It was just under a year ago when I wrote my very first report on the SF Hard Assets Conference, and I must admit I’m feeling a little nostalgic!
I love the San Francisco Hard Assets conference.
As you know, I frequent a lot of investing conferences each year — in the past 12 months I’ve attended:
- SF Hard Assets Conference (San Francisco)
- SF Money Show (San Francisco)
- Agora Financial Conference (Vancouver, Canada)
- 3 Casey Research Conferences (Argentina, Florida, and California)
- Stansberry Research Alliance Conference (Georgia)
- SovereignMan Conference (Chile)
- FreedomFest (Las Vegas)
- Plus several other Internet Marketing conferences and mastermind meetings around the world (Underground in Washington, DC, Traffic & Conversion in Austin, TX, AwesomenessFest in Mexico, and many more!)
So, I guess you could say I am a bit of a conference connoisseur…I love them!
And in all honesty I love my life! I love traveling, love attending these conferences, love reporting on them for you, and each one has something special that recommends it and is why I attend.
(And there are many more that I would love to attend, but I do actually need to get some work and writing done, too!)
But there is something special about the SF Hard Assets conference…
Maybe because it was one of the first investing conferences I covered for Kung Fu Finance a year ago…
Maybe because of the ever-present beautiful “booth bunnies” at James Dines’ booth who single-handedly bring down the average age and simultaneously up the female quota at the event…
Maybe because of the fascinating mix of honest, excellent junior mining companies headed by serially successful CEO’s contrasted with the slightly sleazy, slimy, shameless promoters who care only about how quickly they can line their pockets with your money…
(Yep, I even love the promoters, particularly since I am finally learning thanks to Rick Rule how to properly interview the CEO’s and IR guys and to separate the wheat from the chaff, and YES, I will teach you, too!)
Or maybe it’s because of the fact that I now recognize so many fellow investors and speakers that it’s like visiting with old friends, even though we only see each other from conference to conference.
(Or maybe I’m just a conference junkie!)
But whatever the reason, the SF Hard Assets conference rocks.
And the best part?
Yes, it’s a pitch-fest…but that’s the point of the conference—to allow you to talk one-on-one with the CEO’s of the various mining companies who are battling for your investment dollars.
It is so much fun to play “which one of these is not like the others?” (remember Sesame Street? see below…) and wander from booth to booth hearing the vastly different caliber of answers to your questions.
Plus, it is the hands-down best education you will receive on investing in hard assets, anywhere, for the price…did I mention, it’s FREE?
(Gee, maybe I should work for the SF Hard Assets Conference team! I swear I’m unaffiliated, but I can’t understand why more people don’t come to these…they are so much fun and nothing beats getting all of this info live and in person.)
However, the sad truth is that many people do not get out of their comfort zones and attend. I was shocked to see such a small crowd this year. I know the junior mining sector has had its, shall we say, “challenges” over the past two years…but I was still surprised at the lack of attendance.
To me, that spells a possible buying opportunity…and it does to Rick Rule, too, who gave two keynote speeches this year (which yes, I will share with you shortly—thank you Rick!).
The first was entitled “Bear Markets are Best”, and I will provide the audio and transcript of that speech for you soon (again, thanks very much Rick!).
To sum up, Rick’s main point is that bear markets are NOT bad (particularly when located in the midst of a secular BULL market)—they are your friend, because you can pick up quality assets on sale…the very essence of “buy LOW”.
We do this when buying a car, or a house, or cans of tuna fish (Blue light special! 10 cans of tuna for $10!) but for some reason when we buy financial assets we tend to want to buy them when they have already gone up tremendously in price.
Rick believes we are in the midst of a cyclical decline in a secular bull market…which spells a buying opportunity!
Other insights from Day 1:
- The “contrarian” award this year goes to Paul van Eeden who said that the value of gold based on his analysis is…$800-$900/oz. (note that’s not the price of gold, but what he feels the value of gold is.) Needless to say, he was in the minority at this conference!
- Paul also wins the award for “most optimistic” based on his statement that we have an “enormous available labor pool” here in the U.S., which he sees as a big positive (Talk about your glass being half-full…The rest of us call that a “high level of unemployment”!)
- There was an attempt to reach out to women investors with a special “Investing By Women For Women” session run by Bryce Bradley, investment banker from EuroPacific Canada, and Lindsay Hall, Commodities Broker from RMB. (Yours truly may join in for the upcoming Cambridge House conference in Vancouver…stay tuned!)
- James Dines is still bullish on gold and silver and sees China’s renminbi increasingly replacing the dollar in Asia. He’s also near-term bullish on U.S. real estate but says to avoid sea-level seaside real estate (Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, etc.)
- The excellent Louis James of Casey Research gave his expert view on the market and said that his premise is very much that gold is going higher, and that we are in an even more interesting place than we were last summer…but you need to search for quality, and you need to see numbers—preferably a 30% IRR and no more than a two-year payback (and these are tight requirements that he said he borrowed from Rick Rule…generally anything over 20 – 25% IRR is pretty good). But you can get companies at deep discounts to engineering values…it’s a great buyer’s market! You have the luxury of being selective…he brought up Warren Buffett’s quote, “Investing is like baseball with no called strikes”.
- Peter Schiff spoke as well that evening and again at a keynote on Saturday (Day 2)…he’s written a new book The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy…How to Save Yourself and Your Country (Gee, what do you think Peter thinks is going to happen?) I’ll report on this in much greater detail in the coming days.
All in all, my synopsis is that if you are interested in hard assets, the vast majority of speakers (I would go as far as to say “every single speaker except Paul van Eeden”) believe that gold and silver are going much higher in the years to come, and the dollar is eventually toast.
Here is a chart from James Dines that illustrates this (with apologizes for the less-than-stellar quality, and with thanks to James Dines):
If you have some room in the speculative portion of your portfolio, now is a great shopping time for the “best of the best” junior mining companies…but remember to average into your positions (they could go down even further) and make sure to focus only on the top, quality companies with solid numbers. (I will give you Rick’s picks in the next few days).
That’s it for tonight…your roving reporter is signing off but will be back tomorrow with Rick’s first keynote, “Bear Markets are Best”!
I will have much more to share with you in the coming days….have a wonderful night (and a happy holiday week if you are here in the U.S.!)
To your financial success,
—Kung Fu Girl
P.S. I want to give a huge shout out to the awesome subscribers who recognized and connected with me in person at the conference—it was so fun to hang out with you, and please help me out with anything I forgot in the comments! Thank you to Ari, Lawrence, James, John, Chris, Daniel, Justin, Bonnie, and more….(if I have forgotten you in this list I apologize tremendously!)
And now, a blast from the past…
Big Bird: One of These Things Is Not Like The Other…
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