Advice Corner

Miller ON The Money
One of the FUN things about this website is I can pick and choose any subject I want to write about. It’s not unusual to receive inquiries about something I wrote in the past, asking permission to send it to a friend or family member. The “Advice Corner” contains everything we have published; it is our library. Individual readers are free to copy article links and send it to anyone you wish. I consider that a compliment. If you are a publication and want to reprint an article, please contact me for written permission.

A Fly (Spy) On The Wall

The conversation started when daughter Holly asked, “Are you really going to drive for over six hours to meet a guy for lunch?” “Yep!” I said. My wife Jo chimed in, “Dennis is good friends with Chuck Butler who retired from EverBank and writes the Daily Pfennig. They will probably spend 1 1/2 hours solving all the problems of the […]

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It’s Time To Fess Up!

I recently interviewed Jeff Clark about using gold as an inflation hedge. Jeff asked why I never write about gold stocks. I own several – time to fess up! Why don’t I write about gold stocks? I don’t recommend stocks, I know my limitations. You can make a lot of money with gold stocks, but you better know what you […]

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If you do business with organized crime – Be Careful!

When we last checked, since 2009 the top banks had been fined a total of $204 billion. Bloomberg now reports, “Wells Fargo’s $1 Billion Pact Gives US Power to Fire Managers”: “The settlement covers issues in Wells Fargo’s auto-lending and mortgage units. The bank revealed last year that it had forced unwanted insurance on customers who took out car loans….” […]

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Make Your Milestones Count!

The Florida Keys are a special part of the world. Longtime residents, referred to as conchs (pronounced conks) have a unique and different culture – a much simpler, laid-back, and relaxed lifestyle. The Keys are a series of islands connected by one road, US-1. The drive from the Florida mainland to Key West is a beautiful, memorable one, across 42 […]

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Don’t Buy Green Bananas!

Legendary congressional veteran Claude Pepper was a spokesman for the elderly. One of his often-copied quotes applies today: “A stockbroker urged me to buy a stock that would triple its value every year. I told him, at my age, I don’t even buy green bananas.” Today his comments apply not only to stocks but also bonds and Certificates of Deposit […]

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Will Someone Please Tell The Truth?

You can work your tail off, live below your means, save like a miser, invest like the experts, build a great retirement nest egg – and still end up with virtually nothing! Don’t take the bait! The hypocrisy of some financial professionals isn’t funny when you are talking about your life savings. When I have discussions with licensed financial professionals, […]

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Does Government Debt Really Matter?

The numbers on the US Debt Clock are spinning at a dazzling pace. US government debt is now over $21 trillion, $174 thousand per taxpayer. Add another $3 trillion for debts of state and local government on the stack. Unfunded federal government promises are almost $113 trillion, $900,000 per taxpayer, not including another $6 trillion in state unfunded pension liabilities. […]

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How To Use Foreign Currency To Combat Inflation

Can an average investor use foreign currencies as a hedge against the rapid decline of the purchasing power of the US dollar? Last week, friend Chuck Butler and I discussed WHY investors should use currencies as an inflation hedge. This week we discuss HOW even small investors can do so from the comfort of their own home. The discussion continues… […]

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Look Ma! No Hands…

“Look Ma! No Hands” refers to a kid riding his bike without using his hands; a risky act of courage and daring. Family elders used the term as a warning sign when kids were showing off. I’d have scoffed at today’s kids (“chicken!”) wearing helmets while riding their bike. Falling off and skinning up your body was how you learned […]

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Between 75 And Death

If you knew you had a short time left to live, would you do anything differently? The movie, “Bucket List” highlighted how two men came to terms with their impending demise and went on quite an adventure before they “kicked the bucket”. Longtime friend Kirk B. sent me an article published in the Watauga Democrat, “Between 65 and death”, offering […]

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Inflation Is Quietly Poisoning Your Retirement Nest Egg

Remember how excited you were when you got your first “real job”? It was early January and I was fresh off active duty. I began washing cars at an auto dealer – for $1.00/hour. I’d wash off the snow and grime from every car on the sales lot. It was freezing cold. I quickly realized what I didn’t want to […]

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Investing With Time Remaining On The Clock

Jo and I were watching an exciting hockey game between our favorite team (Tampa Bay Lightning) versus the Philadelphia Flyers. Tampa had a 3-0 lead with six minutes left on the clock. The referee sent a Tampa player to the penalty box. For those unfamiliar with hockey, the penalty box is an adult “time out”, the player is sent to […]

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Can a Trade War Really Cause a Shooting War?

Will we repeat the mistakes of the past that led up to WWII? Jim Rickards thinks so. His recent article “Now, a Trade War – Is a Shooting War Next?” offers the history leading up to WWII and warns: “Get ready for an all-out financial war between the U.S. and China. Germany is also in the crosshairs…. Trump has already […]

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Removing The Rose Colored Glasses

I’m excited! We’re in for a real treat. We’re going to gain a unique look at what’s going on in the world and how we can protect ourselves. I’m a long-time subscriber to Richard Maybury’s “US & World Early Warning Report”. Richard offers a different perspective from any other newsletter I subscribe to. His candid approach to tackling tough issues […]

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All Signs Point To Gold

The US Debt Clock tells us our national debt is around $21 trillion. Social Security promises are approaching $17 trillion – included in the “unfunded” government promises – over $112 trillion. Despite government mandated Cost of Living Increases, our recent article, “An Inconvenient Truth About Social Security” clearly indicates social security recipients have no inflation protection.Each month, seniors and savers […]

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It’s Time For A Global Perspective

In a recent interview with Chuck Butler, he warned us that we may be in for a significant “Minsky Moment”. The federal reserve is raising interest rates and unloading trillions in their US debt holdings. Countries that normally buy our bonds are slowing down their purchases or reducing their holdings. With fewer buyers, what happens if interest rates continue to […]

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An Inconvenient Truth About Social Security

Did I achieve a journalistic milestone? I got my first tip from an insider. What I learned is darn important for our readers. Our article “The Social (IN)Security Charade”, discussed how the government gave us a COLA increase and took it right back by increasing medical premiums. The tipster confirmed I was spot on – however, I barely scratched the […]

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Are precious metals about to shine again?

My wife Jo has her wedding ring inspected as part of their warranty program. The jeweler was examining her ring when a group of young folks came into the store. They were part of a church youth group on a modern-day scavenger hunt. They politely asked permission to take a photo of the most expensive piece of jewelry in the […]

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Are Your Fingernails Blue?

On a hot summer day, I was flying my single-engine Piper Comanche from Schaumburg, IL to Indianapolis, IN. I decided to fly higher than ever before (9000 feet). With the tailwind, I touched 200 mph. The sky was crystal clear; I could see across Lake Michigan. I felt like I was in the stratosphere and could see forever! It was […]

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Annuities – Risk and Reward

A decade ago I believed annuities were for rich people, the average person probably doesn’t need them. Investing through an insurance company is generally expensive. What do retirees need from their retirement plan? Whether you have a pension, 401k, IRA or a combination, most people say they want “guaranteed income” for the rest of their life. When you unpack that […]

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You Can’t Outrun A Wasp!

My grandfather, William Paul Smith was an ordinary dairy farmer with a degree in common sense. One of his favorite sayings was, “It’s the same thing, only different.” 70 years ago, he warned me not to throw rocks at a wasps’ nest. As I cried and put ice on the sting, he explained what happened always happens – and I […]

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The Social (IN)Security Charade

I’m frequently asked, “Should I count on social security when doing retirement planning?” The best approach is to discuss what my wife Jo and I have experienced. I compared our 2018 benefit statement with 2015. Our Cost of Living Increase (COLA) was 2.3% – (1.15% annually). Our net payments dropped approximately 1.75% – we are clearing less today than we […]

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Understanding Debt

Remember when pundits suggested the way to get rich quick was to use “Other People’s Money” (OPM)? They pointed to real estate empires and stock market success resulting from investors leveraging debt to accumulate wealth. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I moved to Atlanta during the cable TV boom. Several friends worked for Scientific Atlanta, an innovator in […]

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Should You Pay Off The Mortgage?

I’m frequently asked about paying off a home mortgage. I tell everyone, “It depends!”. I asked that same question. A friend said his CPA was emphatic that one should not pay off their mortgage. He arranged a meeting where the three of us could talk. The CPA asked about the interest rate; 6% at the time. He showed me excellent […]

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Will Millenials Ever Be Able To Retire?

My oldest granddaughter (early 30’s) recently asked me that question. She and her husband have two children, a new home and are still paying off their college loans. I can still remember when we lived from paycheck to paycheck, questioning why there was so much month left at the end of the money…. My response, “Sure, but when, and at […]

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America The Beautiful!

I’m grinning like a Jack in the box clown today. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I’ll be doggone if I will let anything change my mood. When you are done reading, I’m hoping you feel the same way. In 2016, I was bummed out. The negative political crap from the election left much of the country […]

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When Advice Conflicts, Who Should You Listen To?

We moved to Texas in the early days of the dot-com boom. I reconnected with a boyhood friend Tom. He has an economics degree from an Ivy League school, became a successful stockbroker and economics consultant. My broker would “suggest” I consider some of the hotshot dot-com stocks. Tom provided a good offset, suggesting caution. Many of these companies were […]

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Would You Support A War To Preserve The Union?

After the 2016 election I wrote about Calexit, a movement urging Californians to sign a petition allowing for a secession referendum. In April 2017, they pulled the plug on the initiative when it was discovered the leader of the campaign, Louis J. Marinelli, had Russian connections. He’s now seeking permanent residence in Russia. It didn’t take long before the idea […]

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Dollar Cost Averaging versus Stop Losses

Subscriber Rick G. recently asked a great question. “What do you think about the theory of ‘buying on dips’ and ‘dollar cost averaging’? If the price of a dividend paying stock goes down, buying more will increase your yield; however, that seems to be at odds with the idea of why an investor should have stop losses. How does this […]

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In Trust’s We Trust

My wife, Jo, handed me the phone. “It’s Mary Ann (our stockbroker). She wants to talk about the farm”. I recently wrote about how lucky we were to work with Mary Ann. She was a stockbroker with years of experience and put it to good use. The farm has been in Jo’s family for over a century. Rightfully, Jo’s portion […]

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One Of The Biggest Challenges Facing Today’s Investors

It’s a scary feeling when you retire and cut the cord from your full-time job. I stared at our brokerage statements and realized my new job was investment manager. I had to make our money last so we could enjoy the rest of our lives. Several friends had recently rolled their 401k into self-directed accounts, and we discussed our feelings. […]

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The Federal Reserve Strikes Again!

With a concerned look on his face, my friend John said, “A special assessment would be close to $5,000 per home.” My wife Jo and I live in a Del Webb community in the Phoenix suburbs. Our community is responsible for maintaining our own roads. Here is the conversation that followed: John – “Most roads are expected to last 20 […]

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Government Backed Student Loans – A Deal With The Devil

How’s this for a business proposition? I owe you $17,000. If you forgive my debt, I won’t use Uber or Lyft for my transportation needs. Or, how about I agree to give up texting and mobile messaging for a year in exchange for debt forgiveness? Doubt I’d get any takers. I received an email about a recent survey, “Survey Reveals […]

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The Real Budget Battle No One Will Discuss

President Trump released his proposed 2018 Federal Budget. The battle lines are drawn. Expect to be inundated with articles like “The rich get richer, and the poor get…” We will quickly be fed up with class warfare, emotional bleeding hearts and hysterical politicos distorting statistics while pandering votes. The final result will be a pathetic “compromise”. Remember, a camel is […]

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When The Market Crashes, Will It Come Back In Your Lifetime?

The sign on the booth touted a new, sophisticated computer-generated money management program. I walked inside and asked about stop losses. The young man replied, “Hold on to your stocks, the market always comes back.” I countered, “Can you guarantee it?” He pulled up a chart with some blips, concluding the market has always come back from a crash. I […]

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When Do You Sell Good Dividend Paying Stocks?

Which dividend stocks should you sell, and which should you keep? The stock market is setting records. Since the bank bailouts began in 2008, it’s no wonder. Interest rates dropped to historic lows, causing the stock market to soar. We recently discussed the acronym, TINA (There Is No Alternative). Investors, particularly baby boomers and retirees have few options to invest […]

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Retirement Investing – Picking the Lesser of the Evils

When the Federal Reserve bailed out the banks, interest rates hit historic lows. Safe, good yielding fixed income investments disappeared. Investors were forced to put more of their capital at risk to earn a decent return. A recent article by Matthew Kerkhoff in the Dow Theory Letters titled, “Where Did TINA Go?” grabbed my attention. The bailouts began almost a […]

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What’s International Diversification All About?

Thank you to all the readers who responded to my recent article, “Diversification, what are you trying to accomplish?” Diversification is a hedge to protect your nest egg from catastrophic risks, including desperate governments and high inflation. Readers asked for more information about my remark, “How does an investor hedge against inflation? Hold money in different currencies – outside the […]

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It’s No Fun Living From Paycheck To Paycheck

I thought I was clever in my early 20’s when I said to my car pool buddies, “How come there is so much month left at the end of the money?” As the month wore on, more brown paper sacks with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches appeared. Sometimes we traded snacks just like when we were kids. We discussed how […]

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IRA and 401k Investment Decisions YOU must make

Adults are faced with many tough decisions. Your career, education and picking a partner (or none at all) are common examples. While you may consult with experts, family, and friends, some decisions you must make for yourself. The consequences of those decisions may impact the rest of YOUR life. “I’ll worry about retirement later” is a decision, and a bad […]

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Stop Losses Are a MUST For Retirement Investors

Dad pointed his finger at me, raised his voice and said, “Sit down, shut up, and listen!” His face was beet red; I’d pushed him too far. My parents invested in Certificates of Deposit ONLY – they never touched stocks. I showed dad charts from my economics professor outlining how much more an investor would make in stocks – it […]

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Diversification, what are you trying to accomplish?

“I’m no longer trying to get rich. I’m trying to keep from getting poor!” …uttered by millions… Friend Courtenay W. referenced recent articles where Chuck Butler and I emphasized diversification. He made a great suggestion, “You should explain what you mean – diversification means different things to different people.” I visited several mutual fund companies’ booths at The Money Show. […]

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Americans Right To Self-government Is Under Attack

The political elite and the common man are at war over the power to govern. Will we end up as citizens or subjects? When the British voted to leave the European Union (EU), I highlighted comments from British citizens in “Brexit the Movie”: It’s the workingman versus people who think we have a better plan and a better mind than […]

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Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me!

In 2007 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told America that, despite soaring prices, the real estate market was fine and derivatives were nothing to worry about. In 2008 America was “surprised” when the Fed went into a crisis mode. Congress passed the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). It was supposed to be a one-time event, and the economy would […]

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Janet Yellen Says “All is well”. Be Very Afraid!

Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen reassured the world that she doesn’t believe there will be a run on the banking system, at least as long as she lives. “Would I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? …That would be going too far but I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be in […]

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Buying Illinois Debt – BOLD or Bad?

The Illinois debt saga continues. The state operated without a budget since 2015. In June, just before their fiscal year end, both S&P and Moody’s downgraded Illinois’ credit rating to one level above “junk bond” status. Moody’s said: “Legislative gridlock has sidetracked efforts not only to address pension needs but also to achieve fiscal balance, allowing a backlog of bills […]

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If You Are Going To Buy A Car, Do It Right!

The fundamental law of supply and demand reigns supreme. When supply is much higher than demand, it’s a buyer’s market. For savvy auto buyers, with a little patience, good values should appear as the 2017 model year winds down. While on vacation in Indiana, my regular lunch time walk to the local hamburger haven included a short cut through the […]

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Declaration of Independence

I hope everyone enjoyed their Independence Day Celebration. I came close to taking a week off when something caused me to want to read the “Declaration of Independence”. I urge every subscriber to take some time and read it through. Those who stood up for our independence paid a heavy price. The Constitution Society article, “Fate of the Signers of […]

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Retirement is NOT Like Being On A Permanent Vacation

During an interview with David Holland on his “Plan $tronger” television show he said, “Retirement is NOT like being on a permanent vacation”. Having been retired for over a decade I believe he is spot on! During spring break we put over 1,000 miles on the car driving grandchildren all over Arizona. Our youngest remarked, “Grandpa, being on vacation can […]

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Don’t get caught in the debt trap!

Hardly a day goes by without an article blaring about record levels of debt and warning of a collapse. Irresponsible borrowing can adversely affect everyone, including those who lived within their means. Reuters reports, “Americans’ debt back at record high after nearly a decade”: “Americans’ debt level reached a record high this year, surpassing the peak touched just as the […]

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If at first you don’t succeed, get it right the second time!

What if you discover you bought the wrong annuity? What if the projected income falls short of the estimates? Can you get out of the contract? The response to our special report, Miller On The Money Annuity Guide was terrific. The most common response was readers wishing they had read the report years ago – before they bought their first […]

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If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

Seniors, savers, baby boomers and retirees are constantly bombarded with financial information written by those wishing to sell their products or services. The readers are prospective nails; and the authors tout their particular hammer as the best solution to your financial challenges. Many have been credited for the above quote, including Mark Twain and Abraham Maslow. I prefer to use […]

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Almost Two Million Young People Are Not “Emerging”

I love the line in the country song, “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”. …”Cause they’ll never stay home”. Thousands recently graduated from high school and college. Despite the motivational commencement address about moving on to the next stage of life, many graduates will continue living at home for a decade or more. Young people are […]

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How Can A Company Give Away Their Product And Be Worth Billions?

In 2016, Facebook (FB) earned over $10 billion, while seemingly giving away their product. FB’s sales averaged almost 50% growth over the last 5 years. The current stock price tops $150/share – the market values the company in excess of $425 billion. That’s pretty heavy lifting for a company that went public just five years ago. Tech stocks mentality Investors […]

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Philly Soda Tax Is Fizzling Flat

What is it about politicians? When they have budget problems, their solution is to contrive all kind of excuses to create and raise taxes. Cost cutting is seen as performing an unnatural act. The newest gimmick is a “Soda Tax”, basically a tax on sugary beverages. Philadelphia started the trend. Their efforts are fizzling out and causing problems. Berkeley, San […]

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Sears is Dying – It’s Sad – and bad!

Once a mighty giant retailer, Sears is now on life support and dying. Many investors are also going to suffer. My affinity for Sears began when my first son was born. He needed special shoes – a new pair every three months. My wife was in tears; the shoes cost over half my weekly earnings; we didn’t have the money. […]

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Games People Play

The games played by corporate America put Houdini to shame. Their illusions exclude the warning, “Don’t try this at home”, nor is it for entertainment purposes only. Corporate America and Wall Street encourage investors to buy overpriced stocks, while executives collect bonuses for lousy performance. Looking behind the curtain Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) versus adjusted earnings. Many play this […]

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Robots, Retirees and Reality

Are robots a threat to our society? Can they take away our jobs, or manage our retirement nest egg safely? How will people earn money to buy goods? In the early 1960’s I had the privilege of working for Leighton Wilkie, a lesser-known captain of industry. He and his brother invented the band saw and built a good size empire. […]

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The Fed is Playing, “Pin The Tale On The Elephant!”

The Federal Reserve’s Zero Interest Rate experiment saved the banks and destroyed the retirement plans of many generations. Now they want to “normalize” things. Their solutions are ill timed and risky! When things collapse, President Trump will become a combination of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter – blamed for the catastrophe. Democrats will be cheering, “Pin the tale on the […]

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The Bank Was Saved And The People Were Ruined – Part II

Despite Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s expression of confidence in raising the federal funds rates, the worst of the tragic consequences of the government bank bailouts is yet to come. Part II of “The People Were Ruined” is on the horizon, and “the people” are going to suffer dramatically. William Gouge (1796-1863) was credited with the famous quote. His premise […]

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Social Security, Robo-Advisers & Misinformation

For decades, every presidential candidate has vowed to “fix” social security, yet it never happens. In the meantime, workers have money deducted from their paychecks and retirees get paid. Is the system really broken? In a word – YES! While the politicians fiddle, the system continues to deteriorate. The challenge becomes more difficult because there is so much misinformation about […]

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What Will Happen To Dividend Stocks When The Fed Continues To Raise Rates?

What’s going to happen to dividend stocks when the Fed continues to raise rates? In early 2016 San Francisco Fed President John Williams predicted, “I think something in that three-to-five-rate-hike range makes sense, at least at this time.” It didn’t happen; they waited until December 2016 to raise rates a quarter point. Janet Yellen and her Federal Reserve Gang now […]

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What’s Going To Happen To The Value Of The Dollar?

President Trump wants to increase exports and says the dollar has to come down. Janet Yellen and the Fed are hell-bent on raising interest rates, which should increase the value of the dollar. Historically the economy slows down when rates begin to climb yet the stock market is soaring. High inflation affects all of us and generally signals a weakening […]

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What Will Be Your Deathbed Regrets?

While you may have checked off items on your Bucket List, what will be on your deathbed List of Regrets? Bonnie Ware, an Australian nurse, spent several years caring for people in the last days of their lives. On their deathbed many patients opened up to her about their life and regrets. She wrote an article titled, “The Top Five […]

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Dividend Paying Stocks – Part Of The Solution?

All dividend-paying stocks are not equal. Some may be very high risk; some will putter along, while others may be the salvation for those desperate for income. Why consider them? How do you pick the right ones? Since the 2008 bank bailouts, even with the recent increases, interest rates have been at historically low levels. Many who thought they had […]

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A Solid Retirement Financial Plan Cast in Jell-O

A solid retirement financial plan cast in Jell-O is not an oxymoron. Don’t even think about the old “set it and forget it” mindset from the past. A solid financial plan suspended in Jell-O, that can quickly be modified, is a good thing. I was on David Holland’s (CPA/CFP) PlanStronger TV show. He asked how things have changed for retirees’ […]

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Student Loans – A Multi-Generational Curse

For many, student loan debt is a giant step backward. Is it possible to get a good college education without a multi-decade debt burden? Yes, but it requires some hard work and discipline. It seems like yesterday when I held my newborn grandson Jacob. Today he is taller than I am, graduating from high school heading off to college. The […]

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Calexit – Beat the Crowd

Our country has become bitterly divided. No matter who won the election, I predicted we would soon be reading about states wanting to secede from the union. Even before President Trump was sworn in, the California movement, known as Calexit, began. The first step is to ask voters to adopt a state Constitutional Amendment revoking the U. S. Constitution as […]

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Challenges of the Baby Boomer Generation

Some of my most enjoyable memories are when my youngest son Drew played baseball. How fortunate we were when an extraordinary coach, Gary Staab, asked him to play for the North Atlanta Mustangs. We spent our summers driving terrific young men all over the southeast. I wish I had taken a photo of 15 teen-age boys sleeping in my motorhome […]

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An Economic Showdown is Looming

The Keynesians and the Capitalists are heading for an economic showdown at the O.K. Corral. Keynesians believe the central government should control the economic levers affecting the masses. The economy can’t be entirely left up to the free market. Big government believers want the “leaders” determining the winners and losers. Controlling reallocation of wealth preserves the power of the political […]

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You Can’t Have Free Market Pricing Without a Free Market

Is there such a thing as free market pricing? Where does it exist? In last week’s interview with Ed Steer I asked about free market pricing in gold. His response relates to more than metals: “Free market pricing? Well, nobody knows what the true free market price of the precious metals really is, because there never has been a free […]

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Does Market Rigging in the Metals Signal a Buying Opportunity?

Central Banks are rigging the metals markets. Does it signal a buying opportunity? Will they ever be prosecuted for this illegal activity? I recently interviewed good friend Ed Steer who writes Ed Steer’s Gold and Silver Digest, a daily must-read. We discussed an article written by Peter Warburton in 2001 outlining the relationship between central banks and investment banks rigging […]

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Can Americans Really Depend on Social Security?

In 1935 the government passed Social Security into law setting up a government managed retirement plan for the majority of US workers. To fund the plan, they passed the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA). The law mandates that employers withhold a portion of the worker’s salary (contribution) and requires the employer to match the contribution. It was sold to the […]

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Don’t Race To Your Next Accident

Out of nowhere, a motorcycle flew past me, crossing a double yellow line signifying a no passing zone. I braked and he jerked the motorcycle back into our lane barely avoiding oncoming traffic. I was 15 years old. The football coach doubled as our driver-training instructor. He remained calm and said, “You did the right thing; he’s racing to his […]

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Thank you Stan for dropping the ball.

Last summer we went to Illinois to attend my 58th reunion of the Class of 1958. I’ve changed names to protect everyone’s privacy, but the story is real. Unlike the 50th reunion with it’s choreographed speaker list, we had an open microphone for anyone to speak. Stan, one of our standout student-athletes (he still holds a track record, and he […]

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This Is Already A Great Christmas

I almost gave up! I wanted to write something positive in my pre-Christmas column. Who wants to read about politics, terrorist incidents or the latest in the Federal Reserve saga at Christmas time? I sure don’t. I was considering a one-sentence column wishing everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays (to be politically correct). Then it happened! Getting ready for my […]

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Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

Dear Mr. President-Elect, I have followed the media’s daily melodrama of your activities. You’ve had discussions with politicians, business leaders, movie stars and other members of the establishment. I write a weekly newsletter directed toward baby boomers and retirees who are struggling. When the government instituted their Zero Interest Rate Policy, several trillion dollars in interest that would have been […]

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If You Don’t Think You Can Afford the Car – You Can’t!

“No, no, don’t do it! You’ll be sorry”, I yelled. My wife Jo looked at me like I was nuts! In a scolding tone she asked, “Why are you yelling at a commercial?” I have been known to yell at the TV watching sports. If you don’t offer the umpire/official or participants feedback, how will they ever improve? I was […]

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Straight Talk About Pension Bail Outs

Many state and local public pensions are on life support. Public officials are negotiating with unions, taxpayers, pensioners, the courts and electorate to come up with a solution. Everybody wants a bail out at the expense of others. The Brookings Institute recent study indicates a huge problem: “As of 2014, state and local governments sponsored nearly 4,000 pension plans that […]

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When The Bond Market Goes Bad – Does Bad Mean Good?

I’m reading some scary headlines about the bond market crashing. Most Crowded Trade in Bonds is a Powder Keg Ready to Blow Goldman Says U.S. Bondholders Risk a $1.1 Trillion Hit if Rates Spike Bond Traders Suffer Worst Rout in Three Years as Selloff Deepens It sounds like bad news, but could it be good news for your retirement portfolio? […]

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Is your financial advisor using obsolete tools?

Pension Funds, insurance companies, brokerage firms, robo-advisors and your friendly financial advisor all use some sort of computer modeling. It’s modern day magic; put in your data, and hocus-pocus, it prints out a report telling you what to do. This isn’t the hokey-pokey! Today you can put good data in and get garbage out. If the computer model is not […]

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It’s Time To Boot The Federal Reserve

It’s FREXIT time! It’s time for American’s to give the Federal Reserve the boot; send them packing, once and for all. They are too politicized, working against the will of the majority, and much too powerful. In July I explained why the British severed their ties with the European Union (EU). Here are some damning quotes from BREXIT the Movie: […]

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Don’t Let Bad Information Doom Your 401K and Retirement Dreams

Investors relying on the mainstream media for investment research better rethink their strategy, and quickly. Garbage in, garbage out can ruin your 401K and destroy your retirement dreams. A recent Gallup Poll concluded: “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with […]

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Politicians Should Not Be Allowed To Run For Public Office

What is it about elected office that causes smart people, many with good intentions, to turn into absolute morons? Their decision-making logic is totally focused on reelection instead of doing what is right. Many times their illogical decisions harm the people they are supposed to protect. Each week I go through a large reading pile looking for ideas to write […]

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Don’t Blow Your Retirement Nest Egg By Listening To Warren Buffett

Mr. Buffett is giving seniors and savers bad advice. “Diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.” – Warren Buffett. The Buffet theory acknowledges risk is mitigated by sector gains offsetting sector losses; however the opposite is also true – sector losses offset sector gains and reduces returns. His is willing to […]

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How do young people save for retirement?

Young people fear that Social Security will be broke and are struggling to fund their IRA and 401(k) retirement programs – where do they start? Steven H. a friend from Bleacher Nation, my favorite Chicago Cub website, provides an excellent example: “I am 26 years old, a long way from retirement, and I know it’s important to start early. I […]

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Do You Really Want to Retire?

Do you really want to retire? You may give up more than you realize. I was on the verge of tears when I called Amy 30 minutes before I was supposed to pick her up for our first date. My parents broke their promise and said I couldn’t use the car; I had no wheels! Amy (fictitious name) was a […]

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Does Congress Have the Courage to Break up the Banks?

It’s time to go back to the trust-busting days of yesteryear and break up the big banks. Does congress represent the people or special interests? Consumers lost when the Glass-Steagall act was repealed in 1999. It created banks, “Too Big to Fail”, with billions in taxpayer bailouts and mind-boggling fraudulent activity. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner in economics sums it […]

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The Sky is Falling! – Place your bets

Chicken Little proclaimed, “The Sky is Falling”, warning all who would listen. Wikipedia tells us, “…Chicken Little … is a folk tale … about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. The phrase ‘The sky is falling!’ … (is) … a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent. Versions of the […]

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Promise them Pigs but deliver Pig Iron

I’m very afraid right now and I’m not alone. My life changed radically in 2008. I have written about the government pulling the financial rug out from under retirees. Today I will venture into new, uncharted territory. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill, signed by President Bush, authorized $700 billion to bail out the banks. In 2011, using information […]

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Are the Central Banks Manipulating the Price of Gold?

I was in a panic. I was living off the interest from our Certificates of Deposit (CDs). The government passed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and interest rates tanked. My world went topsy-turvy as the banks redeemed my CDs. The new, lower rates won’t pay the bills. Not even close! Isn’t high inflation caused by increasing the currency supply […]

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Do Central Banks suffer from “Infusion Confusion”?

When it comes to currencies and inflation, my go to guru is Everbank’s Chuck Butler. Chuck writes the Daily Pfennig which is a must read. He keeps us up to date on the currency markets and his predictions are almost always spot on – generally well ahead of everyone else. Chuck also has a terrific sense of humor. He goes in […]

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Retirement Jenga Killing the Dreams of Generations

Remember the American Dream? Get a good education, find a good job, own a home, raise your family and retire comfortably when you turn 65. Build a solid foundation when you were young and you would have a wonderful life. I recall many friends taking jobs as teachers, firemen, police officers, or working for Sears, United Airlines or Motorola that […]

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Our economic mess is a ginormous fur ball

Assuming no reader would want a graphic of a fur ball I looked for a large ball of twine. I discovered friendly competition with several locations claiming the prize for the biggest in the world. Regardless of the winner, the governments and central banks of the world have created a ginormous fur ball that would make this ball of twine […]

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What’s it all about?

I am going to share a 40-year-old secret. I was at my absolute favorite resort, Lago Mar, in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I held many meetings there during my career. As always, I went to check out the conference room the night before. The main door was locked. That was a good sign; they had set up the room and locked […]

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Witnessing History on the Deck of the Titanic

Does anyone believe that people standing on the deck of a sinking Titanic would be overcome by the emotion of “witnessing history”? I believe survival would be more appropriate. I opened my inbox and found MarketWatch and four other publications referencing a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BOAML) report “Interest Rates at Lowest Level in 5,000 years”. CNBC goes one […]

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The Gold Case

I don’t get it! I turned on my computer after a nice holiday weekend and was greeted with several headlines proclaiming: “Swiss bond yields now negative out to 50 years”. “The 50-year Swiss yield has hit a low of minus 0.0119 per cent, and yields are dropping across the board this morning, writes Joel Lewin.” The Swiss Exchange provides the […]

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Brexit & lunch pails

The average American is likely more interested in the latest episode of Game of Thrones or how their favorite baseball team is doing. Why such a big deal about the Brits (Brexit) leaving the European Union (EU)? It’s important to understand why they voted to leave. This Europa website begins with a tribute to their “Founding Fathers”: “The…visionary leaders inspired […]

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Open Letter to Ben Bernanke

Dear Mr. Bernanke, I read your article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “How the Fed Saved the Economy”, with the byline “Full employment without inflation is in sight. The central bank did its’ job. What about everyone else?” It was written to promote your new book, “The Courage to Act: A memoir of a Crisis and it’s Aftermath.” Mr. […]

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50,000 Shades of Grey

I was at good friend David V’s house watching a ball game. Between innings we saw two commercials. The first told viewers why they should vote for the incumbent governor, touting his accomplishments and describing him as a “fiscal conservative”. Immediately following was his political opponent, touting his wasteful spending, squandering away a budget surplus and calling him “fiscally irresponsible”. […]

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Big Brother’s Bank Bailouts Bankrupting Baby Boomers

In 2008, almost overnight, Americans were told the economic system was on the verge of collapse and needed a one-time bailout. Congress quickly passed the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Interest rates dropped to historic lows. This was to jump-start the economy and interest rates would quickly return to normal. Eight years, and several bailouts later, we still have historically […]

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Protecting Your Nest egg in an Upside Down World

If I had $1 for all the times I’ve said, “What is this world coming to?” I wouldn’t have to worry about retirement money. I just shake my head when I read things like a teacher shaming a mom for sending her 4-year old to school with a couple of Oreos. Baby boomers and retirees feel the world is upside […]

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Surviving the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) gauntlet

For many years I was a Road Warrior, gone all week. When there was a family event, I would try to catch an early flight home. I was furious when the pilot announced in-flight delays anticipating we would land two hours late. The unhappy flight attendants candidly told us the air traffic controllers were initiating a slowdown because their ATC […]

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ROMEO Brothers Know Best

One of the first groups I joined in AZ was a ROMEO Club (Retired Old Men Eating Out). Much like my ROMEO friends in Illinois, these guys were real-world hard working businessmen, thoroughly indoctrinated in the school of hard knocks with advanced degrees in common sense. Fostering economic recovery? Since the 2008 market crash our government, led by woefully misguided […]

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Wolf, Wolf, Wolf, …., …., Wolf!

All five of us were huddled in the bathroom. Rain was pouring down in sheets, the noise was deafening. It sounded like a freight train. We sat on the floor and held our three small children close to us. Our small pre-fab home offered us little protection. We were terrified! An hour later we went outside and found the neighbor’s […]

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I don’t have time to plan – I’m too busy

I hung up the phone and shook my head. I have a good friend (I’ll call him Joe) who talks with me about his retirement fears. He’s in his peak earning and expense years with children getting ready for college. He’s diligent about making his 401 (k) contributions although he is not contributing the maximum. As always, I suggest he […]

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Pepsi Cola Hits the Spot?

As a night school student, I was an accounting manager for a national company. I took a sick day and my punishment was a promotion to credit manager. I hated it! The sales department wanted sales and my performance was based on minimizing credit losses. The tools I had to work with were archaic compared to today’s standards. My decisions […]

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What do Janet Yellen and Cinderella have in common?

My boarding pass said seat 1-B, nice upgrade on a long flight. I did a double take as I saw who was sitting in seat 1-A. It was Jack Kemp, former NFL player, Housing Director and soon to be Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States. I asked, “What the hell are you doing on a commercial flight?” He […]

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He’s my Jerk!

Something is going on around me. I can sense it, I can feel it, but I can’t put my finger on it! I just know it… Having moved several times, I believe it takes a year for people to settle into their new environment. The first year is spent unpacking, finding new doctors, friends, stores and feathering the nest. Jo […]

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When you follow the herd the view never changes

Did you know it’s possible to experience exhilaration and stark terror simultaneously? Jo and I were in our Jeep Wrangler in Custer State Park. It’s home to a huge (1300 strong) herd of bison. After a 1-1/2 day search we gunned the jeep down a gravel road toward a dust cloud. There were just a few vehicles parked on the […]

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Could it really happen?

I was sitting on the couch going through my reading stack; it was almost bedtime. My wife Jo asked, “Do you think that could really happen?” Being immersed in four straight articles predicting everything from a stock market collapse to a huge currency collapse, I responded with, “The Fed seems to be out of options, the stock market is very […]

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Pack your own parachute!

Today is a real downer. We just finished a wonderful week with our youngest grandchildren. They’re now gone and the house is quiet. That’s not what is causing my mood however. On average I read 3 hours a day to keep up with things. When we have company, I move my daily reading to a “Hold for Reading” file. This […]

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The Seeds are Sprouting for the Next Real Estate Bust

A recent Bloomberg article, “There’s Some Hope for First-Time Home Buyers” caught my attention. “First-time homebuyers are finally jumping into the U.S. property market. ….Originations of FHA-backed mortgages, used predominately by first-time buyers, were up 54 percent in September from a year earlier…. By December, the FHA insured 22 percent of all loan originations, up from 17 percent a year […]

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When you are over the barrel, the goal is to get off the barrel

My Marine Corps drill instructor said it best, “When you are over the barrel being flogged, your goal is to get off the barrel and punish your captor so no one will ever think about doing it again.” Do we have a problem? Bloomberg recently quoted spokesmen from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley predicting oil prices could drop to $20/bbl. or […]

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What’s the Value of a College Degree?

At 36 I was a vice president of a small consulting firm.  I learned I’d been enrolled in a weeklong, “executive sensitivity training” class.  I vehemently complained to my boss.  He said it was mandatory and I could thank him when I returned.  Damn!  The last thing I needed was to waste a week in some touchy-feely training class. It […]

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Want a new car? Hang on it will get interesting.

Seniors and savers regularly lament the Federal Reserve’s Zero Interest Rate Policy when it comes to paying interest on their savings. At current rates a saver who has amassed $100,000 earns enough interest to buy a burger for lunch every day at your nearest fast food joint – as long as you skip the fries. While lenders are punished, borrowers […]

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Beware of bankers bearing gifts

What happens when a retiree can’t pay his bills? The tragic photo of the Greek pensioner in the Express Tribune still haunts me. What a horrible feeling it must be to work hard your entire life, save your money, play by the rules, and then have your retirement hopes and dreams pulled right out from under you. Could Americans end […]

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What do you want your legacy to be?

Many years ago a friend asked, “Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall at your funeral?” We both agreed it would be cool to hear what people say about you when you are dead. Today, in my mid-70’s, having experienced a number of funerals where sociopaths, cheats, and downright jerks are regaled like saints I have come […]

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A Dose of Retirement Investment Viagra

I have a confession to make. I’m getting older and I’m not the man I used to be. At times it’s embarrassing and humiliating. During my working career I spent 40+ weeks per year flying all over the world. I had millions of frequent flyer miles and knew all the ins and outs of the game. I was a genuine […]

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To Roth or Not to Roth, That is the Question

In a recent article I outlined some virtues of rolling over a traditional IRA or 401 (k) into a Roth IRA. As baby boomers transition into retirement their concern moves from accumulating wealth to keeping it. Today we are going to learn from a professional who deals with these issues regularly – a certified expert. Good friend Jeff White, President […]

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Why would anyone want to run for president?

As I type, the news media is breathlessly awaiting the result of the Iowa caucus. It begins the ritual of citizens believing they are electing the most powerful person on the planet. Each candidate does the same dance. Like Paul Revere they shout that danger lurks ahead. Like Mighty Mouse, just in the nick of time, they are the best […]

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There is a Sucker Born every Minute

We had just moved to Texas and were getting settled into our new home. I heard my wife Jo screaming, “Oh my God!, Oh my God!” I raced down the stairs to find out what was wrong. She had the Sunday paper open on the counter, breathing heavily. “Look, look”, she exclaimed as she held a lottery ticket on the […]

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Conquering your fears

We just took off, probably less than 500 feet in the air, and I started screaming, “FIRE!, FIRE!, FIRE!” I was still a teen-ager, flying in the Marine Corps version of a flying boxcar. There were only two small, round windows in the back of the plane. Flames were pouring out of the starboard engine well past the rear window. […]

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Dump Your Business Partner – NOW!

Good friend Alex N. recently sent me an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “IRA Clock is Ticking”. Author Tim Grant warns, “If seniors unknowingly miss the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline, it ends up costing them dearly in the form of a tax penalty that amounts to 50 percent of what they should have withdrawn.” He explains the Required Minimum Distribution […]

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Free Money, step right up!

I believe in the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is”. Note the word “generally”; meaning there are a few exceptions to the rule. All too often “free money” is connected with someone hawking a product or service – not the case in today’s missive. We had a large family gathering for Christmas this […]

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A Christmas Gift that lasts forever

I recently reconnected with Phil M. a high school buddy I had not seen in 50 years. We played “catch up”, shared some laughs, and then we began complaining about the state of the world today. We discussed lazy and disrespectful kids, government meddling in a kid’s lunch box – and a lot of points in between. My wife Jo […]

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Should Americans care if the International Monetary Fund allowed China into the Club?

Recently the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the Renminbi into their exclusive club of currencies that make up their Special Drawing Rights (SDR’s). I knew it was coming. The next email I opened reminded me why. Each morning I read The Daily Pfennig, written by good friend Chuck Butler. He is excellent at taking major world events and explaining them […]

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I want the truth!

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen reminds me of Colonel Jessup being interrogated in the movie, “Code Red”. Kaffee: “I want the truth!” Col. Jessep: “You can’t handle the truth!” If the Fed wanted us to know the truth they are capable of a clear explanation in plain English. Instead they talk in “Fed-speak” and then tell us what they want […]

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“Stop the Insanity”

Fitness and diet guru Susan Powter was a mid-1990’s self-help sensation, recognized for her “Stop the Insanity” mantra. With her high-energy style and personal story of losing over l30 pounds as a single mother, she had a major impact on the diet and fitness industry. She was truly motivational and told her audiences, “If you continue with the same behavior, […]

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Buyback shares = BS 101

I was in “Basic accounting 101”. The professor wrote “RULES” on the blackboard (an ancient visual communication device). Rule #1 – debits on the left, credits on the right. Rule #2 – Assets minus liabilities = net worth. While the blackboard may be obsolete, the rules still apply today. A recent Zerohedge article includes a chart outlining corporate bond debt […]

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When Congress names a bill look in the mirror

When Congress names a department and/or passes an “act”, it generally does the opposite of what it’s named. How “secure” is our Social Security, and how much offense has the “Department of Defense” been playing over the last several years? In October, the House of Representatives passed “The Retail Investor Protection Act.” The Investment Company Institute, (the national association of […]

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The challenges of aging

I was humiliated! I wanted to cry! I felt like running home, jumping in bed, pulling the covers over my head and never coming out. Then something snapped. For years my wife Jo encouraged me to get my hearing checked. I finally agreed, and quickly learned I lost close to 90% of the hearing in my right ear and struggled […]

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It’s time Uncle Sam takes a haircut at his expense

For the third time since 2010 social security recipients will not receive a Cost of Living Adjustment. The working class is cutting personal spending and businesses worldwide are doing the same. The Wall Street Journal reports: “More than a year after oil prices began their descent to under $50 a barrel from over $100, the number of energy-company layoffs world-wide […]

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Are your nuts really protected?

Remember going with your parents to the bank to open up your own savings account, in your own name? It was neat! What were you trying to accomplish? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a great tool for understanding investing. The base of all human needs is survival. Each and every day we need food and water to survive. Without that, […]

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Ben Bernanke never met my grandfather

As a young lad, my off school summer months were spent on my grandparent’s dairy farm. The education I received about life each summer was probably more valuable than sitting in a classroom. Television had not been invented, and there were no neighbor kids to play with. My grandparents were my entertainers and educators 24/7. They did their job well. I was […]

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Winning Life’s Lottery is getting tougher

The fairest tax of them all is the lottery. It is voluntary, it is not levied; you are not forced to buy a ticket. It is an adult choice. Recently the Powerball lottery changed the game by adding ten numbers. The odds of winning rose from one chance in 175,223,510 to one in 292,201,338. Let’s put that in perspective. The government […]

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What Does an Expensive Wedding Really Cost You?

“Are you kidding me?” I was dumbfounded. I was on the Lending Club website. Someone with a poor credit score wanted to borrow a lot of money (enough for a good down payment on a house) for “wedding expenses”. The payments were in excess of 15% of their monthly income. I’ll pass on that one. When I told my wife Jo […]

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Land of Lincoln Pinches Pennies While Going Over The Cliff

A recent email from my good friend Toots got my attention. She lamented, “We just received our real estate tax bill. Many of our retired friends, who thought this was to be their ‘forever’ home, are being forced to sell and move”. This is a preview of things to come. The State of Illinois is headed off the financial cliff and […]

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The GWOET Strikes Again!

Since the August stock market reversal all eyes have been on the Federal Reserve. What will the Federal Reserve (who are more aptly named the Grand Wizards of Economic Theory, or GWOET for short) do to fix the world? Like Merlin the Magician, what magic trick will they come up with to cure the economy, stock market, labor market and underfunded retirement […]

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What do we mean by “enjoying” retirement?

I am really excited today to introduce you to Leisa Peterson. She has some terrific credentials – Leisa is a Certified Financial Planner, with a 25 year career in financial services. She created a company called WealthClinic that focuses on helping people transform their relationship with money so that they live with greater freedom, more peace of mind and more fulfillments. Leisa has […]

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Making the most of your RTA?

I asked my students a simple question. “Assume during the last coffee break you returned a call from your family doctor. The doctor told you the results came back from your recent tests and you have 90 days to live. Would you come back to this classroom?” The answer was unanimous, “Other than to pick up my things and say good-bye, I’m […]

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Where retirees should invest in today’s uncertain markets

Earlier this summer I cautioned readers to tighten up their stop-losses as the market was flying high and due for a correction. The correction came in late August, and now the market is gyrating like a stripper when the fleet comes in to port. So now what? There are lots of “theories” about investing, but one fact when it comes […]

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Social Security Trustees Distress Signal is Being Ignored

DOT, DOT, DOT, DASH, DASH, DASH, DOT, DOT, DOT is being screamed by the Social Security Trustees and no one is listening. For those not familiar with Morse Code, that signals “Save our Ship”. In a recent article “The USS Social Security is sinking fast” I highlighted the conclusion from the 2015 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report “Social Security’s Disability Insurance […]

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The Missing Link to accumulating wealth

“OK people, listen up!” screamed my drill instructor at the top of his lungs. We knew we better pay attention. I recently interviewed Michael Dubrow of Moneytips.com about research they have done in conjunction with their book, The Retiree Next Door. Michael’s response to one question really got my attention. “Most people know what they should do: plan, save more, and spend […]

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Tips from those who walk the walk

Leisa Peterson recently interviewed me for a column in the Huffington Post. It was part of a series of fascinating e-books, The Retiree Next Door; Financial Professionals Reveal their Retirement Secrets. I contacted book author Michael Dubrow and was excited when he agreed to an interview. I wanted him to discuss his experiences in putting together the book. Michael has a cool website […]

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The USS Social Security is sinking fast!

The 2015 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Report was released in late July. It starts off with an urgent warning for everyone. “Social Security’s Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund now faces an urgent threat of reserve depletion, requiring prompt corrective action by lawmakers if sudden reductions or interruptions in benefit payments are to be avoided” I’ll skip the fuzzy-math and get to […]

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If you knew then what you know now, what would you do differently?

When Erma Bombeck found she had a fatal disease she wrote a column, “If I had my life to live over” which became quite popular. Being an ice cream lover, I always preferred Nadine Stair’s version. The old saying “hindsight is 20/20” – is not reality. We factor in the potential for risks, most of which never come true. If I […]

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4 Tips for Catastrophe Protection

Parenting never ends. My granddaughter bought her first car and asked me about insurance. She had two quotes: one with a $100 deductible and a second for $500 deductible. She was leaning toward the $100 deductible because “it was only $10 more per month”. So why not take that option? I explained the higher premium policy buys an additional $400 in […]

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That Old Familiar Feeling

It was my first business trip to Dallas. I rented a car and drove to a downtown hotel. As I exited the expressway into the city, I started shaking, sweating profusely and was frightened. I mentioned it to the clerk who provided an immediate diagnosis. He explained I drove the exact route John Kennedy did when he was shot. When Kennedy […]

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Rope-a-dope Fed style – “I’m going to sting like a butterfly and float like a bee!”

In June the Federal Reserve announced no rate increase. In typical Fed doublespeak they dropped several hints. The original rope-a-dope man, Muhammad Ali, is probably rolling his eyes in bewilderment. Remember the Fed said they would hike rates when unemployment got below 6.2%. Oops! Too soon, and they waffled refusing to commit to further benchmarks. Last summer the Fed hinted the economy […]

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Six tips to maintain your financial independence

Right after Independence Day my wife Jo and I embarked on a long drive from Phoenix, AZ to Evansville, IN. When it’s her turn to drive, I lean back, adjust my neck pillow, put on my headphones (noise cancellation is a beautiful thing), check my email, and generally shut my eyes and get lost in thoughts and daydreams. Our nation had just […]

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I’m just trying to keep from getting poor!

My friend Allan is not prone to rant, but he was on a roll. “I’m serious, I’m no longer trying to get rich, I’m just trying to keep from getting poor!” His tone of voice was heart attack serious; he was not smiling. Allan’s face was beet red. “Don’t talk to me about magic numbers, hell we blew 20% past it […]

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Don’t let stock-market hypoxia crash your retirement

It was a hot summer day as I was piloting my Piper Comanche from Chicago to Indianapolis. My confidence was brimming with my freshly printed instrument rating stored safely in my pocket. The hot air created some turbulence so I headed toward 12,000 feet, higher than I had ever flown before. I was euphoric, I could see all the way […]

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Don’t let the market downturn do you in

Investors, now is the time for caution… Today’s forecast: yield-starved investors forced into the market by seemingly permanent low interest rates will continue to be collateral damage. For some, that collateral damage may involve more than the loss of income opportunities… many could be wiped out completely. At a recent investment conference, I asked the participants in our discussion group: “If there […]

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Paying bills for adult children? Try tough love instead

My youngest son, who is now in his 50s, asked me what it felt like when all the children left the nest. I thought for a moment and said: For my entire adult life I’d driven a boat down a clearly marked, narrow channel. I had to stay between the markers in order to provide for my family. Then, when you […]

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