Personal Finance Blog for Retirement and Investment Advice

6 Costly Retirement Plan Traps and How to Avoid Them

If you’re like most people I talk to, you’re making several critical mistakes with your retirement accounts.

These mistakes could cost you literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

But what’s worse is how these retirement plan traps can cost you your family’s well-being, and mean the difference between having to struggle to get by during what should be your golden years … and being able to enjoy life’s luxuries.

With all the economic uncertainties and worldwide turmoil that have been churning the markets, it is vitally important that you know how to avoid these costly retirement plan pitfalls today.

That’s why I’m urging you to join me and our Director of Education, Lee McIntyre, on Thursday, October 8th for this special online event. You’ll discover which retirement plan mistakes you are making and how to avoid them.

Space on this online event is limited, and there is no cost to attend. So lock in your spot here right now.

Here’s What You’ll Discover During This Online Event…

  • Studies show that the fees in your retirement account – including hidden fees – can easily devour 23%-37% of your hard-earned savings. We’ll show you how to slash those fees, which could add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your nest-egg
  • Deferring taxes in a 401(k) or IRA is just like postponing a visit to the dentist, especially since many people believe tax rates can only go up over the long term. We’ll reveal how to move toward a 0% tax bracket in retirement – but not by doing it the way most people do, which is by being broke!
  • How to be in control of your retirement savings – rather than having to beg for permission to use your own money!
  • Do you know the value of your retirement account on the day you plan to tap into it? If not, you don’t have a plan! Discover how to know the minimum guaranteed value of your plan on the day you want to tap into it … and at every point along the way
  • How to enjoy Push-Button Financial Security, so you can spend more time doing things you enjoy, rather than worrying about whether your money will last as long as you do

The information we’ll reveal in this online event is critically important to your financial security.

And we’ll be giving away an Apple Watch, an iPad Air and other valuable gifts. We’ll be giving away one gift right at the start (so get there on time), and another after the Q&A. And we’ll be awarding several others throughout the event.

Anyone can win these gifts, but you have to be there LIVE. (There is no replay planned at this time.)

This online event is absolutely free, and will take place on Thursday, October 8, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern (1:00 p.m. Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 a.m. Pacific). Please block off at least 75 minutes.

This is important: This online event is limited to just 1,000 participants, and I fully expect those spots to be snapped up quickly, because this invitation is being sent to nearly 100,000 subscribers to this newsletter.

So lock in your spot here right now.


Lee and I are really looking forward to being with you on October 8!

Know someone who might like to attend this event? Just send them this link!

Vacations are for People, NOT Your Retirement Plan

Do you remember how much value the stock market lost in the crashes of 2000 and 2007? I’m talking about what percent the market lost during each of those crashes.

If you’re not sure, take a guess before you read on.

The tech crash happened just 15 years ago. The S&P 500 lost 49% from March, 2000 to October, 2002. Many investors – myself included – had moved their money into NASDAQ tech stocks, which plunged 78% during that same 2-1/2-year period.

Then the S&P 500 peaked again in 2007 – just a few years later. By March of 2009, it had plunged 57%.

That makes two heart-stopping losses of more than 49% just in the last 15 years. [Read more…]

The REAL Reason Forbes Got Too Scared to Publish the Article They Asked Pamela Yellen to Write

As you can probably imagine, I felt honored when Forbes asked me to write an article for them. Wouldn’t you be flattered if Forbes wanted you to write an article?

It was one of their regular columnists who requested the article, who I’ve called “Pat” to protect the guilty.

Pat had asked me to answer ten questions for publication. The questions indicated Pat knew I have a contrarian take on Wall Street and that I’m a consumer advocate.

I was eager to answer Pat’s questions and tell the world about the scams in the mutual fund industry and expose the wealth-killing truths about 401(k)s and IRAs.

And I supported every statement I made with impeccable and unimpeachable sources, from Morningstar to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But two days after receiving my article, Pat declined to run it “because there’s just too much controversy.”

So I Published the Article Myself

[Read more…]

The Article Forbes Asked Pamela Yellen to Write – But Got Too Scared to Publish

Recently I was asked to write a full-length article for the Forbes website by one of their regular columnists, who I’ll call “Pat” to protect the guilty.

Pat had taken my Financial IQ Quiz and found it very insightful. So Pat asked me to answer ten questions in writing for publication in Pat’s column.

The questions indicated Pat knew full well that I have a contrarian take on Wall Street and that I’m an advocate for consumers and investors.

They included questions like…

  • “What are some of the scams in the mutual fund industry?”
  • “What’s the shocking truth about 401(k)s and IRAs?”
  • “How can investors protect themselves?”

So I painstakingly answered Pat’s questions, supporting each statement with highly credible, unimpeachable sources including Morningstar, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Government Accounting Office and the Department of Labor.

As requested, I made no mention of Bank On Yourself or the asset it is based on (super-charged dividend-paying whole life insurance).

About two days later, Pat thanked me for sending the article, but declined to run it “because there’s just too much controversy” surrounding my work.

Pat even suggested I repurpose the content for my blog (a good case for “be careful what you wish for”…).

So below are Pat’s questions with my answers in full, which I think you’ll find very interesting. Some of these questions I’ve never addressed publicly before. (Check out question #5 about “what mutual funds do you recommend?”) [Read more…]

A 9.94% Annual Return Without Market Risk? [Video Proof]

What if I told you that it’s possible to get an annual return of nearly 10% – without the risk of stocks, real estate or other volatile investments?

Watch the Video above to see proof of the return of Bank On Yourself (then click on the icon in the lower right to enlarge)

I’m pretty sure you’d wonder what I’ve been smoking!

But I’m going to prove to you how the Bank On Yourself method has achieved that kind of return over the last half century.

To quickly recap, Bank On Yourself relies on a super-charged variation of an asset that has increased in value every single year for more than 160 years – dividend-paying whole life insurance. It’s never had a losing year – EVER. [Read more…]

Get all your questions about Bank On Yourself answered – Live Webinar

You’ve been reading about Bank On Yourself. You may have thought about trying the program. But you might have questions like…

  • “I don’t totally get how the concept works.”
  • “How can I be sure this is really legitimate?”
  • “Could this really work for me in my situation? How can I find out, without actually meeting with an Advisor or feeling obligated?”

That’s why I’d like to invite you to join me and three of the most experienced Bank On Yourself Authorized Advisors in the country (learn why only 200 Advisors have met the rigorous requirements) for a no-holds-barred online event where you can get all your questions answered anonymously.

Space on this online event is limited, so reserve your spot here now. [Read more…]

5 Financial Myths that Are Destroying Your Wealth

The problem isn’t so much what people don’t know, the problem is what people think they know that just ain’t so.”
— Will Rogers

Remember when you were absolutely certain about something that turned out to be false? Like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Or how about the witch that hides under your bed waiting to attack so you have to flip the light switch then spring into your bed before she gets you? (Okay, maybe that one’s just me.)

In honor of National Financial Literacy Month, let me just debunk a few “things you know that just ain’t so”:

1. You’ll come out ahead by deferring your taxes, and that’s one of the prime benefits of retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs

[Read more…]

Why a Little Financial Information is Dangerous

Just cuz you’re following a well-marked trail doesn’t mean that whoever made it knew where they were goin’.”
— Texas Bix Bender

I respect people who are self-educated, and I respect people who continue to educate themselves about various topics, even after they’ve finished their degrees. As legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really matters.”

That said, a little financial self-education can go a long way – toward completely destroying your financial future!

Why? Because when you cobble together your financial education with bits and pieces of advice you see on the internet, read in articles or hear on TV, you’re not really building a strong foundation of financial literacy. It’s like that old story of the 12 blind monks and the elephant. Each monk felt a different part of the elephant and used just that part to figure out what the whole animal looked like!

So one blind monk tells you to pay off all your credit debt ASAP, while another tells you that you need to build up a rainy day fund. One insists that you max out your 401(k), while another says to secure your future by paying off your mortgage. And the blind monk standing at the elephant’s tail thinks the economy stinks – so you need to get yourself a stash of precious metals!

When it comes to personal finances, you really need to see the whole elephant

[Read more…]

The Checklist: What You Need to Know Before You Commit to a Financial Product or Plan

People are quick to dispense advice on any subject, regardless of their qualifications. Most people don’t even distinguish between ‘opinion’ and ‘knowledge’. That’s why you must.”
— Dan Kennedy

Your Uncle Vinnie corners you at the Sunday barbeque: “You got to get on board! It’s like buying into Microsoft in the ’80’s.” Your dentist tells you to open wide and “You gotta check out this once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s the mother lode!” Your golf buddy swears she’s found the “ultimate tax shelter.” Your advisor calls with an exciting new financial product “that will get you 15% plus annual returns with little or no risk!”

Whatcha gonna do?

Hey, I’ve spent 25 years investigating over 450 financial products and vehicles. The research was intense and required sleuthing skills that probably qualify me for CSI. I can tell you that, though these products were sparkly and seductive on paper, 99.9% of them didn’t stand up to scrutiny!

I’m guessing you don’t have the time or inclination to put in that kind of effort. But to protect your family’s financial future, you need to get answers to at least a few basic questions before you (and your money) jump in: [Read more…]