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I do not base my forecasts on mathematical models or some finely honed methodology, but on my sense of where the economic world stands today and where I think it might likely be in the near future.

Actually, I’m going to spend the first few pages demonstrating that the mathematical models used to forecast GDP and all sorts of interesting economic events are basically nonsense.

Some years the path ahead seems remarkably straightforward and clear of obstructions. I’m proud to say that SIC probably has more repeat attendees than any conference I know.

I can tell you right now that this year the challenges seem particularly fog-shrouded. Before we begin, I want to suggest you mark out time in 2016 to attend my Strategic Investment Conference. This fact speaks to the care with which my conference team organizes the event and the quality of our speakers.

I can say with certainty that most of them will be wrong. Unfortunately, no one knows which forecasts will fall into which category.

For the last 16 years my first letter of the year has also been a forecast issue, and I will continue to go with that tradition – but with one major caveat.

Wall Street Takes the Heat for You Fed Says Fed Forecasts Fail CBO: We’re Less Wrong Than They Are Economists Are (Still) Clueless QE 4 Why Forecasting Next Year Is a Crap Shoot Another Muddle-Through Year Dangerous World Back from Hong Kong “The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present.” – John Naisbitt “We really can’t forecast all that well, and yet we pretend that we can, but we really can’t.” – Alan Greenspan Welcome to 2016.

Tradition dictates that you spend the first few weeks or so reading forecasts for the coming year.

Let me be clear, though, that I’m not coming back from the future and telling you what it’s like; I am merely hoping to get our general direction right.

A side effect is that the bar is raised a little each year.

Somehow I have to deliver a better-than-ever program year after year – and somehow we’ve always done it.

My goal in designing the agenda is to give you a mixture of old favorites as well as new perspectives. This year I’ve juggled the schedule to give us more time for informal networking opportunities.

For me, forecasting the year ahead is somewhat like being an explorer who comes to the top of a high new mountain pass along with a group of his friends and looks far out in the distance and sees another mountain pass, shrouded in clouds but offering the promise that it’s possible to continue the journey.It is clear to him that they should all forge ahead to find a way to that next mountain pass, but between his location and his destination lie all manner of unknown geographical features, not to mention the prospect of unfriendly natives who may want to contest their passage.

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