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Ken Fisher: Recession Is Not “Bound To” Happen

The COSM speaker also claims to dislike philanthropy but…

Recently, investment broker Ken Fisher, who will be speaking at the COSM conference, October 23–25, predicted that the (just about) longest-ever economic expansion in American history will not simply dwindle into a recession based on a law of averages:

People think about many phenomena as they do about biological life, where relative old age within any species eventually kills – technically called senescence. Senescence is irrelevant to economies. Expansions die from multitrillion-dollar negative shocks. Historically, central banks, like our Federal Reserve, were often the culprit. They have often misread the tea leaves, feared an inflationary overheated reality and tightened evermore while the economy weakened. While I don’t think rate cuts are necessary now, that central banks globally are starting to cut shows they don’t fear overheating now.

June 2019 marked 10 years of growth, matching 1991–2001 as the longest expansion in U.S. history. And the good news continues. Third-quarter numbers will set new records.

Ken Fisher, “Recession? Really? This 10-year economic expansion won’t just die of old age” at USA TODAY

The third quarter of 2019 will be closely watched, of course. People will mainly remember Fisher’s prediction if it doesn’t come true. If it does come true, they will be too busy spending their earnings to notice. As the author of, so far, eleven books (six bestsellers), he would know, of course, that things have always been this way in the prediction market.

Join George Gilder and some of the world’s leading tech minds in Seattle for COSM Technology Summit October 23-25, Bellevue, Washington! Interact with Peter Thiel, Ken Fisher, Ray Kurzweil, and Babak Parviz (Google Glass inventor) https://cosm.technology/

Fisher, who manages $3.7 billion (Forbes), has developed an unexpected #socialhashtag by frowning on giving to charity. In a time when the corporate elite vie with each other to write massive checks for fashionable causes, he says, “Is it better for humanity to contribute to charity or put money in the bank? Put it in the bank.”

Is he vying with Ebenezer Scrooge of A Christmas Carol fame? Well,…

He’s not terribly interested in volunteering his time, either, and has said that sitting on the board of a nonprofit would be “distracting.” (Even still, Forbes found that he has made at least $11.5 million in donations over the years.)

Lauren Debter, “Trump And Other Billionaires Who Scored As Stingiest Members Of Forbes 400” at Forbes

He insists, when prodded, that the philanthropy is all his wife’s doing:

Oh, no. I actually disagree with all that. I’m not a giving person at all. I’m a mean, nasty, ugly son of a gun. My wife, she gives away money sometimes, but me I’m opposed to anything other than creating jobs and working hard and grinding people’s noses off at a grindstone and stuff like that. I’m a big fan of grinding people’s noses off the grindstone…

When my wife and I have given away money, I always feel a little guilty about it and I got to believe when we give it away that we know enough about the topic matter that I don’t think we’re giving away so that it will be bad enough related to what would happen if I more or less left the money in the capitalistic system for the capital market’s pricing mechanism to generate efficiency through some process, like having it end up in a venture capital firm with starting a lot of companies or ending up in a place where somebody that’s got a little business in some place, gets a loan and then hires more people and creates the greatest thing since sliced bread. That’s the next Amazon or whatever.

Frank Curzio, “One on one with investing legend Ken Fisher” at Curzio Research

One might take the risk of translating: He will help but prefers that people get a chance to earn money so that they have a personal stake in the earnership/ownership system.

And sure enough:

Though Fisher ended up majoring in economics in college, he never forgot his love of forestry. The redwood logging camps near Fisher’s childhood hometown of San Mateo, California likely sparked his passion. In his adult life, he has documented more than 35 abandoned logging camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains and has collected various 19th century artifacts from those logging camps. In 2006, Fisher presented his alma mater, Humboldt State University, with a $3.50 million endowment for the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology, which supports ecological research and provides support for graduate students, labs and field equipment.

Fisher and his wife Sherrilyn have made generous donations in areas beyond forestry. The couple donated $500,000 to the San Mateo Public Library Foundation for the Kenneth and Sherrilyn Fisher Journalism Center. They gave $7.50 million for the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Center for Environmental Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins.

Becca Stanek, “Ken Fisher: Everything You Need to Know” at SmartAsset

Having dropped out of high school (“a waste of time”) for community college, to “take better classes”, Fisher worked in forestry a while. But his father had been an investment manager and, having received an economics degree from Humboldt State University, he eventually trained at his father’s firm in San Francisco. In 1979, he founded Fisher Investments with $250. It is now worth $3.7 billion (Forbes)

Some nuggets from his investment philosophy:

Most investors actually don’t buy, most investors are sold. In the world there’s a large universe of product sales people selling all kinds of different products. And what you mostly see is people loaded up with products that really they don’t need, that aren’t really right for them, and maybe products that are okay if they were very small proportions of them. But often that’s chasing heat because the stuff that’s been hottest in the marketplace most recently is the stuff that’s easiest for the product sales person to sell.

Frank Curzio, “One on one with investing legend Ken Fisher” at Curzio Research

No professional Wall Street tipster or plausible promoter can turn a sane person into a stock gambler as easily as his next-door neighbor bragging about his winnings. If all men profited by experience, the world would be peopled exclusively by the wise…. – Kenneth L. Fisher, 100 Minds That Made the Market

“The stock market is almost magical because it always leads the economy. It goes down long before the economy drops and then heads higher long before the economy rebounds. It always has.” – Kenneth L. Fisher, The Wall Street Waltz: 90 Visual Perspectives : Illustrated Lessons from Financial Cycles and Trends

Note: The early adopter conference rate ($950) for COSM is only available until September 6. After that, it is $1,450. Until October 11, that is, when it goes to $1,950. If you think you should be there, do not wait to register.

You can catch Ken on an episode of the Bill Walton show: “Ken Fisher: Thinking in Ways That Others Do Not, with John Tamny”

His books include: The Ten Roads to Riches: The Ways the Wealthy Got There (And How You Can Too!)

Kenneth L. Fisher (Author), Elisabeth Dellinger (Contributor), Lara W. Hoffmans (Contributor) (2017). Also, for example, Beat the Crowd: How You Can Out-Invest the Herd by Thinking Differently (2015)


The Little Book of Market Myths: How to Profit by Avoiding the Investing Mistakes Everyone Else Makes (2013)

He also wrote over 32 years of advice columns at Forbes, which can be accessed here. You can also read his bestseller Little Book of Market Myths free online.

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Ken Fisher: Recession Is Not “Bound To” Happen