One of Kiplinger’s recent headlines read “Investing in a Time of Terror.” It definitely caught my eye, so I of course I picked up the magazine.
I talk a lot about the threats the average working American faces when it comes to saving money: market loss, tax exposure, catastrophic illness, they all can decimate our hard-earned savings—the account most of us are relying on in retirement.
Threats of terrorists attacks I think rank up with these other risks, and so I was interested to see what James Glassman, the author, talked about.
According to Glassman, investors have hardened themselves to terrorist attacks. He compares the recent attacks in Paris to what happened with the World Trade Center. Both were heinous displays of radical power seeking to destroy. But while the market crashed in 2002 after 9-11, the market gained just a bit after Paris.
He says something I completely agree with, “The U.S. is a powerful and resilient nation. It has surmounted challenges far greater than the current series of terrorist attacks.” We’re a scrappy bunch, we Americans. The people I call my clients and friends are pretty clear about certain things: we don’t like people messing with our sovereignty, and we certainly don’t like people messing with our money.
But Glassman makes another very important point. When those planes plowed into the World Trade Center, that kind of attack was inconceivable to us. It was a shock. Same held for Pearl Harbor—no one at that time in history could conceive of that massive of an air attack on American soil.
We can handle those things we can wrap our wits around—horrible as they are. But what about those things we can’t? And what, exactly, classifies as “a time of terror?” Glassman is skeptical that even a “truly cataclysmic terrorist event will have no effect on markets,” precisely because investors can conceive of the inconceivable.
I don’t know if I agree with that. What if there’s a massive biological attack? Ebola and Anthrax are real, and some crazed nation could use something like those deadly pathogens in large form. The “what ifs” here are endless: from deadly chemicals to nuclear bombs, the inconceivable could still happen, and it could send the financial markets into tailspins like 2008, or 2002, or 1948. The market recovered from all those crashes—but are you willing to risk your money in one of them? 2008 wasn’t that long ago, and while the Wall Street guys, the ones who play the market all the time, may know how to ride another crash, do you?
“Terror” has many faces—and that’s what truly scares me when it comes to making sure my money and my client’s money is safe. What if there’s another bank meltdown like the kind that precipitated the 2008 “Great Recession”? Yes, your deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to $250,000. This includes checking, savings, money market and CD’s. But it doesn’t include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance, annuities, or securities that your bank may offer. But that’s not really what I’m talking about. The bank industry has failed in a major way twice in the last thirty-five years—the 1980 Savings and Loan meltdown and the 2008 banking crisis. Those did affect the stock market in a big, big way.
What about whole countries going into bankruptcy? Greece’s economy collapsed in 2008 reeling from the aftermath of the US banking industry going into a free fall. When China’s massive economy experienced tremors two months ago, the markets here faltered. And the scariest part of that is China’s economy has not yet stabilized. What if China’s market collapses?
We live in a global economy. That means that what happens half-way around the world can have grave effects on us here in the U.S. That strikes terror in many.
I don’t know about the old Chinese proverb, “may you live in interesting times.” I have made it a life’s goal to find ways to protect not just myself and my family but all those I have met and have done business with over the past thirty years.
I have just written a whole bunch of doom and gloom. The threats are real, but there are solutions that can help protect your family’s financial health even in times of terror, solutions that can give you market-linked returns with contractual guarantees but without risking your money on the downside.
To make it easy on you I’ve included this link so that the representative will contact you right away.