What the 1970s Tell Us About Today's Gold Boom

Howard Ruff's advice could have set you up for an early retirement in the mid-1970s...

Howard was a newsletter writer. He launched his Ruff Times letter in 1975. He even had his own syndicated TV show.

Howard had a kookiness about him, too. He was widely known as the "Prophet of Doom." He constantly wrote about how the late 1970s and 1980s were going to be worse than the Great Depression.

Heck, he even told readers to stock up on a year's worth of food... because terrible times were right around the corner.

That polarizing commentary was partially responsible for his following. Subscribers came for the outlandish claims, but they stuck around for the big opportunities that Howard wrote about.

With his doom-and-gloom outlook, Howard pounded the table to buy gold, silver, and any other precious metal that his subscribers could get their hands on.

Howard expected inflation to ravage the U.S. economy. He saw a period of hyperinflation coming that he believed could lead to a depression... and he expected it would destroy stock and bond returns in the following years.

That's why Howard recommended precious metals. These were hard assets whose value wouldn't erode as inflation devastated the dollar. So he urged his followers to buy gold and silver before rapid inflation set in.

Now, Howard was wrong about the depression. And stocking up on an entire year's worth of food might seem silly in hindsight. But he was right about one thing...

The 1970s and early 1980s saw an extreme spike in inflation. And precious metals prices soared.

I tell you that because we're in a similar situation right now. And it means a long-term gold and silver boom could be underway.

Let me explain...

The 1970s didn't see hyperinflation. But it was the worst period of inflation in the U.S. during the last century. The inflation rate went from 2.7% in mid-1972 all the way to 14.8% by mid-1980.

This was nothing like the U.S. had seen before. And as inflation was heating up, metals like gold and silver began to soar.

Gold went from $65 per ounce at the beginning of 1973 to roughly $195 by the end of 1974. And it was just getting started...

By 1979, the metal's price broke above $500 per ounce. It eventually peaked at $850 in January 1980.

Ultimately, gold rallied more than 1,200% from the end of 1972 to its peak in 1980. It was a historic run.

If you were one of Howard's subscribers, you could've made enough to set yourself up on a beach somewhere for a permanent vacation... if you sold at the top, at least.

Howard kept beating the same drum through the 1980s as inflation slowed and precious metals crashed. But he nailed the initial call as well as anyone else at the time.

Why are we talking about a rally from decades ago? It's because what happened then is a lot like today's environment...

Right now, we are seeing signs of another inflation rally... one that could mean a dramatic rise in gold prices.

You see, the Federal Reserve is doing everything it can to cause inflation. Money is cheap, and it should stay that way for years. And that means paper dollars will lose their value.

I want to be clear, though... The high inflation of the 1970s was a rare event. It's possible we could see double-digit inflation again. But we don't need it to jump 10% to see a massive move in gold...

If inflation rises to 4% – or even 6% – in the coming years, gold could rally hundreds of percent. And given what's going on in the world, it's smart to take some advice from Howard Ruff's playbook and make that bet.

That means owning precious metals, particularly gold, is a smart bet right now. Gold has had a major rally in 2020. But if inflation is set to spike – and history says it is – then you ain't seen nothing yet.

Good investing,

Steve

Further Reading

"Most investors today have never lived through a great gold bull market," Corey McLaughlin writes. But with the current economic conditions in place, that is all set to change soon... Get the full story here: Get Ready for the Next Great Bull Market in Gold.

"The Fed's playbook is on the table," Drew McConnell says. With the coronavirus still running rampant and more lockdowns on the way, we can expect more stimulus in the coming months. And that means a major rally is in store for gold... Read more here: Why Gold Is Set to Soar Above $3,000 per Ounce.

Market Notes
'SELLING THE BASICS' BOOSTS THIS CONSUMER-GOODS GIANT

Today, we’re looking at a company that’s thriving during this pandemic by providing everyday goods…

As regular readers know, businesses that “sell the basics” perform well even when times are tough. There’s always demand for things like food, laundry detergent, or shampoo. With COVID-19 still prevalent, folks are stocking up on these products. And today’s company is capitalizing on this…

Unilever (UN) is a $165 billion consumer-products manufacturer. It sells products from more than 400 brands to customers in 190 countries… And 2.5 billion people use its products every day. You might own some of its well-known products like Dove deodorant or Breyers ice cream. In the most recent quarter, pandemic-related demand for cleaning supplies and personal care items boosted Unilever’s sales to $15.3 billion… beating expectations by more than $280 million.

As the chart shows, UN shares fell with the rest of the market earlier this year. But once investors realized Unilever products are still in high demand, UN jumped more than 40% to a 52-week high. As folks keep buying “basics” during this pandemic, Unilever should stay successful…