Harry Browne

Sometimes there will be certain themes repeated on this blog. It is only to serve as a reminder (probably because the issue is important) and also for the benefit of new readers.

Harry Browne, best known as the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1996 and 2000, was also an investment advisor. He became somewhat famous by predicting the devaluation of the dollar and also the surge in gold in the 1970's. Later in his career, he wrote a book called "Fail Safe Investing". This book is highly recommended if you can get a copy. There are a lot of simple but important tips in it.

The best part about the book is his explanation of his permanent portfolio. Basically, he suggests dividing up your investments into 4 parts: cash, long-term U.S. bonds, stocks, and gold. It is explained in more detail in his book. If you have trouble sleeping at night because of your investments, this is highly recommended. It will do good in most times and for the short periods where it has lost money, it hasn't been much. For instance, in the fall of 2008, the portfolio would have gone down, but a lot less than someone with all of their money in stocks. In addition, it made a nice comeback and would be higher today (also unlike stocks).

In Harry's book, he recommends this permanent portfolio but says that there is nothing wrong with speculating with other money you have, as long as it is money that you can afford to lose.

A good plan of action: take 75% of your money (more if you are conservative, less if you are a gambler) and put it in the investments suggested for the permanent portfolio. There is also a mutual fund (symbol: PRPFX) that invests similarly to the permanent portfolio. Then you can speculate with the other 25% or whatever you decide. For instance, you could leave it in cash waiting for an opportunity or you could buy gold options or you could split it up into your favorite gold and oil stocks. But again, this is money that is somewhat of a gamble. It is money that you should be able to afford to lose. If you can't afford to lose it, then put all of your money into the permanent portfolio. You will sleep better at night.