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August 3, 2012
Last week, the Romney team visited the Villages, a sprawling community of over 100,000 residents over the age of 55, only about an hour from the NuView headquarters in Orlando. What does this group have in common? And why do politicians consider this a critical stop to deliver their stump speech? These residents have an obsession with protecting their social security, Medicare, and retirement plans. Politicians use this group as a surrogate to prove their policies are “senior-friendly”. I’m told that until you are retired, you cannot understand the helplessness of relying on personal savings, which have been ravaged by low interest rates and stock market uncertainty.
If only those of us who are still working had the same obsession about saving and investing wisely! Most workers continue to rely solely on the advice of money managers, or mutual fund managers to ensure their retirement is adequately invested. When the market takes a dip, participants in employer sponsored plans often scale back their contributions, due to a lack of confidence in their investments or their advisors. Most professional financial advisors see lower stock market prices as a golden opportunity to buy, while human nature moves investors to become more cautious and withdraw.
It’s time that we all woke up to the fact that no institution, money manager, or even financial advisor has more at stake than you do – in the health of your retirement funds. Despite the droning platitudes of the politicians, their ability to ensure a stress-free retirement for you is limited by huge budget deficits, tax stalemates, and the burgeoning growth in the number of taxpayers moving into their retirement years.
If you feel inadequate in making good investment decisions, find several friends, associates and professionals who can serve as your advisors – and avoid being influenced only by one source. Just as you wouldn’t subject yourself to a critical medical procedure without a second opinion, don’t move forward with important investment choices without consulting with several advisors.
As stated in the Wall Street Journal, over the next ten years, private investment choices are likely to outpace the public markets. Ensure that you understand all your options, including a self-directed individual retirement account that can access those private investment choices. You may find that understanding your options for investing in rental real estate, private lending, or buying precious metals through your IRA may be easier than reading a 100 page disclosure on the latest IPO. The best result is one that results in making your retirement political proof, providing a greater insulation against the potential damages of future policy decisions, and less reliant on the governments “dividends”.