AMA 26 – Howard J. Ruff: Prosper During The Coming Bad Years

Howard Ruff

How will you stay on top of your finances with the coming economic uncertainty? Your best bet is to continue listening to The American Monetary Association Show as your host, Jason Hartman, discusses cutting edge financial topics with experts in the field.

For example, this episode’s very special controversial guest is Mr. Howard J. Ruff, author, financial adviser, founder and editor of The Ruff Times Financial Newsletter. In 1975, Howard began publication of The Ruff Times, a groundbreaking financial advisory newsletter. Since then, The Ruff Times had more than 600,000 subscribers – the most read financial advisory in the world. In addition to Ruff’s successful publication, he also authored the mega-selling financial book, How to Prosper During The Coming Bad Years. This highly-praised product reveals acclaimed wisdom and insight on economics, politics, and investments in easy-to-understand terms. Listen in as Jason and Howard divulge sharp and proactive methods to maximize your return on investment in the years to come.



Narrator: Welcome to the American Monetary Association’s podcast. Where we explore how monetary policy impacts the real lives of real people, and the action steps necessary to preserve wealth and enhance one’s lifestyle.

Jason Hartman: Welcome to the podcast for The American Monetary Association. This is your host, Jason Hartman and this is a service of my private foundation, The Jason Hartman Foundation. Today we have a great interview for you, so I think you’ll enjoy it. And comment on our website or our blog post. We have a lot of resources there for you, and you can find that at AmericanMonetaryAssociation.org or the website for the foundation which is JasonHartmanFoundation.org. Thanks so much for listening and please visit our website and enjoy our extensive blog and other resources there.

Start of Interview with Howard Ruff

Jason Hartman: With great pleasure, I’d like to welcome Howard Ruff to the show. He is a very well-known author. His most recent book is How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years in the 21st Century. And that was published in 2008. Howard, it’s great to be talking with you personally.

Howard Ruff: Well, it’s great to talk to you. I can hardly wait to hear what I’m going to say.

Jason Hartman: Me too. So, tell us about your take on the current economy. It’s pretty disgusting what’s going on out there with the money printing, and the bail-outs, and the rewarding the wrong behaviors, and the moral hazards, and so on and so forth. What is your take on that?

Howard Ruff: You’ve got it all just right. The conclusion I’ve drawn is that I’m viewing with alarm like I’ve never done in my entire career. The problems that we face amount to socialism. We used to be creeping towards socialism, now we’re galloping towards socialism. And I see Barack Obama, I hate to say this, but if he isn’t the anti-Christ, he’ll do until one comes along.

Jason Hartman: He is definitely moving us toward a very big government, a lot of draconian rules…

Howard Ruff: Well not just that. The thing to remember about it is the definition of socialism. Socialism is government owning or controlling the means of production. All socialist economies do and that’s the definition of the term.

Jason Hartman: Sure.

Howard Ruff: And now he’s taken over the automobile industry, he’s taken over Wall St, he’s taken over the insurance industry, and what he’s done is given them money with strings attached. He claims he’s not going to make decisions for them. That’s a bunch of baloney. What he’s doing is he’s already fired the CEO at AIG insurance companies, and said we can’t pay these guys’ bonuses. Even though they’re working for a dollar a year, plus bonuses he isn’t really the best producer they have. And he’s step by step taking total control. And I was interested that Barney Frank, congressman of the house said that he thought we could control the salaries and pay out the bonuses of companies even after we receive money from the government. And that’s what scares the wits out of me.

Jason Hartman: That is very scary.

Howard Ruff: There’s strings attached to money, and government has big strings attached to all this money. But remember what Rob Emanuel said when he became Chief of Staff of The White House: He said you have a lot of crisis that’s being wasted.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, and that’s never missed the opportunity to use this crisis to promote our agenda.

Howard Ruff: For example, when they did that 700 some odd thousand, or 700 some odd billion bail-out package it had like 40 years of what the liberals in congress have wanted for 40 years. And nobody had a chance to read it before the vote. They finished at about 11 o’clock at night. The night before they had to vote no one, not one person who voted for it had read it before. Not one.

Jason Hartman: You know what’s interesting about that, is that I remember Obama during the campaign promising that he would put everything up on a website for five days so the American people could review stuff before votes were cast, so they’d have time to react and write to their representatives and so forth. And these kinds of things were just kind of rushed through. But Bush is not free of blame either. Bush and Paulson, between the two of those guys, they were a little less socialist but it started to get pretty big in terms of the size of the government under Bush too.

Howard Ruff: Well what we have to remember is that most of this has been approved by democrats who initiate a lot of the stuff, but backed up by weak kneed republicans who were just basically enablers. So years ago, remember when Papa Bush said that, read my lips: no new taxes? He said that to me on my TV show – I’m the guy he said that to. When he did I decided to abandon the Republican Party. I’m much more in tune with the philosophy they profess but I’m not in tune with the way they practice it, and consequently I resigned noisily from that party and publically, so I know what I am. I’m not a libertarian because I don’t like their philosophies, I’m certainly not a liberal. I’m more in tune with the state of republican philosophy. But they don’t do what they say they’re going to do. They just don’t.

Jason Hartman: Well when you say… Bush got really vilified for the read my lips: no new taxes thing when he ran the second time, but… and I’m talking Bush Sr. of course, but it wasn’t really he who promoted more taxes, he just caved in. He didn’t stand up to the big government liberals, right?

Howard Ruff: Well, actually he endorsed it.

Jason Hartman: Oh, he did? Okay. Well it must have been a trade off in plea bargain then.

Howard Ruff: Yeah, he actually endorsed it. And that’s why I resigned. I didn’t want anything more to do with a party that would do that.

Jason Hartman: Yeah. Well tell us your philosophy on why controlling the means of production and increasing… to me taxes are just a contemporary version of slavery, and government has to tax a little bit so you don’t have anarchy, but it’s been blown so far out of proportion with what’s going on nowadays. Give us your sort of philosophical underpinning for that, if you would. And then let’s take this into how one reacts to this, how one invests, how one protects themselves.

Howard Ruff: You mean defending the definition that I gave you?

Jason Hartman: Yeah.

Howard Ruff: I don’t have to defend the definition. Every economist, you go down the brass roots, they’ll all agree with that. That’s the definition, the actual true definition of socialism. And every socialist country, there’s been a lot of them. The Soviet Union was socialist. The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic, The Nazis. That’s the national socialist party ridden with socialism. All of these things, our government eventually being given control of the industry. Now, since the Obama administration has taken control of the automobile industry, they’ve taken control of pretty much the insurance industry, and they’ve certainly taken control of Wall St. And I don’t see that as anything but the purest definition of socialism. The only hang up is that they find that they have to control people with behavior. And so all socialisms eventually turn into totalitarian link that tells you what to do

Jason Hartman: That’s the link I’m looking for, actually. I didn’t mean for you to go into that much detail on it, but what does this really mean to people? Because nowadays this is all being soft pedaled as though, maybe the government can run it better. These are crazy statements to be making.

Howard Ruff: Right, but when has government ever run anything well except maybe the wars?

Jason Hartman: And that would be debatable, too.

Howard Ruff: Yeah, well let me tell you this: One thing that happens under socialism is they throw a lot of money around. In fact, today government knows they’ve got a recession, they know they have a deflationary period, they don’t know anything to do with that except for throw money at it. In the process of throwing money at deflation and recession, there’s laying the foundation for inflation coming around the corner.

And so we’re just a few months away from all this money they’re printing turning into inflation. Inflation is at all times, in all places a monetary phenomenon. Now, when inflation picks up IQ can bet that this administration will go to price [0:08:03.5] control.

I remember when my wife and I were on a cruise and we stopped in Leningrad and we were on a bus. All the sudden when the bus got stopped in traffic, we saw all kinds of people running. I found out someone on our bus are Russian and they were running for a store, because a rumor was out that something was for sale. They didn’t know what it was, they just wanted some because the shortages were created by price withdraws. They were tremendous.

Jason Hartman: I remember one time I was in Moscow, and I was with a tour guide on a bus tour in Moscow, Russia and I always whenever I go to these formally communist countries, I always ask a lot of questions about it. And she was telling about how they had to wait in line for shoes. One time she waited in line for shoes for 16 hours, and it’s cold in Moscow too in the winter, and it was very cold out and people were just lined up to get shoes. By the time they got in to get their shoes, they didn’t even have her size. So you just took whatever you could get and you figured you could trade it later. What a ridiculous loss of human productivity, and it’s just so inane how people think these systems actually work.

Howard Ruff: That always happens under socialism. They all turn to some kind of totalitarian government. Fascism, Nazism, Soviet Union… they all have to do that. So we find our lives being run by an elite that controls everything for everybody else.

Jason Hartman: And it sure seems like this elite is pretty far from the American people. They’re paying people out. Obama, when he did the auto deal and he just sort of abandoned the bond holders, the people who created the capital for the company in favor of the UAW, it just reminds me of that George Bernard Shaw statement that says, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” So, they’re just buying votes.

Howard Ruff: Well the thing that is amazing is that the bail-out of General Motors started with George Bush. The political pressures to be a socialist are irresistible because it always promises a lot of things. And right now half of the people in America don’t pay any taxes because there’s no consistency for controlling taxes. Half of the people in America get a check from some levels of government. But there’s no constituency for carrying government spending.

There was a poll recently. They found that half of the people in America were confused over what might be better: Socialism or Capitalism. And they didn’t have the slightest idea what either one of them was. And I don’t think Barack Obama knows that. All he knows that there are promises. The people that have been getting checks from levels of government, especially young people.

They’ve always gotten checks. They get checks from their parents, they get student loans, they just have great expectations and promises. So based on promises, countries turn to socialism. They always do. And the inflation that we’re looking at, which is basically a collapse of the value of currency. Every currency lasts maybe 75-80 years, that’s the lifespan, that’s how long they last. Ours have been around for 80 years right now.

And so inflation is not rising prices any more than wet sidewalks are falling rain. Inflation is simply the delusion of the capital by making more of it, decreasing it’s value by making it common. That inflation eventually reflects itself in higher prices.

Because inflation to an economist is not rising prices. Inflation to an honest economist is a diminishing of the value of currency by creating more of it. Consequently, all this money that’s being thrown around right now, these billions of dollars, in all my years of publishing, I’ve never heard them use the word trillion before. All these trillions they’ve been throwing around, they’re creating massive inflation that I predict is going to start by the end of this year, and Barack Obama is going to pay himself into a corner with it. And right now he’s fighting deflation and recession. One of these days he’s going to be fighting runaway inflation. I’ll bet you anything that their mentality, that the way the prices go, and create shortages, that will be followed by people taking everybody’s life.

The whole idea is we’re on the cusp of socialism. We really, really are. And the average person doesn’t have the slightest idea what it is, least of all what causes it. And so there’s a small minority that’s going to make money. I’m a maverick. Maverick is a cow that’s left the herd. The herd is still on Wall St. They’re doing what their financial advisors are telling them to do. And that herd is going to all be turned into hamburger. And a small minority are going to make a lot of money out of the mainstream, not doing what Wall St does but doing what they know will make the money, what they [0:12:44.3] make money.

Jason Hartman: I couldn’t agree more. I think you’re absolutely right.

Howard Ruff: Oh good for you. Hey, that makes you a real smart guy.

Jason Hartman: Well when you talk about most of that herb being made hamburgers, and then you talk about the shortages that will eventually follow the inflation when you have price controls, it actually just happened in Zimbabwe. Which is sort of the poster child for inflation, their currency is worth the paper it’s printed on basically which is what all fiat currencies become, paper and ink value. They instituted price controls and they said that the shop keepers would be arrested if they raised prices anymore. And so guess what happened? What a surprise…

Howard Ruff: They just disappeared.

Jason Hartman: The shop keepers just said I quit. I’m not going to do it anymore. I’m not going to run a shop if I have to pay a certain price for goods, and I can’t resell it and make a profit, I’m out of business. So, then there’s just price controls and then there’s just shortages. And it becomes this unproductive deadly spiral into socialism and central planning. Let me talk to you a little but about gold, if I could, and debt. I had Pat Buchanan on the show and I couldn’t have quoted him better than when he said this, after I explained our strategy, and by the way since we’ve only talked for just maybe two or three minutes before we started recording and I’ve never talked to you before, I want to explain our investment philosophy a little bit and see what you think of it. Because I’ll be very interested.

We believe in investing in little, inexpensive rental properties where basically the land is free, and you’re basically buying the commodities, the construction materials. The copper wire, the petroleum products, the glass, the steal, the lumber, the concrete. The energy that it takes to assemble a little, inexpensive, modest rental house in areas where land is either free or cheap, and we’re buying them far below actual construction costs nowadays. And then we believe… so there’s the commodities investment, what I call packaged commodities investing.

And then we believe that you should use as much long term fixed debt as possible, so long as the property is self-sustainable and there’s positive cash flow. Because you get three decade debt and artificially low interest rates. And I’m sure you think interest rates are going up. I sure do. And Pat Buchanan said you know Jason, that’s a pretty good strategy because basically, their debt will be floated away on a sea of inflation. And I thought you know, I couldn’t have said that better myself. It was very quotable. What do you think about that idea?

Howard Ruff: Well, it’s okay except timing is a problem. When I wrote How to Prosper in the Coming Bad Years back in 1978, I recommended real estate as an inflation aid. So why won’t I recommend that now? Because real estate, residential real estate is still in free fall and it hasn’t bottomed out yet. As a financial advisor, I want to buy low and sell high.

Jason Hartman: But doesn’t that depend on what market you’re talking about? Certainly in a country…

Howard Ruff: It’s essentially universal. Yeah, you could pick on markets where it’s not happening, but it’s just about universal. And I think the upshot of it all is that as inflated as our residential real estate will become, a good inflation and your strategy will work. But right now trying to buy real estate now because people think it’s going to bottom, is sort of like trying to catch a falling plate.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I agree with you and I think in the bubble markets where you’re paying for a lot of land value in that equation, like anything in California, most of Florida, the north east, the expensive markets, none of those make any sense, but if you look at Texas last year, the three top appreciating (I did say appreciating, by the way) markets in the US were in Texas doing about 4% annually. Which you combine that with leverage and free land and buying below construction cost, that to me seems like a pretty good equation.

I know you’re a gold bug, so I want to talk about gold and metals in a moment.

Howard Ruff: I’m not a gold bug.

Jason Hartman: Oh, okay. Alright. Okay, go ahead.

Howard Ruff: First of all, I had somebody on a talk show recently, and someone says, well, I know you’ve always liked gold. No, that’s not true. I’ve been publishing for 34 years, I’ve been bullish on gold and silver for twelve of those years. My job as a financial advisor is just to be right all the time. And different things at different times. Sometimes, I’m bullish on the stock market and on bonds especially, sometimes I’m not bullish on the precious metals. Right now, we’ve gotten into a situation where the fundamentalists say well, Rogers is right. And say inflation is the only thing that’s going up.

Jason Hartman: That’s a good quote.

Howard Ruff: And I think that I became bullish on the metals again in late 2003.

Jason Hartman: That was good timing.

Howard Ruff: After about 12-15 years of being bearish on it. My job is to make money for my supervisor, and let me give you another quote: Yogi Bear, he said It’s de ja vu all over again.

Jason Hartman: I love Yogi Bear. He cracks me with his quotes – they’re so funny. But yeah, it is de ja vu all over again, isn’t it?

Howard Ruff: It is. And I burst on the scene in the mid-70’s and that was my recommendation was gold and silver because it was right for those times. And we made a lot of money on gold and silver. When I started recommending gold in ’75 it was 105 dollars an ounce. It’s still barely under two dollars. Gold eventually peaked out at $850, and silver $50. So the point is I’ve made people a lot of money and everybody figured it out. I’m stuck in the past. I’m still bullish on gold and silver? That’s baloney. I’m bullish when the time is right, and the time happens to be right, right now.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, and I would agree with you. The only reason I’m not such a gold bug and I hate to use that term, but I just said it so I’ll stick with it, is that gold and silver are definitely better than fake money, dollars, currency, because they are real money, okay? But they have a few flaws. They don’t produce income, there’s no financing available, no tax benefits, no one will rent them from you. And most of all, and I’m sure you can speak to these two quite well, is that they’re subject to confiscation possibly. It happened in the 30’s. And also subject to manipulation because the central banks want to see gold pushed down. They want to see silver and gold constantly manipulated and pushed down because they’re in the business of fiat currencies. And what do you think about those five characteristics? They don’t make them as pleasing to me.

Howard Ruff: All those characteristics are avoidable if you choose wisely, and that’s what I advise my supervisors to do, and I show how to invest that. For example, I can give you some other things that are probably known about it. When gold is taking off, then the Sharpies come out assuming it’s a big emotional moment, and they can get people to go for their fraud, and there are all kinds of frauds like, you don’t have to take the metal home. We’ll store it for you. Well you don’t know whether they’re actually storing it, and a lot of companies are not doing it. They’re cheating. And there are all kinds of problems, but they’re all avoidable. So I have avoidable. So I have four recommended dealers that deal nationally, not because they’re really good ones but because I’m getting old, and more than four is too many to monitor. The point is that, you want me to go down the list of things that are wrong with Wall St’s investors, with stocks and bonds?

Jason Hartman: Please do. Go ahead. Absolutely. There’s a lot wrong with them, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Go right ahead, please.

Howard Ruff: Well, first Wall St gets paid lots of money for selling pieces of paper that supposedly represent something tangible. Supposedly. They’re immensely money motivated. I remember when I was at the peak of my notoriety, and in the late 70’s I got a call from Merrill Lynch, the chairman of the board, they come to New York and they paid my trip but they showed me around. They were thinking about a mutual fund they thought I might like with precious metals. And so I went there. And they had a vice president taking me around. He took me into this huge room with all kinds of desks, and everybody’s talking on the phone. And these were the brokers, but all they were talking about was the money they made in commission.

So the guy took me out to the garage and showed me all the Porsches and Maseratis and Cadillacs and I was supposed to be impressed. Then he took me on the roof, told me the yacht harbor, this river that’s loaded with yachts. The brokers all owned these yachts. I was supposed to be impressed with that – I was not. I’ve never met such a greedy, money motivated group of people in my life and that very fact turned me off. So the point is that the money in the future is going to be made by people who ignore Wall St, who don’t pay anything. Like I said, the herd is going to be turned into hamburger.

Jason Hartman: Howard, I’m surprised. I thought you were going to say as the punch line to that story, you asked them where are the customer’s yachts?

Howard Ruff: Those were the broker’s yachts.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, right.

Howard Ruff: But those were all the broker’s yachts. And a lot of these guys are making millions of dollars a year in commissions.

Jason Hartman: I know.

Howard Ruff: Gold and silver is not hard, it’s just unfamiliar to most people. It’s not hard to buy, and I’m dictating a chapter now for my new book, which describes the problems and how to avoid them. I’m not a gold bug. Gold bugs are always bullish on gold and silver. That’s not me. I just want to be right.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, fair enough. What do you think about the new mismatic side of precious metals?

Howard Ruff: Well you’ve got to know a lot more about it than I want to know. Because you’ve introduced a couple of new factors: One is the bullion content, another is the scarcity and condition of the coin. And I don’t have the skills to judge that. So you will make money in new mismatic, but it requires skills that I don’t have. You will do well, but I kind of like the semi-new mismatics which have some scarcity value, and their value is pretty much based on the bullion value, and a little bit on the scarcity value. I like those things because they’re specifically excepted from seizure if the government should decide to seize gold.

Jason Hartman: Assuming the law stays the same, though too, right? They can always change the law, right?

Howard Ruff: Yeah, but they have no reason to do that. Right now the government thinks gold is something that they manufacture and total coin. We’re trying to sell this stuff. We’re not going to buy it. And remember when Roosevelt did it? It was considered real money, and he did it to improve the government’s balance sheet. He seized the gold, it wouldn’t improve the government’s balance sheet because it isn’t even on the balance sheet. But just in case you’re worried about it, that’s one of the reasons why we prefer silver. Because the silver market is so small the government wouldn’t benefit by seizing the silver. They would hardly benefit.

The odds are the government won’t even pay any attention to silver because to them it’s just industrial metal. And but yet, throughout history it’s been a monetary metal. It’s been more useful for making into currency then gold has over the years. So I like it. And there are over two thousand industrial uses for it, so it’s good when good times are bad. And incidentally, as I’ve been watching the gold and silver market, which I do every day, they’ve been doing very well. For example, when the market collapsed back in 2008 and the stock market was down like 45, 55, 65 percent, gold was only down only 7% for a little while. Silver took a beating and I begged my subscribers to jump in and buy some when silver was down from $18 down to $9. I recommend that they buy it. You’ll never find an opportunity like this. It’s back up now over $15 and it’s on its way back down.

Jason Hartman: Right.

Howard Ruff: The point is this: I’m not a trader. I don’t believe in trading, because I’m no good at it. I always buy high and sell low when I trade. Don’t have the skills to do that. So I want to catch a trend early in the trend, buy it and hang on no matter what all through the ups and downs. That’s what I’m doing right now.

Jason Hartman: Do you think that one day in the future here, as inflation sets in and the dollar becomes progressively more and more worthless, do you think that we’ll actually be trading silver coins to buy things? Or do you think we’ll be trading our silver and gold for new fiat currency? What are your thoughts about the Amero? Is that a crazy conspiracy theory?

Howard Ruff: That’s above my pay grade. I’m sorry, I don’t know the answer to that.

Jason Hartman: Okay, alright.

Howard Ruff: I should. I don’t care. Right now, we’ll assume we’ll be on the right side of it if we own some. That’s all I’ve heard.

Jason Hartman: Okay, alright. So when you talk about how inflation can make people rich, is that the way? Being invested in the bullions, and having gold and silver as it rises in value?

Howard Ruff: Well that’s one way. There’s another thing that’s going to happen. As the price of oil goes back up to over $100 a barrel, and it will, all of the sudden we’ll find that stores are having trouble restocking their Shelves because they can’t afford the fuel. Consequently, I recommend to these drivers that when they go to the store to buy any commodity, not just food, diapers, soap, motor oil, whatever, that they don’t just buy one can, they should buy a case. That way you’ll be buying it in today’s low prices and consuming it in tomorrow’s higher prices. So that’s the way to get a return on investment during inflation.

I also, as the price of fuel goes up, eventually public pressure will lead to a release of the oil service to build more oil wells and service them offshore. So I like oil service companies, and I think they’re going to benefit from inflation also. The pressure is going to build and build and construct more nuclear plants. Right now, there are 35 under construction or on the drawing board and there’s going to be more. And even if they only build that 35, they still, there’s only half enough uranium above ground to service their needs. So I like uranium stock – that’s another way to benefit from inflation. Uranium mining companies. I like that.

I’m not down on the whole stock market. Just the growth stocks, I’m down on most of it. But there are places in industry groups that I like that could make a lot.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, and I agree with you about those sectors being wise investments given that situation. But there’s always the potential graft of the investment banks, the CEOs, the boards of directors… they just skim the money off the top and the profit. So even if the sector does well, maybe the investors still don’t fare well, right?

Howard Ruff: Perhaps. But we won’t do when that will happen and we won’t even know it’s happening. Consequently, I would like to base my investment program on actually owning a bullion. And a good section of mining stocks, and mutual funds in investing money. I like those areas, and you will make a great deal of money. And someday, we don’t know whether we’ll have a new currency that’s backed by the commodities or whether we’ll someday be using our coins to buy stuff. We have no idea how it’s going to turn out, and somebody smarter than me might figure that out. In the long run we’ll be glad we have it because whatever happens to it, it will be useful and it’s the simplest to buy. There’s the least factors to worry about, the least complications. For example, there’s probably a coin dealer within a mile of your house.

Jason Hartman: One of the dealers you recommend actually is right here in Orange County.

Howard Ruff: Yeah, and they’re very inexpensive. But still be careful. Even if you buy from one of the companies I recommend, compare prices. Because prices can differ.

Jason Hartman: They differ wildly.

Howard Ruff: They do, and from day to day and even from hour to hour.

Jason Hartman: Yeah.

Howard Ruff: So always compare prices.

Jason Hartman: No question about it. And I have found that some of these that have their own radio shows and stuff, those guys are some of the most expensive of all. I’ve heard them on AM radio and called up and prices them against another dealer, and I couldn’t believe the price difference. It was just amazing how much more they charged.

Do you think Howard, there’s any risk of getting a fake metal? That’s always concerned me. You take the liberty of some gold coins or some one ounce gold bars or something… how do you know it’s real? Maybe it’s fake. It looks pretty, but does anybody test it or anything? Do any buyers do that?

Howard Ruff: That’s another reason I like silver. There’s not enough money in a given quantity of silver, silver coin or even a hundred dollar silver bar to make it worthwhile to spend all the time and trouble coming up with a counterfeit. There will be some counterfeiting in gold – there always is. That’s one reason why I have recommended companies. I know they check everything they have to make sure it’s real. So I trust them. I don’t always trust them to have the best prices at any given time, but I trust the integrity of their business.

Jason Hartman: Good. And what do you think about other commodities? You mentioned uranium and so forth, but what do you think about soy beans and coffee and rice? And all the other things out there.

Howard Ruff: The only way you can buy them is to buy a [0:29:05.6] contract and have truck dump a couple of tons of it on your front porch.

Jason Hartman: Yeah.

Howard Ruff: The average person can’t do that. The reason I like gold and silver as the one commodity is that people can buy it in concentrated small amounts, take it home and conceal around their house. It’s vastly superior. I think commodities are going to go up, but the average person cannot invest in it short of having a warehouse.

Jason Hartman: With storage of these metals, do you think it’s wise to have it in your house? Or should it be in a safe deposit box? I tell you the reason I ask that, is my grandfather collected a lot of coins and so forth and he used to show them to people. He suffered a home invasion robbery. They stole a lot. Fortunately no one was hurt, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience to go through. Do you think it’s okay to keep it in a safe deposit box?

Howard Ruff: What are the alternatives? Safe deposit box the government has the right to have the banks seize the safe deposit boxes. And there already are laws that prevent you from storing precious metals or currency or explosives in there.

Jason Hartman: Oh really? I didn’t know that.

Howard Ruff: Yeah, there are laws right now. And so, there’s nothing perfectly safe. I remember a company invested [0:30:14.8] that I recommend, they had developed something called a midnight gardener which is a big CVC tube that you could fit your metals in and bury it in your backyard. Midnight gardener, I thought it was cute.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s a good name. That’s interesting.

Howard Ruff: Be sure you remember where you put it because I know that one family when their mother died, or grandmother died, they knew she buried something in the backyard but didn’t know where it was. They had to dig up the whole back yard to find it. There’s no fool proof answer.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, and maybe the point is to diversify. Do different things.

Howard Ruff: Sure, absolutely. That’s what I always say. But don’t diversify like Wall St does. To diversify between this industry or that industry is simply putting everything in the same boat.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I agree with you there. Just in kind of wrapping up, tell people about your website and the newsletter and the book and so forth. And any thoughts you have in closing.

Howard Ruff: My website is www.rufftimes.com. There you’ll learn more about me than you ever wanted to know.

Jason Hartman: And I want to tell people that’s spelled R-U-F-F Times.

Howard Ruff: R-U-F-F Times. That’s correct. There you can read about me and sign up for my newsletter The Ruff Times if you wish. But there’s some benefits if you sign up for it. You get a free book, How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years in the 21st Century. Then I’ll tell you how to rip me off, if you want.

Jason Hartman: Okay. If you want to tell them I’ll let you.

Howard Ruff: You simply decide after a couple of newsletters that you don’t want it, and so ask for your money back and I’ll send it to you promptly and you will keep the book. How’s that?

Jason Hartman: Sounds like a great deal. Any thoughts in closing, Howard?

Howard Ruff: Well, we’re headed for political troubles that are scary. I’m more frightened of the future than I have been in all the years that I’ve been viewing with alarm. And so my concern is convincing all my children to do the right thing. I have two or three very wealthy children. We have 14 children now. Nine with my wife, and five teenagers we adopted. And 76 grandchildren. So that’s my biggest concern. And when I write books, I’m writing to my children, to my family really.

I’m making sure that people can understand what I’m saying, and do what I suggest and it’s really an instruction manual on how to do it. My key point is that I’ve been in publishing now for 34 years. I’m one of the old guys. I’m not one of these slick guys with their hair slicked back that goes on television and tells you what to do. The guy who’s probably hardly old enough to get his driver’s license. So the upside of it is that if you want to hear from a savvy old guy who’s been there and done that, been right most of the time over the years, then The Ruff Times are where you want to go. And we’ve had over 600 thousand subscribers over the years. And my book How to Prosper in During the Coming Bad Years is the biggest selling financial book in history, still is.

Jason Hartman: And that was from the 1978 edition.

Howard Ruff: Yeah. So when I realized that yogi bear was right, that it was de ja vu all over again and we were doing the same things we did in the 70s that caused that inflation that made us so much money in gold and silver, rather than writing a new book I just decided to revise the old one and update it.

Jason Hartman: Good stuff. Well, Howard Ruff thank you so much for joining us today. We appreciate having you on the show and learning from your vast experience. It’s been very insightful.

Howard Ruff: Oh, happy to talk to you. Call me again any time you want.

Jason Hartman: Okay, thank you.

Howard Ruff: Bye.

Narrator: The American Monetary Association is a nonprofit venture funded by the Jason Hartman Foundation which is dedicated to educating people about the practical effects of monetary policy and government actions on inflation, deflation and personal freedom. Our goal is to help people prosper in the midst of uncertain economic times. This show is produced by The Jason Hartman Foundation, all rights reserved. For publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate professional if you require individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of The Jason Hartman Foundation exclusively.

Transcribed by Ralph Jordan

The American Monetary Association Team
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