After a few years of trying, I finally managed to track him down in early ’09 and began an ongoing correspondence with the new Mark M. Rostenko. With the launch of Wealth.net he has graciously agreed to an email interview.
Wealth.net (WN): When I started following your work you were one of the fast rising stars of the financial newsletter industry, and you were very prescient about the emerging trends. Then you went into what I have thought was a “self-imposed exile” from the entire financial industry. Is that an accurate metaphor and would you care to share what happened?
Mark M. Rostenko (MR): Basically I had witnessed my parents being eaten alive by cancer and realized that life is just too short and precious to waste on the life-sucking con-job referred to as “the financial industry.” Writing The Sovereign Strategist obviously required me to keep up with the latest financial news, including the lies, half-truths, and heavily-massaged and essentially false economic numbers spewed by the financial establishment and government. I just couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t consume this “poison” on a daily basis and pretend it wasn’t detrimental to my life, energy and happiness.
Also, after twenty years as a trader, on and off the floor, I realized that I didn’t truly have a love for the game. I went to college in the mid to late-80s, when fund managers and investment bankers were the “rock stars”, when Gordon Gecko taught us that “greed is good.” I bought into the whole “money thing,” the excitement of trading, the thrill of pitting one’s wits against the market and possibly making a fortune. But eventually I realized that I had never really been motivated by money, that racking up digits in a trading account wouldn’t give me any satisfaction whatsoever. So what was the point? I needed to find something fulfilling to do with my time, something that nourished my soul; chasing after or writing about essentially worthless colored pieces of paper wasn’t gonna’ do that for me.