Category Archives: Investments

Thomas Jefferson Said

Evidently, Tom knew what he was talking about!

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered… I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson

Entitlements

What do you figure the word “Entitlements” stands for?

Maybe it means old people feel they are entitled to receive money from the government after they reach a certain age.

Or maybe it means after people work their entire lives and contribute money to Social Security and Medicare that they are entitled to receive some of their money back after they retire.

Either way, where do these old folks think all this moolah is coming from? Can the federal budget be balanced while these freeloaders siphon off tons of cash from the government?

Here are the facts. Read carefully so this sinks in.

Social Security is NOT part of the budget. It sits in a fund that was set up when Social Security was created. (That is unless the government hasn’t misappropriated the money to use for other purposes. I remain hopeful that hasn’t happened, but maybe I’m an optimist.)

According to Paul Owens writing in the Orlando Sentinel on May 6, 2011 … Congress has been raiding the Social Security trust fund for years… To read his entire article go to Orlando Opinionators.

Over the years, Social Security has collected more money than it has paid out. The surplus funds have been invested in U.S. Guaranteed Treasury Bonds. AARP states that in 2009, the trust fund had $2.5 trillion in bonds, earning 4.9 percent interest.

Perhaps the finger-pointing should be aimed at Congress — not at Entitlements.

Pensacola Beach After The BP Oil Spill

Photo from

How sad! And the oil is still gushing. It’s like the Exxon Valdez all over again–only this time on a daily basis.

A lot of people and politicians are asking why the well can’t be blown up.

From Rep. Phil Gingrey

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why BP couldn’t go into the ocean floor, maybe 10 feet lateral to the — around the periphery — drill a few holes and put a little ammonium nitrate, some dynamite, in those holes and detonate that dynamite and seal that leak. And seal it permanently,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) said earlier this month.

Could it be BP is more worried about their bottom line? Do you think they care nothing about people or nature?

Oh, forget I wrote that. No one could be that greedy.

Why More Americans Are Working Past Age 55

That was the title of a recent article in Charles Schwab’s investment magazine, which the company sends out to its investors. They could’ve changed the age to 62 or 65. The answer would be the same, but it took them more than 200 words to say medical insurance costs are outrageously high even if you’re old enough to be covered by Medicare.

And the article also noted that although older workers had retirement portfolios that ballooned in the 1990s, those portfolios burst when techology stocks took a downward dive. Therefore, some American who had taken an early retirment had to return to work.

There was no mention of the fact that even with the new drug plans, retirees still can’t afford to buy all the drugs they need.

And think about this–many senior citizens didn’t save a dime while they were younger. So, the answer to the question, why are they still working? They have to!

Fortunately, I’m one of the people who at least took a stab at saving, mainly because I’m a realist and always have been. I never expected to be able to exist on Social Security alone. I knew, there was no way I could live on less than $300 a week. That’s actually what my Social Security check will look like when I reach age 66. The scary thing is, even after saving what little I could over the years, while raising a family, I’m still not going to be comfortable in my old age.

Another little ditty that Schwab printed in that issue was a list of quotes. One of them quoted Warren Buffett. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Looks and sounds good on paper, doesn’t it? But remember that bursting bubble Schwab wrote about? I’m living through this one, and I lived through a horrendous one years ago that wiped away almost half of the money I had managed to save. All of that money was in mutual funds, because I knew zilch about the stock market.

I still don’t know much about the market, but after that horror, I learned to diversify. I, at least, learned that much!

If you visit the folks at this site  who also read the Schwab article, their suggestion is try Fixed Annuities, Bank CDs, and U.S. Government Savings Bond. They make a case for keeping your money safe from loss.

That “risk-free” sounds pretty good, but there’s a trade off. The gains are small, and fees for variable annuities are pretty steep. And once you’re in a mutual fund, what do you do, bow out and take a huge hit?

Here’s something else that I found quite amusing.

When and if you actually do retire,

…just resist the urge to treat the contents of your accounts like mad money.

What?! There are people who actually have mad money? Not in my circle of friends.

That same amusing article goes on to say,

And forget about that cushy 15% income tax rate most retirees are eligible for, warns Schatsky. As soon as you have more than $63,700 in retirement income, the tax rate skyrockets to 25%.

Well, at least, here I get a break. I won’t have to worry about my tax rate skyrocketing. As a single, working woman, I have never earned that much money annually¬†in my entire life while I was still working.

Now that I’m sitting here analyzing the question of retirement further, I’d venture to say that in another five years Schwab can print the exact same article; just title it, Why More Americans Are Working Past Age 75.