TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – “This feels like going from India to Japan,” said Kate a second ago…


You can imagine some of the old, cigarette-stained motels we’ve been staying in across America over the last two weeks. The motel we’re staying in tonight is modern (and spotless)…

More below. And I’ll also answer your questions one last time, in this final edition of our Friday Postcards mailbag…

End of a Journey

Greetings from a roadside motel in northwest Florida…

As you know if you read Wednesday’s Postcard, this will be my last time writing to you in these pages.

We’re leaving Rogue Economics. There are no hard feelings. But starting on Monday, Bill Bonner, Dan Denning, and I are going to publish independently.

We hope you join us. You can follow this link to do so.

You’ll also hear from a new editor at Rogue Economics, Nomi Prins, starting Monday.

Nomi sees the world much like Bill, Dan, and I do. And she’ll guide you in the next stage of the feds’ great financial experiment. Stay tuned…

As for Kate, the kids, and I, our journey continues…

Backroads and Roadside Motels

We’re driving across America from Idaho to Florida, traveling on backroads and staying in independently owned roadside motels.

We drive all day and when it starts getting dark, we pull over at the next motel we see. Tonight we’re in Tallahassee, Florida staying at the Seven Hills Suites on North Monroe Street.

We didn’t have to look for a motel tonight. An old friend and Postcards reader — Justin Ford — owns it. He offered us a bed (or three) for the night.

Here we are enjoying a Florida evening from the pool…


Justin’s Seven Hills Suites

Ugly Ducklings Into Swans

Justin is a successful property investor…

He bought his first property in 2002. Twenty years — and two market crashes — later, he’s got 1,250 units, a grocery-anchored shopping center, and an income-focused investment fund for outside investors.

He anticipated the 2008 property crash and didn’t lose a cent, despite owning 50 properties. Then, on the other side of the crisis, he had plenty of cash and perfect credit. He used it to grow his business aggressively.

His timing was excellent. (It’s similar, we hope, to the big trade we’re trying to pull off with the Dow-to-Gold ratio.)

And although he didn’t anticipate Covid-19, he made it through while carrying eight motels into the lockdown. (The lockdown was brutal, he told me, but he got through it.)

“The motel you’re staying in was the 2nd lowest rated hotel in the city when we bought it,” says Justin. “It rose to #1 out of 62 hotels after our team’s hard work.”

“We turn ugly ducklings into swans. One motel we bought was the most visited place by police in the whole of the town although I never mentioned that in my pitch to investors. It has won Trip Advisor’s top award now five years in a row.”

Tomorrow night we will be in Ocala…

And if all goes well, we’ll be with Kate’s parents in West Palm Beach by the weekend to celebrate Christmas…

Ray’s on the Corner

We also look for locally owned, independent restaurants.

Here we are at a roadside diner in Monticello, Arkansas, a couple of days ago. It’s called Ray’s, and it has been on this corner since 1964…



Homeschooling, Bonds… And a Big Thank You!

And now, on to our final mailbag…

Our homeschooling experiment is on readers’ minds… and we also talk about the Series I Savings Bonds I mentioned in the November 10 Postcard

Reader question: Mark Twain once commented that he “never let his schooling interfere with (his) education.” When could that be truer than today? Leaving spiritual things aside, and assuming a loving home, what better could you do by your kids than teaching them to think for themselves?

There are only three things we want our children to learn in school… a) healthy habits, b) good character and c) love of learning. If we can pull these three off, the rest takes care of itself…

Reader question: Hey Tom, love your Postcards. I’m trying to convince my wife about your family’s lifestyle. One question from her: How do the kids cope without friendships?

Our children spend a lot of time in the company of grownups, mostly family and friends.

Our kids always play well when we meet other kids on the road, and they have some “long distance” friends in some of the places we’ve lived.

What they’re missing are “everyday” friendships with classmates or neighbors.

Kate and I are not too bothered about this. They’ll have plenty of time later to make friends and we’d prefer them to focus on their studies for now.

Reader question: Just thinking about the young’uns’ education and wondering if they are learning to type. Typing was one of the best courses I took in school. The last five years of my working life, I had to type client progress notes for two hours every day.

Yes. Dusty can type already. Miles is learning. And Penny is still learning to read and write. We emphasize typing over handwriting because we think it has more practical value.

Either way, we think it’s an essential skill. Strangely, my expensive boarding school didn’t offer typing lessons, so I only learned to type about 10 years ago.

I did some research and found the Dvorak keyboard layout was a superior layout to QWERTY, so I learned that instead and I still use it…

Reader question: Always enjoy your latest episode in your travelogue. A couple of questions. I approve of your home schooling but wonder how far it goes. Do you stop once you get your GED? Or are there college level lessons?

With homeschool, we’re winging it… taking it one day at a time, without much of a long-term plan. I’m as curious as you are about the question of college. Do any homeschool kids go to college? We’re actively dissuading it, but our children may decide they want to go. How would that work? We have no idea…

Reader question: I also took advantage of the great interest rate on the Series I Savings Bonds. As I understand it, you can invest $10k each calendar year. Are you planning on doubling down in January?

You are correct. The maximum purchase is $10,000 per year. I would personally double up next year if I had dollars sitting idle in a bank account. The 7.12% yield is available through April 2022. I can’t give personalized investment advice. But for our family, it’s a great deal…

Reader comment: I wish you well in your new endeavor. I have enjoyed following you and will be getting the free subscription in your new capacity. Just want to say that you were in my country recently when you were in Ozark and Paris, Arkansas. You just missed me. God Bless y’all.

Reader comment: Tom, I have been following you and your family for quite a while now, and I will surely miss the updates and seeing the kids grow and experience new things. It was part of my enjoyment, as I am also a former teacher who still tutors great grandsons, on the side. But I guess in this crazy world everything changes and kids grow up and become adults.

God Bless you as you take on this new venture, and I pray I can adjust to not getting an update every couple of days. I appreciate financial advice, but there is not much risk I am going to take at this late stage in my life. Thanks for treating me to something special for the past year.

Thank you!

And a final and over-the-top thanks to everyone who encouraged us, supported us, and offered us their barns these past few years. You’ve carried us.

A big hug from all of us!

– Tom, Kate, and the Gang

P.S. Learn more about Justin’s investment fund at PaxProperties.com.

P.P.S. Also, a huge thank you to Maria Bonaventura, my long-suffering managing editor. I send you garbled nonsense and somehow you turn it into gold! Every time. Then I get all the credit.

And to Courtney Ghee, Rogue Economics’ customer service brand manager, who forwards me readers’ messages every day. Thank you. I have loved working with you guys…

Note From Rogue Economics’ Senior Managing Editor, Maria Bonaventura

I’ve had the privilege of working with Tom, Bill, and Dan behind the scenes, in one form or another, for the past five years. We wish them every success with their new venture.

But we invite you to stick around with us here at Rogue Economics, too. We have a lot to look forward to in these pages in the months and years ahead…

And at the top of that list is a new all-star editor, Nomi Prins, along with her team of global analysts.

Nomi will head up Rogue Economics starting Monday. She’s a best-selling author, financial journalist, and former global investment banker. As a lifelong learner, she encourages others to ask big questions and think for themselves.

Nomi reached the upper echelons of the financial world. She worked as a managing director at Goldman Sachs. She ran the international analytics group as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns in London. And she was a strategist at Lehman Brothers and an analyst at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

But during her time on Wall Street, Nomi grew discouraged by the unethical practices she saw permeating the banking industry. Finally, she decided enough was enough. And she set out to shed light on the ways the elite few manipulate the financial systems to serve their interests… at the expense of everyone else.

Now, Nomi brings her keen understanding of the world of money to Rogue Economics.

As a Postcards From the Fringe reader, you may receive a new issue of Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins every weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET, starting Monday.

Of course, if you’re not interested in a free subscription to Nomi’s new daily newsletter, you can opt out at any time. You’ll find a link to do so at the bottom of every Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins email.

We hope you’ll embark on this new journey with us. But regardless of your decision, we thank you for being a loyal Postcards reader.

Best regards,

Maria Bonaventura
Senior Managing Editor, Rogue Economics

P.S. As always, let us know what you think – good or bad. Write us at [email protected].