I think the US is headed for higher inflation sooner than The Powers That Be expect. It’s possible they will lose control and spark hyperinflation. Time will tell whether I’m right about that, but I do believe it.
This presents me—a vendor of services intended to last a lifetime—with a challenge: I need to be able to increase my prices in the future to keep up with inflation.
This is particularly important, since I already offer a lifetime deal of sorts to those who subscribe to The Independent Speculator on an annual basis; every year they renew, I discount their subscription by 5%, until it’s reduced to a free lifetime service. If I leave this policy in place during a time of high inflation, it will greatly reduce my real margins as my costs rise.
I’ve also noticed that we have a lot of people sign up to The Independent Speculator using our monthly payment plan, and then unsubscribe right before that first month ends. Since they stay subscribed until the last moment, this suggests to me that many of them see value in my stock picks, but have no intention to remain subscribed. I wouldn’t mind so much if we were talking about my ancient family recipe for BBQ. But when someone subscribes to The Independent Speculator, they get instant access to a huge amount of research—and my portfolio.
When someone sees my stock picks, they immediately get a large amount of value that can make money for them for months or years.
This is worth much more than one month’s subscription fee.
At the same time, I do understand that a yearly commitment is a lot to ask of folks who don’t know me and aren’t familiar with my work. They need a way to try me out without too much upfront risk to themselves.
With these thoughts in mind, I’ve announced the following changes to our terms and conditions…
EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2020:
- All paid subscribers are grandfathered on their current terms of service. As long as you remain subscribed, we will never increase your prices. (If I’m right about much higher inflation ahead, this amounts to a loyalty discount over time for all our paid services, as today’s prices become less and less significant in the future.)
- We will no longer offer the current 5% renewal discount for yearly subscribers to The Independent Speculator. Existing clients and those who subscribe by September 30, 2020 will be grandfathered and still get the 5% discount, as long as they remain subscribed.
- We will no longer be offering The Independent Speculator on a $250 per month basis. Instead, we will be offering the service on a quarterly basis, as well as a yearly basis. Quarterly subscriptions will renew automatically until cancelled. Yearly subscriptions must be renewed by the subscriber or they will lapse. (Don’t worry, we’ll send out reminders—we just don’t want to charge folks who are no longer making frequent use of the service.) Anyone who does want to try our flagship service out on a monthly basis should do so now before the option is discontinued.
The fee for The Independent Speculator on a quarterly basis will be $1,000.
The fee for The Independent Speculator on a yearly basis will be $3,000.
- Prices and options for My Take are not changing at this time. At $50 per month, or a lower annual rate of $500 per year, My Take still offers an affordable way for those who don’t know me to get a feel for what my work can do for them. (Remember that we do take requests.)
For those who get all they need from My Take’s growing database of resource stock evaluations, rest assured that your price will not go up as long as you remain subscribed.
What I announced these new terms to subscribers last Saturday, one wrote in, saying:
“I for one am happy to see your new pricing structure. You are the one who took all the risk starting your business and you need to protect yourself and your family who depends on you… You can't give away what you produce. That's insulting. I get worked up about that and it isn't really any of my business. You're worth every dime.” —Scott C.
Thanks Scott. I’m glad your subscription with us is inflation proof. And I’ll do my best to deliver even more value for you and all clients, going forward.