compete with folks getting their funds with lower interest payments built into them.

      Folks believed, years ago, with all their hearts, that real estate and home prices always go up.....until the real estate market crash of 2008. That didn't go so well if I recall.

      However, in a few years, the young home and real estate buyers will find they miss safe Treasury bonds and notes that pay an historical reasonable rate of return ( say 3-6 %), rather than a pecuniary or mercenary negative interest rate AND a guarantee that their bond holding will take major declines when interest rates finally rise back up sometime.

      There will be those who say most folks own neither stocks or bonds - well, then they hold cash and negative rates aren't kind to cash holders either. Governments routinely inflate their currencies - some faster than others, but even in the USA, $1.00 worth of goods in the 1960s nows costs ~$9.00 to purchase in 2021. Now think about how to save for retirement where every dollar you save is only worth about 10 cents when you retire and you cannot earn any interest in a bank account. You think the deck is stacked against you, maybe???

      For some readers, the 1960s will seem like ancient history, but it is easily within the life expectancy of any one of us reading this - a mere 60 years.

      Outside of a pandemic, anyway....

      I have a good friend who used to admonish me ( poking like only really good friends do with each other) for earning a bit more than he did, as a teacher. He is now retired on a pension that pays about $60K USD annually, lifetime, guaranteed by the state of Illinois.

      How large a retirement fund would you have to save, to earn $60k at 1% interest rates??

      at 1% -> $60,000/.01 = 6 million dollars and my friend abhored me for trying to save for my retirement while his is guarenteed by the legal power of the state of Illinois to extract money, with guns, if necessary.

      Oh, at 0.1% interest rates, which I am currently earning in my savings account, he has the equivalent of 60 million receive 60k interest earnings annually. He taught advanced Math and he understood compound interest and low interest rates very well indeed. I have always admired his fierce intelligence. He understood the real value of his state teacher's retirement plan in a low interest rate world many years ago.

      That is what low interest rates are doing to our fellow citizens in much of the western world, as governments, and politicians, and citizens, all, rush to buy that which they cannot afford with their present earnings, and thus mortgage all our futures.

      Much of the market mania is contributed to by the cheap cost of money.

      I hope we never get a margin call on our futures...