The Dow dropped 1300 points in a couple of days and the CNBC fear machine cranked into high gear. Even Fox Business News got into the action with the headline grabber "Biggest market crash in our lifetime coming - economist Harry Dent." Of course if you google "Harry Dent crash," he makes the same call every year so it is meaningless. The real question is: should you buy or sell the fear? The answer: it depends.
This week two prominent market veterans warned that the US could slip into recession next year. Mark Yusko of Morgan Creek Capital says that the chance is "close to 100%," while Dennis Gartman puts the probability at 50%. According to Gartman the cause will be the Fed tightening. Yusko blames trade tariffs as he said, "The trade rhetoric is one of the dumbest things in the history of all administrations and it will cause a global recession."
Today the Federal Reserve is expected to hike rates for the 3rd time this year to 2.25%. This is good news for your savings account as you are likely to see a slight boost in your interest rates; but that is no guarantee as many major banks are still paying close to zero. More importantly, you may be wondering what impact the rate hike has on your investment portfolio, especially stocks. Is this a reason for concern?
The media is focused on Hurricane Florence and its path toward the Carolinas and Virginia. Being a category 4 hurricane with 130 mph sustained winds, over a million residents are subject to mandatory evacuation due to risk of life-threatening storm surge, dangerous winds, and flooding. Our government is warning residents to take protective measures. This week also marks the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse; yet in the financial industry, investors are often told to stay the course and ride out the storm. Can you suffer through another bear market like 2000 or 2008 when the S&P 500 fell over 50%?
For several years, I have written in-depth annuity reviews because there is little information about these complex products. Many retirees are being enticed by free dinner seminars and promises of huge returns with no risk. I give an A+ to insurance companies for producing a product that they claim to be "no fee" (are you kidding me? Fees are simply hidden so you can't see them), no downside risk (yes true) and still has the potential for stock market returns (too good to be true). Let's take a look at that last piece and the topic of this blog post: can index annuities provide stock market returns?
Yes I am swept up in the hype of the release of the movie "Crazy Rich Asians." As an Asian-American, I am hyped to finally see a major motion picture with an all Asian cast which we haven't seen since 1993's Joy Luck Club. Please go out and support the film!
But today's blog post isn't about the film, but about S&P earnings season which I'm calling crazy rich earnings. We have been bullish on the market because of the extremely strong earnings coming out of corporate America. While others have been warning about valuations (for years), remember that no bear market was caused by solely by over-valuation. How good has earnings season been? Let's take a look.
Sometimes it is fun to look back and see who made the correct call on the markets. High profile investors make bold calls but are seldom held accountable for the bad ones. Yet, the media will go back to the "big" names year after year because they generate clicks for their ad dollars. Unfortunately this doesn't bode well for your investment portfolio if you take their newsworthy headlines as actual investment advice. Let's take a look back two years to the summer of 2016 when two of the most prominent investors Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach were screaming SELL!
The Allianz 222 annuity has been one of the best selling index annuities for several years now as I wrote my first review of the product in May 2014. For two months through September 17th, they have increased the premium bonus from 22% to 30% (25% in NJ and OR) which gives the protected income value a nice espresso shot from day 1. Because this being sold by agents extra hard, I have received several calls from people looking for advice. Given that many seem confused as to how the bonus works, and no it doesn't give a boost to your account value, I though it would be a good idea to have a stand along blog post for this topic. So let's take a look at how it works, I will walk you through some of the numbers so you know what you are buying before signing on that dotted line.
The annuity business has grown in popularity as investors, especially those nearing retirement, look for options to protect themselves from stock market volatility and give them a decent income stream in retirement. With over $200 billion in annual sales, the annuity industry is big business with lots of salesmen trying to persuade you to make a purchase.
Today I will dig deep into the Allianz 222 Annuity which was launched in January of 2013 and was one of the best selling indexed annuities in the industry for the 4th quarter of 2013. Sales of indexed annuities, a fixed annuity that provides a minimum guaranteed rate of interest combined with an interest rate tied to movement of an index, increased to $39.3 billion in 2013, a 17% gain year over year. This is the biggest percentage increase of any form of annuity.
The Fed has been raising interest rates off its emergency levels for the past year and that should be good news for savers who can finally earn a risk free return. However, if you aren't savvy, then your large bank may still be "stealing" your interest by not paying you market rates. Do you know what your financial institution is paying on your savings account? If the answer is no, then you should check their website or your latest bank statement. Here is the ugly truth, Chase and Wells Fargo still are paying just 0.01% on savings accounts. That is robbery as they are pocketing your interest and dropping it into their profits which are in the billions. With money movement a simple mouse click away, you shouldn't allow the big banks to steal your interest.
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