There is good news and bad news on the retirement horizon for Americans these days. The good news is that 18% feel “very confident” that they will have enough money saved to comfortably retire. That marks a pretty decent jump from a year ago, when only 13% felt the same way. Stock market gains and recovering real estate values have been credited for this increase in confidence, so it isn’t surprising that it’s the nation’s top wage earners and those who already have retirement accounts who feel this way.
If you are among the 18% who are “very confident” with the state of your retirement savings, good for you! You’ve worked hard and are likely well-positioned to enjoy your golden years. With Social Security on the brink and continually being raided by Washington, our nation is depending on you to pick up the slack for a happy future.
The bad news is that our nation may be depending on you far too much… much more than is explicit right now, and much more than you can probably afford or would feel comfortable with.
Here’s the problem: the government is rapidly running out of cash. China, our generous banker for so long, is selling U.S. Treasuries now, not buying them. (And it appears as though others around the world is joining in, with someone recently selling a “fistful” of treasuries.) Tax revenues are a joke in the face of Capitol Hill’s voracious appetite. The money has to come from somewhere… but from where?
Consider that the top 18% of “very confident” Americans have most of the $5 trillion in retirement funds that are currently just sitting around in banks, waiting… growing… getting more tempting by the day as Washington looks on, licking its chops. $5 trillion would be quite a nice cash infusion if the politicians could just find a way to get their hands on it.
In other countries, they have found a way to get their hands on retirement funds. Places like Argentina, Ireland and most recently Poland have all nationalized retirement accounts in some way, shape or form. Oh, rest assured, it is all under the guise of retirement security, of course. They want to “protect” you from “risky” investments that could jeopardize your future: You could lose everything you worked so hard for, and so for your own good, a portion of your money will be required to be safe and secure in treasuries or bonds or what-have-you. You see, it’s all about your own protection… DON’T YOU SEE??!?
There is nothing more frightening than a desperately hungry government that makes moves like this “for your own good” while, incidentally, enjoying a little cash infusion at your unwitting expense.
Which brings us to MyRA. Remember MyRA (or “Obamafunds“, as we prefer), the retirement plan that President Obama introduced in his State of the Union speech in January? Among the plan’s many dubious elements, one of the most interesting and striking is that your savings MUST be placed into government through the G Fund. The G Fund had a 1.5% return in 2012. If you’ve been to the grocery store over the course of the last few years, or if you’ve been filling up your car at the gas station, or if you’ve been paying your utility bills, we don’t need to tell you the simple fact that a 1.5% return isn’t good enough. With a 1.5% return in this fund, unsuspecting Americans will absolutely lose their shirts to inflation.
MyRA is unlikely to change the retirement landscape in its current form. But wait until the government expands it. Wait until concepts from MyRA are spread to other accounts. Wait until everyone is required to keep a portion of their savings in government bonds or treasuries. Then finally the government begins to get a piece of that delicious $5 trillion pie.
These kinds of regulatory moves work well after stock market crashes, when everyone begins to howl for the government to DO SOMETHING. And now, after the gains of last year, many experts are calling for us to start to brace for that crash.
And these calls for yet another crash is the other bad news: If the 18% who feel “very comfortable” with the state of their retirement savings think they are sitting pretty because of last year’s gains, they may have another thing coming. That is, unless they hedge against the unknown (if they haven’t already) by moving some of their recent gains out of paper and into something with real, tangible value – like gold. They may have done this already – we hope that you have done this already – but if not, there is still time to get out of paper and into gold.
Reprinted with permission from Birch Gold Gorup.