September 26th, 2012; The Zero Cost Basis Portfolio

The McAlvany Weekly Commentary
with David McAlvany and Kevin Orrick

Kevin: David, sometimes it is so important to just slow down, and stop, and some people would say, smell the roses, but I am talking about just taking a bird’s eye view of the rush-rush and the hubbub of what is going on today.

David: Yes, there are a number of issues which we could address today that simply jump off the pages of the world’s newspapers. And you are right, it is almost a tyrannical urgency with news and data. For instance, there is unrest in the Middle East, there is Siskel and Ebert giving two thumbs down on the opinion piece on Mohammed, conflict between China and Japan. And this was tragic, a U.S. ambassador to Libya drug through the streets and murdered. This is the first time we have had violence like that since 1979, and of course, the White House reacted with the same Carter-esque leadership. And this is no joking matter, this last point.

But with all of these things, we feverishly check our inboxes to see if anything of a critical nature, or very important, awaits us. We scan the news, we get sucked into the news media’s sensationalist titles, and frankly, one-sided content. All of that is driven by this breaking news flare, as if all of it was a matter of life and death.

Kevin: It’s a Twitter mentality. I was reading an article the other day that talked about electronic media actually making you more dumb. The article was pointing out that research shows that even though we have more information available to us all the time, we are really not ruminating on anything. We are not having to actually create enough friction to learn something, we just know the top points of every twitter.

David: So my twitter response to that question would be, “Duh.” (laughter) Sometimes it is nice to pause and reflect. I took the opportunity to re-read Vaclav Havel’s book, Summer Meditations, recently.

Kevin: That’s a great book. You gave that to me as a gift a couple of years ago, and it’s great.

David: It’s refreshing to see the picture of a statesman. He was sucked into politics, and a role of leadership, in Czechoslovakia, two things he had no aspirations for.

Kevin: This was with the fall of communism in that area.

David: Famous playwright, very outspoken in his views, but had no aspirations politically. This is something that in this political season is sorely absent, with two men who rather enjoy power. Of course, we should always be cautious of anyone that craves power. The politicians today are playing the game of death by a thousand cuts, innumerable ad hominems, message manipulations. And this is what is tragic: Absent from the field is someone like Havel.

Kevin: The citizen leader. This is a man who was actually doing other things, and he got thrust into the position. It reminds me of a lot of the founding fathers of America. These men were successful in other areas, and sometimes they were hesitant leaders.

David: And circumstance threw them into the fray. I would encourage all of our listeners to read this particular book, Summer Meditations, if for no other reason than to recall that there can be good people in politics, and it is usually by accident that they are there, not by some political calculus.

Kevin: David, what we are talking about is reflection. What we are talking about is ruminating on the things that are important. I will give you an example. My daughter and I were at the Louvre Museum last year in Paris, looking at the Mona Lisa. It really is an amazing masterpiece. It is smaller than what most people would think, but if in your imagination you could walk up to it, with a blindfold on, and have your nose against the painting, and open your eyes, you wouldn’t see the Mona Lisa. You would see a smear of brown, a little bit of red, maybe some blue, maybe different tans, but you wouldn’t see the picture. The only way you can really appreciate a masterpiece is to step back maybe 15 to 25 feet and just ruminate on it, and look at it. I think that is what you are talking about right now, with Summer Meditations, but in all areas of our lives, also.

David: Right. The topic at hand today is not politics, and it is not actually Vaclav Havel. It is just that we should, regardless of the area of life in question, occasionally pause and reflect, consider our lives in that larger or longer context, and determine what our goals and aspirations are, that is, personal, that is, with our families, and that is, in the context of our communities. This is what, in our family, we refer to as reverse engineering. In other words, imagine a state of affairs in the future that you consider to be intriguing or ideal, and work backward from that.

Kevin: What would that look like if I were already there? How did I get there?

David: Exactly. And working backward from that you know what the first step is, the second step is, the third step is, progressively, toward those goals.

Kevin: What is fascinating, David, is that I have been around your family now for 25 years. This is how your family operates. This firm is a two-generational family operation. There has not been any corporation. It is within the family, and you all, you and your dad, especially, sit down and have pow-wows on a regular basis, looking backward from the future.

David: I am not a 95-year-old man, but we are talking about reflecting back as a 95-year-old on imaginary successes or failures, and reverse engineering, as a thought experiment, or even a pre-preparation, if you will, looking back at what it would take to successfully build your business, or raise your family, instilling in your kids the kind of character they will need to live skillfully, grow in and maintain intimacy with your spouse, or invest successfully through the decades. It doesn’t matter what the topic, too often we are reacting to what life throws at us and forgetting that you have to be deliberate to get from here to there as a deliberate process, not an accidental one, and you have to give it some thought.

Kevin: David, one of the things that you have pointed out to all of us as we work with our clients is to get them thinking about what if what they owned was free. Now how do you do that? How do you make something, your life savings, turn out to be a free investment?

David: Right. What you are talking about is really having a cost basis which is zero, in everything that you own. This is just one area of life, it is not even the most important area of life, but as we reflect on our finances and look at our long-term goals, how do you orient the allocations that you have, and the decisions that you have to make, whether it is today, or longer-term, perhaps 10 years out? Are you pre-preparing? Are you looking ahead? Are you reverse-engineering that success, to take into account a longer picture? This is actually very helpful for removing the tensions and pressures that the news media puts on you today to do something now.

Kevin: What you are saying is, instead of trying to make the quick hit profit-wise, what you want to have is an investment that trends up enough so that it actually pays for itself over time, and then transitions to the family on down the line.

David: Sure, so with patience and the proper approach to investing, you can do this. You look at your investment assets and have every one of them that you own for free. You have extracted your initial investment completely. What remains there on the balance sheet you own for free. It is something that takes time.

Kevin: Give me an example of that.

David: Think about a rental house. You paid $100,000 for it. Once your rental income from the property exceeds the price you paid for the property, you have extracted out your original investment, and arguably, you have a free house, with great cash flow, and competitive pricing power in terms of rents. That is just to illustrate one asset, but allow time to progress, and instead of looking at real estate and saying, “I’m buying today, selling tomorrow, for 20% gain,” what about allowing that property to pay for itself? You begin to take on a different view when that asset is fully paid for.

Kevin: David, let me give you an example of something that just happened yesterday. I have a client that purchased from me, back in 1995, 15 coins for $588 per coin. These were gold MS62 Liberty coins. She was talking to me about how she now is at a point in her life where she needs to raise some cash. Fifteen coins, 17 years ago, at $588 a coin, came to $8820. The strange thing was, and this was not purposely, we had to both laugh at this, but when she sold 5 of the 15 coins back to me for $1764 a coin, it came, to the dollar, to $8820. So she got 10 coins for free. She started with 15, and sold me back 5 of them for exactly the amount that she had purchased the 15 for.

David: And she keeps two-thirds of her portfolio at a zero-cost basis.

Kevin: And this is not a lady trained in economics, this was just someone who was moved to do the right thing at the right time.

David: But it does take time, and it does take reflection to be able to set it in motion, whether it is precious metals, whether it is real estate, whether it is an equity portfolio. Think of that. A stock that you have owned in your IRA for the last umpteen years, has appreciated by 100%, or perhaps it has appreciated by 50%, and selling down to the portion where what you keep, you own outright, and don’t have your original investment dollars in it. It allows you to move on to greener pastures, do more interesting things, or different things, more diversified things, across all asset classes, and you really don’t have your skin in the game, although you still have full benefit of the exposure.

Kevin: Don’t you think there is another important concept also? You have said this many times: Don’t fall in love with your investments. You can have loyalty to friends. You can have loyalty to family. Do not have loyalty to one particular investment class.

David: Mainly because whatever you fall in love with, in terms of an asset, will never love you back. That’s certainly something that we have to keep in mind, and I don’t want to border on the heretical here, because today we are in a bull market in precious metals, and growth abounds, and what more do you need to know? Buy it, keep it, love it. But that is the point. Any seasoned investor knows, you don’t fall in love with an asset. It won’t love you back. That’s not to say that we suggest selling gold today. It’s just to say that in this pre-preparation mode, whatever asset class it is, what we love to see clients arrive at, the destination ahead, is that with a portfolio, whether it is equities, whether it is real estate, whether it is precious metals, that you own with a zero cost basis.

Kevin: This is where looking back from a 95-year or 105-year perspective really helps. We have talked for years to our clients about a specific ratio that seems to work with gold that we call the Dow-to-gold ratio, that is, taking the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and simply dividing it by the price of gold. How many ounces of gold does it take to buy the Dow? We started at the peak of this Dow, and at the bottom of the gold market, at about a 42-to-1 ratio about 12 years ago. Now, we are in the 7 range. If you want to expound a little bit, there is a range where we start talking about an exit strategy on gold.

David: We are not suggesting that a series of liquidations or reductions of precious metals is the right thing to do today. We are not saying that at all, quite the opposite. Relative to the Dow, we see an additional five-fold increase in purchasing power for the next few years.

Kevin: That’s the free investment.

David: Right, so yes, we are comfortable adding ounces at these levels, but it is with the idea that we are not in love with any asset class, in particular, and ultimately, we want a solid precious metals portfolio that we own, and even pass on inter-generationally. We look at our cost basis and see that we have already extracted our initial investment, one, two, three times over, and this is a very significant, substantial part of our asset base which remains in precious metals, that we have zero original invested dollars in.

Kevin: So who cares if it goes up or down? This is the part that you call the insurance hedge for the rest of the portfolio.

David: What we are saying is that when we reach the end of a bull market in precious metals, and frankly, we are not smart enough to know when that is, then we had better be prepared to let someone else own ounces. This is really the issue. To make this crystal clear, we are as bullish as ever on gold and silver, with a positive road ahead of us, a growth-oriented trend for a minimum of 3-5 years, if not more, depending on Fed leadership and the policies du jour. You need to appreciate the difference between gold as an appreciating asset, set beside any other asset, in a bull market.

Just to diverge a little bit from this conversation about having zero cost basis assets on your balance sheet, gold, when it begins to appreciate at the tail end of a bull market, is being driven by fear.

Kevin: Not greed. There are two drivers. Greed is one of them. For instance, the tech stock boom in the late 1990s was a greed-driven market. Nobody purchased tech stocks out of fear, maybe fear of letting the neighbors out-perform them, but it really wasn’t true fear, as when people are panicking.

David: And that is the problem with owning gold in the late stage of a bull market, which is still many years ahead of us, but the idea of maybe liquidating ounces and moving to an asset base in precious metals which you hold at a zero cost basis. You will be very hesitant to do that on the basis of ownership, and the spirit of the age – one of fear. This is an insurance policy that you own, and it is paying, and why, for instance, would you get rid of your fire insurance when there is a prairie blaze moving toward your neighborhood? That seems absolutely insane. You would be out of your mind to do that. That is just to set the emotional tone for the decisions ahead, the idea that taking some money off the table at some point in the future will be more difficult than you know unless you have imagined doing it ahead of time.

Kevin: I want to make sure that I point out, if there was that prairie fire coming, and if we were to liken it to the dollar system, if the dollar were really failing, and people really were fearful that they were going to lose all their assets, we are not suggesting that a person jump back into a currency that is failing. What we are suggesting is that you go from something of value, to something else of value. It may be stocks, or it may be bonds.

Let me back up a little bit, though, David. We have been utilizing, for years, something we call compounding ounces, with the metals, themselves, using this concept of zero cost basis. Let’s say you start a portfolio with 50% gold, 50% silver. If the ratios are balanced at the time and one goes out of balance, one metal becomes unusually cheap or expensive relative to the other, a move between metals can also establish this zero cost basis.

David: So are you a gold bug, or are you a silver bug?

Kevin: Either one.

David: It doesn’t matter, that’s the point. You don’t have fall in love with either one, if there is a compelling value story being told, where one is over-valued and one is under-valued. Just to put that in real-world numbers, today the gold-silver ratio is at 51-to-1. In the larger context of being 80-to-1 on the very high side, when silver was selling for about $4.50, a very neglected asset, and as low as 15-to-1.

Kevin: And that is within the last 40 years or so, the 15-to-1.

David: Right, and I think it is important to note that the CPM Group has done their silver study, and as of this last year, the in-ground current extraction by miners is coming out in the 12-to-1 ratio.

Kevin: Which means silver is under-valued relative to gold, still.

David: It is under-valued, because again, where are we today?

Kevin: 51.

David: North of 50, and the average through time, this is worth noting, on either a 100-year, or 200-year basis, is closer to 30. So at a 50-ounce-to-1-ounce of gold ratio, you realize that you are getting a bunch of silver ounces for free, in fact, about 40% more silver for free than if the ratio was trading at 30-to-1. The flip side of looking at that is, buying silver at 50-to-1, and letting someone else own it at 30-to-1, you have just improved your position by 40%.

Kevin: David, I should say, in the last two years that is exactly what we did. We had a number of clients that have purchased between 60-, 70-, 80-to-1, even 50-to-1, and as silver rose to close to $50 an ounce, and gold at that time was $1500, $1500 divided by 50, you get about 31-to-1, and a lot of our clients had already sold some of their silver back into gold, and are now, crazily enough, swinging back into silver now that the ratio favors silver.

David: Right. If you take a sanguine view of all of your resources and say, “What I really would like to see is the purchase of things when they are inexpensive, or a good value, and the liquidation of things when they are expensive, or over-priced.” What you have to do is allow yourself enough time to see these cycles play through. This comes back to the tyranny of the urgent that we face today, whether it is Cramer, or anyone else, on the television today, you feel like there is something which you have to do in the next two nanoseconds, and if you don’t, you are left in the dust.

Kevin: I take a late lunch in the afternoons, and Cramer is on the TV as I walk in the door. We have a big-screen TV there. Cramer has his pink shirt on, he has his sleeves rolled up, and he is just screaming about the next nanosecond – exactly what you are talking about – “You gotta do this, you gotta do that,” to the point where you could see where a person would feel like they are missing the boat if they are not doing something the television is telling them to do.

David: But if you could, instead of thinking about the next quarter, think about the next quarter-century, and begin to allow yourself the flexibility of saying, “I’m interested in lots of things,” whether it is real estate and rental income, whether it is equities and inexpensive valuations in the equities space, whether it is precious metals, does it make sense to buy silver when it is at $4, $5, $6 dollars an ounce, $7 an ounce, $20 an ounce, $30 an ounce, on its way to $120? It does. Does it make sense to be buying silver at $300 an ounce? God forbid that we should see that, because it would tell you a lot about the state of inflation that we would be living in. But at what point do you want to be coming into those markets, and at what point do you want to be exiting those markets? For us, as a family, we look at things, not only from an inter-generational standpoint, but truly, with the next quarter-century in mind, not the next several months, or next quarter, in mind.

Kevin: David, I am thinking about a conversation you had just this morning with someone who was very, very successful in his past real estate enterprises. What he did, as we got close to the top of the real estate bubble, was to become very, very liquid, and he put quite a bit into gold. He is waiting out the real estate market with the intention of going back into the very thing that he knows the most about, but he is being patient. He is taking the longer-term perspective. He is not in love with just one asset class.

David: Even though he has built 40,000 homes, and this is his area of expertise, having a strong allocation to gold makes a lot of sense today. But do you realize that as he gets to that point where his investment has not only fully paid for itself, but has done so 1, 2, or 3 times, he then is in the place where he can extract those gains and go back to play in the field where he is most comfortable, where he built his fortune in the first place – building homes?

Kevin: I am going to shift gears slightly, but it has a similar type of metaphor to it. You were talking about playing in your own field. I am an American. I have never been threatened with invasion. I have never had a problem moving money from one place to the next. But we are seeing America change. Our investors right now are also looking at spreading some of the wealth outside of our borders. We were talking also this morning with someone about a position in Toronto, Canada, a position in Zurich, Switzerland, and a position in Delaware – areas where you can store the metals. And something that I should also bring up, as we were talking about trading gold to silver – in these areas they can trade between themselves, if indeed there is a swap or there is a compounding ounces event that’s necessary.

David: We are not in the circumstance today that would necessitate having part of your resources outside of the United States, but it is prudent to look ahead and ask, “What circumstances might there be, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20 years out, where you do want to pre-position, you do want a geographic diversification?”

Back to the issue of having a portfolio in which over a longer period of time you have been able to extract the original principle investment and move it on to other investments. This is really what we are talking about – it takes time. It takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of deliberation, but one of the beautiful things is that it does allow you to relax. There is no sense of urgency, there is nothing that must be done today, because cycles and secular trends evolve over a very long period of time.

What we saw with the equities cycle in the 1966-1982 period was a slow bleed where we basically had equities doing nothing, and you could argue that they should have been a value, that they had only growth ahead. But they did nothing for a long period of time, and inflation at the tail end of that cycle began to chew away, chew away, chew away, at the equity market, and it discouraged equity investors so that by the time we got to 1980-1982, there was such a demoralized class of investors that no one wanted to own equities any more.

And ironically, that is also when the demoralized equity investor, because of inflation, because of politics, because of, frankly, the Russians invading Afghanistan, all of these factors put into one bundle, all around the world wanted to own gold.

Kevin: It reminds me of a philosophy that your family has followed for many years, the Triangle Philosophy. You are not talking about having patience and just holding on to one asset class and thinking that this works. It is the triangle. You have the base of the triangle in precious metals, you have the left side of the triangle in growth and income, which is stocks and bonds, and you have the right side of the triangle in some sort of cash equivalent. Granted, in reallocation of that triangle, because one side is going to invariably grow at a different rate than the other, you have to redistribute at some point, but strangely enough, that makes you look like a genius of long-term timing, doesn’t it?

David: But you have to have long-term timing in play. You have to have a time frame for you, for your family, which encompasses more than the next quarter, but more like the next quarter-century. Let’s look at each one of those in brief, because, undervalued, particularly in a period where there is concern over inflation, is that one-third that might be allocated to cash. You may say, “Well, that’s just in the crosshairs, it is sitting there waiting for Ben Bernanke to manage it to nothing,” and if you were listening to last week’s commentary, that is certainly the feel that we gave.

Are we concerned about inflation? Yes. Have we crossed the Rubicon, and are we moving toward an inflationary outcome? Yes. But don’t you for a second ignore the fact that we have gone through a 30-40 year credit boom. There has been so much lending, and so many bets made, and the other side of that is that many of those bets will have to be unwound. There is no clear-cut inflationary outcome, deflationary outcome, either/or.

Kevin: So you don’t get rid of all your cash, you hedge it with gold.

David: And we have both/and in this scenario. The question becomes when you see a de-leveraging event, a deflation occur. Let’s say, for instance, you were very liquid, and you just watched a 50% decline in the value of Florida real estate, and you are fully invested elsewhere and there is nothing you can do. The opportunity cost of not having cash is that you cannot consider an asset class that has just been deflated, de-leveraged, and is now suffering, in terms of its prices, at very low levels.

Kevin: You have to pay your bills, too, Dave, and that is cash, as well.

David: And so, moving to the precious metals section, again, no one knows exactly how things play out over the next 3-5 years. We do know that the world’s central bankers are committed to inflation, inflation, inflation.

Kevin: Sure, it’s all they can do.

David: But we should not assume that they control the universe. They believe they do, but we should not assume that they actually do, and there will be areas, pockets where we see massive inflationary consequences, and pockets where we see nothing of the sort. We tried to discuss that in the last couple of weeks, distinguishing between precious metals and things like aluminum, copper, and iron ore.

Even in a geographic diversification, as you look around the world, at places that you can invest, understand how critical some of those commodities are. 15-20% of an input, economically, to a place like Chile, comes from copper. So if copper prices begin to fail, guess what happens to the Chilean economy? Oops. So there is the sense in which you can bet on an inflationary outcome, and if you are betting too broadly, painting with too broad of a brush-stroke, you can still get hurt very badly.

Kevin: Speaking of that, we are not talking about leveraging anything – leveraging cash, leveraging gold, leveraging stocks – because that can wipe out a long-term plan in a very short time.

David: Let’s go through a full cycle, though, where gold has appreciated, we are at the end of a bull market, and it is time to re-allocate, bolster, if you will, the portion of your perspective triangle which needs to be supplemented more with cash, and also the equity side, which relative to gold and the growth that you have seen in the gold and silver portion of your portfolio, is now, proportionately, too large.

That diversification, or re-allocation process, as it occurs, what you are anticipating is the next 15-20 years of growth in a secular trend within equities, and also in terms of the value of cash, having that liquidity there to buy other assets opportunistically, or to serve your family needs, your community needs, your church needs, whatever it is, you have the resources liquid and available, to be an agent of change within your own context.

Kevin: Two observations, Dave. One is that you don’t have to be right on the timing, exactly, because you are still utilizing the triangle concept. Let’s say you move to equities a little early. Well, okay, you have gold, you have cash. You have maybe moved to equities a little early, probably a little better than too late, but one way or another you still have some balance.

The second observation is, and this is the one that I think we need to continually rehearse with our clients, a gold bug who has watched his gold go up 5 times, 6 times, maybe 10-fold – it is going to be hard, like pulling teeth, to get him to sell some of that at the right time, to go over into that equities side, which he was hedging against for all those years.

David: And I think, when you get down to it, we are really talking about some basics, in terms of character, that make or break an investor, and if an investor does not embrace these things, they can only be lucky. They will not be successful in the long-run. And only being lucky means that, just like someone who goes to Vegas, on the first day hits the craps tables and wins the first round and feels like they are invincible, the reality is that they are nothing of the sort, they were just lucky. And when you involve two principles, patience on the one hand, and humility on the other, you are setting yourself up to manage assets, again, not for the next quarter, but for the next quarter-century, with much greater success.

Kevin: It reminds me of my first real investment pain. I was a toy store manager, going to college. I had worked all year long for a relatively small bonus, and I thought I would buy gold with it because gold looked pretty good, this was in the mid 1980s, and I had someone talk me into leveraging a copper contract. He said, “No, no, you have to look at the chart. Just go ahead and put all this money into a copper contract.” Well, I was lucky, and within days, it had doubled in price, and I thought, “My gosh, why in the world am I a retail toy store manager going to college? I could just do this.” So I took all the proceeds, went into sugar, and I think soybeans, and of course…

David: Made a donation.

Kevin: (laughter) Made my donation. But see, I had no plan. I had an idea, but I had no plan, and I just went to the next expert. I bring this up because your family has been giving this type of advice for 40 years, so for a person who wants to understand more about this zero cost basis on investments, I have to encourage them to call us, and to give you a call, David. You are open to talking to any of our clients, any time.

David: The idea that we partner with clients over a long period of time, and aid them in the decision-making process, and assist them in getting that done, is what we have done, it is what we will continue to do, it is what we look forward to doing, regardless of the business cycle. Whether it is harrowing, dangerous, treacherous, or particularly enjoyable and fun and a little easier, perhaps, our work never ends, because when you explore for value, when you are in the process of overturning every rock to uncover that which represents the greatest value out of the whole universe of assets that you can invest in, we want to bring other things into this equation of successful investing over a long period of time that are essential.

Diligence and hard work, along with humility and patience, go a long way in the investment process. Humility is represented in that perspective triangle by saying that there is a lot more about the universe, and about the investment world, that we cannot know today, than we could know tomorrow, or theoretically know, in terms of the universe’s available knowledge. Having a diversified approach, between cash, precious metals, and equities, is an approach that, regardless of inflation, regardless of deflation, regardless of a return to growth in a business cycle, you are well-prepared for.

But that requires humility. Wall Street would have you believe you can know, with great assurance, and can put all of your eggs in that singular basket, and you will be a winner. That is the bias toward equities. Of course, they diversify the portfolio between small cap, large cap, mid cap, value, growth, all of these things which are supposed to be diversification, but they are still within the same pea patch. They are still the same deal. Patience, humility, diligence, hard work – when you add time to the equation, you are putting the probabilities of success as an investor in your favor.

That is something that we can encourage you to consider, a real appraisal. Stop, slow down, listen, read, consider. Whether it is, as we discussed earlier, Vaclav Havel, the political machinations which we have in front of us this election cycle and into the next 3-4 years, the major structural changes which need to take place, not only in the economy, but in D.C., from a policy standpoint, these are things that we need stop and reflect on, consider, make wise decisions, not run headlong into the next headline. That is imperative.

This is simply an imploring to slow down, regardless of the area of life we are talking about. What character do you want instilled in your children? What kind of intimacy do you want to see reflected in the relationship with your wife? What kind of success do you anticipate in your business ventures or your investment projections? How do you get that done? Reverse-engineer that to the greatest degree that you can. Slow down enough to create that concept of the ideal and to move backward to the real-time decisions which you can make today to set that in motion.

Kevin: What we are talking about, also, is that you are going to need counsel in various areas that will also be envisioning that same ideal. It is very important. If you watch TV and see Cramer and think that he doesn’t necessarily represent this ideal that we are talking about, then don’t give your money to Cramer. If you look at who your kids are running around with and you think that doesn’t really represent the ideal that you are working toward as a family, then that needs to be intervened in. I think probably none of us are islands. We have to make sure that we choose our counselors wisely. Wouldn’t you say a world view perspective that matches is one of the most important elements?

David: Of course, and let me just illustrate. Mary-Katherine and I feel very strongly about marriage and the strength of a couple defining the direction of a family, and ultimately, our culture. Locally, there is a couple that is coming in from California. Just one person in this equation, not two, has spent 40,000 hours in the counseling room. This is someone who has seen it all, heard it all, in terms of the wisdom that they bring to how you make a stronger family. You know what? We want everyone in this community to benefit from their wise counsel. We want marriages all around us to benefit and support us.

Kevin: Because you have tested it, and it worked.

David: And we would like to see others take a vision, and this is not just about finances and an asset allocation model, this is all of life. If you cannot see the end from the beginning, then what path are you on?