If you are a student of the market like me, you know that stocks have been growing more rapidly over the last ten years than ever before in their entire history. Almost 8% more than the average yearly gain, all the way since 2009!
Anyone who has been an investor over that time has plenty to celebrate. But they also have plenty to worry about! It is time to take action to protect those hard-won gains before it is too late.
At the end of the day, there are some numbers that are simply impossible to ignore.
Even without a recession looming, there are critical signals flashing a rough road ahead for retirees:
1. For the first time since 1982, the U.S.A. is dipping into Social Security trust funds and Medicare reserves to pay current benefits to recipients
2. Current estimates say Social Security will run out of money in 2034, while Medicare reserves should be depleted by 2026
3. 52% of Americans today rely on Social Security to cover half of their retirement income
4. 25% of retirees get 90% of their income from Social Security
5. Every day, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 – which will continue until 2029
6. According to Fidelity Investments, almost half of baby boomers will not be able to afford basic expenses in retirement
It isn’t fun to write about the future in a negative way when everyone is celebrating all around you, but the truth has to be said.
You can turn this looming crisis into an opportunity if you consider gold and silver.
After 10 years of economic recovery and bull markets, the average retirement investor has simply forgotten that the market can drop rapidly at anytime. The average bear market lasts 15 months and drops over 30%. Consider what that kind of a drop could do to your lifestyle in retirement!
Many investors have accepted the market’s recent returns of over 17% per year to be the new normal, but 90 years of stock market history contradict this over-optimism. The realistic annual target for stocks is 10% on average, and ultra-conservative pension funds consider 7% or less to be a better target.
Even if you rely on a state or local pension, you may not be immune to a bear market. Pension funds are 65% invested in stocks and already have nearly $1.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities. These liabilities cannot be met unless the market continues to rise beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations.
The Congressional Budget Office says our U.S. government debt is on target to be the highest since World War II, when considered as a percentage of total GDP. With interest rates on the rise, there is a big cash crunch coming in Washington that will force some substantial belt tightening.
The Federal Reserve has been raising rates regularly in recent months in an effort to put a lid on inflation, which is already working its way through many everyday sectors of the economy. Previously, the Fed combated housing and stock market weakness with lower rates, but now that important lever is off limits. We’re unlikely to see any “quantitative easing” experiments ahead to try and bail out the economy next time.
As human investors, we are all fallible and likely to think too much of our skills until the market hands us a painful lesson. That’s why major investment firms like Morgan Stanley, Vanguard and Charles Schwab have been sounding increasingly concerned about the outlook for stocks for the next ten years.
This sobering forecast gives everyday, hard-working investors like you and me plenty of reasons why safe-haven assets like gold and silver deserve strong consideration for our home safes and/or IRAs.
If Bank of America Merrill Lynch is right and recession is right around the corner, do you know where to get started on protecting your family’s finances?