Unemployment is its highest in 25 years. Some say the picture is much worse and is being masked by changes in the way unemployment is measured. No matter where each of us is on the political spectrum, or whom we blame, we have to agree that times are tough and getting tougher.
Financial advisors almost universally recommend a “diversified” portfolio of paper investments: stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Before I go on, let me remind the reader that I am neither a certified financial advisor nor do I play one on TV. I encourage people to learn more so they can make up their own minds. This traditional advice may have had some merits at one time. A few people probably made it just fine with such a plan. Times are different now, and there are a number of reason to expand your thinking.
First, paper assets such as stocks can bonk. “Bonk” is a technical term for what happened last fall. Stocks fell as much as 40% People who thought they were diversified got clobbered as their entire portfolios dwindled to a fraction of their former worth.
Second, the “value” of the stock market and other similar investments is partly an illusion. When we put our money into such instruments, we are usually planning to use the money later. If that money only buys a fraction of what it did before, the fact that the market is “up” is true, but useless.
Third, and this may be the clinker, the market depends on levels of buying and selling. Since people who are retiring usually get their spending money out of the market by selling their stocks, the value of those stocks can be depressed when the number of sellers increases. We are about to face a massive amount of selling for that very reason. Baby Boomers will soon be retiring in droves.
This leaves us with a problem. How can each of us build a more stable kind of wealth–the kind that at least buffers the vagaries of the stock market?
Learn all you can now about building supplementary income. You will find that true diversification involves non-paper assets like real estate and precious metals. You will learn why having a side business can help you build real, lasting value. And, you will see that with some discipline and desire, you can survive the coming storm.
— Terry writes this blog because he loves you. Well, maybe “love” is too strong a word, but he’s pretty sure he likes you. At least he likes you well enough to encourage you to learn more about your finances. Terry has not been on Oprah yet, but if he were, he would tell you to visit entrescape.com to learn out how to start your own business.