and Your 401K- How to Keep Them Positive in Spite of What Happened Since the Financial Crash
Retirement sentiments can quickly turn into negative ones full of loathing and regret if you are misinformed (or under-informed) about your most effective
retirement investment options.
The reason for this is evident: if you don't have the means to retire comfortably, you are in most cases simply not retiring. You will be working for the rest of your life, possibly in an unskilled or low skill environment with little pay, little satisfaction, and virtually zero advancement options.
But life doesn't have to be that way. There are ways to build even the most devastated retirement savings account back up to where you need it to be. In some cases, this may even be true after you have already retired. What it takes is an open mind, some internet research skills, and determination.
Naturally, there is no panacea. The choices that need to be made are often hard and frequently involve unconventional means, but it is indeed possible to keep your retirement sentiments on a positive path - for what else is there in life to keep us truly happy if not our sentiments about it?
Let's talk about specifics. What exactly is out there in the retirement investment landscape that serves to turn most people's retirement sentiments to anywhere from negative to outright panic at the lack of viable investment alternatives?
The U.S. Government is Broke
If you are still betting on a nice fat social security check when you retire - or if you are already retired and hope that your current checks will continue until the end of your years - you may be up for a rude awakening. The government is broke, and with one or two exceptions, all the "fixes" that are being suggested involve getting the government into even more debt.
That cannot be the answer.
More Failed Promises
So your government has failed you. Are there better options to improve your retirement sentiments in the private investment industry? Unfortunately, the answer is mostly "no."
At rock-bottom, the investment industry is built upon one thing and one thing only: promises.
Every single "investment" that is out there and that is being touted to you by your stock broker or financial planner or adviser is essentially nothing more than a contract - and contracts can be and very often are bring broken. That's why our courts are so busy.
Take a simple CD, for example. A CD is a bank's promise to repay you money you loaned it with interest in a certain amount of time. If the bank goes broke and is liquidated, you get nothing - and all you have to do to know that banks do go broke is to think back to 2008-2009.
US government bonds (treasuries) likewise are promises by the government to return your investment with interest, some time in the future. (In the meantime, the government lies about inflation statistics so it doesn't have to fully compensate you for the enormous risk you incur by lending it money).
Company stocks are also implicit promises. A company that sells you stock promises to do its very best to perform in the marketplace so as to keep the value of the stock certificate in your possession as high as possible. Company stock shares go bust all the time, as you well know.
As a result, a recent Reuters poll of Americans' retirement sentiments shows that most people rely on their own efforts (81%) in providing a decent retirement for themselves, rather than their employers (1%) or their government (18%).
And that's how it should be.