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Here’s When You Can Expect Social Security Cuts

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Here’s When You Can Expect Social Security Cuts

Social Security is a retirement cornerstone for tens of millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Budget and Policy Priorities, every year it keeps 15 million retirees out of poverty.

Unfortunately, the program is facing massive financial hurdles. It has been collecting a net cash surplus for the last 38 years. However, starting next year, it is projected to run a $21.1 billion net cash outflow.

The program entered the decade with a reserve of $2.9 trillion in assets. Although, many expect the net outflows to increase each year and chip away at the reserve by $1.1 trillion. This leaves the program with only $1.8 trillion in reserves by 2029.

The program isn’t facing bankruptcy or insolvency. Instead, it is more and more likely that retirees will soon face reductions in their benefits to keep the program afloat.

Two trusts actually make up Social Security. The first one is the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust. It provides payouts to retired workers and survivors of deceased workers. The other is the Disability Insurance (DI) trust. This one supplies payments to workers that are long-term disabled.

When reporting on the state of the program, the Social Security Board of Trustees generally lumps the two trusts together. However, each trust is independent and faces individual risks.

Of the two, the OASI is projected to be in financial distress the soonest. The latest Trustee report estimates that the OASI will deplete its asset reserves by 2034. Meanwhile, the DI trust could possibly depleat its reserves in 2065.

But because the OASI is much larger than the DI trust ($2.8 trillion of the combined $2.9 trillion in reserves), the combined trusts are projected to become insolvent in 2035.

So expect the first major cuts to come in 2035 in an effort to avoid insolvency. Those efforts will involve a potential bitter pill for retirees to swallow.

Unless Congress finds a way to raise additional revenue and/or reduce outlays, retired workers and survivors of deceased workers can expect a 24% reduction in monthly benefits starting in 2035. While that seems a long time from now, it’s only 15 years away and will be here sooner than you think.

In real numbers, a retiree who receives the average monthly Social Security benefit of $1,503 today would see their monthly benefit reduced to $1,142 per month, or $361 less to live on. A married couple receiving $2,531 in monthly benefits would see their check cut by $608 per month, down to $1,923.

While the monthly reduction stings, looking at it from a lifetime benefit approach magnifies the worries for retirees trying to live out their golden years. A hypothetical worker who retires this year and starts receiving benefits would typically expect to collect about $500,000 in Social Security benefits. A 25% reduction means they would see their benefits cut by $120,000, down to only $380,000 in retirement benefits.

A married couple would see their projected $1 million in benefits reduced by $240,000 down to $760,000. That’s not an easily-replaced amount of retirement income.

If there is a glimmer of hope, it’s that Congress can take action to avoid – or delay – the day of reckoning. Yes, they’ve known since 1985 that the program would one day run out of money. But if there is one thing that the government is good at, it’s waiting until the last minute to really dig in and find a solution.

Let’s hope they can set aside their differences and put America’s retirees first.

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How To Buy Gold For Your Investment Portfolio – Part 2

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How To Buy Gold For Your Investment Portfolio - Part 2

Yesterday was part one of buying gold and silver coins for your investment portfolio. With gold and silver both on a hot streak, investors are looking for the fastest way to gain exposure to and buy precious metals. You must be prudent and exercise caution so you don’t make a mistake and find yourself with a bad investment.

Do: Buy Gold With Your Savings

Don’t borrow money to buy gold. Use your savings so when you take possession of your gold, it’s yours without any claims against it. With volatile gold prices, you don’t want to be paying back a loan on your gold if the price suddenly dips.

Don’t: Buy Gold With Credit

The current financial system is built on fiat currency and debt with dollars being printed out of thin air. The reason to own gold is the opposite of that. So to purchase gold by using the system it is protecting against defeats the purpose of owning gold. Just use your savings and own your gold outright from day one.

Do: Store Coin Nearby

If a crisis hits and you need access to your gold, you don’t want to be out in public trying to retrieve your gold. So whether it’s in a small safe hidden in your house or buried in your yard, keep your gold nearby for easy access.

Don’t: Store Coins In a Safety Deposit Box

Storing your gold at a bank sounds like a safe decision. But it’s a bad idea for a few reasons. The first is that if there were ever a crisis, you have to go to the bank to retrieve your gold. That assumes the banks will be open during a crisis. Then you have to get access to your safety deposit box, retrieve your coins and safely get them home. That’s a lot of things that need to go right during a crisis. Additionally, gold has been confiscated before. Here in the US, gold was confiscated in 1933 under Franklin Roosevelt. If it were to happen again, gold stored at home, where there is no record if it, is much safer.

Do: Only Invest With Money You Don’t Need For Awhile

Nobody knows when inflation will hit, or the dollar will collapse, or when gold prices will finally take off. But we aren’t trying to time any of those occurrences. The reason to own gold is a long term store of value. So you don’t want to speculate in gold. We could see prices move higher or significantly lower. But long term, history has shown that gold prices steadily march higher as the dollar steadily declines in value. So when buying gold, make sure it’s with money that you don’t need in an emergency. We suggest using savings or other funds that you don’t need to worry about getting access to for at least five years.

If you have any more questions about investing in gold, find a reputable gold coin dealer near you. They will be glad to answer questions.

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Tech Companies Report Record Earnings, See $200 Billion Added To Market Cap

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Tech Companies Report Record Earnings, See $200 Billion Added To Market Cap

A day after their CEO’s spent five-and-a-half-hour-long testifying at a congressional hearing on anticompetitive practices, four of the largest tech companies in the world grew even larger after each reported strong earnings in the second quarter.

Yesterday alone, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Facebook added about $200 billion to their cumulative market cap after they announced earnings. This shows just how dominant each business is. Combined the companies are now valued at more than $5 trillion.

Apple

Apple reported more than $11 billion in earnings despite shutting down most of their retail stores during the pandemic. On the earnings call the tech company reported strong demand for the smaller, lower-cost iPhone 11. It also reported a surge in sales for the iPad and Mac products.

“Mac and iPad, these are productivity tools that people are using to stay engaged with their work or stay engaged with their schoolwork,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said during the call. “And we believe we’re going to have a strong back-to-school season sitting here today, it certainly looks like that.”

The company also surprised analysts during the call by announcing a 4-for-1 stock split. Investors who currently have shares will receive three additional shares for every one they own. The share price is also adjusted down to roughly 25% of the current price, helping to make shares more affordable.

Amazon

Tens of millions of Americans stuck at home during the shelter-at-home restrictions. With this, Amazon was perhaps the biggest winner and reported a record net income last quarter. On the earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said that online grocery sales had tripled in the quarter and video streaming had doubled from a year ago. The company also saw an increase in its cloud computing business.

Alphabet (Google)

Alphabet reported earnings and net income in line with expectations. However, it announced the tech company’s first-ever drop in revenue for display ads on Google.

“The macroeconomic environment costs by the pandemic created headwinds for our business,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on the call, but said that indications in the third quarter are a stabilization in users and expectations are for revenue to return as well. “This was true across most of our advertising verticals and geographies. Of course, the economic climate remains fragile.”

Facebook

Facebook, though, had the biggest after-hours jump in its stock price after it beat Wall Street expectations by topping $5 billion in quarterly profit. Also, Facebook said that its traffic grew during the pandemic, with more people at home online, but that the average price per ad declined due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.

“Facebook has been a lifeline of economic activity,” said Chief Financial Officer David Wehner on the earnings call. Also, the company announced $5 billion in quarterly profit.

It said that with more people at home all day due to the pandemic site traffic grew, but like Alphabet, saw a decrease in the average price per ad due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.

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How To Buy Gold For Your Investment Portfolio

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How To Buy Gold For Your Investment Portfolio

With gold prices soaring, more and more investors are curious about how to add gold to their investment portfolio. Here is part 1 of a simple list of do’s and don’ts to safely buy gold (or silver).

Do: Buy Physical Gold and Silver

If you are buying gold because you think the dollar is being printed into oblivion and gold is a store of wealth, the only way to ensure you own what you think you own is to physically have the gold in your hands. Junk gold or silver, coins, bars — it doesn’t matter. Just make sure it’s physical gold you can hold in your hands. The old saying is “If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it.”

Don’t: Buy “Paper” Gold and Silver

“Paper” in this instance means gold that isn’t physically in your hands. According to Greg Hunter at USAWatchdog, there are as many as 542 paper claims for every physical ounce of gold. That means when you buy a paper ounce of gold, you have virtually no chance of ever being able to claim the actual gold underlying that claim.

The most common paper gold is the large exchange-traded funds like GLD, the SPDR Gold Shares ETF. In the fine print buried in their prospectus, these ETFs reveal that they don’t own a physical ounce of gold to back your claim. Additionally, they themselves only have a claim on a paper ounce. Even worse, you also can’t redeem your paper claim for a physical ounce of gold, they force you into a cash settlement. So even if they had a physical ounce of gold to back your claim (which they don’t) you would still only get cash.

Do: Buy Coins and Bars That Are Common and Easy to Sell

The most common ways to own gold, like the American Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf and Austrian Philharmonic coins are your best bet in a time of crisis. They are widely held and recognizable. Also, most importantly, they can be bought or sold close to spot prices. In a time of crisis, you don’t want to be selling an uncommon coin or one of questionable authenticity. Coins from the large mints are your best bet for quick transactions with low costs.

Don’t: Buy Numismatic Coins (Unless You Really Know What You Are Doing)

Numismatic coins, those that are bought and sold by collectors for their beauty and rarity, are great coins. And, they often trade for many times over the spot price of gold or silver because of their beauty or rarity. Because of this, they can have wide spreads between their bid and ask prices. Also, even those prices can be very subjective depending on the buyer or seller. In a time of crisis, it’s better to have coins that are common and easily bought and sold.

In part 2 tomorrow, we’ll cover the best way to pay for your gold purchases, where to store your gold and more.

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