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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.
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In Government We Trust???
With a big grin, former colleague Doug Casey told me, “Sure, you can trust the government!” I raised my eyebrows. He continued. “In the event of a crisis, you can not only trust the government to NOT do the right thing but also to do the exact wrong thing.” Remember the Karma law of Humility; “You can’t change something if […]
You’re Buying the Government?
Trillions for bank bailouts, secret loans, exorbitant inflation, negative interest rates; middle class struggles while the rich get richer…. How did we get into this mess? Frontline on PBS outlines, “The Long Demise of Glass-Steagall.” (Emphasis mine) “1933 Following the Great Crash of 1929,…politicians, see market speculation…by banks during the 1920s as a cause of the crash. In 1933, Senator […]
The Twelve Laws of Karma
I’m writing this on my 83rd birthday. My life has changed since my 2019 cancer diagnosis. In a nutshell, cancer appears in my body, the doctors zap it, I’m good to go, another spot pops up and we do it again. Each time it reappears, it’s a reminder I’m one step closer to judgment day. Without cancer, the same would […]
Money Walks, While Bullshit Talks
My early youth was spent in the inner city of Chicago, a sorry place today. Little boys, talking dirty, thought they were macho, but you’d get your mouth washed out with soap if you uttered those words around girls or your parents. Times have changed. Rolls off the tongue defines the old saying, Money Talks, while Bullshit Walks: “Sample Sentence: If […]
Forget Comfort Zones – You Must Dare To Be Different!
My invitations to be the commencement speaker from the prestigious academic shrines must have been lost in cyberspace; so, I will share my thoughts for the graduates from my personal podium. Congratulations to the class of 2023. Today is the day to celebrate your academic success, leave your educational cocoon, grow your wings and move toward adulthood. Commencement addresses are […]
A Banking Crisis Shouldn’t Be the Taxpayer’s Problem.
Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon wrote shareholders about banking turmoil, “As I write this letter, the current crisis is not yet over, and even when it is behind us, there will be repercussions from it for years to come.” IGI Global defines a banking crisis: 1. Banking crisis reflects the crisis of liquidity and insolvency of one […]
“I Don’t Know What I Want To Do!”
I asked my 18-year-old grandson Braidyn about college. He was visibly frustrated; “Grandpa, I don’t know what I want to do, or where I want to go.” He’s college material, National Honor Society, excellent people skills, and a great work ethic. He’s an accomplished welder, with an excellent-paying job waiting for him upon graduation – should he want it. Part […]
The Wolves Are Devouring The Sheep
The Fed leaped into action when the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed, and Congress quickly agreed they were derelict in their duties. No one asked why the Fed doesn’t act to keep us safe? The Fed’s website tells us: “What is the purpose of the Federal Reserve System? The Federal Reserve System,…’the Fed,’ is the central bank of the United […]
Are All Banks Going Broke?
Shortly after the Fed bailed out the Silicon Valley bank depositors, Reuters reported that Credit Suisse failed: “ZURICH, March 20 (Reuters) – Credit Suisse and UBS could benefit from more than 260 billion Swiss francs ($280 billion) in state and central bank support, a third of the country’s gross domestic product, as part of their merger to buffer Switzerland against […]
Does Anyone Care About Drowning in Debt?
James Rickards’ article, The Accelerating Countdown to Armageddon tells us: “Those who focus on the U.S. national debt (and I’m one of them) keep wondering how long this debt levitation act can go on. We’re accumulating debt at a substantially greater rate than we’re growing the economy. Basically, the United States is going broke! …. When is the debt-to-GDP ratio […]
Know When to Hold ’em, Know When to Fold ’em, Know When to Walk Away…
A friend mentioned some of the Arizona casinos are now offering live craps. I told her I’d taken craps lessons, and love the game. She began probing, “What is the biggest lesson you learned?” My answer – “When to quit.” The lessons were not only when to take profits, but also when to walk away and cut your losses. I […]
What Does the Fed Have to Break?
While Fed Chairman Jerome Powell appears determined to bring inflation down to their 2% target, inflation is far from under control. Pundits predict Powell will continue raising rates until something breaks. Recently Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), (and others) bellied up and depositors were bailed out by the FDIC. What has to break for the Fed to declare victory over inflation? […]
Good friend Chuck Butler, editor of The Daily Pfennig, is a world currency expert. He constantly asks, “Got Gold?” Currency is generally thought of as government-printed money; Euros, Yen, dollars, etc. Gold isn’t normally considered currency. I’m concerned about the Fed’s lame attempt to tame inflation, fearing they will yield to pressure from member banks and/or politicians to restart their […]
The Debt Ceiling Charade Amid Screams About Social Security
During the State of the Union Address, the president said the Republicans want to cut Social Security. Several boos were heard; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shouted “liar!” The pushback was swift; a nonsense deflection of the major problems facing America. Social Security accounts for almost 20% of federal spending, approximately $1.25 trillion. By 2034 it’s estimated to only be able […]
Is Bed Bath & Beyond Leading The Way?
Bed Bath & Beyond, once a stock market darling, is nearly bankrupt. Why? Allan Sloan tells us: (Emphasis mine) “We all know that the Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY)…is in such big trouble that it’s likely to file for bankruptcy. …. A major reason the company is so messed up is that when it comes to its own stock, the […]
‘Don’t Fight The Fed Works’ In Both Directions…
As the market soared, pundits hawked their investment flavor of the day; “Don’t Fight The Fed!” Buy stocks based on the actions of the Fed, not the value of the company. Even forever unprofitable companies saw their stock prices skyrocket. Traders made a lot of money playing that game. Bill Bonner wrote, “After 1999, stocks rose for the wrong reasons; […]
What’s Behind A Credit Score?
I was a 21-year-old father with #2 on the way. My car needed costly repairs; I needed a reliable vehicle to get to work. My mother suggested I apply for a loan at the local bank in town. Mrs. Z, a long-time family friend, was the head teller and smiled when I walked in. I explained the situation. She helped […]
You Don’t Have To Live From Paycheck To Paycheck!
In my late 40’s, fresh out of a divorce, I took stock of my life. I had a good job, a small 401k, an old car and lived in a rental apartment. I’d enjoyed my share of good times and raised a family. My personal balance sheet would have fit on a Post-it-Note with room to spare; it was pretty […]
Winning Life’s Lottery Does Not Require A Powerball Or Mega-Millions Ticket
There’s been a lot of hoopla about recent Mega-Million jackpots topping $1 billion. It must have been nice for the odds-defying winner. The lottery is the fairest tax of all. It is voluntary, it is not levied; you are not forced to buy a ticket. It is an adult choice. I’ve never heard anyone complain about having to pay their […]
Eventually Has Finally Arrived!
When the Fed bailed out the banks in 2008, flooding the system with trillions, you just knew high inflation would be the result. It just had to happen! The government jumped in, borrowing trillions more at historically low interest rates. Not willing to let rates rise to free market levels, the Fed simply created money for the government and put […]
The Global Outlook For 2023
January is time to look ahead for the year. Sadly, way too much depends on the Federal Reserve and world central banks. Michael Howell writes: “It has been a bleak year for many investors. Global investors have lost $23tn of wealth…so far in 2022. …. That is equivalent to 22 per cent of global gross domestic product” When bureaucrats create […]
What Happened to Dependable Income, Safety & Predictability?
Since the 2008 bank bailouts, market volatility has been the daily challenge for all investors. Inflation is sky high, the Fed is slowly raising rates, hoping to bring it back to their 2% target. Interest rates are still below the rate of inflation. Stock jockeys and academics are screaming, 2% is just too hard – calling Fed head Jerome Powell […]
What If the Fed Doesn’t Pivot?
Former colleague John Mauldin writes, Higher for Longer: (emphasis mine) “There is this constant argument that Jerome Powell is somehow going to pause after the next rate hike, and then begin to cut rates in the late spring or summer because the economy will soften and inflation will have returned to the Fed’s target range. Bottom line up front: I […]
“You Look Young for Your Age!”
A Note From Dennis: Each year I write a mentoring letter for the holidays, hoping readers will forward it to their family and friends. This was written in 2019. With many new readers, I wanted to run it again. I feel it is still very appropriate today. EARLY FALL 2008 – It was my 50th high school class reunion; a […]
Can Investors Lock In Safe Fixed Income?
In our recent interview with Chuck Butler, we discussed the challenges of “locking in” safe interest income. The challenges are tough: Beating inflation. Currently inflation is around 8%. If your interest rate is below the inflation rate, your money will buy less when the bond or CD matures. Market timing. Locking in rates makes sense when you are near the […]
Dealing With Reality – There Is No “Security” In Social “Security”
As children, our elders programmed us with certain “core” beliefs. As adults, finding contrary evidence to those beliefs creates discomfort called “Cognitive Dissonance.” Psychology Today defines: “Cognitive dissonance is a term for the state of discomfort felt when two or more modes of thought contradict each other. The clashing cognitions may include ideas, beliefs, or the knowledge that one has […]
Locking In Safe Returns Is Not So Easy….
Good friend and bond expert, Chuck Butler recently mentioned: “And someone somewhere, somehow is buying the 10-year Treasury, and the yield on the bond is slipping again, with it trading with 3.73% yield this morning.” MSNBC provides a graph of yields leading up to Thanksgiving week: Yields were at a high of around 4.2% and closed out the week at […]
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
Subscriber John H. is Canadian. He regularly posts inspirational messages on a tree stump which is much appreciated in his neighborhood. It should resonate everywhere! I was pleased he gave me permission to share it. (I cropped off his last name to protect his privacy.) Happy Thanksgiving to All. May You Take-a-Moment to do one or more of the […]
Despite Some Warts, Life Is Beautiful!
I dislike feeling rushed to meet a deadline. When I started Miller On The Money, I promised myself I would write a couple weeks in advance to avoid the deadline pressure, I wanted this to be a fun adventure. I’m writing this just before the election. I can’t wait for it to be over with, I’m fed up with the […]
Step Right Up, Get Your Stimmy Checks!
Who wouldn’t want FREE money? Politicians love it and citizens gladly accept it. Stimmy checks?? The Government Accounting Office touts, “The federal government made direct payments to individuals totaling $931billion.” That does not include student loan forgiveness or other government handouts. Now the states are getting into the act. Yahoo supplies the current scorecard, “These twenty states are sending out […]
My Dad Was Dumb Like a Fox!
“I told my dad he was dumb, turned out he was dumb like a fox!” That comment came from a friend in the bond department of a large brokerage firm. We were discussing buying bonds, CDs and interest rates. He was fresh out of college when Paul Volcker started raising interest rates to double digits. With extraordinarily high-interest rates, his […]
Money Ain’t What It Used To Be!
What is money? Baby boomers worry about retirement, workers never seem to have enough while politicians spend other people’s money recklessly to buy votes. Richard Maybury writes a terrific publication which I highly recommend. His recent issue grabbed my attention: (Emphasis mine) “Ever since President Nixon bamboozled the whole world by sabotaging the gold standard in 1971, there has been […]
Thank God For The Maggies Of The World
I was nervous and didn’t want to let on. I’d been dating Jo for several months and things were going well. I felt very comfortable with her parents and daughter Holly. This was going to be different. We were driving from Florida to her hometown, New Harmony, Indiana, a small farming community with around 800 residents. There were 16 people […]
The Party’s Over!
Fed Chairman Powell tried to convince the public inflation was “transitory”. Eventually, he could no longer ignore reality. The Fed raised interest rates several times and vows to continue to do so, until inflation is stabilized at 2%. As expected, mortgage rates are skyrocketing, the real estate market is tumbling, along with the stock and bond markets. The Party’s Over! […]
Powell Promises Affordable Housing
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates another 3/4% and promises more increases until inflation is under control. Yahoo Finance reports: “Jerome Powell just warned that the US housing market needs a ‘difficult correction’ so that folks can afford homes again: “Higher interest rates translate to bigger mortgage payments – not good news for the housing market. But cooling down housing […]
The Disease Or Cure? Take Your Pick! (Part II)
Last week we discussed the consequences of continued high inflation. It will bring economic devastation, the dollar would lose its status as the world currency, the destruction of the middle class, and likely another Great Depression. Chuck Butler outlined what happens if the Fed flinches and doesn’t do what needs to be done – quickly: “Soon after the Fed Heads […]
The Disease Or Cure? Take Your Pick!
Since I began my cancer treatment in 2019, my outside travel has been curtailed. Doctors, restaurants, and an occasional trip to visit family have been about it. The good news is now I have more energy and feel like getting out and doing fun stuff. I recently made a trip to our local Factory Outlet Mall. I used to enjoy […]
No Matter What You Call It, Storm Clouds Ahead
Academics have their code words when times get tough. Do we have high inflation? Are we in a recession, depression, or stagflation? Few people care what they call it, other than politicians who want to blame their political enemies and avoid responsibility. Both the disease and cure hurt people economically. The Fed says they target 2% inflation. When inflation started […]
Retirement Survival – Trying to Hit a Moving Target
When it comes to retirement planning, Baby Boomers had the rug pulled out from under them by the government and Federal Reserve. For decades, Boomers worked with their financial planners, saving, investing, and strategizing – targeting their “magic number.” How much money did they need to have on their retirement day to live comfortably and enjoy their golden years? Bank […]
What The Heck Happened To Camelot?
Early Baby Boomers (1946-1964) were moving into their teen years when President Kennedy was elected. The Kennedys were young, good looking and reminded people of Snow White and Prince Charming. Times were good. We were not at war, jobs were plentiful, the suburbs were exploding as home ownership became available for the middle class. We bought our first home in […]
The Great Deception
The Fed’s “magic money” game is about over! They try to fool the public into thinking they are sitting in a giant control center, making decisions, punching their keyboards, and controlling the economy. Happy days are here again, today, tomorrow and forever. Not to worry, the Feds got you covered. Cut the crap! The Chicago Fed outlines their dual mandate, […]
What Kind Of Recession Is This?
When we left Phoenix for vacation there were “Help Wanted” signs everywhere. Most retail stores were clamoring for help. Restaurants had entire sections of unused tables because they couldn’t get help to take care of customers. Retailers complained about delivery dates; vendors couldn’t get help to keep up with order demand. It’s the same here in Indiana. Our youngest daughter […]
Best of Dennis – Feel Discombobulated, Confused, Distracted and Betrayed? You Are Not Alone
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still on a short break spending time with his family. He will be back writing very soon, but in the meantime, here’s another article worthy of a re-read in today’s economy. This article was originally posted on August 5, 2021. Feel Discombobulated, Confused, Distracted and Betrayed? You Are Not Alone When I finished writing “Whistling […]
Best of Dennis – What The Fed Is Really Doing With OUR Money
Best of Dennis… Dennis is taking a break to spend time with his family to be back writing very soon. Here’s an article that is worthy of a re-read in these times. This article was originally posted on August 26, 2021. What The Fed Is Really Doing With OUR Money The Federal Reserve is owned by “Member Banks” that have […]
What Is Normal?
The cost of renting money is going up. One pundit commented mortgage rates are approaching 6% – “things are getting back to normal.” In mid-July, CNET reported: (Emphasis mine) “Mortgage rates have been rather consistently going up since the start of this year, and are expected to climb throughout 2022. …. At the moment, inflation and the federal funds rate […]
Investing Wisely During Inflationary Times
Our recent article, “The Fed’s Disaster Has Arrived” got some great responses. Readers agreed, the Fed’s high inflation is a disaster; investors have some real challenges protecting their money. Cash is no longer a store of wealth, but rather an asset depreciating rapidly. Richard Maybury’s recent “US & World Early Warning Report” outlines the challenges. He offered six options and […]
Accumulating Wealth During Inflationary Times
During my working career, I was fortunate to become close friends with many very successful people. Tom (fictitious name) fit that mold. We had each other’s home phone numbers and talked regularly. Tom was a high-level vice president of a major corporation and was the speaker at a banquet for our training class. He asked me to stay when the […]
The Fed’s Disaster Has Arrived!
“Baby it’s here!” Inflation is no longer a coming attraction, it’s here, turning into a disaster, and not about to go away anytime soon. Shadowstats.com tells us current government-reported inflation is over 8%. Using Carter year calculations, it’s over 16%. Our wealth is being stolen at a rate none of us have seen in our lifetimes. Immediately after finishing our […]
Are We Really Screwed?
I am increasingly frustrated, wading through my weekly reading stack. It is maddening! Despite the recent fed action, inflation is soaring, prices are out of control. The economy is slowing, the stock market is tanking. The long-predicted results of outrageous government and central bank policies are coming home to roost. The signs were clear, anyone with common sense could see […]
Best of Dennis – When Advice Conflicts, Who Should You Listen To?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health again and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s an article that is a very interesting look back at the 2017 market and is worthy of a re-read in these times. This article was originally posted on December 7, 2017. When Advice Conflicts, Who Should You Listen To? We moved […]
Keeping Our Wits and Wealth In A Down Market
The Fed is raising rates, forecasting more hikes and the stock market is falling. Fed Chair Powell says he can’t promise a soft landing. Pundits are peering into the future expecting the stock market to continue down. The Fed proclaims the days of easy money are behind us; many expect bond defaults and a slowing of the business cycle. I […]
Where Are You Gonna Cut Back?
The public is up in arms, and rightfully so. Gas prices are going through the roof with no end in sight. I don’t ever remember spending $100 to fill the tank on my Honda minivan. This is nuts! Wolf Street provides a graphic. Supply is government restricted, prices are rising, affecting the cost of everything we buy, not just our […]
Handling Preferred Stocks During Times Of Rising Interest Rates
Well, the Fed finally did it! They upped interest rates ½%, the most since 2020. Yahoo Finance reports: “Prices have been rising at their fastest pace in 40 years – hitting 8.5% year over year in March as the U.S. comes out of the pandemic.” Wolf Street weighs in on food prices: “Food at home” inflation spiked by 1.0% for […]
The Fed “Doth Protest Too Much.”
In 2010, The Huffington Post reported: “WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told a panel investigating the financial crisis that regulators must be ready to shutter the largest institutions if they threaten to bring down the financial system. ‘If the crisis has a single lesson, it is that the too-big-to-fail problem must be solved,’ Bernanke said Thursday while […]
Best of Dennis – The Jig Is Up!
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health again but is on the mend and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article that is very relevant today and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on August 19, 2021. The Jig Is Up! “Today Congress is constantly besieged by minority groups seeking benefits from […]
Banks Make Billions Printing/Lending Money When They Don’t Have To Worry About Being Paid Back!
Imagine a bank creating unlimited funds to lend, earning billions in fees and interest, with no worries about the borrower defaulting. It’s happening today – big time! This week’s reading stack began with a Wolf Street article, “Deep-Junk-Rated Carvana gets $4.5 Billion from New Investors, after Shares Collapsed by 79%….”. Despite regularly losing money and a deep junk bond rating, […]
I’m Fed Up With The Fed’s BS
Halfway through my reading stack, I was furious. The Federal Reserve is a banking cartel, using tax dollars to line their pockets, pretending to protect the public from exactly what they have become. They claimed inflation was too low, shooting for an “average 2%”. Inflation raged and they called it “transitory”. Now they are pretending to deal with it, predicting […]
What Is So Special About Gold?
With the headlines blaring, “‘Extraordinary’ – US Consumer Prices Soar At Fastest In Over 40 Years”, citizens struggle to pay their bills and protect their wealth. Chuck Butler regularly asks his Daily Pfennig readers, “Got Gold?” Why is gold special? As J.P. Morgan said, “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” Historically people sought a reliable medium of exchange for […]
Is Capitalism Destroying the American Economy?
The Fed has begun the battle against double-digit inflation. CNBC reports they are raising interest rates (very slowly) and announced: “Officials “generally agreed” that a maximum of $60 billion in Treasuries and $35 billion in mortgage-backed securities would be allowed to roll off, phased in over three months and likely starting in May.” CNBC adds: “While officials did not make […]
Interest Rates Are Rising, So Now What?
When the Fed bailed out the banks in 2008, interest rates dropped to historic lows. Many retirees were heavily invested in CDs and quality bonds earning a safe 6% interest, paying their bills, and enjoying their golden years. Overnight, trillions in CDs and bonds were called in, savers lost a major portion of their anticipated income as interest rates dropped […]
The Consequences Of Ignoring Reality
Famed philosopher Ayn Rand told us, “You can choose to ignore reality; but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” If you bury your head in the sand long enough, you will eventually get bit in the ass…. Inflation has been skyrocketing and the government/media can no longer ignore it. John Williams, at Shadowstats.com calculates inflation using the same […]
Maintaining Control When The World Has Gone Crazy!
Just when you think things can’t get crazier, they do. The US pulls out of Afghanistan, leaving people and weapons behind unnecessarily. Russia invades Ukraine because they are threatened by NATO. China is rattling the saber over Taiwan. The Canadian Prime minister governs against the will of the majority; all because he wants to save face. Unpopular mask mandates are […]
Should I Sell My Gold?
With all the world turmoil, high inflation, war in Ukraine, China rattling their saber, gold has gone up in price. Trading Economics tracks gold prices for the last 12 months. Less than a year ago, gold was just under $1,700/oz. It recently hit $2,050/oz. and was knocked down $60/oz. the following day. Remember the old saying, there is never a […]
Translating The Message – And It Isn’t Pretty!
Last fall the Fed said it began “tapering” the amount of debt securities they were buying. This Wall Street on Parade (WSOP) headline reports; “Since the Fed Announced It Was ‘Tapering’ Last November, It’s Actually Added $332 Billion in Liquidity with New Debt Security Purchases.” The Fed says one thing and does another; they continued buying debt at the rate […]
Understanding Real Diversification
In a recent interview with Chuck Butler, we concluded, short of dumping the FED and a ballot box revolution, inflation is here to stay. Individual investors can control where/how we invest to protect our life savings. Chuck summed up his feeling about a market fraught with risk: “I recently had some bonds mature. These maturities brought me into a ‘Cash […]
What Will Eventually Cause the Collapse?
Subscriber Steve F. asked Chuck Butler and me what we meant when we said the Fed and government is destroying the economy and wealth of the nation: “That seems like a subject the average Joe can get his or her head around. Why not put together what that would really look like for us?” We discussed the subject at great […]
What Does the Future Hold?
Subscriber Steve F. issued a challenge: “If the Fed pays lip service to inflation as Chuck suggested, inflation will continue to destroy the economy along with much of the wealth of the nation. Can you and Chuck focus on ‘destroy much of the wealth of the nation?’ That seems like a subject the average Joe can get his or her […]
Enough Is Enough! I’m Pushing Back
It was a cold January Indiana morning. I headed to the shopping center. They were delivering a TV and I needed a part before they arrived. I pulled into the empty parking lot about 15 minutes before the store opened. I thought good, it’s pretty cold, I’ll get a nice parking space close to the door. It wasn’t quite so […]
Bad Decisions Are Causing BIG Problems
Since the 2008 bank bailouts, readers regularly ask, “what the hell is going on?” I’m not an economist, but I’ll try to explain things – and it isn’t pretty. A major plank in problem-solving is, “Look at the consequences of your decisions, don’t let your solutions cause bigger problems.” “You can choose to ignore reality; but you cannot ignore the […]
This Time IS Different
Asset prices soaring to ridiculous levels, well beyond anything regarding true, intrinsic values creates a bubble. Eventually things come crashing down. Those holding overpriced assets lose a lot of money and the ripple effect can cause economic hardship to many others. Ozak Durmus tells us about “Tulipmania“: “Tulipmania was the first major financial bubble. It happened in Holland between 1636-1637. […]
Fed Fiddles While Main Street Burns
Since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, the role of the Federal Reserve has changed. The Fed used to be owned by banks while high-risk investment houses were separated and not considered part of the banking system. Since the repeal, banks have consolidated where the top four banks now account for 50% of all US Banking assets. In […]
Don’t Let Inflation Destroy Your Life Savings
What the heck is going on? In the fourth quarter, I was housebound due to medical issues. When cleared to travel in late December I bought tickets to spend Christmas with the grandchildren. I was shocked, airfares doubled over last year. Might it be because I was a last-minute flyer? When I booked our return flight, I learned that was […]
Do You Trust The Fed?
The public is on to the Fed’s inflation game! The Fed called it “transitory”. Baloney! The Fed announced: “…it is accelerating its removal of monetary support for the economy, citing a rise in inflation that has seen the biggest jump in prices nearly 40 years. In a move to cool growth, policy makers also said they expect to hike interest […]
Best of Dennis – Inflation Is Quietly Poisoning Your Retirement Nest Egg
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health again but is on the mend and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article that is very relevant today and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on April 5, 2018. Inflation Is Quietly Poisoning Your Retirement Nest Egg Remember how excited you were when you […]
Old Age Sure Ain’t For Sissies
I like to close out each year with a mentoring article. Something from the heart, out of the mainstream, and lead into the new year on a positive note. MarketWatch labeled me a RetireMentor. I enjoy sharing my life experiences, good and bad, in hopes of helping others through their journey. I’ve had some medical challenges over the last few […]
Best of Dennis – The Fed Doesn’t Have A Problem With Fake Money – America Does!
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health again but is on the mend and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article from almost exactly a year ago that I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on December 17, 2020. The Fed Doesn’t Have A Problem With Fake Money […]
Best of Dennis – When Does Inevitable Become Imminent?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health again and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on September 9, 2021. When Does Inevitable Become Imminent? Jared Dillian’s “The 10th Man” article, “Coming Apart” grabbed my attention: “ZeroHedge is fond of saying: […]
Yesterday’s Norm, Today’s RADICAL!
I watched a terrific webinar with friend Chuck Butler, Rich Checkan and Chris Blasi. I submitted a question; “Do you think interest rates will ever return to normal?” All emphasized we won’t see anything close to 5-6%, (the normal for decades) in our lifetime. It would take a “radical” change for worldwide governments to do so. Radical is defined: “very […]
Best of Dennis – Socialism: The Real Trickle-Down Economics
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on March 14, 2019. Socialism: The Real Trickle-Down Economics While politicos like to call tax cuts “trickle-down economics”, the real culprit is socialism. The Robin […]
Best of Dennis – Student Loans: A Multi-Generational Curse
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on February 23, 2017. Student Loans: A Multi-Generational Curse For many, student loan debt is a giant step backward. Is it possible to get a […]
Best of Dennis – Do Investors Need Stop Losses?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on November 8, 2018. Do Investors Need Stop Losses? The market is bouncing up and down like Marqeus Haynes dribbled a basketball. Are stop losses […]
Best of Dennis – Does Government Debt Really Matter?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on May 3, 2018, and as you can imagine the numbers in the article are even higher today… Does Government Debt Really Matter? The numbers […]
Best of Dennis – Will The Stock Market Protect You Against Inflation?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. Here’s another article I felt was relevant and worthy of a re-read. This article was originally posted on May 16, 2019. Will The Stock Market Protect You Against Inflation? How do baby boomers protect their life savings from the ravages of inflation? […]
Best of Dennis – Does Market Rigging in the Metals Signal a Buying Opportunity?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is still tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. When looking at past articles and deciding which one to repost for this week, I came across this one. Almost 5 years later and it could pass as a brand new article. I encourage you to read it again. This article was originally posted on January […]
Best of Dennis – An Inconvenient Truth About Social Security
Best of Dennis… Dennis is tending to his health and hopes to be back writing very soon. The following article is the most viewed article on the Miller On The Money website and is very interesting to read again 3 years later. This article appeared on February 22, 2018. An Inconvenient Truth About Social Security Did I achieve a journalistic […]
Some Terrific Research Got My Attention
My friend Tim Plaehn never ceases to amaze me with his research. He recently wrote about stocks with a declared dividend, plus a variable dividend on top of it. Sounds cool…but…. I called him to share a bad experience. Right after the 2008 bailout, a mining company offered a guaranteed dividend increase based on gold prices increasing. As a new […]
Pack Your Own Parachute!
I published this article five years ago. Sadly, things seem to be getting worse. The message is even more important today. Those who think and act independently will always survive. 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, […]
Social Security – The Government’s Shell Game!
The Senior Citizens League reports, “Social Security COLA (Cost of living adjustment) For Next Year Could Be 6.2%.” Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst tells us: “With one third of the data needed to calculate the COLA already in, it increasingly appears that the COLA for 2022 will be the highest paid since 1983 when it was 7.4%.” This […]
When Does Inevitable Become Imminent?
Jared Dillian’s “The 10th Man” article, “Coming Apart” grabbed my attention: “ZeroHedge is fond of saying: ‘On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.’ Let me add Dillian’s corollary to that: On a long enough timeline, everyone gets to be right. Who has consistently been wrong? The Austrian gold bugs always predict doom. They will […]
Bob’s Big Wheel Bar
Friend Courtenay W. sent a cool email using a small business analogy to help explain today’s economic mess. I modified it, hoping to make things clear. Bob’s Big Wheel Bar is in Motor Home City, surrounded by several motorhome manufacturers. For decades, factory workers frequented Bob’s Big Wheel Bar, many cashing and spending their paychecks on Fridays. The 2008 bank […]
What The Fed Is Really Doing With OUR Money
The Federal Reserve is owned by “Member Banks” that have now merged into huge brokerage, investment firms; many deemed “Too big to be allowed to fail”. G. Edward Griffin explains: “The Federal Reserve is a cartel- it’s a banking cartel. And like all cartels, it only has one purpose – and that is to serve the benefit of the members […]
The Jig Is Up!
“Today Congress is constantly besieged by minority groups seeking benefits from the public treasury. Often these groups control enough votes in many Congressional districts to change the outcome of elections. And so, Congressmen find it difficult to persuade themselves not to give in to pressure groups. With no bad immediate consequence, it becomes expedient to accede to a spending demand. […]
Who Is The Sucker In The Casino?
Las Vegas – the gambling capital of the world. Nevada heavily regulates the casinos; requiring a certain percentage paid back to the gamblers. They pour billions into their posh establishments, enticing customers into their casinos and make huge profits – legally. If the public felt the casinos are rigged, they would lose customers, jobs, and billions in tax revenue. “‘There’s […]
Feel Discombobulated, Confused, Distracted and Betrayed? You Are Not Alone
When I finished writing “Whistling Past The Graveyard”, I was furious. The Federal Reserve prints money at will. Theoretically, congress oversees the Fed – the Fed oversees the banking system, and they have our best interest at heart. While both feign good intentions, in practice they are lining their pockets at the expense of Main Street America. Fed Chairman Powell […]
Why can’t I sleep? For the last few nights, I have rolled, tossed and turned until the wee hours of the morning. Two years ago, I was going through very challenging treatments for tongue cancer. At one point I asked my wife Jo why she was closing the door to her office. She said, “So that you don’t see me […]
Whistling Past The Graveyard
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s recent remarks really infuriated me. He is “Whistling Past The Graveyard”, again trying to deceive the public. Wolf Richter shares some of his recent remarks: “Inflation has come in above expectations over the past few months.” “The expectation is that high inflation readings will start to abate.” “We don’t in any way dismiss the chance that […]
When You Get A Guarantee, Check The Hands Behind The Back!
When it comes to guarantees, don’t assume anything! A guarantee is a promise or assurance. While a written contractual guarantee strengthens your legal position, it’s only as solid as the person, government, company, insurer and court system standing behind it. In our article “How Good Is Your Comfortable Retirement Guarantee?”, I assumed some investments were guaranteed, safe and worry-free; I […]
What Retirees Need To Unlearn To Retire Comfortably
I was failing and didn’t understand why. In 1970, I started my career as an adult educator. My classes were predominantly male. That quickly changed in 1972 with the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment; my clients rightfully complied with the law. My historically excellent course critiques were tanking. The tipping point was when a young woman gave me a […]
We pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor…
I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July. My webmaster sent me a link to a cool website that offers some history about the declaration of independence as well as the full text. The message from our founding fathers ingrained in the Declaration of Independence is more profound than anything I planned on writing. I encourage everyone to read the […]
Are You A Believer?
It’s amazing how many childhood lessons apply in today’s complicated world. In grade school, the older boys told us only babies believe in Santa Claus. I told them my mother said, “As long as you believe, there is a Santa Claus.” They made fun of me. I sought the counsel of our neighbor, Sherwin. He was an A student, already […]
Does Inflation Really Help Debtors?
I recently interviewed Chuck Butler about winners and losers during inflationary times. I began with: “Historically inflation hurt creditors and helped debtors as they are paying back their obligations in much-depreciated dollars. I’ve had readers ask about borrowing money to invest. Chuck, that concerns me. Many of our readers are baby boomers or retired. …. Are you in the camp […]
Protecting Your Wealth In Tough Times
Since 2008, pundits are screaming – “Inflation is coming!” They are getting louder; do we scoff at the warnings, or take heed? What if they are right? If we take precautions, what harm can we do to our life savings if it doesn’t happen? Baby boomers worked hard and played by the rules. Most are past their peak earning years […]
Inflate Or Die!
Pundit Bill Bonner’s article, “Money-Printing Means Inflation for the U.S. Economy”, concludes: “It’s inflate or die. And if anyone gets in the way of inflation… the ‘active shooters’ – in both the private sector and the public sector – start gunning for them. Last week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen came under fire for saying she might have to raise interest […]
“We The People” Are Getting Screwed!
Enough is enough! It makes no difference what political party is at the helm, our government is foolishly wasting money and putting OUR country at risk. While the preamble to our Constitution begins with, “We The People”, somehow the concept of elected representatives looking after OUR best interest got lost along the way. Pundit Bill Bonner defines government in simple […]
Back To The Future Part 2
Last week Chuck Butler and I accepted a challenge from subscriber Charles F. “Describe life in the US 5 years into the loss of our currency reserve status. Winner, Losers, what does gov’t look like on different levels, our position in the world, let your imagination run wild. When I do this my thinking quickly turns to mush.” Much like […]
Back To The Future
In our recent article, How Long Can This House Of Cards Last? What Can We Do?, Urs Vrijhof-Drose remarked: “Asia and Russia have a problem with the USD being the global reserve currency. …. We believe that this ongoing depreciation of the USD will continue….” Charles F., a subscriber to both Chuck Butler’s Daily Pfennig and our letter, sent us […]
If Not Now – WHEN??
My grandfather was a WWII Army Sargent, an uneducated farmer with a Ph.D. in common sense. One of the lessons he preached; the longer you ignore a problem, the more it will grow. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell never met my grandfather. This Schiff Gold article confirms my grandfather’s thinking: (Emphasis mine) “During a webinar sponsored by the Economic Club of […]
How Long Can This House Of Cards Last? What Can We Do?
If we constantly borrowed and spent more than we earn while debts piled up; our house of cards will eventually collapse. Over a decade ago, P.J. O’Rourke warned: “Alarm bells should be ringing very loudly as the United States contemplates a deficit for 2010 of more than $1.5 trillion – about 11% of GDP…. …. Empires behave like all complex […]
Inflation, Deflation, Bailouts & Tax Increases! What Should We Expect?
What is happening is unprecedented! Two multi-trillion-dollar bailout packages in less than a year and a third in the works. The Charlotte Business Journal reports: “In the past few years, we have experienced three major tax and financial changes that we typically only expect once a decade. …. This year, we are expecting another major bill (if not multiple) to […]
How Good Is Your Comfortable Retirement Guarantee?
For generations Baby Boomers were told to follow certain rules and, with Social Security, then later Medicare, they were guaranteed a safe, comfortable retirement. Oops! For many it is not happening; did they fail to read the small print, or understand things? Dictionary.com defines guarantee, with some examples: noun “a promise or assurance, especially one in writing, that something is […]
Big Brothers Are Fighting For World Domination
The struggle for world domination is never-ending. Governments, with their armies, fight to control not only their population, but also the rest of the world. The tools and battle strategies may change, but the goal never does. Immediately after finishing our article about digital currency combined with negative interest rates, Chuck Butler wrote “China’s Digital Currency Is Ready For Prime […]
Does Texit Follow Brexit?
In 2016 the British voted (Brexit) to leave the European Union (EU). Brexit finally happened in January 2021. The EU never negotiated in good faith. Their goal is to punish Britain and discourage other nations from ever considering leaving their fiefdom. Wolf Street ran a two-part series about the progress. “Brexit began in earnest…on January 1, with the entry into […]
How Will Rising Interest Rates Impact Dividend Stocks?
As the world awaited the new bailout bill, CNBC reported, “10-year Treasury yield hits highest level in a year”. “The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.29% at around 4:15 p.m. ET, breaking above the 1.28% level for the first time since February 2020. Meanwhile, the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 2.08%. …. The […]
The Great Roundup
As a youngster, every Saturday we would head to the movies for a double feature of cowboy movies; all for the price of a quarter. Sandwiched between the storyline we saw scenes of cowboys rounding up cattle, herding them toward parts unknown. That was before McDonald’s, and we never saw them marching to the slaughterhouse. We are being herded This […]
Heeding Warning Signs
It was a picture-perfect afternoon in Fort Myers, Florida. Jo, Holly, my son Drew, a couple of his college baseball teammates and I decided to take our brand-new boat for a spin in the Gulf. I passed my Coast Guard course and was full of confidence. We barreled toward the markers at the entrance of the Caloosahatchee River and I […]
Something Just Doesn’t Feel Right!
Friday the 13th, Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. I’ll soon be home for Christmas. It was a long year, 40+ weeks on the road; several two-week international trips. I was exhausted. We finally rolled down the runway, headed home. Suddenly the pilot reversed thrust, slamming on the breaks. I felt my seat belt straining. I heard a couple screams in the back. […]
The Working Class Challenge
Shortly after publishing our article, “What Happens When All Our Wealth Is Gone?” I received a heartfelt letter from subscriber Bill C. He speaks for many concerned, hard-working people: “First, I want to THANK YOU for writing a top notch and informative newsletter. It is one of the few emails that I get that I read immediately upon receipt. …. […]
The Virus We Can’t Escape
One of my earliest childhood memories was my grandmother and me bringing home groceries in my wagon. I’ve never forgotten her ranting about rising grocery prices. She seldom raised her voice, but over dinner, she let it out…. “I’ve never been able to carry home $25 worth of groceries. We had to use the wagon – it’s outrageous!” Michael Maharrey […]
MMT – Modern Monetary Theory –or– Magic Money Tree?
The politicos are hawking Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to finance their reckless spending. Investopedia explains: “Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a heterodox macroeconomic framework that says monetarily sovereign countries (that) spend, tax, and borrow in a fiat currency they fully control, are not operationally constrained by revenues when it comes to federal government spending. …. The central idea of MMT […]
What Happens When All Our Wealth Is Gone?
When I was dating my wife Jo, her 10-year-old daughter Holly learned I was a glutton for chocolate chip cookies. This adorable little lady grinned, loaded in the chocolate chips and baked an entire batch by herself. As she put the cookies on the cooling rack, I began to devour them. They were soft, moist and yummy! Holly yelled, “Mom […]
Restocking The Swamp
America is going through a regime change, out with the old, and in with the new. Oh really! With the entrenched political establishment, the faces may change, but the swamp remains. Pundit Bill Bonner recently wrote, “Bush, Obama, Trump…and presently, the hack from Delaware…all share the same goal – to keep the elites in power, at any cost.” Chuck Butler […]
Should Investors Play Offense, Defense Or Both?
At what point should investors switch from aggressively investing for profit to preservation of capital? When do you switch from offense to defense? Is it possible to do both at the same time? Shortly after the 2008 bank bailout, I was asked to write a financial newsletter for baby boomers. The firm had a great track record investing in metals […]
What’s Going To Happen To The Dollar?
I was not surprised when the Wall Street Journal reported, “Senate Moves to Confirm Trump Fed Nominee Waller, but Shelton’s Candidacy Hits Likely Dead End.” Waller is an insider, currently working for the St. Louis Fed, while Shelton is an advocate of returning to the gold standard. Ms. Shelton was described by some senators as “radical.” The deep state does […]
Guaranteed Safe Fixed Income Is Still Possible, If You Know Where To Find It
Why do retirees crave guaranteed fixed income? It’s simple. Retiring comfortably is having enough money to enjoy your lifestyle, without constantly having to worry about money. Prior to the 2008 bank bailouts, Certificates of Deposit and top-quality bonds filled that role well. Current interest rates are pathetic. At current rates, CDs and quality bonds are guaranteed to lose money. Our […]
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 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. NOTE: Each year I write a […]
The Fed Doesn’t Have A Problem With Fake Money – America Does!
I chuckled when I read the Wall Street On Parade (WSOP) article, “Congresswoman Katie Porter Tells the Fed that It’s got a ‘Big Problem’.” She asked Randal Quarles, Vice Chairman for Supervision of the Fed: “The Fed is largely responsible for dispensing the $500 billion Congress provided as a bailout for corporate America – the biggest bailout in our country’s […]
PhD Economics Versus Common Sense
Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman is at it again. He recently wrote, “US needs a really, really big relief package to keep its economy afloat.” Mr. Krugman’s opinions vary, depending on the political landscape. In late October 2016, anticipating the election of Hillary Clinton, he wrote, “Debt, Diversion, Distraction”. “Are debt scolds demanding that we slash spending and raise taxes […]
The Social Security Shell Game
A friend sent me the recent announcement about the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021. “Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 1.3 percent in 2021. The 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021.” Brian Anderson tells […]
How Do We Pay Our Bills?
My wife Jo had some CDs mature. If we renewed them at the current .4% rate, she would take an 80% income cut. She remarked, “That’s not enough income to pay the bills. We don’t want to tap into the principal each month to make ends meet.” What would be a perfect retirement plan? I retired in 2005. We wanted […]
The Fox Guarding The Hen House Is Stealing Your Nest Egg
I recently interviewed Chuck Butler about JP Morgan’s recent admission to five felony counts and $1 billion fine. I asked, “When Is It Going To End?” Right after finishing the interview, ZeroHedge reported: “Goldman Sachs is reportedly on the cusp of settling one of the biggest criminal cases involving a Wall Street bank since the financial crisis: According to a […]
When Is It Going To End?
No, I’m not talking about the political hatred dividing our country. My concern is something deeper. If it doesn’t end, the political divide will grow worse. Wall Street On Parade (WSOP) reports JPMorgan Chase is caught once again: “…. JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, has admitted to an unprecedented five criminal felony counts since 2014 and […]
Corrupt Bankers Caught And Fined Again – Ho Hum!
This Wall Street On Parade headline, Now that Indictments Have Outed Gold Manipulations at JPMorgan, UBS says “Buy Gold” grabbed my attention: “While multiple indictments have been handed down against JPMorgan precious metals traders since last year by the Justice Department, charging some of the traders with RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) crimes, the bank itself has yet […]
Targeting Safe Income? Preferred Stocks Can Help
In early 2020, much of the world went into a lockdown due to a medical pandemic. Governments warned millions could die. The world was scared. Headlines like, “Coronavirus sparks stock market chaos” were common. Wikipedia reports: “During March 2020, global stocks saw a downturn of at least 25%, and 30% in most G20 nations. …. Goldman Sachs warned that the […]
Are Preferred Stocks Safe?
I’m still angry! I recently wrote about our “capitulation”. Tim Plaehn explained: “The yield for passive investors in fixed income products is terrible. Savers and retirees start looking for other ways to make their money grow. Just like you and Jo, many investors have moved into stocks out of necessity rather than desire.” (Emphasis mine) Tim was polite. Why the […]
The Perils Of Inflation
Inflation is defined as, “A general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of currency.” Inflation is a silent killer of retirement dreams. Most retiree’s income can’t keep up with inflation; even with the social security inflation rider. Jeff Clark’s article, “How to Deprogram Your Friends & Family from the Cult of Fiat Currency,” is a primer on […]
What’s So Special About Gold?
Gold has been around since the beginning of time. It sits in a lump, doesn’t pay interest; yet governments around the world hoard it, and investment pundits recommend we own some. As kids, we watched movies about pirates stealing it, governments fighting over it and women swooning when they receive it as a gift. Warren Buffett, a former gold critic, […]
All Money is a Matter of Belief
Anyone remember when our money was backed by gold? Top of the dollar bill said “Silver certificate”? Today our bills say, “Federal Reserve Note”; called fiat currency. Fiat currency is government IOU’s (political promises). The value of fiat money is based on supply, demand and faith in the issuing government. Adam Smith said, “All money is a matter of belief.” […]
Passive Investors Will Go Broke!
Remember the saying, “Everything comes to those who wait?” Investment gurus lectured us about patience and compounding. They blared, “Save $100/month, invest at 6% and you will be a millionaire when you retire.” Current interest rates make that impossible. 25 years ago, if you bought US treasuries, the compound interest doubled your money in 12 years. Using today’s interest rates, […]
Is Retirement Obsolete?
I gave myself a wake-up call. Our recent article “Thinking About Retiring? Better Think It Through!” was a jolt for sure. For decades the mantra was save money and grow your wealth. We banked on the “rule of 72”. When the accumulated interest equals 72, you would double your money. Earn 6%, in 12 years you will double your money, […]
Thinking About Retiring? Better Think It Through!
A friend recently asked me, “How is anyone going to be able to retire?” Since 2008, the retirement landscape has changed radically. This Atlantic article, How Retirement Was Invented provides some history: “In the United States, starting in the mid-1800s, certain municipal employees…started receiving public pensions…. By the 1920s, a variety of American industries…were promising their workers some sort of […]
You Can Take Your Life Back!
Anyone remember the commercials for “Friendly Bob Adams” of Household Finance? They advertised “debt consolidation loans”. Bring all your payment booklets, pay off your debts and consolidate them into one loan with a lower monthly payment. Theoretically it took the pressure off those living from paycheck to paycheck, up to their eyeballs in debt. A friend worked there and often […]
Don’t Let The Media Hysteria Make You Sick!
I grabbed the clicker; “Turn off the damn TV!” No, I didn’t turn off hyped political commentary; it was the Weather Channel. They blared; millions of people were going to “suffer” from the current heatwave. The next headline, “US could set disaster record this year”, followed by 3 minutes of videos of every kind of natural disaster imaginable. They also […]
Say NO to the Fedcoin Scheme – It’s a Trap!
At the local convenience store, my wife Jo handed the clerk a $5 bill and waited for her change; finally asking for it. The clerk said, “We have a coin shortage. We have to round things to the nearest dollar.” Screw that! She dug in her purse, cobbled together the correct change and demanded the clerk give her a dollar […]
You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know – And It Can Hurt You!
I ran into the house crying. My grandmother grabbed some ice and pressed it to my face. I was a first-grader and had never been on a farm before. I knocked down a wasp’s nest with a broom. I got nailed, and it hurt! My grandfather looked at the welt. He smiled, and calmly said, “Now you know why I […]
I’ve Had It – Enough Is Enough!
I’ve had it with the virus panic, riots, looting, property destruction and grandstanding politicians. A poor guy in Minneapolis tried to pass $20 in funny money and ended up dead. His $20 is pale in comparison to the trillions in funny money authorized by congress and created by the Fed to bail out a corrupt banking system. “The Federal Reserve […]
Does The Average Investor Need A Financial Advisor?
Need help? Find an expert. Tim Plaehn is a member of our panel of experts and regular contributor. He is the editor of Dividend Hunter specializing in finding solid, dividend-paying stocks. Knowing Tim was once a financial advisor, I leaned on him when I wrote, “How To Find A Financial Advisor To Meet YOUR Needs.” Interest rates are so low, […]
The New Government Death Panels
In a debate about Obamacare, VP candidate Sarah Palin claimed the legislation would create a “death panel” of government bureaucrats who would decide whether Americans (citing her elderly mother and child with Down syndrome) were “worthy of medical care”. It was a highly controversial subject. Whether it is individuals or businesses, the government should NOT be allowed to decide who […]
If You Continue With The Same Behavior, What Should You Expect?
One of our earliest childhood lessons is how reward and punishment molds our behavior. If we are good, we get rewarded, if we are bad, we get punished – plain and simple. The Huffington Post addresses the issue: “If doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a definition of insanity, expecting people whom we […]
Deriving Their Just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…
I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July. My webmaster sent me a link to a cool website that offers some history about the Declaration of Independence as well as the full text. As I read it, I realized the message from our founding fathers is more profound than anything I planned on writing. I encourage everyone to read the […]
Who’s Betting On America?
I read Bill Bonner’s Diary regularly. Bill cuts through the smoke and mirrors, and explain things in understandable, matter-of-fact terms. He recently wrote, Don’t Bet on America. “Never, ever bet against America,” says the Oracle of Omaha (Warren Buffet), perhaps exaggerating. Countries, like individuals, make mistakes. …. It was a bad idea to bet against America throughout most of the […]
The Fed Always Runs To Save Wall Street
Chuck Butler recently discussed the probability of default of $300 trillion in global debt. Chuck added, “The Fed always runs to save Wall Street.” Why is that? Why not Main Street? The Federal Reserve website outlines their mission: “The objectives as mandated by the Congress in the Federal Reserve Act are promoting (1) maximum employment, which means all Americans that […]
Baby Boomers Have Very Few Options. Get It Right!
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) are now between 56 and 74 years old; at or near the end of their working careers. When it comes to saving and protecting their retirement nest egg, they have very little wiggle room! What if we have a Great Depression type market crash? It took 25 years for the market to return to the all-time high. […]
Keeping Our Wits During Chaotic Times
Times are chaotic! Historically, when chaos reigns and emotions are turbocharged, there are winners and losers. Despite the stress, winners manage to see things clearly and keep their wits about them. Recently we interviewed John Williams at Shadowstats. He said government unemployment and inflation numbers are bogus. He also tells us: – Worst U.S. Economic Activity Ever Reported – Production […]
Who Do You Trust?
Every day we see infuriating, politically biased Facebook posts, followed by others totally debunking the point. Someone is lying, and may have spent a lot of money for a professional presentation, to make their lie convincing. Who do you trust? “There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust.” Dr. Deborah Birx, concerned that the Center for Disease Control […]
Can An Average Investor Safely Make Money After Paying All The Fees?
Do you have a 401(k)? How much are you paying in fees? Is your money invested safely? Is it company-sponsored, or self-directed? A TD Ameritrade survey found that 27% of investors knew how much they were paying in 401(k) fees and astonishingly, 37% of respondents were unaware. I believe in maximizing your 401(k) contributions, particularly when there is an employer […]
Commencement Address To The Graduating Class Of 2020
Congratulations graduates, you have worked hard and should be celebrating your academic success. Don’t allow a temporary setback to dampen your spirits! Whether you are graduating from college, high school, grade school or something else, my message is the same. Last year a reader sent me, “We Are What We Choose”. It’s the remarks by then 46-year-old Jeff Bezos (billionaire […]
If Oil Prices Are Negative, Why Aren’t They Paying Me To Fill The Tank?
My wife Jo is a proud farm girl, growing up in rural Indiana. Like many midwestern farmers, they receive oil royalties for wells on their land. Having passed down through many generations, each share is nice, but not enough to fly first class. Jo came into my office with a very concerned look on her face. She asked, “I just […]
Do You Need a Financial Advisor? Are They Trustworthy?
Investors are understandably worried! Quality bonds and Certificates of Deposit are paying almost negative interest rates. Bonds defaults are rising. The stock market and economy are shaky. The Fed is printing money faster than the world has ever seen. We have Great Depression levels of unemployment. What else could possibly go wrong? Pundit Bill Bonner predicts: “Stocks will rise…and then […]
If Interest Rates Are Negative, What Should We Do?
In our recent article, “What The Heck Is Going On?”, our guru friend Chuck Butler remarked: “There’s no harm in holding cash, as long as your bank isn’t charging you to do so, which is probably coming down the road, so be prepared!” Chuck’s remark did not go unnoticed. Subscriber Rikk M. asked, “IF we go “negative” what is your […]
Got Gold? Sure Hope So!
I recently interviewed Chuck Butler; what is going on and what can regular working-class people do to protect themselves financially? Mainstream Americans work hard to provide for their family and save money so they are not a burden on their family in their old age. It’s crime when government policies, using the excuse of a crisis, can destroy the wealth […]
The More I Learn The Madder I Get!
I’m red in the face, eye-popping, blood pressure peaking mad! Our country is in a heck of a mess, for the wrong damn reasons! Sadly, some reporters smirked while reporting the Dow capped off the worst first quarter on record, the updated Coronavirus death toll, projections for thousands more and record unemployment claims. The politicization of a health crisis is […]
What The Heck Is Going On?
I was sitting in the exam room and the doctor walked in. Knowing I write this blog, he said, “Finally someone I can talk to. What the heck is going on?” With our current economic situation, the market tanking and the Coronavirus monopolizing the amped up media, a lot of concerned subscribers are asking that question. When you combine financial […]
When Is Good Bad, And Bad Really Good?
My young son Drew and I spotted a cool convertible pulling in the parking lot. He said, “Dad that car is really baaad!”. I said I thought it was pretty neat. He then explained how I was no longer hip, now “baaad” means good. For the last 50 years, when someone says something is bad, I have to stop and […]
Is The Travis McGee Retirement Plan A Fantasy In Today’s World?
I discovered a MarketWatch article by Catey Hill, I’m 53, have $1.4 million in my 401(k), $150,000 in savings and my home is paid off. Can I afford to retire?. The question was asked by (S.D.) a 53-year old (single-mature) woman asking, “Do I have enough to retire and live the life I’m dreaming of?” I began daydreaming as she […]
I’m From The Government And I’m Here To Help!
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s Strategic Plan 2020-23 tells us: “The Federal Reserve Board’s highest priority is to promote a strong economy for the American people by fostering the stability, integrity, and efficiency of the nation’s monetary, financial, and payment systems. “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald […]
Is 5G A Myth, Miracle Or Meh?
Last summer I went to my local Verizon store and “upgraded” to a new cell phone. I was encouraged to spend the extra money to be able to receive a 5G signal, touted as revolutionary technology. I sure didn’t want to miss out! We’re bombarded with commercials from various carriers touting their terrific 5G coverage. Verizon had a Super Bowl […]
Are Energy Stocks A Good Buy In Today’s Market?
Energy stocks are not keeping up with the S&P 500. What’s going on? MarketWatch provides a 10-year chart for XLE, an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) specializing in the energy sector. Over ten years the price dropped from $57.52 to $54.16. Macrotrends shows us the S&P has almost tripled during that same time: What happened to the energy sector? With the […]
Are Storm Clouds Brewing Without Us Realizing It?
What is the Federal Reserve up to? Do they see a huge storm on their radar they are not telling us about? The banking/investment world has changed radically since the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act allowing banks to merge with Wall Street investment firms. I recently asked, “Will The Next Bank Bailout Bankrupt America?” and followed it with “The New […]
Just The Facts Please!
With all the political hoopla going on sometimes it is hard to separate fact from fiction. In 2019 the Fed made a quick U-turn, from raising interest rates to cutting them. The stock market continues to hit all-time highs, and the drums are beating louder about when the stock market bonanza will end. Dr. Lacy Hunt is chief economist Hoisington […]
Bring The Kryptonite To Washington!
I recently asked, “Will the Next Bank Bailout Bankrupt America?”. The casino banks risky derivative bets are much higher than the last bailout a decade ago. The risks will come home to roost and they will expect taxpayers to bail them out again. I concluded: “Keep and increase your gold holdings. True reform would take us back to the gold […]
The New York Fed Would Make The Godfather Proud!
Wikipedia tells us, “In the first Godfather movie, the ‘meeting of the Dons’ scene uses the Federal Reserve building exterior.” How appropriate! This Burning Platform “Quotes of the Day” grabbed me: “When we talk about company culture in the context of financial services, the first thing that comes to mind is the risky, unethical, and sometimes criminal behavior in the […]
Will The Next Bank Bailout Bankrupt America?
Can bank bailouts bankrupt America? Why would congress let it happen? In a recent Daily Pfennig, friend Chuck Butler tells about educating his grandsons about the worst president there has ever been: “…. I couldn’t let that one slip … I explained to them that Woodrow Wilson was the all-time worst president, … culminating with, he ushered in the Federal […]
Are Real Estate Investment Trusts Safe Investments?
In a yield-starved investment world, should investors be buying Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)? Can they bring solid, safe returns? Many investors love them, while some shy away. How volatile are they? How do you evaluate them? A subscriber recently asked a good question. He purchased a subscription from one of our trusted affiliates, The Dividend Hunter. He looked at […]
Finding Sunshine In All Types Of Weather
My instrument check ride was already scheduled when I got a call from Larry, my flight instructor. He told me to come out to the airport immediately, today would be one of the best learning experiences he could offer. It was a cloudy, soppy, rainy day; nothing going on, so I drove to the airport. Larry said today we would […]
Best of Dennis – What Do You Want Your Legacy to Be?
Best of Dennis… A Note from Dennis: I’m just finishing up my break for the holidays, but will be back next week! Hope you and yours had a safe and happy New Year! This article appeared on February 25, 2016. What Do You Want Your Legacy to Be? Many years ago a friend asked, “Wouldn’t you like to be a fly […]
How Old Would You Be if You Didn’t Know the Day You Were Born?
EARLY FALL 2008 – It was my 50th high school class reunion; a good turnout with classmates from all over the country. We had fun with old friends, catching up on the last 50 years. Ray P. donated the use of his country club for the big banquet, so everyone was dressed accordingly. My wife Jo and I were seated […]
Forget About The Government Fixing Social Security
When it comes to true social security reform, forget about it. The politicos will never fix the real cause of the problem. If the Republican party tried to right the social security ship, the democrats and liberal media would roast them and they would be drummed out of office. On the other side, we hear candidates espousing more giveaway programs, […]
The Bond Market Is Nuts!
The bond market is absolutely nuts – devoid of any common sense. Back in the days when professors used chalkboards, and actually taught classes, I studied Business Economics. We learned how capital and labor come together to produce goods and services, create jobs and profits. If capital was needed, you could borrow and pay interest. Interest is the rent you […]
Are We Headed For A Market Crash?
I recently wrote “Most readers have felt … for some time, … things are just not right, yet so far, nothing horrible has happened.” Ron Paul’s recent article, Is The ‘Mother of all Bubbles’ about to Pop?, reinforces those fears: “When the New York Federal Reserve began pumping billions of dollars a day into the repurchasing (repo) markets in September, […]
Is Investing In Foreign Currency Still A Good Idea?
In 2008, I began investing in foreign currency. The Fed created trillions of dollars out of thin air, high inflation was sure to follow. With the help of friend Chuck Butler, I bought FDIC insured foreign currency Certificates of Deposit (CD) through Everbank. I also bought Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and sent money offshore; investing in stocks and bonds denominated […]
In Sickness And In Health… Till Death Do Us Part…
It’s shortly after 3:00 AM. I’m sitting at the kitchen table. My neck feels like it is on fire; a result of 30+ radiation treatments. I’ve got enough grease on my neck to lubricate the wheel bearings on an 18-wheeler with some left over. Theoretically, it helps with the pain. I unbutton my top so I can be fed through […]
The Fed’s Dilemma Is Our Problem!
Pundit Bill Bonner predicts: “Most likely, the stock market will crash sometime before the 2020 election. We can’t know when. …. The end of the stock market boom, too, is unpredictable. But each passing day brings us a day closer to when it will crash and burn.” Bonner’s prediction is in line with our 2017 article, “An Economic Showdown Is […]
Ground Hog Day Turns Into A Decade
Affiliate Link Disclosure It’s been three months since I took a break to deal with some cancer issues. As I began to catch up, it was Déjà vu…. Déjà vu… “The strange feeling that in some way you have already experienced the present situation.” Like “Ground Hog Day”, I’ve experienced the same warnings for the last decade. John Mauldin recently […]
Turning the Page
I’ve been overwhelmed with all the wonderful support and encouragement from readers in dealing with my cancer issue. Thank you all. When we received the diagnosis, we opted for an aggressive form of treatment with chemo and radiation that has a 98% probability of a cure. The other alternative had fewer side effects but drops the odds to 88%. After […]
Best of Dennis – Can Americans Really Depend on Social Security?
Best of Dennis… Dennis is recovering from his chemo/radiation treatment and hopes to be back writing soon. This article appeared on January 12, 2017. 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 […]
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
I hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July. My webmaster sent me a link to a cool website that offers some history about the Declaration of Independence as well as the full text. As I read it, I realized the message from our founding fathers is more profound than anything I planned on writing. I encourage everyone to read […]
The Most Important Job Of Parenting No One Discusses
Just before my 79th birthday, I discovered I have cancer. There is an agonizing period where medical professionals determine the type of cancer, has it spread and what options are available. Your mind goes wild while waiting for test results and the big meeting to discuss a treatment plan. During that time, I was contacted by Bruce Horovitz from Next […]
The Three-Headed Investment Bandit
There is a three-headed investment bandit lurking in the weeds looking to steal your wealth. Savvy investors must deal with them – all at the same time. First up is the safety bandit. If you invest in stocks and bonds, they can default or go down in value, robbing wealth from your nest egg. Second is the income bandit. Retirees […]
Find A Need And Fill It
Northwestern University sits on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a beautiful campus, particularly when the leaves are turning golden. I left work and drove to night school to begin the fall semester. I thought to myself, ‘I want to be an accountant, why is a marketing course required?’ Marketing 101, here I come. Professor Howard was an executive in […]
Burning The Candle At Both Ends
I was frustrated. I need solid, safe income. The bank bailouts will eventually cause high inflation. Interest rates were not keeping up. Investors, desperate for income, had few choices and the stock market was setting records. How do you invest, earn safe income while protecting your capital and buying power all at the same time? I asked that question in […]
Your Children Are Listening More Than You Realize
The world was different before the invention of effective birth control. I had three children at age 22. My wife and I were primarily raised by our grandparents – we were scared. What did we know about parenting? Dr. Benjamin Spock’s best-selling book, “Baby and Child Care” touted, “mothers know more than you think you do”. What about fathers? You […]
Hey Parker Brothers! Bankers Changed The Rules Of Your Monopoly Game.
In 1935, Parker Brothers introduced the game “Monopoly”. Wikipedia tells us: (my emphasis) “Monopoly is a board game…. Players roll…dice to move around the game board, buying and trading properties, and developing them with houses and hotels. Players collect rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them into bankruptcy. Money can also be gained or lost through […]
Will The Stock Market Protect You Against Inflation?
How do baby boomers protect their life savings from the ravages of inflation? Our recent interview with Chuck Butler got the attention of many readers. We reviewed how gold and foreign currencies performed during the high inflation Carter years. During a five-year period beginning 1/1/77, we experienced almost 60% inflation. That destroyed a lot of wealth held by seniors and […]
The Colleges Are Training Tomorrow’s Board Room Executives
Good friend Ronnie (fictitious name) has owned a popular bar near a prestigious university for decades. He has me convinced the colleges are doing a great job of preparing the executives of tomorrow. As I sipped on my iced tea, I noticed young folks in line at his cash machines waiting to withdraw cash. I asked, “why two machines?” He […]
Who Owns You?
Richard Maybury grabbed my attention: “Think about it. There are really only two choices. Either you will own you, or someone else will.” I’ve subscribed to Richard’s “U.S & World Early Warning Report” for years. I re-read the section about capitalism and socialism. Here are some tidbits: (my highlights) “Laissez-faire (less-aa-fair) is from the French laissez nous faire – leave […]
Congress Wants To Fix Social Security By Increasing Benefits?
Politicians of all flavors continually remind us social security is in danger of going bankrupt. Now our esteemed leaders want to fix it by increasing benefits. What could possibly go wrong? Newsmax Finance reports on a recent interview with former fed head (Big Al) Alan Greenspan: (my emphasis) “Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns that cuts may be needed […]
When Is Capital Preservation Not Enough?
Pundit Bill Bonner’s article about our growing government debt grabbed my attention. “…. When it comes to government debt, the borrower never pays; the feds have no money. The lenders – big banks, investment funds, well-heeled insiders – don’t want to pay. Generally, they collude with the feds to make sure the real cost is put on innocent third parties […]
Why Buy Bonds?
Realizing you are wrong about a basic belief is tough. The last two weeks we discussed “The Bond Fund Risks Your Broker Won’t Tell You” and “Closed-End Bond Funds, Friend or Foe?” We concluded holding top-rated bonds is OK – individually, not in a publicly traded fund. Fund managers, chasing high returns, take risks I’m not comfortable with. If bonds […]
Closed-End Bond Funds, Friend Or Foe?
In our article, “Is Your Money Manager Really Listening?”, subscriber Rick G. reported a bad experience when his money manager invested in a closed-end bond fund: “…. He put me in several Closed-End Bond Funds (CEFs). He said they were good deals as they were selling at a discount to Net Asset Value (NAV). Upon further research, these CEFs ALWAYS […]
The Bond Fund Risks Your Broker Won’t Tell You
Historically, funds holding investment-grade bonds have been considered a safe investment. Lending money to hundreds of well-known companies had little chance of major default and provided interest income. Has your broker mentioned new risks emerging? Bonds ratings fall into two major groups, investment grade and high yield (called junk bonds). The bond rating generally determines the interest rate borrowers have […]
What In The World Is Going On?
Is the British government going to ignore the will of their citizens and not leave the EU? The EU’s immigration policies are sparking political backlash and citizens are taking to the streets. In January, Bloomberg reported, “Mario Draghi Sounds Economic Alarm for the Euro-Area”, citing persistence of geopolitical uncertainties. What in the world is going on? It’s time to turn […]
Socialism – The Real Trickle-Down Economics
While politicos like to call tax cuts “trickle-down economics”, the real culprit is socialism. The Robin Hood theory of “steal from the rich and give to the poor” sounds noble however, in practice it doesn’t work that way. The political class tax and spend for their benefit first, then some may trickle-down to the masses. Margaret Thatcher sums up the […]
Surprise! Surprise! American Car Payment Delinquencies Set Record
Former Fed Chairs, Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke took great credit for steering the world recovery from the great recession. When something good happens, it’s a result of their masterful strategic planning. Why are they totally surprised when negative news gets reported? The Business Insider headline blared, “A record 7 million Americans have stopped paying their car loans, and even […]
Don’t Get Caught In The Fed Trap Again
The Government surprised the world in 2008 when the Fed bailed out the banks at the expense of seniors and savers. The Fed dropped interest rates to historic lows while buying U.S. treasuries and bad loans through their Quantitative Easing (QE) program. Seniors and savers lost over $4 trillion in interest income they would have normally received. The stock market […]
Will The Fed Bring Us More QE? Be Careful What You Wish For!
Mike Maloney’s video, “If You Don’t Think QE4 & QE5 Are Coming, You’re Smoking Something”, raised a red flag. The Fed did not raise rates and didn’t rule out more Quantitative Easing (QE) in the future. Mike fears QE may include bailing out companies that can’t pay their debts. QE was different Unlike historical fed interest rate adjustments, the Troubled […]
Will Gold Shine In 2019?
Several experts, who are not in the gold business, recently suggested gold will be a good investment in 2019. Zerohedge reports on David Einhorn’s annual letter to Greenlight Capital shareholders with my emphasis: “Gold – Long – U.S. debt to GDP is over 100%. The…U.S. debt has increased by over $2 trillion…. When the economy eventually slows, the deficit is […]
If Socialism Is So Good, Why Are People Moving Away?
The mainstream media is citing reports, with widely varying percentages, that many young Americans prefer socialism to capitalism – and are supporting socialist candidates. The media provides extended coverage to politicians touting socialist programs. The New York Times trumpets, “Mayor de Blasio Says Wealth Is ‘in the Wrong Hands,’ Pledges to Redistribute It.” “Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s […]
How Far Can An Apple Fall? Should You Sell or Ride It Out?
Apple was the first $1 trillion company. In May 2018 they announced a $100 billion stock buyback program. Their stock was over $225/share at the end of August. In November, Tony Daltorio, one of our panel of experts, wrote “Two Smartphone Makers Nipping at Apple’s Heels“. Apple’s stock dropped around 16% since Tony’s warning. Tony’s comments raised a huge red […]
Is Your Money Manager Really Listening?
No one cares as much about your money as you do! If a money manager doesn’t perform, they lose a client – you lose your money! Most money managers have a genuine concern for their clients however, they can make mistakes. One of the worst mistakes is not listening and understanding the needs those nearing retirement. In response to our […]
When Times Are Tough You Learn Who Is Doing Their Homework!
My broker/mentor was fond of saying; “It’s easy for investment advisors when the market is booming. When times are tough you learn who is doing their homework!” She was a veteran and the voice of experience. We looked out her office window and counted a dozen starter BMW’s in the employee parking lot. They belonged to their cadre of freshly […]
Open Letter To Larry Culp, GE’s New CEO
Dear Mr. Culp, I wish you the best in your new challenge. This Motley Fool article about your background is encouraging. Why am I writing this? During the Jack Welch era, GE contracted with my training company, Value Selling. GE’s needs were different. Jack’s vision was clear. Each business was required to grow market share and improve their profit margins […]
Looking For Solid Dividend Payers? What Should We Expect in 2019?
When the Fed bailed out the banks at the expense of seniors and savers, interest rates tanked while investors sought out solid dividend-paying stocks. Interest rates are now rising, and the Fed remains hell-bent with continuing their aggressive monetary policies. Many pundits predict the market is due for a major correction. With a new Congress, there is much uncertainty on […]
A Priceless Christmas Gift
During the holidays I generally share mentoring ideas. A top article, in terms of positive reader feedback, appeared three years ago. As we have quadrupled our readers since then, my wife Jo suggested I update it – the message is timeless. We recently celebrated our 60th high school class reunion. I love to meet old friends and play catch up, […]
Something Positive For The Holidays
I was in a quandary. Around the holidays I like to write upbeat articles about life and get away from the political melodrama and investment concerns. If I can’t come up with ideas, I sleep on it. Magically, in the middle of the night, an idea pops up. It didn’t happen this time! I got up, punched the button on […]
What Should Investors Expect In 2019
With our current political climate, the EU punishing Britain for Brexit, tariffs, trade wars, the Fed raising rates, record government deficits and whatever hysteria the media can create – the crystal ball is full of clutter. How should investors approach 2019? We’ve assembled a terrific group of highly regarded experts with excellent track records. Readers want me to use them […]
When The Music Stops, Who Gets Stuck With The Bad Loans?
The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. Higher rates = higher monthly payments = more defaults. Who will get stuck with bad loans? Wolf Street recently interviewed Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the country: “We knew ‘free money would inevitably end. Affordability would become an issue…’ The double whammy are rising costs for highly leveraged […]
Is An Offshore Account Safe?
In response to our recent article about investing offshore, many readers asked for more information. They expressed many concerns, particularly about safety. Jamie Virjhof, Relationship Manager of Weber Hartmann Virjhof & Partners Ltd. recently interviewed me and addressed those concerns. I have permission to share it with our readers. Is International Diversification really necessary? Dennis Miller’s recent article, “Should Investors […]
Do Investors Need Stop Losses?
The market is bouncing up and down like Marqeus Haynes dribbled a basketball. Are stop losses necessary? Investors are edgy. Money and Markets reports – “Alarming Survey: Record Number of Fund Managers More Bearish than 08 Crisis”. “…. Bank of America’s monthly survey…is warning investors to take caution and heed the market’s warning signs. …investors managing about $646 billion in […]
Is The Fed Engineering A Market Crash?
Can the Fed cause a market crash? In 2017 Fed Chair Janet Yellen reassured us: “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 our lifetimes and I don’t believe it will be. …. The […]
Should We Worry About Government Deficit?
If our elected leaders are not concerned about the government deficit, should the citizens be worried? Governments worldwide spend more than their total revenue and borrow to make up the difference. The U.S. Debt Clock shows the US federal debt to be $21.6 trillion, averaging $177,283 per taxpayer. The government now pays interest on $21.6 trillion. Below is a graph […]
How Do You Pick Good Investments Out of Newsletters?
When David Galland approached me about writing an investment newsletter, I said, “I’m not a stock picker, I try to pick them out of newsletters. Sometimes I even screw that up!”. David asked me to explain. Expensive lessons In the late 1990’s I self-managed our retirement fund. The market soared; between 1995-2000 the S&P went from 500 to 1500. I […]
Should Investors Have Money Offshore?
A friend asked why I have an offshore account. I countered, “Do you REALLY trust the government?” He felt the Fed saved us in 2008 with their Quantitative Easing (QE). The economy is great, and employment is rising. Ten years after the massive bank bailouts, let’s take a closer look at who was really saved. The government’s priorities are clear! […]
Rolled Your 401k Into A Self-Directed IRA? What Comes Next?
Today I can fess up to a secret… Lou Betancourt, founder and president of Street Authority contacted me. I was flattered when someone as highly respected as Lou asked for permission to publish some of our articles. Street Authority has several subscription investment publications and a mailing list 100+ times bigger than our little publication. I’d love to have them […]
Failing To Check A Simple Box Can Destroy Your Retirement Dreams
October 2008 Bob and Ray were close friends; both retired and lived across the street from one another. One fateful morning, each took their coffee into the den, flipped on the computer and checked their brokerage account. As the data popped up, they both did a double take…. “What the heck is going on?” Overnight their lives changed dramatically! Like […]
Investors Beware Of Central Bank Deception!
Chuck Butler’s recent Dow Theory Letter article (behind paywall), “Central Bank Frustrations” was an eye-opener. Chuck removes any illusions about “trusting” central bankers. He quotes former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: “Given the fundamental factors in place that should support the demand for housing, we believe the effect of the troubles in the subprime sector on the broader housing market will […]
Wall Street Ignores Corporate Earnings Deception – Don’t Get Burned!
Diogenes would have a tough time finding an honest man announcing corporate earnings. In my article, Pepsi-Cola Hits The Spot?, I outlined how Pepsi trumpeted sales and profit increases, yet both actually declined. Investors have a difficult challenge managing their life savings dealing with phony, deceptive data. Corporate America blares misleading headline numbers hoping to drive up their stock prices […]
A Nice Little House With A White Picket Fence
I was a senior, Sally was a freshman. We would hold hands and walk to the small lake on the other side of her family’s farm. The bank was angled, and we would lean back and stare at the distant sky and cloud formations. Sally (Name is changed but the story is real) was my high school sweetheart who I […]
Is Filing For Bankruptcy Right For You?
A New York Times (NYT) headline blared, “Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans”. They reference a Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP) study, “Graying of U.S. Bankruptcy: Fallout from Life in a Risk Society”: “For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy. …. Driving the […]
What Happens When You Discover A Flaw in Your Retirement Plan After You Retire?
Millions of baby boomers and seniors are now discovering their retirement nest egg is not delivering like they anticipated. Unless you have a well-funded pension, your income projections are not being met. Why? Was there a mistake in the plan? What can be done once they have left the workforce? We hear a lot of political talk about “The rich […]
Walk Softly – Big Brother Wields A Big Stick
People move about the world for different reasons; climate, health, employment, family and to escape for a better life. Our forefathers risked their lives for a dream of a brighter future. Legendary golfer Phil Mickelson, a California native, complained about the state having the highest taxes in the nation and he was (gasp!) considering moving to a more tax-friendly jurisdiction. […]
It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark!
“Oh my gosh”, my wife Jo exclaimed. “He’s walking right toward us!” He smiled, extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Ron Paul.” I smiled, shook his hand, and introduced myself and my wife. I was the oddball when I wrote for Casey Research. I was surrounded by legendary newsletter pundits and heavy-duty researchers. I was a 73-year-old retiree, writing […]
OK, I’m Debt Free – Now What?
I recently interviewed, Aja McClanahan, who told us how she and her husband built a plan that took seven years to pay off $120,000 in debt. At a young age, they are now debt-free! While they should celebrate, becoming debt-free is just one major milestone in a longer journey. It’s exciting and frustrating to finally get to the top of […]
Will Your Nest Egg Suffer Collateral Damage In A Trade War?
The politically motivated press is having a heyday with the Trump Tariffs and ensuing trade war. Trump calls it negotiations while much of the media predicts Armageddon. How does an individual investor sort through all the media hype, separate facts from hyperbole, and protect their life savings? Good friend Jeff Clark’s recent article, “The Russians Are Coming! The Gold/Treasury Inversion […]
Savvy Investor Don’t Get Fooled
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! – Walter Scott When I taught in night school my professor insisted I attend a full-day conference on “Effective Teaching Methods”. The speaker list was full of well accredited academics. The morning consisted of 3-4 speakers outlining their intellectual theories. They rambled on, under the illusion the […]
Rubbers, Runways, Robbers & Rewards
Consumers love rewards programs, whether it’s cash back, free miles or a free dessert at their local eatery. They’re generally a tit-for-tat, you do business with them and they reward you for doing so. Our article, “Does Government Debt Really Matter?” generated interesting responses. Subscriber Bob O. lamented how our government is borrowing billions and wasting it. He sent a […]
We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident…
I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July. My webmaster sent me a link to a cool website that offers some history about the declaration of independence as well as the full text. As I read it, I realized the message from our founding fathers is more profound than anything I planned on writing. I encourage everyone to read the […]
Are Investors Trapped?
During the season, the waters in the Florida Keys are decorated with various colored buoys attached to lobster traps. The symbols are akin to branding cattle. Don’t even think about rustling lobster from someone else’s trap! You could end up in the middle of the ocean with a sinking boat full of bullet holes. Lobster fishing is different. Maine Lobster […]
Some Young People Are Catching On!
The Cambridge University computer crashed when famous physicist, Steven Hawking published his doctoral thesis. He says, “Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young Ph.D. student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein.” “Each generation goes further than the generation […]
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 […]
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 […]
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….” […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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. […]
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… […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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’ […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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? […]
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 […]
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: […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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”. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]