Tags: Defensive | Investing | volatile | New World

Defensive Investing for the Volatile New World

Defensive Investing for the Volatile New World
(Dollar Photo Club)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016 07:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Any way you look at the numbers, 2016 has had the worst starts for the stock market since they’ve been keeping track. A number of factors came together to produce a near-perfect storm for stock prices and panicked investors turned to financial media for guidance.

Ironically, market crashes are great for TV financial pundits and investment websites as millions of Americans watching their hopes for a secure retirement go up in smoke turn to experts for advice.

But instead of useful counsel most got either condescending platitudes or predictable advice to ride it out. These were the same media that, just a few months ago, were trumpeting the stock market’s Bull Run. Also missing from the current analysis is any discussion of the causes of the current havoc and how factors both inside and outside the market could impact our investments going forward.

The investing environment we face today is significantly different from any in history. We now live in a globally connected economy where decisions by central banks in faraway countries, such as last August’s serial devaluations of the yuan, can have swift and damaging impact here at home. The related slowdown in the Chinese economy could continue to hobble growth in the rest of the world for years.

Piling on, conflicts between Saudi Arabia and Iran threaten to create a new Middle East crisis that would inevitably drag us into yet another protracted and costly military engagement. Meanwhile, low oil prices abroad are crippling U.S. domestic production and spurring a wave of layoffs in the oil and gas industry that could leave even Texas with negative employment growth.
Bad Outlook Growing Worse

This array of global threats prompted the IMF to issue warnings of slower growth for 2016, which they subsequently expanded to include 2017. With continued weakness in the Chinese economy and no relief in sight from collapsed oil prices, the IMF admits any additional shocks could derail even their narrow estimates for growth.

An increasing number of business and financial experts share the IMF’s gloomy outlook. In September Citigroup predicted a “rapidly rising” risk of recession, calculating the odds at 55%; by December they’d boosted those odds to 65%.

This shaky outlook has led to an increasing number of financial institutions and advisors warning clients to sell their stocks and move fast to higher ground.  On the whole, we’re likely entering an age in which economic volatility is the new normal. There are simply too many cooks in the economic stew.

A New Game Plan

What’s certain is individual investors, particularly those over forty; have to adopt a more defensive mindset. In an environment of increasing and likely permanent volatility and recession risk there may not be time to recover from one crash before gains are wiped out by the next. A defensive portfolio, one with a lower dependence on equities and higher percentages of bonds, hard assets and cash, can provide consistent returns without the gut-wrenching, possibly irreparable drops that can derail retirement plans.

Rebalancing and adjusting your asset allocation to fit your age and time to retirement at least once a year is more important now than ever. After age fifty, wealth preservation has to become the crucial point of focus.

Investing in stocks has always carried a certain amount of risk. When markets are running hot they tend to take on a casino mentality and investors, instead of thinking coolly about rebalancing and selling off some of those winners, tend to let those bets ride. But many are gambling with assets they can’t afford to lose.

As the news goes from bad to worse my phone rings non-stop, with clients looking to safeguard their wealth by shifting retirement assets to a gold IRA in which they can pursue growth while sheltering the funds they simply can’t afford to lose.

With current commodity prices and market conditions I recommend my clients keep anywhere from ten to thirty percent of their retirement assets in physical gold and silver, where they can’t be destroyed by market crashes, volatility in China or a currency collapse in Russia.

Financial television is full of thirty-something pundits talking about the market, but none of them are facing retirement anytime soon. In fact, the worse the news gets the more secure their jobs become.  The other staple of financial television is jaded multi-millionaires who are going to have a comfortable retirement no matter what happens in the market.

Predictably, there are very few addressing the needs of middle class investors in their forties and fifties who are soon going to need the money they’ve saved—people who can’t afford to take chances. Think twice before following the advice of anyone who stock crash doesn’t make you the priority.

Trevor Gerszt is America's Gold IRA Expert, CEO of Goldco Precious Metals, and holds a position on the Los Angeles board of the Better Business Bureau. To read more of his work, Go Here Now.

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Any way you look at the numbers, 2016 has had the worst starts for the stock market since they've been keeping track.
Defensive, Investing, volatile, New World
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 07:30 AM
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