OLD TOWN HOTEL, HANOI – We are a divorced couple from America with three young kids. And a year ago, we decided to do something crazy.

We quit our jobs, sold our things, turned in our apartment keys, and took our kids backpacking around the world as co-parents.

We’ve been on the road now for 14 months. We’re having the time of our lives, homeschooling our kids, learning about different cultures, making new friends, and healing our family. We’ve traveled across four continents so far.

We call it the “endless vacation.”

We have no idea what the future holds for us – where we’ll live, what we’ll do, how we’ll raise the kids, etc. But right now, none of that matters.

All we know for sure is that we want to do it together, as a family. This trip has completely restored our connection and love for each other.

I asked Kate to marry me again. She (eventually) said yes. Whenever we’re next in the Western Hemisphere, we’ll get married.

We’re currently in Hanoi, Vietnam. We love it. It’s got energy. And it’s romantic.

We’re living on the fourth floor of a 100-year-old hotel in the Old Quarter. It’s a maisonette from the French colonial period with lots of stairs, creaky wooden floors, and balconies beneath every window.


Tom’s daughter looks out from the 100-year-old maisonette

You wonder what the walls of this hotel would say if they could talk.

Thailand is a bit bland for us. Relaxing. But bland. Hanoi is wonderfully chaotic in comparison.

You have to be careful not to get run over by motorcycles. There are millions of them flowing through the streets like water.


A busy street in Hanoi, where the motorcycles flow like water

We’ll stay here for three weeks. Then we’ll go to China… then Japan… then Canada… then Baltimore. After that, who knows?

Meanwhile, back in America, we have a little retirement nest egg.

I want to invest this nest egg wisely and hopefully turn it into something much bigger for the future. So while the kids do their schoolwork every morning, I study economics.

My central thesis is that U.S. equities are 20 years into a “valuations bear market.”

A valuations bear market is not the same as a regular bear market, which is just a simple decline in the stock market.

A valuations bear market is a bear market in the stock market’s P/E ratio. [The P/E, or price-to-earnings, ratio measures how much investors are paying for every $1 of a company’s earnings.]

Here’s the chart of valuations since 1900. If you’ve been reading my postcards, you’ve seen it before…

Don’t worry. You don’t have to know the precise details of what the chart measures.

Just know that it shows the price of the U.S. stock market relative to its fundamentals (earnings, asset values, etc.).


There have been only three of these valuations bear markets in the last 120 years. They take a LONG TIME to unfold.

To give you some perspective, a valuations bear market usually includes four to six recessions. This one has had two already.

(While everyone in the media is busy discussing IF there’s a recession coming, I wonder HOW MANY recessions are coming.)

If my hypothesis is correct and we ARE in a valuations bear market, the prescription is simple: own gold, sell stocks.

By the time the valuations bear market is done, the major central banks of the world will have completely debased their currencies. Equities will be trading at their lowest valuations in 50 years.

That’ll be the time to sell gold and buy stocks.

That’s still years away. For now, gold is the place to be. Stocks are the place NOT to be.

I track this thesis by watching the Dow-to-Gold ratio. It reached 41 in 1999 when the valuations bear market began. It’ll be below 5 when the valuations bear market is over sometime next decade.

It closed last week at 18.23. The trade I recommended in The Bonner-Denning Letter to profit from this is showing a gain of $188,772 in under three months.

– Tom Dyson