October 15, 2009

THOUGHTS ON guarding assets against hyperinflation.

You could write more than one.

UPDATE: Some firsthand advice from a friend who was a year ahead of me at Yale Law:

For the past 3-4 years, I managed a clinical trials project in Zimbabwe and so have had personal experience in doing business in a hyperinflationary economy. I changed USD daily in order to stay ahead of nearly daily price doubling of all commodities, and so hauled around suitcases full of currency. In any case, real estate never lost its value there- I negotiated to buy a headquarters for the project and such dealings were always done in Rand or USD, not in local currency, and in fact, the experience was that real estate actually increased in real value, as cash fled to it as a hard asset. Smart money also went into shares of “Old Mutual” – a publicly traded private insurer that had exceptional cash management skills, and so purchases were often denominated in shares of that company rather than in Zim dollars, since the shares kept pace with inflation. Old Mutual shares’ real value could be measured, because it was traded not just in Harare but in London as well.

Bottom line – minimize cash, maximize real estate and shares in critical product consumer companies.

Well, real estate is cheap right now.

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