Why I Started a Finance Website and other Stuff about Banks, Bailouts, the Fed, and Being Pissed Off

Wolf Richter with Nick Halaris.

The other day, I joined Nick Halaris on his podcast, The Nick Halaris Show, and we talked for quite a while about all kinds stuff. Here are two snippets, both less than 1 minute, to whet your appetite. Some of it was quite personal — including the first snippet here.

The whole podcast is below.

“When you first decided to do a finance website, what was going on in your mind?” (58 seconds).


The bailout of the uninsured depositors of SVB and the other banks, “do you thank that was a wise decision?” (52 seconds)


Here’s the whole podcast:

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  50 comments for “Why I Started a Finance Website and other Stuff about Banks, Bailouts, the Fed, and Being Pissed Off

  1. Glen says:

    “Least bad” was a funny and great characterization.

    • dang says:

      Thanks for sharing your insight which is clearly outside of the generally accepted point of view.

  2. Debt-Free-Bubba says:

    Howdy and wish you great success. You deserve every bit of it. Thanks for all you taught me Lone Wolf.

  3. Glen says:

    Totally unrelated but would like to see your thoughts on the potential TikTok forced sell or ban. I don’t agree with it on many aspects and of course it isn’t like the US can’t get the data they want so hypocritical. Seems like this could be an interesting precedent in a lot of areas that could impact the economy such as bans in the other direction or perhaps it is because of Google and Facebook blocks.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      China has essentially banned a bunch of big US services already. The US is just lagging behind. And yes, we’ll see more of it. A sort of a divorce is happening.

      • Glen says:

        Thanks. Interesting choice in an election year where getting the youth vote out is probably important.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          There will be a deal, don’t worry.

        • dang says:

          I agree. Enticing the kids to vote for one of two similar, wealthy, career politicians and all the obvious baggage they carry like Jacob Marly’s chains. It a difficult task because the new life is sick of the old life.

        • Aaron says:

          Probably better if the youth DON’T vote. I was an idiot, but at least I was smart enough to lack conviction and believe that I should be telling other people what to do (through my votes).

          Also…anyone who can only handle short topics (the way popular tictok videos are) is never gonna be responsibly informed.

    • Nyguy says:

      I read that the first country to ban tik Tok was Afghanistan. Make of that what you will.

      Also noticed many governments have banned it’s use on government computers

      • dang says:

        Yes but one has to ask themselves, whose data are they banning ?

        The serfs that should own the data that others have accumulated false rights too.

        No, it is a dispute between who owns the false rights over the personal data they feel is theirs.

        Which of coarse isn’t. Who wants too live in a world, bristling with sensors, tracking the citizens as if they were criminals.

    • tom10 says:

      Terrible bill as written.
      Information control by the executive branch.

      • dougzero says:

        Yes. Lots more in that bill that is dangerous to free society.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The bill attempts to remove TikTok from Chinese control, and that’s a good thing. It attempts to force a sale of TikTok. If the legislation becomes law, TikTok will be sold to a US-based investor group for a huge amount, the data links with China will be cut, and TikTok will go on. That’s what this is all about.

        • Tankster says:

          If the bill is approved, a ban is needed to prevent data brokers from behaving more badly than the CCP. https://www.eff.org/wp/privacy-first-better-way-address-online-harms

        • dang says:

          I agree that the free society is a casualty of the apparent need to separate the most popular app from the grip of Chairman Moa’ s ghost.

          And deliver into the safe and loving hands of a brutal, take no prisoner capitalist who should have been prosecuted and sent too jail for his role in profiting from the cause of the so called GFC.

      • GotColllateral says:

        Agreed, we dont have to lower our standards to that of the gongfei, stateside or abroad. I don’t even like tiktok or any social media, ppl should be free swim in trash if they want.

        Top down control of how we govern ourselves and our money is already going away, whether some cling onto these arcane perversities or not. I’m for bill’s like these because they speed that process up.

  4. BackRoad says:

    Your articles have really been fantastic lately Wolf. I value your balanced take on things, as you are neither a perma-bull or perma-bear.

    The last 15 years the financial internet & podcasts has been littered by so many super doomer perma-bears, that haven’t gotten anything right since the GFC (15 yrs ago!). I have unfortunately listened to many of these perma-bears, and mostly been “risk off” for over a decade, always thinking a “big crash” or “economic melt down” is “right around the corner”. Not like I’m going to go 100% risk on now after being so careful for so long. But us bears have had a very bad 15 yrs.

    Anyway, I think you have good take on all the economic data Wolf. Balanced and not viewed though only perma-bear lens. Thank you for what you do.

    • Bobber says:

      Not sure what you’ve been invested in, but I get the impression you may have lacked portfolio diversification.

      I’ve been saying for years that a portfolio with 100% cash/CDs/treasuries and gold is VERY risky, not conservative or safe. I’ve held a lot of cash and gold, but I’ve also owned 20-30% stocks at all times to protect against inflation and other unknowns, including central bank ridiculousness. My commodity and resource stocks are up about 300-400% from the 2020 lows, so having just a relatively small allocation to those stocks has done wonders. Gold has done well too.

      This advice isn’t stemming from me, it’s from Ben Graham, who says never go below 20-30% on equities, because anything can happen with inflation. I think this is particularly true when the Federal Reserve is “experimenting” or looking for easy ways to resolve a debt crisis. Bubbles can grow beyond our imaginations, and that’s how they get to be bubbles in the first place. There’s no telling how long they last or how big they get.

      Sure, anybody who is 100% invested in technology stocks has beat everybody, but that’s not intelligent investing. It’s speculation.

      • dang says:

        You probably should go 100 % into US equities, given your angst about having been wrong for the past 15 years. The weird thing about life is the relationship between pain and self admiration.

    • dang says:

      I think Wolf accurately describes the official version of the economic data without undue bias. Which is the reason Wolf gave as the reason to initiate his commentary.

      Devotion is not necessary.

  5. Paul says:

    I’m still mad about our financial markets. It’s not acceptable for younger generations. We are getting crushed.

    • dang says:

      I’m not sure that I’m mad about the financial markets which are currently in the manic phase, familiar to at least the male population.

      What would we bet on if the financial markets were predictable.

  6. Cobalt Programmer says:

    1. Testosterone pit is still better than “Naughty cat cafe”
    2. We all come together for our own reasons. First and foremost, we believe in “Just World Theory”. That the world is fair and equitable. Its not.
    3. That doesn’t mean the website is not useful. We can share our thoughts and facts about business.
    4. Some are actively looking for validation of their preconceived ideas about the absurdity of the outside world.
    5. Some looking to start a fight with strangers about how high the fed rates should be…
    6. In the end of the day, we are living through interesting times indeed. We all thank wolf for creating a website/blog to track the dissidents…

    • Glen says:

      But believing in a More Just World has always existed and many of those “dissidents” of their time such as Harriet Tubman, MLK, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez and others are who we celebrate today. Perhaps one from this comment section will one day have a national holiday!

    • All Good Here Mate says:

      Just wanted mention I got some real Michael Engel vibes with the numbered sentences here… except I understand your post.

    • dang says:

      Talk about absurd. A libertarian proclaiming that;

      ” 4. Some are actively looking for validation of their preconceived ideas about the absurdity of the outside world.’

      which begs the obvious is what exactly is the inside world and how dangerous is it.

  7. Jon says:

    Thanks WR for all you do.
    I agree with most of your opinions but also disagree on a lot.

    Wishing you the best !!

  8. John says:

    Wolf, you are too good to be giving your financial info away for free, or for donations. You could make a ton of money as a consultant. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your website, just delay publishing for a week or so after you’ve sent it to your paid clients. We ‘cheapskates’ would still get your great info, if a bit delayed, but still, very worthwhile. I don’t always agree with your views, but I respect your ability to to get the heart of difficult issues and your singular integrity in explaining them. You’re a great resource. Many thanks, sir. Don’t ever think, for even a moment, that we don’t all appreciate your hard work and dedication.

    • dang says:

      OK John, while that may be true that Wolf may be able to make some serious coin by monetizing the good will from his web site which will rapidly go away, never too return.

      • Andrew P says:

        I don’t think it would hurt goodwill too much if it was executed well. There is a popular site (among a narrow set of people) “Linux Weekly News” which similarly has extremely high-quality reporting and a high-quality comments section, which makes most articles subscribers-only for 7 days.

        But without a subscription you can see the title and first paragraph or so of the article, so you know what you’re missing/waiting for. And subscribers can send “free links” to non-subscribers. (With LWN, AFAIK there is zero policing of this, but Wolf might need to keep his eyes open for people who just post every free link on their personal website or something. Or he could just let it go because not many bootleggers would actually pay for the site if they couldn’t get it for free.)

        But technically speaking the whole thing would be quite an overhaul. You’d need to have accounts, article previews, free links, a payment processor, etc etc etc.

  9. DRM says:

    Really nice interview. Kind of get a sense of who you are and how you think at least a little bit. You have a gift for explaining these kinds of things. Thanks for your Wolfstreet site, and all the info you share with us.

  10. Oldpaperboy says:

    Good luck on your new venture…

  11. John Tallman says:

    Great job on your articles Wolf. It is a breath of fresh air in a confusing arena. I have enjoyed your books also.

  12. Moosy says:

    So what about being pissed off about the labor data that these days is a worthless propaganda piece when it comes out (and always corrected downwards later)

    • Wolf Richter says:

      The labor data is fine. ZH, which you linked, has been saying for 15 years every month that the labor market is collapsing because of yada, yada, yada. It’s for entertainment only.

      I use the three-month moving average of the revised data, and it’s fine.

      PS: there was huge upward revision in January for December. There were others before then. So not “always.”

  13. Moosy says:

    I am always wary of free financial advise or data because a lot of it is just infomercials manipulating the masses.

    Not upset about it but just a fact , when the bank tells you to sell, they probably want to buy. When they say buy, they probably want to sell. Yahoo finance, marketwatch, cramer, fed. Just to name a few that spit out infomercials

    You being upset and pissed off as motivator explains to me why your observations are typically so good and close to what really is going on.

    Thank you

    • dang says:

      Being pissed off at the obvious ignorance of the masses is not the same as missing out on a sure thing government handout to a select group of deserving citizens.

      Not sure what the motivator is supposed to motivate.

  14. Chris says:

    Hi Wolf,

    I appreciate you doing this interview and sharing it with us.

  15. joe2 says:

    When did you adopt the older Schwarzenegger look? Appropriate for the times.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      ❤️ the only time I was ever compared to Schwarzenegger was in Japan two decades ago, in some sushi place in a fishing town somewhere.

      Willem Dafoe is the normal comparison. But thank you, I like that.

      • Aaron says:

        Ya William Dafoe. Not to insult but you and him look just a bit crazy or wild.

  16. Pete says:

    Regarding the Tik Tok ban…why not a compromise…The US continues to permit TikTok, China allows Google 😁😁😁…PJS

    • dang says:

      Obviously, you haven’t a clue about the issues underlying the moral necessity that makes it imperative that Chinese imperialism is countered by unfettered, American freedoms granted too each American citizen at the moment that they are born.

  17. sknarf says:

    How will you or will you be announcing the url for the new website once it is up and running?
    As an avid reader and follower on SA I hope to at least take a peek at it.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think you misunderstood. The old site was “Testosterone Pit.” That was the problematic URL (2011-2014). In 2014, I changed it to Wolf Street, so that was the new URL, and I have no intention of changing it again. Wolf Street works great.

  18. Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed this, I hope you’ll do another with him.

  19. billytrip says:

    I don’t want Wolf’s head to get too big but this is about the only financial site where I don’t see a lot of spin and bias. I don’t understand everything Wolf says but I understand enough to know that there is a lot of BS out there and to not make decisions based on BS.

    To make a site like this work on donations you have to have a quality product, and it is.

  20. MC Bear says:

    Wolf, I admire your response about how your cross-world trip, especially through 20 countries in Africa, was so enlightening. For all the current accessibility to photographs, satellite imagery, videos, it’s a disgrace that folks aren’t exposing themselves to the severity of human depravity in some places on earth. Not for schadenfreude, but for the sake of gaining an appreciation for how lucky we who access your site are. And feeling inspired to help lift others out of abject poverty.
    You are humble for saying that you don’t have a solution. Was wonderful to hear your thoughts in this interview. Thanks!

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