On this week's Stansberry Investor Hour, Dan and Corey welcome Porter Stansberry back to the show. Porter founded Stansberry Research in 1999, and he recently returned as CEO and chairman of parent company MarketWise (MKTW). With more than 25 years of experience as a financial analyst and publisher to draw on, Porter shares his opinions on the current state of the markets and which areas of the economy look most attractive today.
But first, Dan and Corey talk about investors' unfounded hopes for falling interest rates and some Wall Street analysts predicting that the Federal Reserve will soon cut rates by 150 basis points. "I just don't see that happening," Corey says. Afterward, the conversation shifts to the bond market, the drop in demand for U.S. Treasurys, China "imploding minute by minute," and the biggest "turkeys" who have made the most absurd financial decisions this year. Plus, Dan explores investor psychology and how it has been warped by a decade-plus of low rates and the longest bull market in history...
People are so confident. They think they know how the market works. They think they know the game they're playing. They think they know which way the odds are skewed to the point where they're willing to engage in bets heavily skewed to the other side. That's bubble thinking... "I got this. I'm a genius."
Porter then joins the show and discusses why Ayn Rand's 1957 book Atlas Shrugged continues to be relevant today, General Motors' chances of going bankrupt again, and his "new, old" job as CEO of MarketWise. He explains his strategy for the company going forward...
You've got to make sure that the products are high quality – that they're serving the customers. You've got to get rid of the ones that aren't... If we get to the end of the year and we're sitting on $100 million in cash that we haven't put to work yet, why do that? Why not pay it out to the shareholders who can reinvest it as they see fit?... I'm very excited about where we're going.
Moving on to the broader economy, Porter shares an updated prediction of what he sees coming for the market. In mid-September, he was concerned we were on the cusp of another major financial crisis. But now he thinks the immediate danger may be past. As he puts it...
I'm not suggesting that the risk is gone. What I'm saying is that the markets are no longer acting as though that risk is going to be realized. And in that sense, generally in my career, the markets are usually right.
Porter also shares that most quality businesses out there trade for high valuations, but those with unrecognized quality still present fantastic buying opportunities today. Even companies that have recently made negative headlines can still have incredible underlying value...
Most investors are looking for something that's great when they really should be looking for something that's covered in warts. Because the way you can beat the market is by buying something that's beautiful underneath and that's currently covered in scabs. And then you fix the scabs and you beat the market.
Finally, Porter details what's happening in the bond market right now and why he believes it's worth investing in. And you won't want to miss his parting message, where he explains why it's a great time to be alive despite any global issues or societal problems. "Most investors make the mistake of not being optimistic enough," he says.
Founder and CEO of MarketWise
Porter Stansberry is the founder and CEO of MarketWise. He previously served as chairman until December 2020 and then resumed the role in September 2023. In April 2022, he founded Porter & Company, an investment-advisory boutique. In addition to his 25-plus-year career as a financial analyst and publisher, Porter is also the founder of OneBlade, a men's luxury shaving brand. Porter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and government from the University of Florida.
Dan Ferris: Hello, and welcome to the Stansberry Investor Hour. I'm Dan Ferris. I'm the editor of Extreme Value and The Ferris Report, both published by Stansberry Research.
Corey McLaughlin: And I'm Corey McLaughlin, editor of the Stansberry Digest. Today, Dan interviews Stansberry Research founder and MarketWise Chairman and CEO, Porter Stansberry.
Dan Ferris: And today, Corey and where will talk about the bond market, inflation and deflation, de-dollarization, and turkeys.
Corey McLaughlin: And remember, if you want to ask us a question or tell us what's on your mind, e-mail us at [email protected].
Dan Ferris: That and more right now on the Stansberry Investor Hour.
I'm sorry, but I need to jump right in with something that is just bothering me because I've looked at it for 10 solid minutes right before we started recording this and that is a two-year chart of the 10-year yield and you know what I see? I see it's up. It's up and to the right because 10 years gone from, let's see, I think from March 22. Let's see. I got basically 1.7% to about 4.5% right now, a little less than 4.5%. I've got these arrows in it. There's like eight of them that point down.
So eight times, including in the past month or so, eight times the narrative has been, "This is it. Fed hikes are done. Cuts are coming," etc. Eight times at least. If I wanted to be really picky about it I could probably find a ninth and a tenth. The narrative is just like relentless. It's relentless, and it's in the bond market again and again and again. It's been wrong again and again and again. There. I said it. I got it off my chest. It's out there.
Corey McLaughlin: It sure has. I think what you're getting at maybe is the – that talk again renewed recently about – OK. Yeah. Now, it's "Is recession coming and will the Fed cut rates again?" This is the same thing we've been talking about for, you're right, a year, two years. You can see those periods on a chart of the 10-year.
Dan Ferris: Meanwhile, housing comes in hotter than – higher than expected. My housing stock, they were looking like maybe it is going to be a recession. Now they're like they've screamed back. They've come screaming back. So I don't know. I don't know. I just see – we hear the same stuff. It's like it's a constant thing and I will tell you in my opinion the longest bull market in history and the lowest interest rates in history and zero rates for the better part of, however many years it was, 14 or so years, that programs the market. That programs people's brains in ways that they don't even know until years later, looking backward at it. And we're not years later yet. People are still programmed to have all these same expectations.
Corey McLaughlin: Right and that's what I was getting at. That's what was hitting my mind, too... about your observation here is when a 4.5% 10-year yield is – I just zoomed out on this chart and it's what was normal from 2002 to about 2007 for the financial crisis. So we're back at that period of time in terms of an interest rate. And I think I talked about this last week. There's a difference between the Fed cutting rates a little bit or not at all compared to cutting it by 150 basis points or 75 basis points like I've seen some Wall Street firms putting out over the last week. They think they're really going to cut rates by that much. I just can't see that happening with the inflation environment. It just doesn't make a lot of sense for that to happen.
Dan Ferris: Also, if you look at past trends like a cut here or there in the middle of a hiking cycle is not out of the question. So when the cuts begin and the market takes off and the bond market takes off and all this stuff, enjoy it while it lasts because that doesn't mean they're done hiking. This whole thing is just we get ahead of ourselves so easily and so quickly.
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. That's hard to unroot the last 15 years of policy for people's brains and behavior, I think, which you've said a lot. I think we're still seeing it. I don't think we're going to have some huge bond rally in prices anytime soon. I think the damage has been done with bonds. And now, everybody is thinking – or a lot of people are thinking it's been these two or three years of historic pain for the bond market, so it has to rebound. I think it was just repricing to this new era of higher inflation and slightly higher interest rates from that zero-percent period. So bond prices don't have to go higher from here. They may go up and down... natural gyrations.
Dan Ferris: I wonder if people were having these conversations on the radio in 1949, three years after the bond market peaked, three years after war is over. Everything is going to be fine. And then basically, yields – your bond market went into a 35-year bear market, basically. Yields went up for 35 years, peaking in, what, '80, '81?
Corey McLaughlin: Let's go find some old radio broadcasts. See what they're saying back then. It'd actually be useful because history does repeat as we know.
Dan Ferris: And frankly, I think yields staying where they are for quite some time or even going a little higher over the next – pick your number of years that you, like, whatever... two, three, five, whatever would be really healthy. That would be – that's the thing we want to happen if we're thinking about this because we certainly want the current level or something 100 basis points or so above it because that's normal or it has been normal in the past. We never had $33 trillion of outstanding Treasury debt in the past. So, whoa. I don't know.
Corey McLaughlin: Right. Yeah. That's the big thing. I was going to say, maybe yes, it would be healthy if it leads to a government that can reel in some spending. That would be healthy.
Dan Ferris: Right. Basically, a wartime debt level. We'll see. We'll see what the future holds. I continue to believe that you can't predict it, but you can prepare for it. I just believe that down to my soul.
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. Speaking of that, it seems like we had some retail earnings over the past week and seems like the Walmart CEO is preparing for some deflation in – he said the weeks and months ahead, potentially. The Home Depot CEO said the worst of inflation, he thinks, is behind the economy. We can see that again, but I don't know if that means huge interest-rate cuts. I think that means the path of inflation is continuing on what the Fed wants it to.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Well, they certainly see quite a bit, those two, because they're huge businesses. They have a lot of customers, and they see in two directions. They see their customers and then they see back up the supply chain, too. So I respect their opinions. Look, anybody who said inflation is going to keep going up, the numbers have just – the rate of inflation has been falling. I don't deny that. I just deny that it's going to fall forever. I deny that we're – the Treasury issuance will continue. There's no way to plug a deficit hole except borrowing and printing. And borrowing is printing. That's how we print our money. We issue more debt.
Most of the money of course is printed in the banking system. And without frenzied lending activity, not as much gets printed. But still, lots of Treasury issuance. It has to go somewhere. Like Ray Dalio has talked about this. He puts things in such simple terms. I love it. He said – that way he talks where he's just stuttering because he's got too much in his brain. He said, "Uh, uh, uh, we get to a point where you issue too many bonds and there's nobody left to buy them." Boom. Done. It's like, "Oh, OK." And we have to be getting there. We have to be getting there.
Corey McLaughlin: I think we're there. You look at foreign buyers of Treasurys. It's not going up. It's going down, led by China, and I know I'm not buying any 10-year bonds right now. So it's – again, yeah. I think if the demand were there I think we'd be seeing it already. It hasn't – I don't know. It's not there.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. So, November 17, 2023 at 5:30 a.m., the Wall Street Journal said, "Where have all the foreign buyers gone for U.S. Treasury debt? Overseas private investors and central banks now own about 30% of all outstanding U.S. government debt down from roughly 43% a decade ago." So, from 43% to 30%.
Corey McLaughlin: Right. Those are the numbers. Yes. Those are the specific numbers to what I was just saying. So yeah. There you go. That's just one example. The rest is the domestic demand here.
Dan Ferris: And here's the numbers to what I was saying further down in the same article. Meanwhile supply has exploded. The U.S. Treasury has issued a net $2 trillion in new debt this year. They're paying off some stuff and then issuing. So net of payments and $2 trillion in new debt are record when excluding the pandemic barrowing spree of 2020.
Corey McLaughlin: It's all OK. Don't worry about it.
Dan Ferris: This is fine. Yeah.
Corey McLaughlin: Don't worry about it, people and grandchildren of America. Don't worry about it.
Dan Ferris: Everything will be just fine. It's hopeless, but it's not serious. Our previous guest Doug Casey likes to say it's hopeless, but it's not serious. It's funny. This goes to a discussion my wife and I have had recently where she was saying, "It seems like people just don't like America around the world right now." I said, "Well, I think people around the world where I've been to 20 or 30 different countries like Americans, generally speaking, but Americans are not their government."
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. I think we're seeing the financial consequences of that as well, even if this BRICS push doesn't knock off the dollar any time soon. It certainly sends a signal that there's a lot of sentiment out there about antidollar, anti-U.S. from the monetary – from the countries that are interested in that sort of thing.
Dan Ferris: Right. You got to – I'm going to push back a little bit because I've thought through this, and I've written about it quite a bit and stuff. And we have recommendations in The Ferris Report that go right to this point. People don't understand – actually, Brent Johnson made this point recently, I think, on Twitter – just a real quick tweet. Basically, if de-dollarization does happen, it's de-leveraging. There's – I think BIS puts it at somewhere between $12 trillion and $15 trillion U.S.-denominated debt outside the U.S. So that's a huge demand for dollars to service that and to roll it over or if you're going to say de-dollarize then to pay it off.
De-dollarizing means de-leveraging. And that means demand for dollars, and that means dollar strength. So in the end, I think the dollars of fiat currency – we all know how they go over time, don't we? I don't think BRICS is it. I think BRICS, like the other economies compared to the U.S., are not substantial enough. We had Peter Zeihan on the show telling us people don't understand. China is imploding minute by minute. It's not going to exist in 10 years.
Corey McLaughlin: Right... which, by the way, I think is why you see President Xi wanting to talk to Joe Biden again because their economy needs help. So, yes to that point.
Dan Ferris: Right. Just real quick, Brazil GDP is like $1.6 trillion. Russia GDP is like $1.7 trillion or so. Those are the big ones. China is competitive with us. But if Zion is right about China... I don't know. I don't see it. I don't see the challenge to the dollar by that particular group doing – allegedly doing that particular thing. But I continue to tell people to own plenty of gold and silver and get some assets out of the dollar. So don't take me the wrong way on this one. Look, let's talk about something else. You want to talk about turkeys, don't you? Tell the good people why you want to talk about turkeys now.
Corey McLaughlin: Well, not the turkeys you're going to eat this week, but I wanted to talk about turkeys of the year, which we talk about a lot here, but we never label them turkeys. So, given this week, just the absurdity... the most absurd things or people or financial decisions of the year. So, I'm curious. Who is your turkey of the year?
Dan Ferris: Well, folks who – there's a lot of them. I'm not saying this is an easy choice. I could go with APEs, the folks buying meme stocks and just wanting to hold on to them like they're Berkshire Hathaway. They're down 99%, literally down 99%. Certain individuals like Adam Neumann might be one of them, but hey, man. Everybody else got screwed. So it's like anybody who trusted him is the turkey. He's a billionaire. So I can't pick him really. The same way I couldn't pick – what's his name, Aaron – the CEO of AMC because he's doing fine.
So I'm going to have to go with Sam Bankman-Fried. And the reason I pick him as the turkey of the year is because he even had me sort of wondering aloud about this. His initial reaction to all these allegations and fraud was, "No. We just didn't really know." He says, "Yeah. I screwed up. I screwed up. I f-ed up many times," he said. It was I just – he made it sound like they were just naive and not disciplined and didn't know how to run a financial company and well, the money was here and the money was there and we lost track of it kind of a thing. That never sounded right.
If I'm being honest, it never sounded right. From the very beginning, I should have been saying, "It doesn't sound right." And in the end, it turned out to be fraud... blatant fraud. The whole time, he was committing fraud. He knew he was committing fraud. He went around telling them, "You guys, you need to get rid of all your fancy cars and buy Toyota Corollas. They're coming after us. It looks bad." There was all kinds of things, all kinds of red flags... taking in customer deposits over here and speculating widely with them over there. It's fraud, period. He committed fraud and he tried to tell us that "I just screwed up a little bit."
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. Fraud deception is certainly turkey behavior, turkey-like behavior, I would say. He fit that description for sure.
Dan Ferris: Are we being unfair to actual turkeys here?
Corey McLaughlin: Probably. I don't think a turkey has defrauded anybody out of a significant amount of money. So, probably. You know what this reminds me of? Did you see the courtroom sketch of Sam Bankman-Fried that was going around?
Dan Ferris: Yes.
Corey McLaughlin: Since there were no cameras in the courtroom. So they were doing – speaking of the radio 70 years ago, they had the courtroom sketch artist in there. He looked like Superman during the day. It was wild.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Clark Kent.
Corey McLaughlin: So maybe he had the – maybe he handed some money to the sketch artist, too, on the way out for one last thing.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Maybe the sketch artist is the turkey of the year because, whoa, couldn't have been farther from – that was – it looked nothing like him. It was chiseled. His hair was perfect.
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. It was like those commercials where they say, "This is an actor's portrayal and not a real thing." I'll just mention what came to mind when I was thinking turkeys of the year, going back to what you were talking about at the beginning was like any people or institutions that thought there would be interest-rate cuts at any point this year. I can think, going back to 2021, 2022 even, remembering those projections of people banking on rate cuts sometime in the middle of 2023. Well, we are past that, and it didn't happen. And now everybody is saying the same thing for next year. Meanwhile, the Fed is saying that inflation is not going to go to 2% until 2026. So have at it. That's...
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Turkey, yeah.
Corey McLaughlin: I think your point about the psychology of the last 15, 20 years is – we're still seeing it just deeply rooted and again. I think we forget or I forget that Wall Street wants – all things considered, they would want low interest rates because it makes life easier in a way for a lot of different people. When we hear the financial media talk about, "Oh, no. Rates are going to go higher," it's because they're hearing from people who don't want it to happen. But like you're saying, it could be healthy over the longer run. So that's something I'll try to keep in mind this holiday season too, I suppose.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. That thing that I keep talking about how the last just – actually, in my opinion the last four decades –
Corey McLaughlin: Yeah. Longer.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Even 40 years of declining rates, and then really that last decade and a half of all-time 5,000-year-low rates and just what that does to people, I feel like I can't get my arms around it still. I can't get my arms around how pervasive the effects of it were and how it gets into everyone's thinking. I did come upon a story that I think might illustrate it. A man is a very confident lawyer who thinks very highly of his own intellect. He gets on to an airplane and he sits next to a very attractive woman. He wants to speak to her.
So he says, "Hey, let's play a game. How about if we ask each other questions? And if you don't know the answer you have to give the other person $5." She says, "No, I don't want to do that." And he says, "Wait, wait, wait a minute. If I can't answer your question I'll give you $500." And she goes, "Wow. OK. I'll play that game." He says, "Great. I'll start. What's the capital of Alabama?" She says, "I don't know." She gives him $5. Then he goes, "OK. Great. Now it's your turn." She goes, "OK. What goes uphill on four legs and downhill on three?" He's like, "What? Oh, man. I don't know this."
He said, "Oh, it's one of those puzzle sort of things where it's like metaphorical," and he's thinking and thinking and he can't figure it out. He gives her $500 because he doesn't know the answer. Then he hands her the $500 and he's just sitting there looking at her. He goes, "Well, what's the answer?" She says, "I don't know," and she gives him $5. People are so confident they think they know how the market works.
They think they know the game they're playing. They think they know which way the odds are skewed to the point where they're willing to skew the bet. They're willing to engage in bets heavily skewed to the other side. That's bubble thinking. "I can still buy. I can buy with impunity. I got this. I'm a genius," or at least not "I'm a genius," but "I know how this works." This always works the same way. No. It doesn't. Before you know it, you've skewed the bet the wrong way.
Corey McLaughlin: Questions and the answers change. I need more story time like that. That was great.
Dan Ferris: I do have another one, but I don't know. Maybe we'll do it next week.
Corey McLaughlin: Do it next week. Yeah.
Dan Ferris: I don't want to get too much into stories here. All right. Well, with all of that turkeys and stories and Sam Bankman-Fried and all the rest of it, let's turn to our interview which is really something that I've been looking forward to for quite some time. And listeners have been e-mailing and requesting for quite some time. Well, here it is... No more waiting. Our guest today is Stansberry Research founder and MarketWise CEO and Chairman Porter Stansberry. Let's talk with him. Let's do it right now.
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Well, it's time once again for our interview. This is a special one. Been looking forward to it for some time now, and I know you all have, too, because you all have written in over the past year or so and said, "When are we going to talk to Porter again?" We're going to do that today. Today's guest is Stansberry founder, Porter Stansberry. Porter, welcome back to the show that bears your name.
Porter Stansberry: Dan, it's really a great pleasure to be back. I've missed getting to talk to you frequently, and I'm glad to be here and I'm really proud of what you have done with the show. I get compliments on your show all the time, and I have to tell people I don't have anything to do with it.
Dan Ferris: Good. I'm glad to hear that. I'm glad to hear that people are happy with it. I'll tell you, we've had quite a few e-mails. There's always one in there. Every week there's always an e-mail that says, "Let's get Porter back on the show." I even get people hitting me up on Twitter. So this is a good thing, and thanks for joining us.
Porter Stansberry: I'm also a giant fan of Dan's Twitter feed. It's great. Dan, you're ideologically sound.
Dan Ferris: Thank you. What a very Doug Casey comment. I like that. Doug will tell you who's sound and who's not sound. I love it.
Porter Stansberry: I'm definitely stealing that from him. Yeah. You're very ideologically sound. I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged with my wife. She had never read it.
Dan Ferris: No kidding?
Porter Stansberry: You know I married the right girl when I tell you that she's a civil engineer, she's an athletic model, and she just read Atlas Shrugged with me.
Dan Ferris: That's right. Good man.
Porter Stansberry: That's like check, check, and check. Yep. A-plus. Anyways, if you're listening and you've never read that book, it's just absolutely bizarre how many of the things in that book are now happening in society.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. One of my standard tweets is straight out of Atlas Shrugged.
Porter Stansberry: Who is John Galt?
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Who is John Galt? Gosh. It's been a long time since I read that book, but yeah. She went one or two quite better than Orwell, in my opinion. Obviously, 1984 is another one where you go, "Wow. Orwell was right," but boy, was Ayn Rand really right... down to the precise nature of certain people in the corporate world and certain others who cooperate with an increasingly authoritarian government and the personalities all the way down the line from the top leaders to the rank in file. It's quite extraordinary, I think... quite a good understanding of human nature.
Porter Stansberry: If you haven't ever read the book, there's two things in that book that everyone should have to read before they get out of high school. It's the same thing if I were telling you about the book The Intelligent Investor, chapter eight and chapter 20. Those are two things that every investor should know by heart. When it comes to Atlas Shrugged, it's the speech from Francisco d'Anconia about greed and how everyone says that money is the root of all evil. Of course, that's the opposite of the truth. He explains why.
It's just eloquent, of course, wasn't he? It was Ayn Rand writing, but the character explains it eloquently. Then there's one chapter where it's John Galt's speech on the radio right before the end of that society. That speech... if that doesn't raise the hair on your neck or whatever the expression is, if that doesn't make you feel something, you're not alive. It's just an incredible exposition of what's wrong with modern society and how evil it is to take people's property through taxes and to regulate companies and to regulate trade and to regulate any expression of a sovereign individual. So I encourage everybody to read it.
One last thing about this, Dan, and then I promise I'll answer your questions... I just note that today Warren Buffett finally sold all of his GM stock, and I think that GM is a case study in real time of what happens when the government interferes in private industry. There is absolutely no chance that General Motors does not go bankrupt again. And that's from a guy who told you in 2006 it was going to go bankrupt the first time. But by putting more union reps on their board of directors and more socialists in charge of the company, they're not going to make the product better, I promise.
Dan Ferris: Right. Yeah. They're not going to get in closer touch with the customer. I'm glad you mentioned the John Galt speech. That's the one I remember – well, the opening line of it I think is, "You say money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of money," and then it flows from there.
Porter Stansberry: You're right. That's right.
Dan Ferris: I'm glad you mentioned that. So, I heard you got a new job recently.
Porter Stansberry: I'm like the dog that caught the car, Dan. Now what do I do? It was a lot more fun chasing and barking.
Dan Ferris: Well, for what it's worth, I'm happy about it and what I've seen so far I'm just thanking God. I'm thanking God that I made the cut because we knew there were some cuts going to be made. You sent a letter to all of us recently that I thought, "Hey, that's what I would do. I would do the things this guy is doing." So I'm happy to hear about all of it.
Porter Stansberry: You and I analyze businesses for a living and we've been doing it for, I don't know, I've been doing it for almost 30 years. You've been doing it for almost as long. It's not very hard to identify where the problems are. What's been difficult, unfortunately, is having somebody who has the will to do the things that need to be done to fix the company. It's really simple. You've got to make sure that the products are high quality, that they're serving the customers. You got to get rid of the ones that aren't and you have to get rid of that entire layer of people that stand between you and serving the customer.
Just because we're a public company does not mean that we need to have 75 people that serve no apparent function. So what I'm going to do is dissolve the company's structure completely, get rid of it all, and push everything down into the operating groups. So Brett Aitken, the publisher of Stansberry Research is going to determine how many accountants he needs and how many lawyers he needs and how many assistant HR directors he needs. We're not going to have any of that at all at the parent company level. MarketWise is a holding company and that's the way it should have been run. So that's what we're going to do.
Then I'm going to encourage everybody – as Dan, as you're familiar with me doing for many years – just encourage the publishers to continue to invest and increasing the quality and the prices of our products so that we can build a better and better business and pay higher and higher dividends. It's not rocket science.
Dan Ferris: You make it all sound so easy and it's all very Buffett-esque, except for the dividends of course.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. Well, we have a different kind of business than Buffett does. We're not running an industrial concern. So we don't really need to reinvest the capital, but if I can find great acquisitions, I would much rather buy a well-run publishing company with 5,000 customers that we can turn into a 50,000-customer business. And as you know, we've done that plenty of times in our career as a company. If we get to the end of the year and we're sitting on a $100 million in cash that we haven't put to work yet, why do that? Why not pay it out to the shareholders who can reinvest it as they see fit?
Dan Ferris: You make it all sound so easy. Why is it so hard for other people?
Porter Stansberry: Man, I don't know, but I wish someone else would please get the hang of it because I really enjoy being retired. Just picture, if you will. First of all, I thought I was a billionaire. I was wrong, but I thought I was.
Dan Ferris: Well, you were for a while.
Porter Stansberry: Maybe 10 days. Someday I'll write in my memoir, "Billionaire for a week." Anyways, I thought I was fabulously wealthy. I had been kicked out of my own company. So I didn't have to quit. I was just pushed aside. At the time, I had four yachts and two planes and I was single. So there was a whole lot of whatnot going on in my life and I liked that. I'll go f-cking fish until I die, but that was not meant to be.
Dan Ferris: You're not telling me you pulled back on yachts and planes.
Porter Stansberry: Dan, I went broke. I thought I had sold my company for $3 billion, but I hadn't. I never got paid a penny, as you well know. And instead, I got an IRS bill for $42 million. So yeah. I sold every boat. I let all the plane leases lapse. I sold all my cars. I came very close to losing my house in Miami and losing my farm. As you know, to fight back I started a new company. Luckily, there's a lot of people that like reading my work. I was able to stave off bankruptcy long enough to come back here and hopefully fix the company and pay myself a dividend and get back to life as I know it, but yeah. It was a very – that was a very, very unpleasant experience.
Dan Ferris: Does Stansberry need to be a public company? Does MarketWise?
Porter Stansberry: I think that MarketWise does need to be a public company because of the size and scope of our business and because of the age and the financial needs of the owners. Bill Bonner needs liquidity. Honestly, I really need some too. I don't want to have to be broke again at 48 years old. That was not fun. Now I'm 50, but you know what I'm saying. I need to be able to put some money aside for my family and I that's not tied directly to the financial markets and to the publishing company. It's just too much volatility for someone my age. That doesn't mean, by the way, I'm planning on selling any shares. I'm not, but when I'm 60, I would like to.
So anyways, that's an important consideration for the major shareholders. As you probably know, 80%-plus of the stock is owned by about five people who all are very closely associated with the business. So for the partners, it'd be important to have some liquidity. Then for the shareholders, including the public shareholders, it's important because having a public entity allows us to demonstrate to potential partners that we have a very well-run company and that our equity is worth a lot. If we do that, we should be able to roll up a lot of very talented editorial people who don't want to go to work for S&P Global. I think that in 10 years' time, you'll look at this space as being dominated by S&P Global, by MarketWise, and by Morningstar. And those are all public companies.
Dan Ferris: Right. Earlier, you alluded to – you said you much rather find a really good publishing business to buy. Of course you can't name any names, but do you have your eye on any such targets?
Porter Stansberry: Yes. I've been eager for lots of reasons to get back to the company, but mostly because I saw us doing ridiculous – as you know, we did a ridiculous acquisition last year that just broke my heart. There are so many quality editorial groups out there that would like to work with us. I'm already talking to lots of folks and my first quarterly shareholder letter I made a plea, which was if you have a good editorial business between 5,000 and 50,000 subscribers, we'd love to talk. I'm eager to talk to everybody who shares my vision of customer-centric financial publishing.
Dan Ferris: In the age of Substack and Medium and even Twitter, is MarketWise's job harder? Is the business more difficult now than it was "pick your number" of years ago?
Porter Stansberry: I actually think it's the opposite. I think it's easier than ever. I think that there are more people than ever before that have gotten used to hearing from credible, independent voices on the value of the economy or the value of an industry or the value of an equity. Whereas 25 years ago, if you weren't writing research for Morgan Stanley, nobody thought it was worth anything. So I think that things like Seeking Alpha and Substack and these other platforms have really helped democratize and also credentialize the idea that independent people can be really great resources for investors. I look forward to some things that I don't want to mention... I think that there is absolutely incredible opportunity for MarketWise in this new world that we have not yet ever begun to tap.
Dan Ferris: I have to tell our listeners something about you. Let me tell you something. Before Porter –
Porter Stansberry: I don't know where this is going, folks.
Dan Ferris: It's – before Porter got ahold of this industry it was seedy, with a capital "S." I remember being so naive in the beginning and having so much respect for some of these people who are publishing things and then finding out later on that they were paid cash in some instances and papered up to the sky and others to promote stocks. I thought, "Oh, gosh. That's terrible." I just felt so naive. I really still kind of am, but less so than I was then. Porter just looked at all of this as – this is my characterization. If you want to qualify it, by all means.
But I feel like Porter looked at all this and he said, "OK. To sell something you have to crow a little bit. That's fine, but why can't we do actual work and why can't we serve our customers and be on their side instead of trying to screw them by promoting stocks and pushing it on the customer?" Let me tell you something. That is one of the great seizures of low-hanging fruit I have ever seen in the business world in my life, period. That's what I got to say.
Porter Stansberry: That opportunity is better than it ever was before, and it hasn't changed. The challenge remains to convince our publishers and our marketers and our copywriters and our editors that the only path forward is by actually serving the customer. There is no way to franchise value if you're not making money for your readers. Period. That's the basis of this business. If you try to do it in any other way, if you try to do it with advertising, whether you're advertising for stocks or advertising for vodka, it won't work. We saw that with the Street... dot-com. Likewise, as you know, all these people who are penny-stock promoters have all gone by the way side because the Internet ruined their ability to represent themselves as something other than they were.
So that's why ever since 2003 we have had track records that are accurate and that we internally audit the show, the actual financial benefit of subscribing to our products. That led us to create a brand and a business that was unmatched really in the space. Again, I think that we're still in the very early stages of building out what that can be – but only to the extent that we keep our standards very high and that we continue our dedication at every level and our business to serving the customers, which sounds so obvious. As you know, it's actually very hard to implement.
It's hard to implement because this business attracts a lot of people who are greedy and who are short sighted... kind of like Wall Street. If you're a broker and you do a great job for your clients, you can build a book of business and you can have an incredible life. It's also true, you can show up at 26 years old and cold call people and make $500,000 a year sending people down the river. You can do that for a while. The same thing is true in our industry. You see people come and go who think that this is a quick way to make a buck and unfortunately, it is, but not for long.
Dan Ferris: Amen. All right. Well, I feel like you and I could talk about the business [inaudible] and MarketWise for hours.
Porter Stansberry: I wish I could say more. There are three things that, if I could tell you, you wouldn't be able to sleep tonight. There are things I've been – you know me, I've always got something up my sleeve. So there are things I've been waiting to implement when the company and I were able to make peace. So I'm very excited about where we're going. I've decided not to ever say anything about the future of the company either in my quarterly letters or to people because I don't want anyone to ever feel let down. So I'm only going to talk about in my letters what we've accomplished. I'm not going to tell you what we're planning next.
Dan Ferris: Again, I wish more people would learn that skill. Some management teams have learned it, but very few, paltry few. They provide guidance and they talk about the future and they just get in over their heads and nobody ever delivers.
Porter Stansberry: It's just a matter of time. Think about what happened to GE. GE thought that what mattered in their business was the accounting. Where did that lead them?
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Not good.
Porter Stansberry: They destroyed the greatest business in the world in less than 20 years. That's hard to do.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Of course for those of who you don't know, Porter has been absolutely [inaudible] about GE. You've been talking about GE since I've known you.
Porter Stansberry: I first wrote about in 2002. Let's just say I was a little early.
Dan Ferris: A little bit, but still, in the end, spot on, as you often are – in the end, spot on. So let's talk about the state of things, markets, investing, what people ought to do. What should they do? I feel like at this moment we've written the words with so much fear and uncertainty in the market lately. I don't know if that's entirely true when I look at evaluations and things, but I feel like we write those words a lot or I see them written a lot. So Chris Marrou, he said the hardest time to invest is right now... is always right now. So maybe it is true, but when you look out at the wide world of the stock and bond markets and other things, maybe you could just give a general characterization of what you see and then we can drill down and get more specific. How does that sound?
Porter Stansberry: Sure. Yeah. I actually think we went through an important inflection point on October 21, which was about two weeks ago. As you know, the markets have rallied very strongly since. Let's just call it up roughly 10%. The Nasdaq is up a little bit more than that, S&P is up a little bit less. But the breadth of the rally has been really impressive and the consistency. I think we're now up like 11 in the last 12 trading days or something like that. Going into that, I was very concerned. I had been warning since maybe mid-September that I was very concerned we were on the cusp of another major financial crisis.
I believe that because of the size and the scope of the unrecognized losses in the banks... Bank of America being the poster child for it, the $131 billion in losses on their bond portfolio. It does seem to me that there is still going to be some price to be paid for the largest bubble in history. Most people would think that's a stock or the tulip bubble or something. No. The largest bubble in history was the sovereign-credit bubble, the sovereign-bond bubble between 2020 and 2022. The best example of that probably is the Austrian 100-year bond that was issued in 2020 that is now down 75% in two and a half years.
So people don't really understand that the bond markets dwarf the stock markets... dwarf them. And that when the bond markets are absolutely having the worst, what, 24 period in their entire modern history, it's hard to believe that there isn't going to be an impact on the real underlying economy. So I don't know exactly what that is going to be. I can't – unfortunately, Rick Rule always says, "I've got two balls and neither of them are crystal," or like Yogi Bear always says, "Predictions are hard especially about the future." My fear was that when Bank of America reported the size of those losses, which I knew they would have to, that there could have been a run on deposits because if there is a run on deposits, that bank is actually insolvent.
They can only pay 0.06% on their deposits when you can go and get 5% of Treasurys. To me, if I was the CEO of that bank, I wouldn't be sleeping at night. If your customers know you're broke is your biggest worry, that's not a good business model. So I was very concerned. When I saw that inflection in the stock market, when I saw what happened, I just have to admit that it's not yet. Whatever those complications are, they're not going to resolve in a banking crisis. That's not going to happen. Apparently, the knowledge that they can keep printing is enough to keep people from a run. So they've got now some time and space to let that inflation play out slowly and let those losses be absorbed over the next four or six years, apparently. Now having said this out loud, of course tomorrow, there will be a run on the banks.
Dan Ferris: That's right.
Porter Stansberry: So I'm not suggesting that the risk is gone. What I'm saying is that the markets are no longer acting as though that risk is going to be realized. In that sense, generally in my career, the markets are usually right. If I was getting confirmation from the markets that this is still going to be a problem like I did in '07 and '08, well, then I would keep pounding the table on it. I'm not getting that confirmation. U.S. Treasury bonds have rallied. Bank of America has rallied. The regional banks have rallied and it's pushing all the stock market along with it.
So I think that for now, that danger has passed. And what I'm expecting is a much slower economy with rising unemployment that may or may not trigger a serious recession in another six months or so. So you got to start planning for that accordingly. If we've got low-to-negative same-store sales across the retail complex and you've got a GDP that, in real terms, is declining 3% or 4% a year and you've got real interest rates at, say, 2.5%, 3%, I don't know how you've got an S&P trading at 18 or 20 times earnings. So I think that for the next year or so, it's going to continue to be a pretty tough market. I think that stocks are going to be mostly range bound, and I think that the quality is going to shine through.
That's probably why you see the high-quality stocks trading at aggressive multiples, and you see 40% of the Russell 2000 just absolutely getting destroyed. I just think you'll see more of that going forward. My big concern is what happens to the U.S. consumer. If we have audit default rates that are double digit, if we have credit-card default rates that are double digit, if we have unemployment that, say, gets to 10%, which I think those are all possible outcomes, then what you may see is the fallout of that great sovereign-debt bubble is just an inflation that wipes out the middle class. That's probably what's going to happen.
Dan Ferris: Ouch. That doesn't sound like fun.
Porter Stansberry: Well, Dan, they voted for it. So they're going to get it good and hard.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Not to say that anyone deserves it, but you get what you get when you do what you do. So it sounds to me like, and I already know this about you, your favorite thing to do maybe right now in public markets is own quality, period, full stop.
Porter Stansberry: That's hard to beat, isn't it?
Dan Ferris: Yeah. It is hard to beat. I've tried too many times and I've failed every time.
Porter Stansberry: I haven't failed every time, but I've certainly failed more often than I've succeeded. The best thing is when you can get something that's evolving into quality. That's of course rare, but it's fun to do. I did that with NVR. When I first recommended NVR in '07, everybody thought it was a homebuilder like all the rest of them. Everybody now knows it's completely different and the multiple has changed as a result. It's gone from having a multiple of 6 to having a multiple of 14. It's still a great business, one of the greatest businesses in the world. So there are quality out there, but it's unrecognized quality that's still affordable.
Dan Ferris: Just real quick for anybody who doesn't know, what's different about NVR?
Porter Stansberry: So NVR doesn't own any land, and when I say they don't own any land, 99.4% of all the houses they build, they build on lots that are owned by someone else. The only exception are the spec homes that they will build as the demonstration home to a new community. So it's one out of 75 homes they'll build on their own lot. They're not in the business of land development whatsoever. As a result, their return on assets is usually around high 20s compared to an industry return on assets that are usually around 5.
So it's just a very, very different, very much better business. That leads to return on equity for NVR that's probably averaged something like 50% for the last 20 years and has led to a business model that was cash-flow positive the entire time during the '08, '09, 2010 housing bust, which is hard for people to believe, but true. They've also probably – I don't know if they're the absolute best in terms of stock buy back in the whole market, but they're certainly one of the top five, AutoZone, NVR. Who else is in that realm of buying back way more than half of the shares outstanding over the last 20 years?
Dan Ferris: Yeah. AutoZone is just a beast.
Porter Stansberry: Apple is. Do you have any idea how much money Apple spent on shares in the last decade? Six hundred and four billion.
Dan Ferris: Woah.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. I think – I want to – don't – I can't swear to this, but I believe that's more than the combined buyback of 492 of the S&P 500.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. That sounds about right.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. Just –
Dan Ferris: That's a lot.
Porter Stansberry: What an incredible performance.
Dan Ferris: That's a lot even for – yeah. Talk about a company that changed from "mmm" to mega-greatness.
Porter Stansberry: Let me give you a tough one. Let me give you a tough one. What do you think about Disney?
Dan Ferris: Well, I've always liked it until recently. I think the parks are – in my mind, the parks are still just really hard to beat and then on top of that there is just scads of intellectual property that can be developed into all kinds of things. The fact that some of it is – it's getting painted with this woke brush or whatever could easily be fixed. It's easily a temporary kind of a thing. So you could be looking at really great business going through one of t's temporary, but serious – I forget how he phrases it, but it could be one of those scenarios right now.
Porter Stansberry: It reminds me of the New York Times circa 2010, 2012 when the shift to online publishing was occurring, and they couldn't figure out the new business model. They stupidly were giving away all of their content for free on their website and trying to pay for it with advertising. Well, as you know, the advertising space on the Internet is much, much smaller than the space in a newspaper. And that ain't going to change. So they had to move to a subscription model and it took them how long to really execute it well? I don't know, four or five years. But go and look at the stock chart and tell me you didn't want to own the New York Times until 2010 until now. And that's exactly what I see at Disney. It's got the very best content and the very best brand and the very best intellectual property in the space. So I'll ask you another way. Who do you think is going to be worth more money in 25 years, Netflix or Disney?
Dan Ferris: OK. Well, yeah. The brilliant content owner and creator. To me, that's where all this heads because –
Porter Stansberry: It's possible that Netflix supplants Disney and I'm completely wrong. That's possible. If Netflix starts opening theme parks that are way better because they're brand new, so they have better technology, there's better parking. If Elon Musk was running Netflix I'd be worried. But no. I just think Disney is going to be very, very hard to supplant or I'll ask you another way. Would you rather be running Disney or Netflix today? For me that's easy. I'd rather be running Disney because I can fix that. So I suspect that over the next five years or so you'll see Disney be one of those stocks where we both look back and go, "How did we miss that?"
Dan Ferris: Oh, yeah. I could see that one all day long. And just to clarify for the listener, it really is because of the deep quality and the tradition and the culture and everything is focused on that particular quality and type of content that it has – to say it's mastered it is an understatement. Once you have that, that's where all the value is. The value is always in the intangible, isn't it? It's always in the thing that – they make it touchable because they build parks around it and you can sit in a movie and see it. It's that – I hate to say it, but it's true – magic, that Disney magic that is in the content, the intellectual property.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. We have to hope they can remember how to make a good movie.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Look, we're not saying it's perfect today, but the core is there and it's not really anywhere else. I think that's the point.
Porter Stansberry: Well, I don't know you know this or not, but the U.S. Army has recently gone back to using white men in their advertising.
Dan Ferris: I saw. That's made the rounds on social media.
Porter Stansberry: Maybe Disney will catch the hint.
Dan Ferris: Yep. Just saying.
Porter Stansberry: Just an idea.
Dan Ferris: It's OK if you have feminine women and masculine men interacting the way they always have for, I don't know, hundreds of thousands of years. That's OK. There's nothing wrong with that. Yeah. It's fixable, isn't it?
Porter Stansberry: I think so. I do think that's – by the way, just because it's a good opportunity and just because it is fixable doesn't mean it will be fixed. And there is no guarantee the New York Times is going to figure out their funk either, speaking of things that are woke and were very poorly run. As you know, Dan, what's so funny is most investors are looking for something that's great. What they really should be looking for something is covering warts because the way you can beat the market is by buying something that is beautiful underneath and it's currently covered in scabs. Then you fix the scabs and you beat the market, but you're not going to beat the market by going out – at least in my opinion, I don't think you're going to beat the market right now by going out and buying Microsoft at full price.
Talk about a business of firing on all cylinders. It's a great business. I remember very well at the conference in 2012 when people, really good investors were presenting on it back when it was built being run by Ballmer. They basically said all you have to do to double the market cap here is fire one guy. So let's fire him. Of course they eventually got the hint and they did that. Here's something ironic. Look at Ballmer's net worth compared to Gates. I think that Ballmer is only worth maybe 25% less. How idiotic is that? That just goes to show you if you're a really lousy manager, find a genius and stand close to him.
Dan Ferris: Right. It's not what you know, it's who you know and how much they like you.
Porter Stansberry: It'd be fun, wouldn't it, to come up with a list of people who have the most amount of money but deserve it the least?
Dan Ferris: I suppose. That's a little...
Porter Stansberry: I can think of a couple candidates.
Dan Ferris: Yeah? Do you want to say them out loud or no? I'm going to call that a no. Maybe you and I will have a drink sometime and I'll learn that list. You also – look, I also know you're a savvy credit investor and that you have a great appreciation for those who have mastered the art. We've had Marty Fridson on the show a couple of times.
Porter Stansberry: Marty has been working for me out at my barn and it's so fun to work with a genius because Marty is like – I hang out with a pro-golfer, Kevin Kisner, who we've been sponsoring for the last several years. Kisner can hit his driver, Dan... 305-yard carry and he can land the ball into a space the size of this table with his driver, nine times out of 10. I'm like, "That's superhuman." He's just like, "It's just golf." Could care less. Marty is like – then you talk to Marty and he has been in and around every major event in the bond market since the creation of it by Salomon Brothers, talking about high yield bonds at least, by Salomon Brothers in the early '80s. Every deal that happened since he was the senior research high-yield analyst for Morgan Stanley and then for Merrill Lynch.
He's just seen all these deals firsthand. He has this incredible, intuitive sense for that bond is going to probably get downgraded and it'll probably end up down at around 54 cents, 52 cents and then it'll come up with a way of refinancing and it'll be money good. Having all that experience in that space is just so – to me, as a guy who's a passionate historian of finance and the economy and Wall Street, that stuff is just so fun to be around. Of course as you know, there is absolutely no better risk to return investing at all. Nothing comes close. So it's just fun to watch.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. I feel like if the average equity holder knew what they're missing they'd be like, "Oh, this is – I'm putting my money in all the wrong places," because equity holders just don't have protections. They don't have anything like what a bond holder gets.
Porter Stansberry: No. I love explaining bonds the same way that the Goodfellas guy explained how the mob works, the movie Goodfellas. They burn down – they ran up a bar bill that they couldn't pay. So they just burn the guy's restaurant down. Meanwhile, the guy had borrowed the money to build the restaurant from the mob. So the mob is like, "F-ck you. Pay me. You burned down my restaurant. F-ck you. Pay me." That's the position you're in if you're in the right bond. You have to be in what they call the fulcrum bond, the bond that's the lead of the credit committee if they enter bankruptcy, which you don't want them to.
Then you just say, "Look, I'm sorry that your markets disappeared. I'm sorry that that all happened, but it doesn't matter because I got a contract and it says you have to pay me." Once you figure that out as an investor, then owning stocks is a lot less interesting because you're like, "Yeah. I'd much rather them just have to pay me. I don't want to hear the excuses from the CEO. I don't want to hear about why they had to cut the dividend. I don't want to hear about streaming. I just want you to pay me."
Dan Ferris: Exactly. It's – that bond proposition, if you do it right, is heads I win, tails I still probably win. It's not even like I lose some, I lose a little. That was Mohnish Pabrai's thing was heads I win, tails I don't lose too much, but if you pick bonds right it's heads, I win, tails I win maybe a little less. So it's pretty wonderful.
Porter Stansberry: It sure is. It's the opposite of venture investing. It's the exact opposite. In venture investing you win a very small amount of the time and you have big gains and you have mostly losses. So if you're going to do that, you have to figure out to spread your bets over a very, very wide field. With bonds, it's really – it's much more fun for individuals, I think, because it's the opposite. I think if you look at the history of every single distressed debt I've ever recommended through our first thing – what was our first thing called? True Income? No. What was it called? The one with Mike Williams that we did in '08 and '09.
Dan Ferris: Oh, gosh. Whoa. I don't remember what it was called.
Porter Stansberry: I can't remember now what that product was called. It was great, had a great track record, and the average annualized return was 31%. It was great. Then we did [Stansberry] Credit Opportunities for the credit cycle in 2015 and then that still exists. So that track record has been running for a long time. If you look at all those track records you'll see we make money about 80% of the time and you see that our average annualized returns are roughly twice the stock market. So let me get this straight. It's half the risk and twice the return? Yep. Oh, I don't want that. Then we try to explain to the individual investors why they should be involved and it's like we have four eyes. "What do you mean a bond? What's a CUSIP number?" They're not really interested.
Dan Ferris: So at this moment, I think is a great moment for people to become educated and interested in this.
Porter Stansberry: Only if you want to make a whole lot of money next year.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Without as much risk, right? That's only if you're interested in that. Senior loans and things, yielding, like, just call it 7.5%, 8% or something. It's really interesting and I promise you, if I'm right, maybe even if Porter is right, in a couple of years that's 7.5%, 8%-plus whatever capital gains you get. It's going to look really, really a lot better. You'll look backward and think, "Wow. These guys had their heads right."
Porter Stansberry: I'll give you some interesting facts. As the Treasury-bond market has moved lower and therefore the Treasury yields have moved higher, corporate yields haven't moved as much. Now Dan, listen to what I'm saying. I'm not saying they haven't gone higher. They have. They've gone from two and a half, three and a half, up to four and a half, five and a half, six and a half. But the spread between them has gone away. So it used to be the 10-year was at 0.5 and the Microsoft bond was at 2.5. That's a pretty good spread. Spread now is zero. Zero. That's only happened at a couple of interesting times before in history.
So right now investment-grade, high-quality corporate credit has the same exact yield as Treasurys and that's because the Treasury bond market, the yields are very high as the Fed's trying to stop inflation. That incident, where there is no risk being assigned corporate credit, so there's no difference in the yield between the sovereign bond and the corporate bond, has only happened before in May of 1929 and then again in the fall of 1966 and then again the summer of 1973 and then again in – I can't remember – I think it was April 2007. So the only times you've ever seen credit being this mispriced in terms of default risk was during the absolute peaks in the stock market, which we are also pretty much experiencing.
So I think that's a good reason to be currently very cautious in corporate credit, but to be very excited about what's likely to happen next because what's likely to happen next is we tip over into a recession and then default rate is going to go absolutely bonkers because there was so much credit doled out during the COVID bubble that should have never been issued. Forty percent of the Russell 2000 has not been able to earn enough money in the last three years to even pay the interest owed on their obligations. They are not going to be able to roll, neither is anybody in commercial real estate. So there is just going to be this entire cock-up of credit. In that process this is the best part. This is the part that people do not get and you cannot explain it to them.
When there's a panic in the credit markets, it's not at all like a credit – like a panic in the stock market. When there's a panic in the stock market people go out and dump their stock and it trades and they move on. When there's a problem in the credit market you panic and you go to sell your credit and guess what? There's no bid. No bid. You call your credit dealer over there at Morgan Stanley and you say, "Hey, I've got the five and a halves from X, Y, Z stock that are maturing in seven years." He goes, "Well, that's cool. What do you do with them?" You're a buyer or a seller and you say, "I'm selling 10,000." The guy says, "OK. My price for you is $42."
And you're like, "I thought it was $75." You go, "Man, that's go good." So you call three other places and you can't even get a bid from them. So you call the Morgan guy back and you say, "I'll take the $42." He goes, "Oh, I'm sorry. It's $32 now." There is no way to sell. Think about all of these ETFs and all of these other people that promise daily liquidity on these bonds. There's going to be a massive cock-up. So to generate the liquidity to pay for the people who are in the ETFs, what are they going to sell? They're going to sell what can be sold.
Dan Ferris: What they can. Yes.
Porter Stansberry: Right. Which means – this is the best part – which means if you know what you're doing and you're in this distressed debt market, what you're going to be able to buy is money good bonds for 60 cents 70 cents on the dollar because that's the only that can trade. So they're going to have to sell them. I don't know what's better – a drunk girl at prom or a fourth seller in the credit debacle? But they're both pretty damn good.
Dan Ferris: All right.
Porter Stansberry: Let's see how many times I can get canceled, Dan.
Dan Ferris: That's right. It's effectively your show. So go for it.
Porter Stansberry: I will be hearing from HR momentarily.
Dan Ferris: I'm sure you will. So this is a good moment then to deal with my final question, which it's the same for every guest no matter what the topic even if it's nonfinancial. Same final question and that is very simply if you could leave our listeners with a single thought today, what would it be? And if you've already said it, feel free to repeat it.
Porter Stansberry: No. A single thought would be it's a really, really great time to be alive. If you focus on all the little short-term problems and the credit markets or the stock markets or whatever, you're missing the big picture... which is that in the last 20 years, our lives have gotten immeasurably better. It's easier to travel. It's easier to make money. It's easier to communicate. Just think about having point-by-point GPS instructions on your phone. It's made your life easier. Medicine has gotten a lot better. I'm not saying the hospital care has, but it's a great time to be alive.
I think in general, most investors make the mistake of not being optimistic enough, that despite all the problems, the resolutions are always more powerful than the reckonings. That's how we continue to progress... despite all the stupid wars we get into, despite all of the dumb financial bubbles that occur, despite all the problems of our society, despite how we men to compete with women in sports. We do a lot of dumb things. But we eventually course-correct. And those improvements and those innovations in time are far more valuable than the problems that occur along the way. A good way of thinking about that just to make it more personal is think about your own marriage. You have problems, you have setbacks, you've got troubles, but then things get better and you look back on your life and you're like, "Whoa, that was the best thing I ever did."
Dan Ferris: There you go. All right. That's a great message. Thanks for that. I'm glad you went that way. Listen, it's always a pleasure to talk with you, man, and thanks. It's been a long time and I know folks really, really enjoyed hearing from you today.
Porter Stansberry: Well, I'm flattered that you had me on, Dan. You've done a great job with this program and with your letter over many years and I'll come back any time you ask.
Dan Ferris: All right. Sounds good. You will be asked again. As long as you're around, as long as we can find you, you will be getting an invite back to the show.
Porter Stansberry: Great. Thank you very much.
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Well, I certainly enjoyed that even more than I thought I would and I thought I would love it. Always great to hear from Porter on a number of things, the economy and the business and his rise and fall, who knew, and return. I'm just thrilled that he's back running MarketWise the way it was meant to be run. I'm not surprised to hear his views on the market. I've heard his presentations and I've heard things from him here and there over the past year or so. As always, he brings lots of value to the table and lots of good ideas. I hope he will take the idea about learning to invest in bonds very, very seriously. Actually, overall look, if you want, Porter's – his investing ideas – they're still available and they are exclusively at PorterandCompanyResearch.com.
His company is called Porter and Co. You could probably Google "Porter and Co" and find it or just Porter Stansberry, but the website is PorterandCompanyResearch.com. And his team includes a lot of people that I know well who are absolutely brilliant, just guys that I've known and worked with for many years, Tom Carroll, Scott Garliss, others... Martin Fridson, who Porter mentioned before. So that's where you can find them and head over there if you're interested.
All right. That was fantastic. That was another great interview and in my humble opinion. It was great for me, let's put it that way. That's another interview, and that's another episode of Stansberry Investor Hour. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
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