When I think back to Ray Dalio's success I am often reminded of the time in 1982 when he had to borrow $4000, in order to keep his firm afloat. Asking for money from a relative has to be one of the least comfortable things any entrepreneur or self starter can do. But he did it.
‘I went broke and had to borrow $4,000 from my dad’-- Ray Dalio
Covid-19 Was My Ray Dalio Moment
In the aftermath of a precipitous 10,000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and watching Bitcoin lose half of its value, I made a difficult decision to convert crypto currencies into physical silver from the small LP that I was running under the name of ALT MONEY FUND LP, or Alternative Money Fund Management LLC.
As Bitcoin slowly bounced to the $8000-$9000 level, we decided to get into the white precious metal (physical silver) as a safe-haven and asset class of last resort -- seeing the carnage in these other paper and crypto markets. It felt almost surreal. Was I cashing out on my dreams, my determination and everything that I had strived to build? I still do not know to this day.
Ray Dalio went broke and nearly shut down Bridgewater before turning it into biggest hedge fund ever
Bridgewater currently manages about $160 billion, according to its website. Dalio started the firm in 1975 out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City.
In 1982, Dalio confidently predicted the global economy was headed toward a depression and he traded accordingly.
“I was dead wrong … The stock market began a big bull run, and over the next eighteen years the U.S. economy enjoyed the greatest noninflationary growth period in its history,” he wrote in his book entitled “Principles: Life and Work.”
“My experience over this period was like a series of blows to the head with a baseball bat. Being so wrong – and especially so publicly wrong – was incredibly humbling and cost me just about everything I had built at Bridgewater,” he added.
Due to the losses, the investor was forced to lay off all of his employees and ask for money from his family.
Silver Pulls Back as Bitcoin and Crypto Roar Upwards in Massive Uptrends
Silver touched $29-30 per ounce, and currently is languishing in the $24 range. Despite further weakness in the US Dollar Currency Index which is languishing in the 92 range, Silver has yet to make any additional significant moves to the upside. Was I completely wrong about this bet? Will it pay off in the end? Was the entire concept of starting a crypto/alternative investment fund a complete failure?
No, Yes, and No.
Money, as we see from Ray Dalio's example -- comes and goes. Investors may question the integrity of the fund manager's decisions at the time, but nobody can walk in their shoes and know exactly "why" certain discretionary decisions were made at the time. It may be another great investment in the future. Time will tell. The portfolio may change it's allocations and exposure in the future.
I'm Not Ray Dalio, and I'm Not Asking For $4000
When I started the fund in 2017, I produced an unaudited pre-tax return of something to the tune of 11,000% on a small grubstake of capital that we were able to muster together.
Sure, It would be ideal to raise more funds during this pandemic, but many remain skeptical. I know my skepticism was at a peak during the March 2020 Financial Panic and coin shortage. Equity markets have since roared back and the Dow is now Trading at 29,000-30,000 and the coin shortage is no more.
Forget the US Dollar Currency index falling from 98 down to 92, and the 277 Trillion in debt that the world owes? They will continue to "Print" their way out of this. No holds barred. That is the solution by central banks and monetary specialists all over the globe.
Marketing and Branding
I believe that branding and marketing are essential. The brand has suffered some setbacks, but the essence and the concept shall live on. We will look for 3rd party marketing agreements, joint ventures, and other possible opportunities if they shall present themselves. Look -- its not a $7 trillion dollar asset manager like BlackRock, but have MOST people ever even heard of BlackRock or its founder? No, it's STILL not a household name.
The biggest elephant in the room is that most people will not recognize the largest asset manager in the world. At least with an independent brand, new marketing deals and agreements can be made. The concept may even be sold to a firm who wants additional exposure to non-traditional alternative markets. That is my hope, and that's why I am not getting $4000 from my father.
John Chalekson is an American entrepreneur who co-founded and manages Alternative Money Fund LP, a cryptocurrency hedge fund. He is based in Manhattan Beach, California and Redlands, California.
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