Savings Rate Falls to 10-Year Low

Americans are saving much less and spending more – even though their real disposable incomes are unchanged.

The savings rate just fell to a 10-year low of 3.1%, according to the Commerce Department.

What’s most worrisome to economists is that savings rates below 4% occurred before the last two major market crashes, as people felt what turned out to be a false sense of security, due to rising stock prices and/or home values.

Looks like it’s déjà vu all over again…

I recently wrote how the current bull market is the second longest in modern history. If it manages to last until summer, it will become the longest-running bull market at 9½ years.

A bull market has never made it to its 10th birthday.

In addition, historically, the longer a bull market lasts, the harder and deeper it crashes.

Which indicates the optimism that’s caused Americans to save less and spend more is misplaced. And, to take a line from the movie Grease, that means a lot of people are cruisin’ for a bruisin’.

The vast majority of Americans have little or no savings outside their retirement accounts, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances.

If that describes you, and you haven’t built a solid financial foundation to help you weather the challenges life invariably throws you, you’re taking an enormous gamble.

Without significant safe and liquid cash reserves, how will you cope with a medical emergency… disability… broken major appliance… loss of a job… or a family member needing assistance?

A Lack of Cash Reserves is a Recipe for Financial Stress and INsecurity!

So what’s the solution?

Like much of the conventional financial “wisdom,” the standard advice of having a rainy-day fund equal to three to six months of household expenses won’t cut it. In the last recession, millions who lost their jobs remained unemployed for over a year, or even two.

To have real financial security, you must have safe and liquid cash reserves equal to two years of household income.

But first let’s nail down the definition of liquidity. It’s money you can get your hands on:

  • When you need it
  • For whatever you need
  • Without begging for it or applying for it
  • With no penalties for accessing it and no restrictions
  • Without sustaining a loss

That short list of requirements rules out most financial vehicles. But by joining the Bank On Yourself Revolution, you get all those advantages, plus:

  • It’s an asset that has grown in value every single year for more than 160 years (including during the Great Depression)
  • Growth that historically has beaten savings and money market accounts and CDs by a country mile (you’d have to get at least a 5-6% annual return in a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k) to equal the long-term return of a Bank On Yourself plan)
  • You aren’t required to liquidate or sell income-producing assets to get cash
  • You can use your money and have it continue growing as though you hadn’t touched it (if your policy is from one of the handful of companies that offer this feature)

Find Out Why a Bank On Yourself Plan is the Very Best Place for Money You Need to Keep Safe and Liquid

There are a couple things you can be sure of: Bull markets come to an end, and the crash and recovery can be long and painful. Investing is what you do only with money you can afford to lose – because you very well might lose it!

And in life, you can always expect the unexpected. Whether it’s a critical emergency that hits or a positive opportunity that comes your way, you want to be ready for anything life has in store.

To find out how the Bank On Yourself safe wealth-building method can reduce your financial stress and give you financial peace of mind for life, request a free Analysis.

You’ll get a referral to one of only 200 advisors who have met the rigorous training and requirements to be an Authorized Advisor. They can answer your questions and show you ways to free up money to fund your plan – sometimes without reducing your cash flow or lifestyle at all.

If you take that step today, you could start the New Year enjoying far more peace of mind:

Federal Reserve Survey: Your 401(k) and IRA Won’t Give You a Decent Retirement

If you’re counting on your 401(k) or IRA for retirement income, I have some bad news for you…

A new analysis of the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances by the Center for Retirement Research demonstrates that 401(k) plans are destined to fail millions of Americans.

The Federal Reserve survey is updated every three years, and the latest one reveals that, in spite of the long-running bull market and an improving economy … the typical couple nearing retirement will only receive $600 per month from their 401(k)s and IRAs combined.

That $600 a month is not indexed for inflation, so its purchasing power will decline over time.

And that $600 a month is likely to be the only source of income people will have to supplement Social Security because the typical household has virtually no other savings outside of its 401(k) and IRAs.

The Retirement Savings Shortfall News is Even Worse for Younger Workers with 401(k)s

[Read more…]

Older Folks Say it’s Not Fun Getting Old When You’re Worried About Running Out Of Money

Record numbers of Americans older than 65 are working today, and millions are doing it by need, not by choice.

Too often, the work these folks find involves back-breaking, menial labor.

Many people are entering their golden years with alarmingly fragile finances, according to a recent article in The Washington Post.

And polls routinely show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than they are of dying. They lament it’s not fun getting old.

Thanks to a massive shift from guaranteed lifetime pensions to you’re-on-your-own-good-luck-with-that 401(k)s and IRAs…

People are forced to guess how long they might live and budget accordingly, knowing that one big health problem or a year in a nursing home could wipe it all out.”

[Read more…]

Stock Market Reaches New Highs – Do You Trust It?

When we released our Stock Market Survey a few weeks back, we were surprised so many readers responded. We were even more surprised by the results of the Survey, which we promised to share with you, so read on…

Nearly half (45%) of those who took the survey said, “I don’t trust the market with money I can’t afford to lose.” They clearly understand that the money they’re setting aside for something as important as retirement or a college education is money you really can’t afford to lose.

Fully 45% of our subscribers believe a major market crash – a plunge of 50% or more, as we had in 2000 and again in 2008 – is imminent. And another 34% expect that calamity to happen in the next 3-5 years.

But when we brought the situation closer to home and asked readers how a severe market crash would affect them personally, we found wave after wave of denial.

About 12% said that even if the market drops by 50%, “I have plenty of time to recover.” I suspect these folks don’t realize that since 1929, we’ve had three market crashes where the Dow took between 16 to 25 years to recover. What if history repeats itself? [Read more…]

The Surprising Truth About What Happens to the Cash Value of Your Life Insurance Policy When You Die

In Part 1 of this two-part series, I proved the media’s financial gurus are wrong when they claim that it takes years to build cash value in a whole life insurance policy.

In this second part of the series, I’ll show you why all the self-proclaimed experts miss the boat when they claim that whole life insurance policies are a rip-off because you build up all that cash value, then the insurance company keeps it when you die and only gives your heirs the death benefit.

It doesn’t have to be that way, my friend!

Click on the policy statement above to see a larger version

Here’s an actual whole life insurance policy annual statement. (This is a different policy than the one I showed you in Part 1.)

This is a whole life insurance policy purchased on my life in 1992. The statement I’m showing you, issued 17 years later, makes some astounding revelations. [Read more…]

Here’s Proof That the Financial “Experts” Don’t Know About Bank On Yourself Whole Life Insurance Policies

Policy Statement Showing How Whole Life Policies Designed the Bank On Yourself Way are Different From the Policies Most Financial "Gurus" Talk About

Click on the policy statement above to see a larger version

Take a look at this life insurance policy statement. It’s for a policy I took out on September 15, 2002. I’m showing it to you because I want put to rest the misconceptions and untruths the so-called financial “gurus” are spreading about the cash value growth of well-designed dividend-paying whole life insurance policies.

The financial gurus tell you not to buy whole life insurance because your equity in the policy—your cash value—grows too slowly, and you won’t have any equity for the first few years.

This is simply not true of Bank On Yourself-type whole life insurance policies!

You’ll have cash value in the first year with a whole life insurance policy designed the Bank On Yourself way!

[Read more…]

52% of Americans Will Have to Reduce Their Lifestyle in Retirement

52% of American households are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement – even when factoring in potential proceeds of a reverse mortgage.

That’s according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Let’s take a look at three critical reasons for that… and what you must do now to protect yourself…

Problem #1: People continue to live longer, but aren’t working longer

According to the Social Security Administration, 25% of people turning 65 today will live past 90, and one out of ten will live past 95, yet most financial planners base their projections of how much money you’ll need on your living to age 85 or so.

What if you’re one of the lucky ones who hangs on until 100 or longer? And just how “lucky” will you feel if you can’t provide for yourself during those final years?

Solution: Assume you’ll live to at last age 100 when determining how long your money will need to last you.

Problem #2: Underestimating health-care and long-term care costs in retirement

The numbers are shocking, and almost no one is accurately accounting for this: A 65-year-old couple retiring now will need $245,000 just to cover out-of-pocket health-care costs during retirement, PLUS another $255,000 to cover one average stay for one person in a nursing home.

Whoa! That’s half a million dollars you’ll need just for medical care… but most people close to retirement don’t even have that much in total retirement savings. [Read more…]

21 Reasons Life Insurance Policy Owners Love the Policy Loan Feature

We recently published a 3-article blog post series inspired by an article that financial planner and investment advisor Michael Kitces wrote about the problems with “banking on yourself” with life insurance policy loans.

Then we invited our readers to tell us what their biggest take-away from these articles was, and to share their personal experience with Bank On Yourself policy loans versus other sources of financing.

The many comments left on these three blog posts demonstrated once again how insightful and articulate our readers are! We’ve published excerpts from some of the comments we received below, where you’ll find 21 reasons why using a Bank On Yourself-type policy loan to access cash beats any other way of accessing capital!

In the first article, we discuss four things Mr. Kitces got right about the Bank On Yourself concept, and then reveal what he got wrong, including five fundamental concepts.

Check out What Michael Kitces Missed in His Bank On Yourself Review, Part 1. [Read more…]

Trump Tweets, Black Swan Events and Your Money

How much does your financial future depend on a 140-character Trump tweet, stroke of a pen on an Executive Order, or an off-hand comment to a reporter?

A lot, as these recent news headlines reveal:

  • “Trump Sinks Pharma Stocks on Medicare Price Negotiation”
  • “Dollar Dumps Most in 30 Years as Trump Raises Doubt Over Strong Dollar”
  • “When Trump Tweets, Wall Street Trades – Instantly”
  • “Trump, Not the Fed, Is What Moves Markets Now”
  • “Toyota Stock Drops Immediately After Trump Tweet”
  • “Trump’s Executive Orders Send S&P 500 to an All-Time High”
  • “Dow Jones Industrial Average Sells Off After Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration”

As you can see, when President Trump tweets or speaks, the markets react – in some cases violently.

Whatever your opinion of Trump is, there is one thing we can all agree on:

We are in uncharted waters. We have never had a president like Trump. We’ve never had an administration like Trump’s. There is no historical precedent for this. [Read more…]

Five Pieces of Free Financial Advice on Saving and Investing You Should Avoid

We all love free advice. Why pay for advice if someone is willing to give it to you for free?

Some advice will cost you little or nothing if it’s wrong. “You should wear these shoes with that suit.” “Try the catch-of-the-day. You’ll love it!” “I think you should turn left here.”

Other bad advice can be much more costly—both now and for the rest of your life.

This article focuses on free financial advice. We’ll tell you why five bits of so-called “wisdom” you’ve heard over and over again are wrong.

We’ll give you some tips on choosing sources of free financial advice you can trust, while avoiding all the dumb financial advice that’s out there.

Why Free Financial Advice Is Often Dumb Financial Advice

[Read more…]