The Stock Market Never Goes Down Any More? (Really?!?)

What was until recently an unloved bull market has now reached the point of “euphoria,” and investors are “having a hard time imagining a decline,” according to Morgan Stanley.

After all, what’s not to love about a bull market that has only two directions – up… and up faster?

It’s being called a “market melt-up,” and the main fear people now have is of missing out.

Those caught up in the euphoria – and the fear of missing out – might want to consider the following:

  • The S&P 500 is trading at 2.3 times its companies’ sales – a smidgen below its dot-com peak
  • Price-earnings ratios have only been higher for 1% of the stock index’s history
  • The cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio is higher than before the crash of 1929, and higher than at any moment in history except right before the dot-com crash

Those of us who experienced the pain of the dot-com meltdown in 2002 and the financial crash of 2008 hope that the market will never become that irrationally exuberant again.

Back then, people justified their exuberance with the mantra that “this time it’s different.”

And that was their downfall, because history has shown that it’s only different… until it’s not.

Have you been out to dinner at a nice restaurant since the start of the year?

Typically, in January people take a breather from spending, as they nurse their holiday spending hangover.

Not this year. Restaurants everywhere are packed.

It’s all thanks to the “wealth effect” – people are feeling wealthy, thanks to the gains in the stock market, new tax cuts for many, and paycheck increases for some.

So people spend rather than save, and they are going more into debt to do it. That’s why the savings rate is dropping and consumer debt is climbing.

Many people are woefully unprepared for the inevitable market meltdown, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

So what can you do?

Here Are 4 Tips for Being Prepared For the Next Market Meltdown:

Tip #1: Make building up your rainy-day fund a priority

Tip #2: Ignore the conventional advice of having an emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. During the last financial crisis, many people were out of work for 1 to 2 years, or longer. Make sure you have an amount equal to two years of expenses in safe and liquid savings to help you weather whatever challenges life throws at you

Tip #3: Don’t forget history – we’re in the second-longest-running bull market in history, and the longest-running bull markets go out “with a bang, not a whimper

Tip #4: Avoid the very human urge to follow the crowd. As Marshall Thurber observed, “All the dogs barking up the wrong tree don’t make it the right one.”

The Very Best Place to Put Money You Need to Keep Safe and Liquid is in a Bank On Yourself Plan

A Bank On Yourself-type high-cash-value dividend-paying whole life policy comes with an unbeatable combination of advantages, which include:

  • Guaranteed, predictable growth every year – even when the markets are crashing
  • It’s a supercharged variation of an asset that has never had a losing year in more than 160 years
  • Liquidity and control of your money – get access to it when and for whatever you want, no questions asked
  • It’s backed by a five-layer safety net
  • It comes with numerous tax advantages, including tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals, under current tax law

It’s easy to find out what your 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 here, if you haven’t already.

Do it today, and you could soon be enjoying an unprecedented level of financial security and peace of mind – no matter what happens in the market or the economy:

Why You’ll Need $500,000+ in Retirement for Medical Expenses Alone

Retirees spend more than a third of their Social Security benefits on out-of-pocket medical costs, on average, according to a new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Even after factoring in other sources of income, medical spending still took a huge bite – 18% – of seniors’ total retirement income.

A 65-year-old couple retiring now will need $275,000 to cover out-of-pocket health care costs during retirement, according to a study by Fidelity.

The news gets even worse, however, because these numbers do not include the cost of nursing home or home health care.

That can range from $40,000 a year for home health aides… to over $85,000 a year for a semi-private room in a nursing home, according to the Genworth 2017 Annual Cost of Care Survey: Costs Continue to Rise Across All Care Settings. And if you prefer a private nursing care room, you’ll have to cough up almost $100,000 a year.

Ignore the likelihood of needing long-term care services at your own peril: At least 70% of people over age 65 will require long-term care services, and more than 40% will need nursing home care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Based on the average cost of a nursing home room and the average length of stay – which is 2.8 years – you would need over $250,000 to cover a single stay. [Read more…] “Why You’ll Need $500,000+ in Retirement for Medical Expenses Alone”

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. [Read more…] “Savings Rate Falls to 10-Year Low”

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…] “Federal Reserve Survey: Your 401(k) and IRA Won't Give You a Decent Retirement”

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…] “Older Folks Say it's Not Fun Getting Old When You're Worried About Running Out Of Money”

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…] “Stock Market Reaches New Highs – Do You Trust It?”

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.)

Click on the image to open as a pdf

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

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.

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 image to open as a pdf

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

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…] “52% of Americans Will Have to Reduce Their Lifestyle in Retirement”

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…] “21 Reasons Life Insurance Policy Owners Love the Policy Loan Feature”