We are being toughened up. Physically. Financially. Sentimentally.
We already had to cinch our belt up a notch to keep our pants from falling off. We’ve also been forced to cinch up our finances… to avoid losing too much money.
Some men buy boats. Some take up golf. Some buy ranches in South America.
Almost all learn something from the exercise. Many survive. And a few emerge stronger and wealthier. We aim to be part of the first two groups. We’ve given up all hope of being included in the third.
The Round Up
We went out yesterday morning to round up cattle. It took about five hours – riding through the sagebrush looking for cows… and then forcing them in the right direction.
The horse did most of the heavy lifting… and since it was a highly skilled horse, its rider merely had to stay on board and let him do his work.
What surprised us was how enthusiastically the dogs joined in. Of all the animals involved – those with two legs as well as those with four – it was the dogs who seemed to enjoy it the most.
After a few hours, their tongues hung out. But they knew their jobs… and loved every minute. They nipped at the heels of the herd to keep them moving. And when one of the cows broke ranks, the dogs set out after it and harassed it back into formation.
But the dogs were too enthusiastic; they ganged up on the small calves and almost killed them. The cows, trying to protect their young, were driven nearly mad. The dogs kept barking… nipping… yelping… until the cows turned around and tried to catch one or two of them on their horns.
The dogs were rolled more than once, but they were having a ball. They provoked an attack… and then quickly scattered… proud of their work.
The dust was so thick that sometimes we were blinded by it. Relief came, temporarily, when we reached the river. The dogs forced the cattle into the mud and water… then into the marshes on the side. We gauchos rode on the sides and behind, just to maintain order.
“Don’t Go in There… “
One of the bulls was having a hard time. He was so large he couldn’t quite keep up.
“Let him stay here,” Jorge, our capataz (ranch foreman), yelled.
So we left him behind and continued with the rest of the herd… up to the stone corral, divided in two by a high wall of wire. The animals milled around. Calves found their mothers. The remaining bulls butted heads with each other. Dust rose in huge plumes.
Now, the gauchos prepared to run the cattle through a narrow chute… lock them in place… and administer three different vaccines.
Occasionally, they would also discover a male they needed to castrate… or a young cow that needed to have a mocheta put in its nose to ween it from its mother.
But first, we had to get the cattle to enter the narrow chute. That meant getting into the corral to prod, push and scare the animals forward.
“Don’t go in there; the bulls are dangerous,” Jorge warned.
But the ranch is a macho culture. We could never hold our head up or gain the respect of our gauchos by avoiding work or danger. Besides, Nolberto and Justo were already in the enclosure, trying to pry the cattle into the chute.
“Hi… ya!” they yelled, waving their sticks.
“Hoa… ” they continued, in a low-throated tone.
Ignoring our capataz, we reasoned that if it were safe enough for them it would be safe enough for us. We climbed over the gate to help drive the cattle into the chute.
We had been in the corral only about five minutes when “el gran toro” charged Justo, on our right. We wanted to see what happened to him, but we didn’t have time to look. The bull put his head down and his horns out and attacked us just a second later.
We had been thinking, absentmindedly, about how credit from the central bank pretends to be real savings and distorts an economy. But it is amazing how quickly a charging bull clarifies your thoughts. We had about a second to get out of there or we would be dead.
We turned, raced for the fence and put a foot on a low wire. There was no time to climb over… we had to fly. We pushed off and soared over, just as the bull hit the wire.
This movement was remarkably lithe and agile for a 65-year-old literary economist. But the finale was more in keeping with his natural athletic ability. He was headed for the ground, from 6 feet up… head first. He managed to break his fall with his right arm, but hit hard on his shoulder.
Nolberto is about our age. He has spent his life on the ranch. He was in the pen too. But he’s smarter. He scamped up the wall in a flash when he saw the bull becoming aggressive.
“Are you okay, patron,” he asked?
“Sí… sí… no hay problema,” we lied.
From the desk of Chris Hunter, Editor-in-Chief, Bonner & Partners
We recently launched a new investment advisory, Braden Copeland’s Building Wealth.
In this new Bonner & Partners service, Braden’s goal is to help subscribers reach what Bill calls “financial escape velocity.” Braden does this by identifying special situations to buy shares of valuable, profitable companies for great prices.
Often, these situations arise during market selloffs. To take advantage of them there’s a simple rule. As Braden puts it, “You don’t want to buy shares of just any company. You must buy shares of companies that have crisis-proof balance sheets, produce powerful earnings and have a record of generating strong income for their shareholders.”
To help his subscribers follow the simple rule, Braden has produced a step-by-step report called “Open in Case of Emergency.” It’s included with a subscription to Building Wealth.
The feedback we are getting from new Building Wealth subscribers has already been hugely positive. For example, this came in from paid-up subscriber Rich L.:
I am a brand new subscriber to your Building Wealth publication and would like to express my appreciation for the depth and easy readability of your analysis. I definitely plan on investing in “XXX” [stock symbol redacted] after reading this detailed report, but it has gone up in price to the $XXX range. Would you still consider this a fair value, or do you feel it wiser to wait and see if it drops down a bit?
Even if I had no interest in investing, the education I received about the current and future states of the power generating industry would alone be worth the very reasonable price of a subscription. I am looking forward to many future years of reading!
We asked Braden about the rise in the price of the energy company he recommended. Here’s what he had to say…
I’m happy to know you’re enjoying the work, Rich. Thanks for the kind words and the question.
My answer for everyone who may be wondering about this is, even though shares of “XXX” have risen since I recommended them, I do believe they remain a good value at current prices. They are still a good buy.
The power generation industry is changing rapidly, and there is not a day that passes where I don’t see another headline discussing the situation. As I cover in the report, the company I recommended is perfectly positioned to benefit from such changes.
I expect its business will continue to grow for years. This will lead the company to become far more valuable in the future than it is right now. The current price of its shares is certainly worth paying for. But to ensure you preserve your capital in case of an unexpected decline, use a 25% trailing stop for the position.
You can find out more about this exciting situation, and Braden’s complete “Open in Case of Emergency” report, by starting your own risk-free trial to Braden Copeland’s Building Wealth now.