Jim Rickards is a fairly well-known investment “guru,” especially in the gold space, and I’ve read his blog posts and watched his YouTube videos on and off over the years.
I’ve also come across numerous “presentations” he’s released as part of different promotional campaigns for his paid services.
Until recently, I’d never joined any of those.
But after seeing Rickards’ “Biden Bucks” (aka “asset emancipation system”) presentation pitched a lot lately, I decided to check out his flagship service, Strategic Intelligence.
In short, the service costs $49 (or more) to join and gives you access to Rickards’ monthly newsletter, stock picks, and ongoing market commentary.
Is it legit?
After signing up, I found that it’s not a scam. In fact, the service is quite comprehensive for the price. However, in some ways, Strategic Intelligence is a “hook” to get you to join more expensive services that Paradigm Press (the company behind it) offers.
And there are some other things I didn’t like about it, too.
In this review, I’ll show you everything I learned about the service, including what you get after signing up, how Jim Rickards’ stock picks have performed, and more.
Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence [Full Review]
The core idea behind the Strategic Intelligence newsletter is to help subscribers “prepare and profit from the coming collapse of the dollar.”
Jim Rickards, the guy behind it, has been in finance for decades and is well-known for his “end of the dollar” predictions and strong belief in gold as an investment.
And that is largely who this service caters to; people who are skeptical of currency debasement and who want to invest in “hard assets” like gold, as well as what the company site describes as “safe” investments in stocks, bonds, and other assets.
Of course, no investment is truly safe, but that’s the general “theme” of the service.
There’s also a very strong (right-leaning) political element to the newsletters, videos, and investment ideas that Rickards shares with you as a subscriber.
Is it worth it?
On the plus side, I think that anyone who spends more than five minutes reading Rickards’ newsletters would agree that he is very knowledgeable. As such, you will probably learn a thing or two over the course of a 12-month subscription just by reading his work.
But does that mean his investment ideas will make you money?
Not necessarily, no.
As I will show you in the next section, some of his recommendations have worked out really well so far, so he must be doing something right. But others have not gone according to plan, which shows that, as with any service, there are no guarantees with investing.
The Portfolio (Jim Rickards’ Stock Picks)
One of the first things I like to check after joining a service like this is how the recommendations have worked out. And with Strategic Intelligence, there’s a page called “Portfolio” that shows you both the closed and open positions.
The first portfolio I looked at was the closed positions, which are the stocks Jim Rickards has recommended in the past that have been closed out (aka finalized).
And to my surprise, almost all of those were in the green.
Here are the top three best and worst in the “closed” portfolio:
I would love to show you the whole portfolio (without blurring), but I obviously can’t reveal too much since it’s a paid membership.
In any case, as you can see above, the earliest recommendation goes back as far as November 2014, while the most recent one was recommended in March 2022 and closed in late August. And all except two stock picks are up, which is pretty impressive.
However, then I checked out the OPEN positions (meaning recommendations that are still active), and that was a completely different story. In fact, it was virtually the opposite.
Here are the top three best and worst in the “open” portfolio:
As of writing, almost all of those picks are down. It’s literally the polar opposite of the closed portfolio in that all of the picks are down except for two of them.
What types of companies does he recommend?
Many of the stocks Rickards has recommended are precious metals mining stocks (and ETFs), some are in the energy sector, and there’s a defense company in the mix.
So, to sum it up, Rickards’ closed recommendations have done way better than I would have expected (almost perfect track record), but his open positions are largely in the red.
Most of the open positions are gold-related, though. So I guess if you’re bullish on gold going up in the future, then that may not bother you much.
Also, keep in mind that open positions are always being updated as new picks are added and closed, and prices are always changing. So by the time you join (if you join), what you see in these portfolios could be very different, especially in the “open” portfolio.
There’s also a section of the member’s area called “Alerts,” which is dedicated to keeping you updated on Jim Rickards’s recommendations.
There are also monthly “portfolio updates” on a different page.
These discuss Jim Rickards’ outlook for the next quarter, talk about what’s changed since the last portfolio update, and basically summarize any changes or “need to knows” about the Strategic Intelligence recommendations.
All in all, there are a lot of resources packed into this service. And we haven’t even gotten to the monthly newsletters, video briefings, and research reports yet.
So let’s discuss those now.
Strategic Intelligence Newsletter (Monthly Issues)
Aside from the stock picks, the other main aspect of this service is the monthly newsletters, which you can access in the “Issues” tab in the top menu.
I haven’t read all of the newsletter issues because they go back as far as 2015 (there’s even one in there from 2010), but the ones I have looked at are about 20 pages or so long and contain a lot of insight from Jim Rickards and his team.
As mentioned earlier, the newsletters are very politically focused, which is a bit of a turn-off for me, but what he shares is highly relevant to his investment thesis.
Basically, each monthly newsletter gives you a full breakdown of Rickards’ latest thoughts and outlook on the economy, financial markets, and political developments he’s tracking.
There is also typically a write-up on a new stock pick included in each newsletter.
As for how it’s structured, Rickards usually introduces each newsletter and finishes his part roughly a third of the way through, and then his colleagues chime in.
One of his colleagues is Dan Amoss (the newsletter’s “senior analyst”), another is Zach Scheidt (contributing editor), and another is Byron King (a geologist).
There may be other contributors, but those are the main contributors I noticed.
There’s also a “Jim Answers” section at the end of each newsletter, where Rickards answers a member’s question. This month (October 2022) was all about natural gas and the impact recent events might have on its price. Rickards’ answer was really in-depth, too.
When are they released? The newsletters are typically released at the end of each month, but some come in at the start of the month.
Briefings (Monthly Videos)
The “Briefings” are monthly videos that are typically an hour or so long and essentially break down Jim Rickards’ thoughts and outlook on the market.
Each video covers a different topic, and the ones I watched were in an “interview” style format with the Strategic Intelligence managing editor, Frank DeVechio.
I personally prefer reading as it cuts out some unnecessary chat, but the briefings do add an extra layer of value to the service overall.
Also worth noting is that every now and then, an extra briefing is released mid-month for “lifetime” subscribers only.
And the only way (that I know of) to access that is by buying into the initial $250 upsell for a lifetime subscription that you see immediately after joining the service. I chose to remain a “regular” member, so I can’t tell you if those briefings are different/better or not.
The research reports are located in the “Reports” tab and are basically writeups Jim Rickards has done on different investments he has recommended.
These reports are often used as a “hook” to convince people to join the service in the different promo campaigns Rickards runs.
In my case, I ended up joining Strategic Intelligence through the “Biden Bucks” presentation, which was all about Rickards’ viewpoint of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
Hint: he’s not a fan (lol)!
Long story short, one of the main things Rickards pitched in that presentation was something called the “asset emancipation system.”
What’s it about?
In short, Jim Rickards talked about the potential implications of introducing a CBDC (such as increased government control and surveillance) and claims that his so-called asset emancipation system can is a survival “loophole” to help secure your wealth.
Here’s how he put it in the presentation:
“The bottom line is this…
“I believe having some of your assets secured — and ‘off the grid’ — now…
“…will mean you’re able to prevent the government control that comes with a digital currency.
“If that’s what you want to do…
“My Asset Emancipation system was designed for you.
“Not only that, but everything you’ll see is completely legal.
“It might infuriate Biden, AOC, and the state surveillance army…
“…but there’s nothing they can do about these survival ‘loopholes’.
“Your wealth – and your freedom – will be secure.”Source: https://pro.paradigmnewsletters.org/p/awn_bidenbucks_newlife_0722/LAWNY6BA/Full
Okay… but what is this “system” (actually)?
Jim Rickards’ asset emancipation system is a 14-page PDF called “The Asset Emancipation System: Securing Your Sovereign Wealth and Freedom.”
And in that PDF guide, Rickards walks you through how to put together a portfolio for “extreme conditions” (which he calls a “Portable Portfolio”) that consists of a variety of physical assets you can store in a soda can safe (or similar).
It’s basically a “prepper’s guide” to surviving an economic meltdown.
Rickards shows you exactly what assets he recommends putting inside the soda can safe, literally like you are constructing a physical portfolio to put into it.
On the one hand, I don’t think preparedness is a bad idea, and it’s quite an in-depth report on exactly how Rickards recommends securing your wealth should “it” hit the fan.
But I would personally rather hold bitcoin (not “crypto,” but bitcoin) in the scenario he describes because, in my opinion, it’s a LOT more secure than what he describes. All you need to do is remember 12 words, and nobody can take it from you.
I also believe that bitcoin is a better solution to many of the problems Rickards describes in his work because, among other things, it doesn’t require trust to operate on a global scale.
In any case, by the time you read this article, the “asset emancipation” report may be old news, as there are always new ones being released.
To sum it up, each report Rickards releases covers a different topic/investment idea, and as a subscriber of Strategic Intelligence, you get access to all of them.
Cost and Refund Policy
There are three membership options you can choose from when joining Strategic Intelligence, which each gives you 12 months of access:
- Platinum ($79)
- Silver ($129)
- Bronze ($49)
There are also taxes applied on top of those prices, depending on your country of residence, so it could end up costing you more than that.
In any case, all three membership tiers are pretty much the same, but the “platinum” option comes with an extra bonus report, and all except for bronze come with a print version of the newsletter.
I chose the $49 option because I don’t see any point in getting the print version, nor was I particularly interested in the bonus report he was offering.
As for getting a refund, the Paradigm Press website states that this service comes with a six-month refund policy. And it’s pretty easy to cancel.
All you need to do is click on the “my account” tab at the top of the screen when you’re logged in, navigate to the “subscription management” section, and click “cancel subscription.”
I’m still a member, so I can’t tell you how good the refund policy is (or isn’t), but the process involved with canceling your subscription is very straightforward.
Also worth noting is that the service automatically renews each year at whatever price you paid for it. And you can turn auto-renew off in the same part of the site shown above.
Is Jim Rickards the Real Deal?
It’s honestly hard to even know where to start in talking about Rickards’ background, as he seems to have pretty much “done it all.” According to the Paradigm Press website, James (Jim) Rickards has “over 40 years of experience as an American lawyer, economist, government advisor, investment banker, speaker and author.”
My first encounter with Rickards was in 2018 when I first started learning about gold and what money (actually) is. And in the process, I came across his videos and Daily Reckoning website.
Until now, I had never joined any of his services.
But he’s someone I have learned from over the years. And I have looked into different presentations he has released, like his recent “Bloody Wednesday” prediction.
Does he have a good track record?
Rickards has been in the newsletter business for a long time, so it’s hard to say how his picks have worked out across all of his services to date.
As I said earlier, his “closed” Strategic Intelligence picks have worked out really well, but the “open” (aka active) recommendations are not doing well at all right now.
That’s only one service, though, and he runs at least half a dozen that I know of, all of which are sold by a Baltimore-based company called Paradigm Press.
As for his investment philosophy, Rickards’ main overarching thesis seems to center around the idea that the dollar is not a good store of value, that there is systemic risk in the economy and markets, and that gold (and other “hard” assets) are the answer.
Of course, I can’t speak for Rickards, but that’s my take.
And you can get a pretty good feel for his outlook just by looking at the titles of some of his books. For example, The Death of Money (2014), The New Case for Gold (2016), and The New Great Depression (2021).
To me, Rickards does share some useful insights in his newsletters and reports, etc. And it seems as though numerous predictions he’s made have played out.
He also has an extensive background in finance and economics, probably more so than most of the “gurus” in the stock-picking space.
At the same time, however, he doesn’t have a crystal ball. So even if he is right about what he forecasts in different books and articles, getting the timing right is a different story, and that’s why you should never blindly follow anyone’s advice. No matter who they are.
Recommended: Go here to see my #1 rated stock advisory of 2023
Pros and Cons of Strategic Intelligence
There are definitely some things I like about the Strategic Intelligence newsletter, but no service is perfect, so there are some things I didn’t like, too.
What I like:
- The Strategic Intelligence service is very comprehensive. This service goes the extra mile in terms of all the resources you get access to (newsletters, reports, updates, video briefings, portfolio, etc.). You get a lot of content for the price.
- Jim Rickards is very knowledgeable and has an extensive background in finance and economics, which shows in the content you get access to. I think anyone who spends time reading his research will learn from him.
- Most of the closed Strategic Intelligence recommendations have so far been winners. This doesn’t mean you’ll make money as a subscriber, but the service does have a good, long-running track record (in terms of the closed positions, at least).
- It only costs $49 to join the service for 12 months, which is a good price considering what you get access to, in my opinion.
- According to the Paradigm Press promo page I joined through, subscribers can get a refund within the first six months of joining. I can’t confirm this as I’m still a member, but assuming it holds up, that is a good policy.
What I don’t like:
- Jim Rickards is a very clever marketer. I’ve seen countless sales pitches over the years of running this blog, and to me, it’s obvious that he is using the “world is going to end, so you need to join my service” narrative to sell newsletters. And while he may well be right about some of the points he makes in different pitches, I’m not a fan of this approach.
- The moment I joined, I was hit with upsells. One was a $250 upsell for a lifetime subscription, and the other was $500 for a subscription to his Countdown to Crisis service. Almost all stock advisory services have upsells, so I don’t believe this makes it a scam, but seeing them immediately after joining is something I don’t like. There are also over two dozen other Paradigm Press services in the member’s area (some of which are very expensive) that are likely to be pitched to you over the course of a 12-month subscription.
- Many of the open positions are focused on gold mining stocks, which I think should be made more clear on the company website before you join.
- There is a very strong political element to this service, and even though I know it’s relevant to Rickards’ investment ideas, I’m just personally not a fan of this.
Overall, I think Strategic Intelligence is a high-value service that could suit those who are bullish on gold, gold mining stocks, and energy companies.
I also think it’d suit anyone who generally agrees with Jim Rickards’ worldview, as it’s basically the next “step” from his free content and books.
Will it make you money?
It’s possible, but there are no guarantees.
Many of the closed positions are up, so it does have a good track record going all the way back to 2014. But then again, most of the open positions are down as of writing.
Either way, regardless of how well any service has performed, there’s no guarantee it’ll make you money in the future. Investing is risky, even if you invest in so-called “safe” assets. In reality, nothing is certain in the world of investing.
Still, at the very least, I think pretty much anyone could learn a thing or two from Rickards, and for $49, you get a lot of content
So I think whether or not you join will ultimately depend on what sort of service you’re looking to join. And in my opinion, it would depend on how bullish you are on gold.
I used to have a large percentage of my portfolio in gold, so I get the “sound money” arguments gold bulls like Rickards make. I really do. But I also think bitcoin is a better store of value and solution to the problems he highlights, which is why I hold some.
That’s me, though.
And despite that, I will likely continue reading Rickards’ newsletters over the coming months (maybe years) because his insights don’t just center around gold. He also talks about the global economy, energy market, and other sectors.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you found this review helpful!
4 thoughts on “Jim Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence Newsletter [Review]”
I really enjoyed this article and your review of Mr. Rickards’ service. Thorough, fair and concise! I’ll take a deeper look around your website.
$googl search brought me here. 🙂
My pleasure, and thanks for the comment.
I saw his Biden Bucks video that popped on on an ad minutes ago.
It was interesting, then became quite tedious as he kept referring to his Strategic Intelligence and Asset Emancipation without telling you anything about it, like an infomercial, (wait, there’s more) and never getting to the promised end, like the infomercial nothing is free, it’s final point is to sell something, I can’t stand that approach.
Like, “I’m going to save your life,… but first pay the money and join my exclusive club”, not the generous good Samaritan approach.
It’s a ‘no’ from me.
Agreed. 🙄 Nothing worse than, “You’re such a sheep I’m going to lead you on ANOTHER ten minutes, then another… Sheep don’t realize it’s an infomercial! bahaha!” Grrrr – he should not make himself out to be a savior, if he’ll keep talking while the ship goes down with everyone on it.