I recently checked my money-market account and saw that they paid me 0.25 percent on my balance that I have had for years now. After I complained, they told me that they could pay me 1.25 percent on a 2-year certificate of deposit.
Most of my net worth is tied up in conservative, consistent dividend stocks and always has been. I know that the statistics show a diversified, large-cap, multinational-based portfolio is best.
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Then it hit me. The reason the large institutions are doing this is because we are letting them.
Why would someone let the banks profit so much off us?
It is very simple, it’s about fear. The media has scared folks into thinking they can’t invest their own money and should instead accept paltry returns.
I have never accepted what conventional wisdom told me or I wouldn’t have been able to retire from the 9-to-5 grind.
So I asked all my friends and relatives why they collect such low yields. They all said basically the same thing. They didn’t want to take the risk of losing their money. I get that.
Safe investing, however, is an illusion. There is an inherent risk in everything — even U.S. Treasury bills because of inflation, the long-term future of the U.S government, its reckless spending and its $15 trillion debt.
I would rather have my money in a company with net cash of $40 billion more than their debt, and instead of running a yearly trillion-dollar deficit like our country they cash flow billions every year.
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I know many mutual funds have been negative for their owners. It’s because you trusted someone else to do the thinking for you.
I don’t need someone to tell me that McDonald’s is a strong company that is expanding all over the world.
Instead, what folks need, in my opinion, is to find a good adviser and invest a percentage of their money in a company that they personally feel fits their own personal situation.
Each dollar that isn’t kept in these anemic 0.25 percent money-market funds makes the financial institutions eventually ”need” to raise these rates to attract the money they desperately need. The key is to find someone who has actually become financially independent solely from safe investing. How do you know for sure?
You need to ask the prospective financial adviser how much their annual dividend income is and also their age. Someone 75 years old with only $15,000 of annual dividend income isn’t better than someone who has $85,000 of dividend income and is 45 years old. Dividends are the first sign of safe investing.
No one can predict the future 100 percent of the time. Also sometimes you may not be perfect.
Investing is 50 percent art (instinct) and 50 percent science (numbers).
But the key to safe investing is to combine safety, growth and income with getting the right entry price — which is an inexact science.
You were smart enough to save your money and survive in the world your entire life.
Don’t let the banks take advantage of you. Diversify some of your cash that you don't need and instead find a company that you understand and collect a dividend that is 2 percent or more.
Spend some time and do some research to find the independent newsletter that discusses stocks that are most appropriate and suited to your own situation.
About the Author: Bill Spetrino
Bill Spetrino is a member of the Moneynews Financial Brain Trust. Click Here
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