CORPORATE APARTMENT, BALTIMORE – Mount Vernon is the oldest, most elegant neighborhood in Baltimore.

It has one of the highest concentrations of classic 18th- and 19th-century architecture of any neighborhood in the country…

The Washington Monument is here. The symphony orchestra is here. Johns Hopkins University is here – and so is its world-renowned music school, the Peabody Institute. Penn Station, Baltimore’s main railway station, is here. The Walters Art Museum is here. The Enoch Pratt Library is here.

Today I walked down Charles Street to the inner harbor to stretch my legs. I took pictures of the exquisite Victorian and Georgian-era architecture. I felt like I was walking in the footsteps of Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Carnegie…

This is the Belvedere Hotel on Chase Street… 

PhotoThe historic Belvedere Hotel, built in 1902-1903

It’s an example of the extravagant “Beaux Arts” architecture that was popular in America between 1880 and 1930. 

Back in the USA


Kate and I spent the last two years traveling around the world. But a week ago, we came home. We’re now back on American soil.

We were offered an apartment in Mount Vernon for a little while, so we’re squatting here until we figure out where we’re going to go next…

I’m writing to you from the little desk in our apartment’s guest bedroom. Nearby, the boys are on the couch watching the original Star Wars Trilogy on a laptop.

Kate and Penny are turning boxes into robot costumes. Here’s Miles modeling one of their creations…

PhotoMiles, 9, showing off Kate and Penny’s fashion creation

It doesn’t matter if we’re in Bombay or Baltimore, we have the same basic needs: high-speed internet, a hot shower, air conditioning, four clean beds, and some interesting places to explore with the kids… 

Then we spend all day together, hanging out…

We eat together, get up together, brush our teeth together, play together, explore together, and when Kate and the kids do their schoolwork, I write these postcards and study economics. 

It’s a simple life. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled.

– Tom Dyson

P.S. Gold is now at $1,567. Gold’s all-time high is $1,911, set in 2011. Gold will make new all-time highs soon.  

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In the mailbag today, a shocking revelation from Tom about retirement income…  And one reader wants clarification about Tom’s “stop loss” on the Dow-to-Gold ratio

Reader question: Please discuss retirement income over the next 10 years while holding 100% of our investable assets in gold.

Tom’s response: I am considered something of an income investing specialist. I began my career working on the repo desk at Citigroup. Then I wrote an income-focused advisory for many years called The 12% Letter. So what I’m about to say might shock you…

I think income is toxic. There’s no income-driven investment on the planet that compensates you for its risk.

The feds and other custodians of the world’s financial system have suppressed interest rates to the lowest levels in human history. Their action has trickled down through the entire universe of investments, so ALL income investments are now at their lowest yields in history – including junk bonds, corporate bonds, dividend paying stocks, etc.

They don’t pay you for the risk. Today, many junk issuers are raising money at less than 4%. It’s crazy… and I think time will show coupons and dividends were a catastrophic “honey trap” for investors.

What to do instead? 

Burn a little of the family furniture each year. What I mean is, estimate how many years you have left to live and dip into a little of your gold and silver every year to pay for your expenses.

I realize this isn’t an ideal solution. I’ve tried for years to convince my parents to stop reaching for yield and skim from their savings instead. But drawing from their nest eggs terrifies them. I don’t know any other way… 

Reader question: When you say you won’t sell your gold until the ratio hits 5. What does your stop loss at 23 mean?

Tom’s comment: Good question. We have made two speculations on the coming recessions: devaluation of paper money and reset of the global financial system. One position is in gold, silver, and some metal mining companies.

I will not sell these positions until the Dow-to-Gold ratio hits 5. If I’m wrong about all this, I’m going down with the ship. I’m willing to lose everything on this bet. 

The other speculation I have is much smaller… representing about 5% of our portfolio. This is a pairs bet on the Dow-to-Gold, where I’ve shorted the Dow and bought gold in an equal amount. I’m using a stop loss on this speculation at 22.3.

Meanwhile, kind words for Tom about his family journey… his plans to write a book… and his recent meeting with Bill Bonner in Baltimore

Reader question: You are so lucky to have learned what is really important in life at your rather young age.

Reader question: I’m not an investor, just a mother and grandmother, but I kept up with your trip and loved it. I can’t wait for your book!

Reader question: Enjoyed the photos of your family. Your mum is an elegant lady and your grandmother has a lot of wisdom. Cherish those photos.

So you met with the big guy Mr. Bill Bonner and company? Good.

In my opinion, your writing style from the Postcards has endeared many people to you and your family. You can continue writing and keeping people informed in a unique style that offers many old independents a refreshing style of information on investing.

Reader question: We would be willing to buy an annual subscription to keep us posted on the Gold-to-Dow ratio, and on other occasions when you find a no-brainer that we, the subscribers, can be informed on.

Tom’s note: Thanks for all the messages! Kate and I read every one. Please keep writing us at [email protected].