Puplava was raised in Arizona by Czechoslovakian immigrant parents. He grew up in a family of 10 children. His mother didn’t work, his father was a cabinet maker who also accumulated a portfolio of real estate.
Puplava graduated cum laude in History and Economics from Arizona State University. He then went on to graduate summa cum laude with a Master's Degree in Finance and Accounting from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird).
Puplava is a Certified Financial Planner; Series 7 and Series 24 with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA); and Life, Disability and Variable Insurance licenses. Puplava has been president of Puplava Financial Services, Inc. (PFS) since 1985. For twelve years, he held a position as Branch Manager for LPL Financial Services, LLC. In 1996, he incorporated the broker/dealer firm, Puplava Securities, Inc. (PSI) and is its president.
He has worked as a financial writer to various publications and acted as a TV business editor. In 1988, Puplava began hosting Financial Sense Talk radio on various radio stations in San Diego. He also oversees the portfolio management team at Puplava Financial Services and Puplava Securities. He gives weekly broadcasts and writes commentary for Financial Sense Online.
Puplava provides financial education with his Financial Sense Newshour platform. While being sometimes cited as permabear, his opinion on financial markets changed in the course of time. He clearly seconds the views of the Austrian School of economics and sees an inflationary outcome of current fiscal and financial policies. Still his interview platform Financial Sense Newshours provides a platform for guests seconding and opposing his opinion. Puplava currently advocates investment in dividend-paying stocks. He warns about the negative effects of financial repression on future bond prices and advocates laddered bond portfolios vs. bond funds. He sees precious metals like gold or silver as an insurance protection against a possible inflationary development or even a crash of the fiat money system. His news show provides not only a platform for well-known experts seconding his opinion (like Marc Faber), he also airs opposing views.
Puplava and the producer of his Financial Sense Newshour webcast, John Loeffler, believe that the concept of global warming is being pushed by governments in order to promote higher taxation and greater governmental controls of our lives. Puplava has said there is a strong case for believing that the world will enter a cycle of global cooling. He often interviews historian and business consultant Evelyn Browning Garris, who thinks that the current global warming is part of a cycle and is much like the medieval warm period. Puplava, who is heavily invested in oil and oil-related instruments, has also given sympathetic hearings to Bjørn Lomborg and Ian Plimer. He and Loeffler frequently mention that global warming stopped in 1998, a claim which is a myth according to an article in New Scientist magazine.
Puplava is an expert on the theory of peak oil and its consequences for the financial landscape, and was a speaker at the ASPO conference in 2008. He has interviewed several peak oil proponents on his radio program, including Richard Heinberg, Matt Simmons, Jim Kunstler, Robert L. Hirsch and Oxford University's Oliver Inderwildi.
In 1991, Puplava was hired to anchor the nightly segment Business Today for KUSI TV. He appeared on ABC News's Nightline program on November 8, 2007, in a segment called "Sign of the Times" with John Donovan.
All three of Jim's sons work with him in a professional capacity. His oldest son, Ryan Puplava, is the technical analyst for Puplava Financial Services, the senior trading manager for Puplava Securities, and a contributing writer to Financial Sense online; his second-oldest son, Chris Puplava, is a financial analyst for Puplava Financial Services and a contributing writer to Financial Sense online; and his youngest son Adam became webmaster of Financial Sense online when his wife Mary retired in 2007. Jim, together with his three sons runs the three PFS Group companies: Puplava Financial Services, Puplava Securities, and Financial Sense.
Kimber Resources is a Canadian-based company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange and is engaged in the development and exploration of mineral properties in Mexico, of which the most advanced project is the Monterde gold/silver property. Puplava was elected to Kimber's Board of Directors in May, 2004. In September 2006, a press release issued by Kimber Resources reported a disagreement. Puplava, by then a director and significant shareholder, stated his intention to start a proxy battle with the objective of replacing a majority of the Board of Directors and current management. Late October 2006 Puplava agreed to withdraw his threat for a proxy battle when the board of directors agreed to changes in the management team. Puplava still holds a position in the board of Kimber Resources, as does Leanne Baker, which joined the board in resolving the proxy battle.
Puplava and his wife Mary, who also acted as his office manager and webmaster from 1990 to 2007, live in Poway, near San Diego, California, near their three sons. Puplava is a history buff, an avid reader and loves sailing his J/124 sloop, Jimmy-J in the San Diego Bay. Puplava has also appeared as a guest speaker for Koinonia House conferences.2009 — Selected by Goldline Research, as published in Forbes, as one of the leading wealth managers of Southern California for 2009
2008 — Received a "Five Star Wealth Manager" award after being nominated as one of the San Diego area's best wealth managers, as based on nine criteria: customer service, integrity, knowledge/expertise, communication, value for fee charged, meeting of financial objectives, post-sale service, quality of recommendations and overall satisfaction. (As published in the February 2008 issue of San Diego Magazine.)
1992 — Puplava was honored as one of America's top ten financial representatives by Registered Representative magazine.