Friday, January 22, 2010

3 Things Everyone Needs to Do with Money in 2010

By Paul Mladjenovic. January 22, 2010.
Copyright 2010. Paul Mladjenovic. All rights reserved.

Yes…2008-09 was a bruising time period. Many securities plunged and many accounts were massacred. Although we got through it, there is an uneasy feeling that more trouble is yet to come.

I expect that more catastrophes are heading our way since the fundamentals for our economy are still very weak and Washington is still working on policies that will do more harm than good. In the past twelve months, our expanding federal government has added trillions more in debt to our already massive debt burden.


I am working on my next set of forecasts and seminars but before they are out, I want everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) to consider 3 simple things to gain greater financial peace of mind:

• Diversify away from paper assets. As I have written before, paper assets have “counter-party risk”. Any “paper” investment that you have (such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, cash accounts, etc.) have counter-party risk. In other words, that investment’s value is tied to someone else’s promise or performance. A stock can go worthless if that company ceases to perform well (or just ceases to perform!). Bonds can become worthless if the borrower can’t or won’t pay. What should you consider? Add some gold or silver physical bullion to your asset portfolio. Gold and silver bullion are among the very few investments that do not have counter-party risk. They have their own, unique intrinsic value and that has been true for thousands of years. It will continue to be true for years to come.
• Accumulate essentials. As odd as this may sound for some of you, consider starting a pantry or otherwise consider stocking up on essentials such as non-perishable foods, extra water, etc. No…I am not asking you to become a survivalist or a hermit. I consider this is to be just another form of diversification. The world is too precarious right now and is quite vulnerable to disruptions. Severe inflation is not far off. Potential problems can come from a variety of expected and unexpected venues. What do you think will have greater value a few years from now…a dollar or a can of soup?
• Re-focus your portfolio with emphasis on “human need”. You should consider stocks and ETFs of companies and industries that provide goods and services that are actually NEEDED. Think about what people will continue to buy no matter how good or bad the economy is. I think that part of your long-term picture should include commodities.

Trillion-dollar tinkering will continue in Washington. Ongoing massive blunders and financial difficulties will need to be faced by all of us. Take steps now. You will be glad you did.

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We have to be mindful of the fact that much of today’s difficulties (and tomorrow’s) is not due to some “Democrat” or “Republican” or strictly to something that is “left-wing” or “right-wing”. It is primarily due to Statism. “Statism” is the idea and practice that government should kept growing and becoming more and more involved in our private lives, businesses and finances. Unfortunately, most politicians across the political landscapes tend to be statists (at varying degrees). For the public, this is a fatal attraction since the unintended consequence is that it breeds greater dependence for more and more of our citizenry.

The problem with dependence means setting yourself up for vulnerability. Don’t let it happen! Today, there are millions of adults in our country that are dependent on others (such as government). What happens when government fails? Would you want to depend on a government bureaucracy such as the state of California or on a corporation such as General Motors (which is also dependent on government)? What other government agencies and corporations are at risk? What will happen when the federal government itself starts having financial problems? How about Social Security?

The more you strive for independence and self-sufficiency, the safer you will be.


Paul Mladjenovic, CFP is the author of Stock Investing for Dummies and the audio “HOW TO CASH IN ON THE COMMODITIES SUPER BOOM”.