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How to protect your savings from the coming crisis

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Code Red–How to Protect Your Savings from the Coming Crisis, by John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper (Wiley, 2014).

Messrs. Mauldin and Tepper also wrote Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle together.

When not writing highly digestible books, John Mauldin operates Millennium Wave Investments, a broker-dealer and advisory firm, as well as Mauldin Economics, a research firm. Jonathan Tepper is the chief editor of Variant Perception, a macroeconomic research group.

The first John Mauldin book I reviewed was Bull’s Eye Investing. John Mauldin is good, and the new book, co-written with Jonathan Tepper, is a terrific read. Who else makes domestic and global economic and financial information fun to read?

Code Red is tough to put down–the authors set the hook firmly and keep reeling in the reader. A main theme is what the authors call financial repression, e.g. what governments do to make pain go away and make citizens think they feel better.

Readers of The Investment Edge and Broker’s Bookcase know that one of my favorite movies (actually, a play at first) for great lines is A Few Good Men. Mauldin and Tepper take us through a slightly revised version of Colonel Nathan Jessup’s soliloquy.

Imagine Ben Bernanke in the part played by Jack Nicholson in the film, saying this:

“I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for savers and creditors, and you curse the central bankers and quantitative easing. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the destruction of savers with inflation and low rates, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves jobs and banks and businesses and whole economies!”

The authors have restless minds; there is a lot of pop culture in the book (as to quotes: even the movies Casablanca and The Italian Job get into the Code Red script). These references keep things moving along nicely.

Mauldin and Tepper seem at times like thoughtful versions of Harry Dent, the champion of population statistics, but on steroids: they don’t only focus on population trends.

For instance, when discussing Japan, they jump into currency, population, politics, social programs and more.

In a sense, the authors share with us the good, bad and ugly of global situations, and they offer advice on how to profit situationally.

At its heart, Code Red is about central bank practices. If you want a good read, and oversight of present economies (and a peek into possible future outcomes), I can’t think of a better place to get the information.

You won’t agree with all, but that’s okay; in most cases Mauldin and Tepper are probably right on the money. 


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