By W. Andrew Unkefer
The way we make solid financial decisions has changed. Fundamentals have practically lost relevance as the world spirals into a new economic reality. There are three things that now determine the future and only those who understand the impact can properly prepare for what’s ahead. The big three, revealed:
The European Union is promoting large-scale fiscal transfers; shuffling around problems between member countries. As our own nation heads down this same dangerous road, we are witnessing the warning signs. Ratings agencies have already downgraded the credit-worthy status of the United States. Yet, the current administration proposes additional spending in “selected” areas to “stimulate” the economy and create jobs. Who decides the right jobs? Why are some “selected” and others discriminated against? This is not a viable economic policy. It is enrichment of a chosen few and nothing more.
The second area of globalization that affects Americans is not political as described above. It is economic. Publicly traded, multi-national corporations are working as closely as they can with Congress and the executive branch to promote their own business strategy. These “American” companies are no longer directly connected to the United States for their fortune. Trade agreements and tax policies have served to change the way these companies view their future.
Globalization has changed the way publicly traded stocks perform. Now consider this fact. In 1952 only 4 percent of Americans owned stock. By 1980, only 13 percent owned stock. By 2000, more than 52 percent of all Americans owned stock! More than150 million Americans are in the market and arguably, this number has reached a saturation point. With all potential buyers now in, what can you expect? Volatility!
At this very moment, we are watching the economic impact on our country. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 2.4 million American jobs were lost between 2001 and 2008 as a result of increased trade with China.
As our domestic workforce suffers, the obligations of our own government press down harder on those who remain employed. Obligations like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid balloon as record numbers of Americans head into retirement expecting the revenue and benefits that were promised. Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, more than 10,000 people per day reach age 65. This will continue for the next 19 years.
In 1950, there were 16 workers contributing to Social Security for each individual receiving benefits. By 2025 there will be only two workers supporting each beneficiary of Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid will also be driven by the boomers creating an ever increasing cost of government unlike anything ever seen before.
Without massive action, tax pressure will rise. Expect taxes to increase!
Between 1960 and 2009, life expectancies in the U.S. have risen from 69.8 to 78.7 years of age. While this is good news, we must all realize that we need our retirement resources to last as long as we do. The problem with Longevity is the first two of the big three get in the way. As you live longer, Globalization / Volatility and Taxation do more and more harm to your finances. This assures your own money is exhausted more rapidly than it otherwise would.
The New Way to Think About Financial Decisions…
True diversification is one way out. Don’t diversify within a risk-laden system. Get out of the system! Allocate resources to assets that are guaranteed to never lose value. Make it contractual! Within the financial services segment of the insurance industry, you can tap into these types of guaranteed values.
These assets are not tied to the systematic risk of global stock markets and prices.
Taxes are a problem. Rid yourself of this problem! Move into tax favored assets and improve your tax outlook by reducing your tax exposure. Very few financial vehicles have the tax benefits afforded annuities and life insurance.
Live Long and Prosper! New income benefits assure highly attractive and fully guaranteed income streams. Go ahead; live as long as you want. Your monthly check will keep on coming.
Our Global Economic Environment, Demographic Realities, Government Spending and Longevity can be beaten but only if we take action today. Make the move to safe, tax advantaged products with lifetime income planning and extraordinary guarantees.
W. Andrew Unkefer is the president and CEO of Unkefer & Associates, Inc., a national annuity and life insurance marketing firm. The company’s goal is to be the No.1 resource for independent agents in their life and annuity business. He may be reached at 800-523-5851 or [email protected].
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