Saving for Retirement in 2017
The elections are over. Thank God!
Some of you are happy, and others are, well, not so happy depending on your view of the future. Before I give you my assessment, let us look at what drove the election to its conclusion with the overwhelming victory by Donald Trump.
First, let me also address the word “overwhelming.” The brilliance of our founding fathers is evident in the creation of the Electoral College. In this case, Donald Trump won with 306, OR RATHER 57% of the Electoral College vote. Yes, you hate it when your candidate loses the Electoral College, but wins the so-called “popular” vote, because you think wrongly that we, these United States, are a democracy. We are not and never have been. Our country was founded as, and continues to be a constitutional republic. If you don’t know what that is, or why it is better than a pure democracy, then either your schools have failed you, you believe in mob rule, or you fell asleep during the Civics 101 class if schools even still teach that today.
As far as the popular vote, many votes, hundreds of thousands in fact go uncounted, mostly from our overseas citizens. Why? Because if a state calls an election based on votes counted, then there is no need to count all the votes cast. Many of those expat votes come from the military, which embodies an overwhelming conservative slant. In addition, in this particular election, do we know how many illegal votes were cast? It is possible that anywhere from 500,000 to 3 million votes may have been cast by the dead, multiple times by the same person, and illegal immigrants. For those opposed to voter ID, please explain to me your “racist” belief on why you think minority citizens are too stupid to get an ID. In any case, a wide swath of the Republic voted out socialist ideas that don’t work for a promise of a better financial future based on free market principles. They voted against an ideology that protects and funds non-citizens while decimating our inner cities, abandoning our veterans and middle-class Americans, and penalizing many Americans for refusing to buy a product they don’t want and that gets more expensive every year (Obamacare). In the end, many Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters stopped believing in the ideological manure that was being doled-out by the liberal establishment and their paid sycophant, Goebbels-like propagandists in the news media. Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump gained wealth through buying or investing in properties, making improvements to properties, constructing buildings offices, and resorts, and selling properties, all the while employing tens of thousands of people. Hillary Clinton (and her husband) gave speeches for money. Money flowed into the coffers of the Clinton Global Initiative Foundation (which is currently under investigation by the FBI), and coincidentally, access was granted to then Secretary of State Clinton to many of those folks, some of who were foreign donors to the Clinton Global Initiative. In essence, the Clinton’s only product to sell was influence. Nothing more.
Who are we to believe?
The immediate election postmortem shows that Americans were deceived by the media and those who were said “to know”. Polls were completely wrong. Data showing the contrary was suppressed, discounted, or hidden, in the hopes of suppressing votes against leftist corruption. There is no longer any legitimate reporting by formally trusted news organizations. Investigative reporting was left to guys like James O’Keefe because the mainstream “journalists” sought the glamour and trappings of having access to someone in power, forgetting that the real power lies with the American voter – We the People.
So how can you believe anything you hear these days? Mark Cuban, owner of the Huston Mavericks predicted that the stock market would fall if Trump was elected. It did the opposite. There are still headlines announcing the coming 2016 80% loss in the stock market…”oh wait, we meant 2017!” Really? You are going to believe these guys after all of the biased, self-serving, and false reporting? What you need to realize is that liberalism is based on feelings – “Ooohhh… I feel this way, so I must be right”, while conservatism is based on a constant review of evidence. When it comes to your money however, regardless of what you believe politically, you need to be a financial conservative.
The Diaper Pin
Election results brought out those who were disappointed that the promise of “free everything” didn’t pan out. Mind you, there are some who are financially well off that were disappointed as well, but that is perhaps that some lost access to their political puppet strings. A symbol of their discomfort was established – the diaper pin. Yes, a diaper pin, sometimes also called a safety pin; a reminder that the left can escape the world to hide out in some “safe space.” The equivalent is pulling all of your money out of every investment vehicle and stuffing it into your mattress. The reality is that if you do not engage in facts, or face adversity and understand what events mean for your retirement savings, your safe space will protect you from nothing. You, and your money will never grow.
The Grenade Pin
While not adopted by any political ideology, it is a perfect symbol for thinking opposite of the diaper pin mentality. You need to face a situation, determine a best course of action, and actively protect yourself from things that may affect your portfolio. Wearing a diaper pin is a passive move that simply allows you to figuratively financially soil yourself. Pulling the grenade pin is an active attempt to engage, and take actions to protect your assets, and gain ground by facing adversity and making the best possible decisions. Yea, I know that there may be some snowflake readers out there that shudder at the “violent” analogy of a hand grenade, but, well, suck it up, or get sucked down. It is, like any financial decision; your choice.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of smart, hard-working, left-leaning folks that do really well, are patriotic, and have become incredibly wealthy, or at the least have successfully saved for a comfortable retirement. I know some of these folks as friends and family. In that case, they have separated, in some hypocritical way, their embracing of a system that promotes individual success through capitalism, from their fear of individuals that promote…a capitalistic system. Perhaps some of them only practice crony-capitalism. On the other hand there are those on the right that also work hard, believe in freedom and the Constitution (all, not just parts), but yet have saved nothing for retirement and believe in the legal Ponzi scheme of Social Security as their sole means of “saving” for their retirement. They are all talk, but in the end, still a drain on the system.
Here are a few guidelines that will help you successfully save for retirement without fear (or at least less fear).
- Stop getting your financial information from questionable or unreliable media sources. Most of that will just lead you down the path of bad decisions. This includes ridiculous click-bait websites advertising panicky headlines that tell you will lose it all unless you sell everything and buy only ________. Fill in the blank with gold, real estate, baseball cards, etc. That also includes mainstream media sites with talking heads that think they can make sound predictions, but really do not.
- Look at your investment portfolio to make sure it is diversified (yes, some gold and real estate can be a very sound part) based on your risk tolerance, years left before retirement, and amount already invested.
- Be willing to pay for excellent and unbiased tools from Financial Engines or the Motley Fool, as well as similar tool sites.
- If you don’t want to do #3, find a broker that you pay a fee to give you objective sound advice (see http://www.investopedia.com/articles/basics/04/022704.asp).
- Educate yourself on the means by which you can save and invest at any age (subtle hint: read Wealth Virtues).
- Take a big look at what a Donald Trump administration may bring in terms of market growth. Who knew that Firearm stocks would soar under Barack Obama? Don’t base your investing choices on your own fears, but perhaps understanding fear by others as well as the opportunities others may see is a good indicator of a trend. Still do your research as once again, feelings don’t necessarily translate to facts!
I cannot advise you on what type of investments you need to make, but I can tell you exactly what I have done. If you have read Wealth Virtues, you know that I am just a middle class family guy that has invested in the market through the TSP, 401Ks, IRAs, Roth IRAs, and brokerage accounts. I am in my early 50s and have a 7-figure savings in a combination of those investment tools. I am not a Warren Buffett, Ric Edelman, or Dave Gardner, but I have made great investment choices listening to their advice and research. Many of the stocks I purchased were based on the advice from Dave and Tom Gardner of the Motley Fool. When they advised not long ago to look at a particular airline stock, I bought shares under $10. I have seen an increase in value of over 350%. Their advice on a prominent online retail stock allowed me to buy low and see over a 1000% increase. At the beginning of November 2016, anticipating a Trump win, I realigned my portfolio to capture a greater amount of Defense-related stocks, mostly through mutual funds. I believe in the adage, “Si vis pacem para bellum” – To achieve peace, prepare for war. That may make the diaper-pin wearing lefties shudder, but the stability of a nation rests with the strength of its military. I also invested more in retail-based mutual funds and away from emerging market funds. Based on Donald Trump’s promises and vision, you may want to look at domestic energy producers. Research how much manufacturing will return to the Unites States based on his promised tax cuts, and whether Congress will pass them. Continue to look at health care companies if Congress can in fact put Obamacare into the grave and implement a more open market-based health care system. If increased revenue from increased employment and industry becomes a reality, then look to the transportation sector as well as construction for investment opportunities. On 15 November 2016, we found out that Warren Buffet bought into the four largest American airline carriers, so perhaps he sees something there as well.
So take heart, especially those of you hiding and crying in your safe spaces where you hope the thoughts and opinions of free thinkers would not penetrate your segregated bunkers (physical and mental). There is hope for your financial future, and I want those on the left to be as financially successful and happy as those on the right. For your financial thinking, adopt a grenade pin mentality over your cute diaper pin. In the end, those who pull the grenade pin are taking the first step to take risks, fight, remove obstacles, and win. If you pull your safety pin, all that happens is that you lose your shorts.