Friday, March 16, 2018

Thrifty Thinking: Overconfident? 7 Signs It’s Time to Rethink Your Financial Risks

Amid the second longest bull market in history, there are warning signs that Americans are overconfident in the economy and risking their financial future, financial security expert and bestselling author Pamela Yellen says. 
Pamela has written two bestselling books on how people can create true financial security for themselves and their families. Here are her 7 signs we have gotten too complacent about how they are saving for retirement and investing in the stock market:
  1. People bragging about becoming 401(k) millionaires and posting their balances on social media has become a “thing.” Remember when everyone from the company executives to the janitor were bragging at the water cooler about being real estate millionaires, just before the last crash?
  2. People start to think they can actually retire comfortably on $1,000,000. You can’t, because the IRS will take at least 25% – 33% off the top, and you’ll need $500,000 just to cover out-of-pocket healthcare and long-term care costs in retirement.
  3. The personal savings rate fell to its third-lowest on record at the end of 2017.
  4. Consumer spending is rising, and more of it is being fueled by debt. The last quarter registered the second-largest percentage increase in charge-card debt in a decade.
  5. Inflation is taking a bigger bite out of Americans’ paychecks. Real average hourly earnings of 80% of employees fell by half a percent in January, the fifth decline in six months.
  6. Hundreds of major companies have price-to-earnings ratios that are higher than during the height of the 2000 and 2007 bubbles.
  7. For a decade now, central banks have pretended they can print up prosperity … and we’re supposed to have blind faith that they know what they’re doing.
“Many people now believe – or act as though they believe – that history doesn’t matter, that somehow this time things are truly different,” Pamela says. “They forget that twice in the past 18 years – between 2000 and 2002, and again between 2007 and 2009 – the stock market has cut investors’ wealth roughly in half.

“No one knows when it will happen again, but even a cursory study of market history indicates it will happen. And most people will be woefully unprepared for the bloody aftermath, thanks to low savings rates and too much debt.”

In spite these trends, “It is possible to reach your financial goals and dreams – without taking any unnecessary risk,” Pamela says.

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