Personal Finance Blog for Retirement and Investment Advice

Shaky Economy Stressing You Out? Here’s What to Do…

Feeling like a deer in the headlights right now? You’re not alone! Soaring inflation, stock market crashing, a pandemic that just won’t go away – and the only light at the end of the tunnel looks like the oncoming train of recession! We’re all getting squeezed from both ends…

It’s costing you 60% more than last year to fill up your gas tank.

Last month, you thought about buying a new home. This month mortgage rates have priced you totally out of the market.

Global supply chain glitches mean that things you bought all the time are almost impossible to find. (Seriously, a sriracha hot sauce shortage?!?)

Your low-interest charge cards are projected to average 20% in a couple of months – and the high-interest rate ones will be off the charts.

A few months ago, you were sitting on your big, juicy 401(k) or IRA and thinking of early retirement. Now, you’re praying they’ll let you keep your job when you’re 82.

Not long ago, you looked at your retirement account balance and felt euphoric. A humongous asteroid could be heading toward earth and the market would still go up! I can relate.

I remember a time when my husband, Larry, and I had most of our retirement savings in the market. We were checking our account every day because it was growing by leaps and bounds. We’d high-five each other and do our happy dance singing, “We’re rich! We’re rich!”

That was in 2000, right before the dot-com bubble burst. Within days, we lost not only all of our “gains” but also a good chunk of our original investment!

What Hit Us Like a Ton of Bricks is That We’d Been Suckered Into Thinking We Had Real Wealth and Financial Security…

But that was just a fairy tale. Those eye-popping numbers turned out to be as substantial as cotton candy in a rainstorm.

Neighbors of ours faced a similar disaster. In early 2008, house prices skyrocketed. Everybody rushed to refinance and pull out their equity. Our neighbors’ house (almost identical to ours) had appraised for nearly 50% more than our last appraisal, so they put it on the market. Three months later, no one had even looked at the house, let alone made an offer.

Two years later, the bank foreclosed on it.

The point is that until you sell an asset, whether it’s a stock, mutual fund, a commodity, cryptocurrency, or real estate, your “gains” aren’t real. They’re a pipe dream that can become a nightmare in the time it takes to brush your teeth. There’s a huge difference between paper wealth and real wealth. Yet, we still get sucked into the paper fantasy.

Your high blood pressure right now is justified. As humans, our natural impulse when everything hits the fan is FIGHT (but how can you fight conditions that are totally out of your control?!?), FLIGHT (but how can you escape from issues that are hitting every country in the world?!?), or FREEZE (just keep in mind that it never works out well for the deer).

You know the most irritating thing about this? YOU DID EVERYTHING RIGHT! You worked hard and put money into your retirement plan. You talked to “experts” and created a financial plan that you followed diligently. You had it all under control.

Except You Didn’t.

You can’t control the economy or what the Fed, in its infinite wisdom, decides to do next. You can’t control Wall Street and the panic of investors and day traders. You can’t control a crazy, brutal invasion in Europe that turns the global economy on its ear.

So, What Can You Do When it Feels Like So Many Things Are Out of Your Control?

I get why you might not want to make big changes to your financial plan right now. But I also know that you don’t need to just grit your teeth, tighten your belt, and bear it.

Now is the perfect time to get information, to do some research and figure out how you can avoid getting clobbered financially in the future.

The most important action you can take today is the first step. And once you do that, you’ll feel more in control and relieved knowing that you have options. As Martin Luther King said:

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”

Use this time to look into the Bank On Yourself safe wealth-building strategy and see if it’s a good option for you in the future. A Bank On Yourself Professional can answer all your questions and show how it works to protect you from whatever life throws at you. No arm-twisting and no obligation – really!

When you request a free Analysis here right now, you’ll discover how you could enjoy:

  • Real wealth and security – both your principal and gains are locked in and you’ll never go backwards – this strategy has a 160+ year track record of positive growth
  • How to get the equivalent of a 7%+ annual return in a 401(k) or IRA – without the risk or volatility
  • Annual increases that are guaranteed to grow by a larger dollar amount every year – no matter what the markets do
  • Tax-free retirement income (under current tax law) protecting you against the inevitable higher tax rates in the future
  • Fast access to cash whenever and for whatever you need – with no penalties and no questions asked! (Try doing that with your 401(k) or IRA)
  • A way to eliminate high-interest debt
  • A safe, predictable retirement plan alternative that lets you know the minimum guaranteed value of your savings on the day you plan to tap into them and at every point along the way
  • A way to guarantee you’ll never run out of money even if you live to 120 or beyond!
  • 8 places to find the money to build a solid financial foundation

As Winston Churchill said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Put this time to good use and take the first step towards taking back control of your financial future.

Request a free, no-obligation Analysis here right now:Request Your Free Personal Finance Analysis

You have nothing to lose and a world of financial security to gain.

How to Shield Yourself from Market Volatility, Inflation and Interest Rate Woes

Stock market volatility has returned with a vengeance, as this chart of the Dow over the last 3 months starkly illustrates.

We’re facing a whirlwind of economic challenges we have little or no control over. Here are the top 5 currently contributing to the volatility:

Challenge #1: Inflation has hit a 40-year high

That’s hammering consumers, wiping out pay raises, and reinforcing the Federal Reserve’s decision to rip off the band-aid and raise borrowing rates multiple times this year alone, which some economists fear will trigger a recession.

Challenge #2: The pandemic and rock bottom interest rates pushed home prices up at a head-spinning rate

But now, with mortgage rates up and about to go higher, demand waning, and the average home buyer priced out of the market, experts are predicting the housing market is in for some pain. “A decline of 15%-20% (in single-family home prices) seems likely,” according to real estate market expert Gary Shilling, who has been very accurate in his predictions.

Challenge #3: Meanwhile, household debt has hit a new high

Just as Americans returned to pre-pandemic spending habits and savings rates have plunged.

Challenge #4: This is all happening as interest rates on almost everything have soared… except on savings accounts….

Higher interest rates on debt will only make it more difficult and painful for consumers and our country to pay down debt.

Challenge #5: Russia has waged war on Ukraine

This has roiled markets, raised fears and is likely to have far-ranging repercussions.

Compounding these challenges is the fact that many people were lulled into a false sense of security, believing that the stock market and home prices only go up and interest rates and inflation would stay low forever.

Many have forgotten the lessons learned during the last two market crashes that wiped out 50% or more of the average investors’ life savings and caused unimaginable pain for tens of millions of people…

Lesson #1: There is an enormous difference between “paper wealth” and “real wealth” – the surge in value of your retirement accounts and your home is an illusion – just a bunch of eye-popping numbers on paper. Those numbers repeatedly sucker many of us into believing we have real wealth and financial security when we do not.

Reality: You don’t lock in a profit until you sell an investment. And you shouldn’t have to worry about when the next market crash will come and turn your retirement dreams into a nightmare.

Lesson #2: Having an emergency fund equal to 3 or even 6 months of your expenses won’t come even close to cutting it. Most Americans invest rather than save. As a result, surveys show most people can’t come up with the money to cover even a relatively small, unexpected expense. A major emergency can devastate them.

Reality: The secret to enjoying a financially stress-free life is to have a solid foundation of safe and liquid cash reserves you can use for emergencies and opportunities equal to at least two years of your household expenses.

Lesson #3: Your banker is not your friend (even if you golfed together every week for years). As Mark Twain noted…

“A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.”

Reality: Banks and finance companies can (and do) jack up your interest rates and shut down your credit lines with no notice. They charge you outrageous interest rates while paying you so little on your savings accounts and CDs that you need a magnifying glass to see it.

Learn how to fire banks and credit card companies and become your own source of financing here.

How Do You Gain Control of Your Finances and Position Yourself for Success – No Matter What’s Happening in the Markets or the Economy?

Here are 5 ways the Bank On Yourself safe wealth-building strategy is the Swiss Army knife of financial planning strategies…

Benefit #1: Vacations are for people, not for your retirement savings. A Bank On Yourself plan doesn’t skip a beat when the stock or real estate markets crash. Bank On Yourself has a 160-year-plus track record of guaranteed, predictable growth – with no luck, skill, or guesswork required. And your plan is guaranteed to grow by a larger dollar amount every single year.

Want to find out what your guaranteed bottom-line numbers and results could be if you added the Bank On Yourself safe wealth-building method to your financial plan? Just request your free, no-obligation Analysis now.

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Benefit #2: Adding Bank On Yourself to your financial plan lets you fire greedy bankers and finance companies and become your own source of financing, gaining access to money whenever and for whatever you wantno questions asked.

Benefit #3: You don’t have to liquidate your retirement savings or any other asset to get your hands on money for emergencies or opportunities. Plus, you can use that money, and your plan can continue growing as though you never touched a dime of it (if your plan is from one of a handful of companies that offer this feature).

Benefit #4: Bank On Yourself helps protect you from inflation in three ways, as explained here.

Benefit #5: The Bank On Yourself strategy is an unbeatable place for money you need to keep safe and liquid and for money that you can’t afford to lose, whether that be money you’re saving for retirement or for a college education. Your growth is guaranteed and beats savings and money market accounts and CDs by a country mile. Having money safe and liquid doesn’t take away your options – it only gives you more flexibility and control.

Find Out Today How the Bank On Yourself Safe Wealth-Building Strategy Gives You an Unbeatable Combination of Advantages and Guarantees

It’s easy to find out what your guaranteed, bottom-line results could be if you added Bank On Yourself to your financial plan. Just request your free Analysis here now. You’ll get a referral to a Bank On Yourself Professional with advanced training on safe wealth-building strategies who can answer all your questions.

The biggest regret most people say they have about the Bank On Yourself strategy is that they didn’t get started sooner. Don’t let your inaction turn your retirement dreams into retirement nightmares. Take the next step towards economic sanity today by clicking this button:

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Trading a Pension for Tension: Why You Need a Safe Money, Guaranteed Income Strategy for Retirement

Today, as you try to figure out a safe money retirement income strategy, you’ve got a lot to consider:

  • The market goes up, and the market goes down. Will it be down when you need to sell some of the assets in your retirement fund? How can you control your financial future when Wall Street is absolutely unpredictable?
  • What about inflation and taxes? What if you put your money into safe CDs, only to get clobbered by inflation? Will higher taxes give you less money to spend in retirement – just when the cost of everything is going up due to increasing inflation?
  • How can you plan your withdrawals if you can’t know for sure how long you’ll live? Over the last century, life expectancy in this country has mostly gone up. How can you be sure your retirement savings won’t run out before you do? And what’s your Plan B if your money does run out?

If you don’t have answers to these questions, join the club! These are the challenges we all face when planning for our retirement, but there are proven strategies that can guarantee you can put these challenges behind you. [Read more…] “Trading a Pension for Tension: Why You Need a Safe Money, Guaranteed Income Strategy for Retirement”

7 Ways to Catch Up if You’re Late on Retirement Savings

Experts like Fidelity Investments recommend you save at least 10 times your salary by your 67th birthday if you want to have a comfortable retirement. Supplemented with Social Security, this may be enough to cover your expenses through an average life expectancy.

Those numbers account for increasing income and compound interest as you age. An on-time retirement savings looks like this:

  • 1x your salary saved by age 30
  • 3x your salary saved by age 40
  • 6x your salary saved by age 60
  • 10x your salary saved by age 67

If you’re on track, fantastic. If you’re late, you have some catching up to do.  If you haven’t set up a personal budget, make that the first thing you do. Once that’s in order, you’ll be able to implement the strategies below to get ready for your golden years…

1. Adjust Your Retirement Age

[Read more…] “7 Ways to Catch Up if You’re Late on Retirement Savings”

How to Avoid Depleting Your Retirement Nest Egg

The #1 retirement fear of Americans is running out of money. AARP reports that 50% of Americans share that fear.

And with good reason, because the average 65-year-old (the average retirement age in the US is 61) will outlive his or her savings by almost a decade, according to the World Economic Forum. Unfortunately, many will be forced to choose between putting food on the table or paying for life-saving medicine and may end up being dependent on their children.

We spend our working years hustling to build up our retirement nest egg. We assume that when we retire, we’ll supplement Social Security by withdrawing some of the principal. But no one can give us surefire guidance on how much we can safely take from our nest egg each year. In fact, William Sharpe, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, said retirement income planning is “the hardest and nastiest problem in finance.”

How long will your money last in retirement?

[Read more…] “How to Avoid Depleting Your Retirement Nest Egg”

Retirement Plan Unpredictability is a Major Wealth Killer

I have written at length about my research into the wealth-killing traps of 401(k)s, IRAs, 403(b)s, and Roth plans… and how to avoid them.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the trap of retirement plan unpredictability, and I’ll start by asking you a critical question:

Do you know what the value of your retirement account(s) will be on the day you plan to tap into them… and in 20 or 30 years?

If your answer to that question is “no,” then you don’t have a plan – you’re gambling.

Yet isn’t the money you’ve earmarked for retirement money you can’t afford to lose? On top of all of life’s stresses, do you really want to have to worry about when the next market crash could wipe out 50% or more of your life’s savings – as has happened twice just since the year 2000?

Market Volatility Has Proven to be a Cause of Health Problems and Even Early Death

[Read more…] “Retirement Plan Unpredictability is a Major Wealth Killer”

Tax Deferral is a Scam and Here’s Proof

Tax deferral is a con, and I’m going to prove it to you.

Actually, I’m going to let you prove it to yourself, with this 5-second experiment.

The conventional wisdom says, “Maximize your contributions to tax-deferred plans, like 401(k)s, IRAs and 403(b)s. Your money compounds without being reduced by taxes, and you’ll end up with more money during retirement.”

But is it really true?

The Society of Actuaries says that if the tax rates are the same, “It doesn’t make any difference whether [the taxes] are taken away from you at the beginning (tax-exempt) or at the end (tax-deferred). It’s the same fraction of your money that is left to you.”

But most people look at their savings and think it’s all theirs. You may have forgotten you’ll owe the IRS the taxes you deferred all those years – on every penny you’ve put in and every penny of growth.

If the tax rates miraculously manage to be lower during your retirement, you might come out ahead by deferring your taxes. But where do you think tax rates are headed long term? You must consider what tax rates might be during a retirement that could last 30+ years. [Read more…] “Tax Deferral is a Scam and Here’s Proof”

When Does Taxation Become Theft?

In his first 100 days in office, President Biden unveiled three colossal spending packages earning him the nickname, “The Six Trillion Dollar Man.”

Biden and Congress are just getting started with the most massive expansion of government since FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression. Apparently, it’s desperately needed, even though the pandemic-caused recession is over.

This is a government that is notorious for wasting hundreds of billions of our hard-earned dollars every year. Think $518,000 to study how cocaine affects the mating habits of Japanese quails, $998,798 to ship two 19-cent washers from one state to another… and the list goes on. You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!

And let’s not forget this is a government with a long history of not being able to make much of a dent in controlling fraud and abuse. The government admits that more than $134 billion of improper Medicare and Medicaid payments were made in 2020 alone – and that’s just one government agency. [Read more…] “When Does Taxation Become Theft?”

6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Taxmageddon

Updated March, 2022

Our national debt now exceeds the size of the entire U.S. economy, doubling just in the last decade. And it’s growing at a rate that will make your head spin, as a quick glance at the U.S. Debt Clock reveals:


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says this deserves attention because…

Americans will be paying for this for decades.”

Which Means that Higher Taxes are Inevitable and You Must Take Action TODAY to Protect Yourself from the Coming Tax Tsunami!

And the reality is that they can’t possibly raise enough revenue taxing just the “wealthy.”

Did you know that, according to the most recent data available, if you make $69,007 or more, you’re in the top 25% of wage earners? And if you make $118,400 or more, you’re in the top 10%.

As nice as it may sound to be in the top 10% or even the top 25%, it also means you’ve got a giant target on your back when the government is looking for more revenue to cover its obligations.

There are little-known, but legal ways to protect yourself from this tax tsunami, under current tax law. This article explains what you need to do today to shield yourself from some very unpleasant tax surprises down the road.

(Download a FREE Special Report that Reveals How to Bypass Banks and Wall Street, Gain Control of Your Money and Shield Yourself from the Coming Tax Tsunami) [Read more…] “6 Ways to Protect Yourself from Taxmageddon”

How to Trade In Your 401(k) for an Increasing Guaranteed Income for Life

Jason is 53 years old and just changed jobs. He’s facing two retirement planning dilemmas…

  1. He has $830,000 in his 401(k) from his previous job and wants to move it where it gives him more guarantees that he and his wife, Julie, won’t outlive their money in retirement.
  2. He had been putting $19,000 a year into his old 401(k) and wants to continue socking away that much. But in the last couple of years he experienced several downsides to 401(k)s that have soured him on the idea of continuing down that path.

The Five 401(k) Drawbacks Jason Discovered…

Drawback #1: When the pandemic hit, Jason’s employer stopped doing any matching contributions, which had been a big incentive for him. He’d forgotten the employer match isn’t guaranteed.

Drawback #2: As Jason gets closer to retiring, he has much less of an appetite for risk and volatility. What if the market crashes again shortly before he plans to retire in 14 years at age 67?

He’d been saving diligently in a 401(k) for 29 years already, and his average annual return had been less than 6%! Sheesh! All those sleepless nights and heart-stopping crashes… for less than 6% a year?!? He wondered if a monkey throwing darts couldn’t have done better than that… [Read more…] “How to Trade In Your 401(k) for an Increasing Guaranteed Income for Life”