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Is Jim Rickards Credible? We Have All The Info You Need

September 21, 2021 by Phil

Is Jim Rickards credible? This article looks at various aspects of his career to serve as a guide for those interested in his investment newsletters.

This is not the first time we have written about Rickards.

Our Strategic Intelligence review asked you, our readers, if you believe scare tactics work. We mentioned this because of the impression that the lawyer-investor is a doomsayer.

The content and marketing pitches for his books and newsletters always paint a gloomy future.

In fact, in The Great Biden Swindle, he says that he has "shocking pieces of evidence" to prove that it is still a long way to recovery. 

Whatever it is that we are seeing now is just a mirage. We have not yet recovered and we will still experience a five-year Great Depression.

Politicians and media commentators who say otherwise are either outright liars or deeply uninformed.

According to him, it will take three long decades before we experience 2019 levels of growth. 

How does he know all this? Well, he claims that he is among a handful in the world who has mastered the "complexity theory". This is an advanced predictive tool like no other.

Since he is an expert in this (here is the sales part), you must engage with him. A wise and forward-looking investor, of course, will buy his books and subscribe to his newsletters.

That is the deal. 

But are his pronouncements credible? Do they have factual and scientific bases? Does he have the track record of success for us to believe him?

Hopefully, we can help you make an informed judgment on this. 

In this article, we will take a look at his background and record. In addition, we will discuss the existing literature that he published. Reviews and comments from experts and subscribers are also in this article.

Background

Jim Rickards holds a lot of titles.

This, of course, is not shocking in the financial education industry. Upon observing closely, every editor is an expert on this and the number one at that.

I guess as investors, even if we know at the back of our minds that we are being taken for a ride, we still choose to believe.

Hey, at least the driver is well-known, right? Oh for sure, no one will put falsehoods on their resume. If it's online, it's legit, right?

When it comes to our finances, we try to do what we can to protect our assets. So it is natural for us to entrust our fiscal health to the experts.

But at the same time, we cannot easily refuse promises of instant and easy returns of investment.

So in a way, we try to justify even sketchy people and propositions because of the dollar $ign$. As a result, we lose even more money because we fell for something too good to be true.

We are not saying that Rickards is an example of this.

But as we discuss his background, no matter how impressive it is, we just want to remind you of such tendencies. 

Expertise

Now, back to the topic. James "Jim" Rickards is a lawyer, investor, banker, speaker, financial pundit, commentator, and author. For 35 years, his name was associated with Wall Street.

Early on, he was already building a foundation for a long career in the global financial industry. His education proves this.

He attended Lower Cape May Regional High School in New Jersey. After that, he went to Johns Hopkins University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors. 

The investor then pursued further studies. Rickards got an M.A. in international economics from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. 

Not satisfied yet with his academic training, he worked towards getting a legal education. It was from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where he got his Juris Doctor.

After this, his interest in taxation made him obtain a Master of Laws from the New York University of Law.

Due to his impressive educational background, he landed senior roles in companies of global repute. Among them are Citibank, Caxton Associates, and Long-term Capital Management (LTCM).

After an event-filled stint there, he moved to a merchant bank in New York. Specifically, he was Tangent Capital Partners LLC's Senior Managing Director.

Then, Rickards took on a new role with Omnis, Inc. in Virginia. The consulting firm appointed him as its Senior Managing Director for market intelligence.

LTCM

In LTCM, this is how Wikipedia describes his role:

As general counsel for the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), he successfully negotiated the US$3.6 billion rescue of the firm via the US Federal Reserve in 1998.

So, what happened there?

A detailed explainer from Business Insider provides us with key details.

As a background, LTCM is a hedge fund set up by John Meriwether. He used to be with Salomon Brothers as its vice-chair and head of bond trading.

The company was a huge deal back then. Among its key leaders were finance experts with doctorate degrees, professors, and Nobel Prize recipients.

Meriwether launched the firm in 1994 with a capital of $1.25 billion.

LTCM was a uniquely demanding firm from the beginning. Apart from its huge capital, it also demanded an asking fee of 25% of profits. In addition, they wanted an annual two percent charge on assets.

Further, those who wanted to invest must keep their capital for three years, minimum.

Due to their aggressive stance, it grew to a firm with $140 billion assets in just two years.

But the honeymoon stage soon ended. In 1997 and 1998, the world saw Asia and Russia experience devastating crises.

By 1998, LTCM's losses reached almost $3 billion on swaps and volatility trades. 

Due to the exposure of different companies in the firm, if LTCM went bankrupt, the whole of Wall Street will go down with it.

It was during this time when the Federal Reserve finally stepped in to arrange a bailout.

So what is Rickards' involvement in all this?

Pretty significant. He was the chief negotiator and lawyer for LTCM.

Together with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, they were able to arrange for a $3.635 billion bailout.

Although Bear Stearns and Crédit Agricole refused to take part in the deal, these contributed to the arrangement:

  • Paribas and Lehman Brothers: $100 million
  • Société Générale: $125 million
  • Bankers Trust, Barclays, Chase, Credit Suisse First Boston, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, J.P.Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney, UBS: $300 million

Soon after, the firm stabilized.

We believe this is worth mentioning as this is historic not just for the financial sector, but for world affairs. A leading role in the ordeal means that he has the gravitas and know-how to negotiate the complex bailout.

His expertise in international affairs, economics, and law proved handy in this case. 

As an investor, this is a positive signal. Imagine following the financial advice of someone of his caliber. Certainly, his experience in the LTCM alone puts him above other newsletter editors.

This is a common comment on this space. Unfortunately, several of so-called experts do not have a depth of experience. Despite this, they dish out investment commentary with much chutzpah. 

So in fairness to Rickards, this is a major boost to his credibility.

In an article on Forbes by Addison Wiggin, one of The Agora's leaders, Rickards recounts his experiences.

A crucial lesson he learned in the ordeal was that the model used by Wall Street banks and the Federal Reserve to assess risks is all wrong.

This led to his current views on investing.

Key Involvements 

One such view is his opinion that the US dollar is at risk. According to him, the currency is facing imminent hyperinflation. Thus, foreign entities may easily attack the financial system of the country.

He even presented this perspective at Johns Hopkins University in 2009.

That same year, he spoke before the U.S. House Science Subcommittee. Congressional representatives called on him due to his expertise on various financial risks vis-à-vis the 2008 crisis.

To this day, he continues to spread his brand of financial ideas. The pages of The Financial Times, Evening Standard, New York Times, and Washington Post are home to his opinion pieces. 

According to his publicly available profiles, he was also an adviser to the Central Intelligence Agency's Financial Risk Assessment Unit. 

In addition, he was also an adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense and several other hedge funds.

The Pentagon also tapped on him to facilitate its first-ever financial war games, based on his claims.

Apart from these, he is also well-connected in the academe. The Kellogg School at Northwestern University and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University often get him as a guest lecturer.

Books

Although not the perfect measure, well-received publications are also a good indicator of a track record.

If your books are critically acclaimed, that could mean that your views and how you defend them pass the believability test. Critics and observers view your work as valid.

Further, if people buy them, that means the author has hired great publicists!

Kidding aside, it could also mean that there is an audience for the writer's points of view. People believe the author enough that they are willing to buy their books.

If only for these two, Rickards seems to fit the image of a credible thought-leader. As you will see below, his books have sold well and have received various praise.

Note also what we just said. 

These only seem to boost his credentials only as an opinion-maker. On that specific area alone, we can vouch for him, or at least the details on Amazon can.

We need to add this caveat as we are evaluating the man on his investment research newsletters.

So what about his books? All in all, he has written seven thought-provoking books. As to his general theme, some classify his writing as financial doom-and-gloom literature.

We will list them below to give you a better perspective on his worldview.

Since you, our readers, are his target market, you need a good idea about his body of work. This way, you can assess for yourself if you find him and his POV worth your time.

We will also provide space for relevant reviews and comments. Just note that such opinions do not reflect a representative sampling of all his readers.

1. Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, 2011

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Untangles the web of failed paradigms, wishful thinking, and arrogance driving current public policy
  • Points the way toward a more informed and effective course of action
  • Mike Allen, Politico: “One of the most urgent books of the fall.”
  • Bloomberg Businessweek: "Rickards has written one of the scariest books I’ve read this year. Though I was tempted at first to dismiss him as alarmist, his intelligent reasoning soon convinced me that we have more to fear than fear itself."
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: This book was fascinating. It was totally outside my area of understanding, but after reading the book, I learned a lot about the process and influence of a currency in this world. The book gives you a brief history of the role of currency and goes into how people wage war by using the ups and downs of the valuation of a certain currency of a country.
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: The author makes a big deal of what meetings he attended and nothing about his academic or research background which does not exist. He is ignorant of world history and economics and puts forth a thesis that is not supported by any factual information.

2. The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System, 2014

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Shows why money itself is now at risk and what we can all do to protect ourselves
  • Explains the power of converting unreliable investments into real wealth: gold, land, fine art, and other long-term stores of value
  • The Financial Times: "A fast-paced and apocalyptic look at the financial future, taking in financiers' greed, central banks' incompetence and impending Armageddon for the dollar...Rickards may be right that 'the system is going wobbly.'"
  • Forbes: "The Death of Money makes a valuable contribution to our economic discourse."
  • Politico: "James Rickards' The Death of Money is making it a veritable golden age for smart books on the current state of the global economy."
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: I was expecting that the book was all about justifying my urge to "invest" in gold/silver. I was wrong. The book is a wealth of information on central banking, international banking, what money actually is, IMF, financial history, possible scenarios of the future of money etc., etc. (actually a lot more than that).
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: A book that is dangerously misleading. The author is lurching from one theory to another without a deeper understanding of macroeconomics and the real-life business implications of some of the things he suggests. On the other hand, the author has managed to put forward some of the things that we forget or refuse to acknowledge.

3. The Big Drop: How To Grow Your Wealth During the Coming Collapse, 2015

  • Shows you how to protect and build your wealth ahead of and during the coming monetary collapse
  • Gives you a complete blueprint on how to shelter your savings, safeguard your wealth, and prepare for the biggest financial crisis
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: Writing is on the wall! This book puts a rope through all the info bits that are in the news daily and pulls it all together so there is a picture with the writing on the wall. If you wish to be prepared for the bubble building and its deflation, read it and watch others weep...
  • Amazon 2-star rating commenter (no comments from those who gave 1 star): Based upon who the publisher is and the promos for the book, my opinion before I read this book was that there was a lot of "shock value" here to promote the newsletter, etc. This opinion hasn't changed after reading the book.

4. The New Case for Gold, 2016

  • USA Today and Wall Street Journal business bestseller
  • Steps forward to defend gold as both an irreplaceable store of wealth and a standard for currency
  • Wall Street Journal: “The New Case for Gold reminds us that wayward policies bring about a search for money that is good as gold. What better than gold itself?”
  • Forbes: “[Rickards] present[s] compelling evidence that many of the world’s leading monetary authorities implicitly, at least, treat gold as — quite possibly in the future, the key — money.”
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: I learned more from reading this book and Jim Rickards other two books on Currency wars than in all of the business school and as a result I agree with Mr. Rickards' predictions and his plan to avoid getting financially destroyed.
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: This book is typical of Mr. Rickards' writing of gloom & doom for the financial markets and his predictions of the total collapse of world order are exaggerated as in his other books. this is the third book I read from this writer (which I bought by mistake) & I can see the same arguments and situations presented in his other 2 books Currency Wars and the Death of Money.

Rickards is one of the leading advocates of gold in the country. His teaser on making 10 times your money with gold was already featured on our website.

Read our article so you can get a better sense of his strong feelings for investing in gold.

5. The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis, 2016

  • National bestseller
  • Reveals the global elites' dark effort to hide a coming catastrophe from investors
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: As an economist and financial adviser, I was prepared to be highly critical of James Rickards' latest book. Instead, I found myself annotating it heavily and reread it immediately after finishing it. There may be a little more detail in some parts than the explication really needed, but I found myself nodding in agreement rather than shaking my head.
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: Normally I like books on finance and economics, but this book was an insane concoction of conspiracy theory, politics, "global domination" and new Hitlers. Am disappointed that this is what it's come to.

6. Aftermath: Seven Secrets of Wealth Preservation in the Coming Chaos, 2019

  • Wall Street Journal bestseller
  • Shows why and how global financial markets are being artificially inflated -- and what smart investors can do to protect their assets
  • Wealth Briefing Asia: "The discussion of why the US middle classes are under pressure, the case for universal basic income and similar ideas is one of the best I have read: humane, lucid and relevant. Rickards has gone and done it again."
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: It is not often that I read a book on this topic that addresses so many complexities behind the issues it discusses. I felt that Rickards did an excellent job covering so many aspects of wealth preservation while still keeping it interesting. I've read all of Rickards books and Aftermath is easily my favorite.
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: Very disappointed in this book. The author is a Democrat who hates the president. Just like the mainstream media, he twists everything into the liberal political agenda and manages to blame the president for many things that happened before he even took office. If you want some real financial advice, read Ken Fisher.

7. The New Great Depression: Winners and Losers in a Post-Pandemic World, 2021

  • Wall Street Journal and national bestseller
  • Reveals the true risks to our financial system and what savvy investors can do to survive -- even prosper -- during a time of unrivaled turbulence
  • The Financial Times: “Rickards makes the important point that depressions are as much psychological as numeric. Intriguing policy recommendation with many genuine insights, which make it an enjoyable book to argue with.”
  • Amazon 5-star rating commenter: If you want to know how a national/global lockdown will affect world economics, as well as your world, then read this book. The book is well-researched, and the information is straightforward, and non-politicized.
  • Amazon 1-star rating commenter: I was looking forward to it as I've read other works by Rickards. This one, however, was sparse on any information or insight at all. Weighing in at a mere 160 pgs, it feels like a college theme that was puffed up to meet a word page minimum. Most of the advice is largely already outdated. 

As mentioned earlier, we can observe that he does hold a pessimistic view of the future. One can argue that such is the effect of his pivotal role in the LTMC bailout.

At that time, he was able to see the greed, incompetence, and/or cluelessness of people in power. As the head lawyer of the company then, he was privy to the backroom deals. He was in the room playing a key role.

In the interview we cited, he explicitly said that a lot of mistakes by supposed geniuses led to the crisis. He even asked how such brilliant minds were not able to predict what happened.

This, of course, is only one perspective.

Others also opine that it is precisely these kinds of views that sell books. People are not inclined to spend money on what's boring, predictable, and optimistic. 

So people like Rickards take advantage of this. In fact, you would read such comments on the reviews of his books. They point out how his subsequent releases have mostly been more of the same. 

Readers say that because he found a formula, he merely stuck to it. So in essence, what he found was not a credible and believable doctrine. What he discovered is merely an effective marketing strategy.

He may be a genius, but a promotions genius, some say.

Given these perspectives, we want to know what you think. Tell us in the comments section below.

Services

Currently, Rickards writes research investment advisory for the Paradigm Press. In it, has one monthly newsletter, four premium publications, and one reserve publication.

Another newsletter from the publisher is Nomi Prins' Rapid Growth Opportunities. You may want to read our review of her investment advisory on this website.

1. Strategic Intelligence

  • Keeps you up to date on how the dollar’s collapse and replacement is unfolding
  • Warns you about the potential triggers that may set off the coming crisis
  • Gives you specific investment recommendations and wealth protection strategies that will help you grow your wealth even during the meltdown

An extensive review of this newsletter is available here at Green Bull Research. If you want to know what we think about it or if you are on the verge of subscribing, read that article first.

Meanwhile, more than 300 Stock Gumshoe users gave this a 2.5 rating out of 5

The comment below is a pretty good summary of the general sentiments about Rickards. This seems to be the consensus about the guy and his services.

2. Tactical Currency Profits

  • Gives investors access to the world’s largest marketplace – the $6.6 trillion currency market
  • Helps investors profit from the capital flows that result from international economic warfare using his proprietary C.O.B.R.A. trading system

3. Gold Speculator with Dan Amoss

  • Helps readers gain front row access to the action in the most profitable gold plays and provides insights into all things gold
  • Leverages the power of their proprietary system called the MIDAS system
  • Shows readers both what to buy and in what quantity through their allocated portfolio

As of this writing, this newsletter has 2.2 stars out of 5 in Stock Gumshoe. Looking at the comments, we can say that most of the subscribers experienced losses due to his recommendations.

Even if some credit Rickards for his ideas and writing, most were not satisfied with his recommendations.

The comments below reflect the sentiments of those who have tried this newsletter.

4. Crash Speculator

  • Allows ordinary investors to turn one-day stock collapses into huge payouts based on a flatline pattern of a stock chart
  • Sends you urgent market analysis, including the most lucrative flatlining stock opportunities, every two weeks

5. Strategic Intelligence PRO

  • Gives access to a strategy employed to fast track your gains and profiting off companies whose stock is going down, not up
  • Provides the educational tools to show how professional investors approach their trades
  • Uses rigorous statistical methods and predictive analytics to provide you with recommendations for stocks, indices, and ETFs

6. Unrestricted Clearance

  • Gives you lifetime access to all of Jim Rickards’ publications
In general, even if we do not show you a detailed analysis of each of his newsletters, we could see a pattern. 

It seems that even some of those who are angered by their losses still give him some credit.

Yes, they are disappointed with how their investments turned out. But there is still a healthy acknowledgment of Rickards smarts. Subscribers seem to admire the way he thinks and writes.

However, another consistent comment is regarding the endless marketing emails. If you do not appreciate getting hundreds of emails a week, do not give him your email address, some say.

People just find this kind of overpromotion annoying. 

Another typical comment that we often see is on credit card charges. Subscribers complain about auto-renewal and unauthorized billing.

This, of course, is typical of investment newsletters. A great majority of services under The Agora receive these complaints, including those under Paradigm Press because it is within its network.

Read our article on The Agora so you will see the extent of their reach in this industry. It is an interesting read.

Going back to the complaints, we hope such companies shape up.

Our rundown of the Raging Bull fraud case discusses relevant legal remedies against deceptive practices. So we hope others would learn from Raging Bull's ordeal.

Conclusion - Does He Have Credibility?

In this explainer on Jim Rickards, we went into a deep dive on his career, books, and newsletters.

In each aspect, we dissected how he performed and how he and his services were received.

By this time, even without us spoon-feeding you on the exact answer, we hope we were of significant help.

So, how will you respond to this question: Is Jim Rickards credible? Tell us your thoughts below.

Phil


A writer and researcher, Phil enjoys exploring topics about finance, investments, and consumer behavior. His two young kids serve as inspiration for his advocacy on education and the youth.

  • I subscribed to Rickards' investment letter…for about 2 days. Cancelling when my email inbox exploded with dozens of teasers/ads/unsolicited financial opinion letters. It's been over a month since I cancelled and I'm still "unsubscribing" from these letters that I never subscribed to.

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