I guess that this really isn't all that political but....

Discussion in 'Politics' started by JoeNation, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. JoeNation
    Angelic

    JoeNation FOX Lies, GOP buys!

    Is anyone else making a killing in gold investments right now? Gold is going crazy this week. I don't mean your gold coins, I mean precious metal investments. It's kind of crazy.
     
  2. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Active Member

    I know, and I have no idea what the root of this thing is. I been holding a respectable amount of precious metals for twenty years and enjoy the thrill of an overactive spot market. I believe it was five years ago when gold shot up over $1800.00 per ounce and rapidly fell back down again. I won't be buying or selling. But it is fun to watch. I just wish I had a handle on what was driving this craziness.
     
  3. JoeNation
    Angelic

    JoeNation FOX Lies, GOP buys!

    I really can't say either. I have a significant amount of my 401K invested out of the stock market and into gold. It is amazing to see the 401K grow so fast. I guess we'll figure out what the drivers are when we have a little more hindsight.
     
  4. JohnHamilton
    Pensive

    JohnHamilton Active Member

    The stock market has gone up by a tremendous percentage over the last year. My portfolio, which is not 401k involved, is at an all-time high. My investment advisor’s goal has been for me to draw down the required amount from my 401k and still have the balance holding steady or going up. So far, that’s how it’s worked because of the stock market.

    As for gold, there has to be a lot of money coming in from Asia that is driving it. The funny thing is worn, common date U.S. $20 gold pieces have been selling for less than melt. That has happened before, but the last time coin collectors were figuring that the price of gold was too high and would not pay the price for them. It turned out to be a short term phenomenon, but this time it’s gone on for months. Last time the gold price dropped as collectors predicted. This time, who knows?

    Why do I say Asia? In conversations with international coin dealers, they tell me that a lot of prime collector gold coins are going to Asia and that they are bidding up the prices for them. For example I would like to find a really nice 1937 British 5 pound gold Proof. The price of these coins is over $20,000. A British and an American dealer who sells large numbers of foreign coins, told me that Asian investors are supporting the market. The other three coins in the set (half sovereign, sovereign and two pounds) have not been bid up nearly as much relative to melt. This 5 pound coin is similar in size to a $20 gold piece.

    I am afraid of the stock market. At my age, I would love to get into more bonds or CDs, but the interest rates are too low to take the risk. I have bought some lower grade bonds to up the return, and gotten burned a time or two. Overall I’ve been okay with that, but I don’t want to do a lot of it.

    With fixed pensions virtually a thing of the past, it’s definitely harder to be retired these days. One has to take more risk than a retired person might like to do, to maintain a decent income.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  5. JoeNation
    Angelic

    JoeNation FOX Lies, GOP buys!

    Fixed pensions, or defined benefit pensions, used to be common. Throughout the 50's and 60's you could work a relatively low-skilled job for 30 years and retire with a comfortable pension the rest of your days. I know many people in their 80's and 90's that still benefit from these types of pensions.

    Fast forward to today, we find that almost nobody offers defined benefit pensions. Instead, you and your employer must contribute to some type of 401K saving plan that may or may not last the rest of your days. I think everyone should have a 401K from the day they start working at Burger King when they are 16 but youth generally aren't that forward looking.

    Now in my case, both my wife and myself have defined benefit pensions that will last until the day we die and then once one of us is gone, the other gets either 50%, 75%, or 100% of the others pension depending on what you designate when you retire. Of course, if you opt for 100% rather than 50% for your spouse, you get less payout monthly. This model is in lieu of receiving Social Security at the normal rate. 40% is SS is all most people will end up with in this situation. All in all, not a bad retirement package that we have spent our lives paying into. Can it be taken away? They have tried and failed many times. They say that there is a pension shortfall because they opted to not pay the annual pension payments for years. Meanwhile, the the pension recipients never missed a payment.

    Pensions have changed because unions aren't as strong as they used to be. Strong unions mean better benefits. Without unions to side with the workers, you can expect the pension problems in this country to only get worse. If you already have your pension and don't care about those still in the workforce earning theirs, beside being an entitled asshole, you are currently benefiting from a system that you are now throwing under the bus. You didn't work any harder than the people today are working, you just tell yourself that to ease your conscience. Hopefully, we don't have any of those people here.
     
  6. Mopar Dude

    Mopar Dude Active Member

    I believe too that the face of business has changed radically over the years. I live down south. Back in the 1990's a number of large manufacturers moved their manufacturing facilities from northern, union controlled areas to southern, business friendly states. I watched several large facilities close up shortly thereafter when the unions followed suit and moved their organizations to reorganize the southern workforce in these same outfits.... See, business was reacting to cheaper imported goods at the time and releasing themselves from the burden of organized labor effectively made their products more competitive in a changing marketplace. Is organized labor beneficial in a 21st century workforce? Not from where I sit anyway.

    I paid close attention to my mentor forty years ago. He was of the "old guard" type businessman. He would rather sit in a smoke filled room and raise the devil while he struck his deals. The man would have a hard time being successful these days with so many worries and constraints that the businessman has to be aware of in a more sensitive age. He did teach me one valuable lesson and that is that my workforce is my most valuable asset. Now, I do not have a 401k plan set up for my staff. I do provide them with a very lucrative healthcare plan that will cost me more than 40k this year. When we have a successful project finish out, I share in the profit from that project and urge my staff to use those unexpected funds to use in their own saving plan. And I do know that several do heed my advice.

    It is tough to do business in the 21st century. Just the insurance I have to carry would make your head spin. It does mine. If I did have a labor union come in here and tell my guys they couldn't arrive early in the morning to clear up their desks or whatever, it would have quite the negative impact on our ability to be successful.
     
    JohnHamilton likes this.
  7. JohnHamilton
    Pensive

    JohnHamilton Active Member

    A fixed pension is only as strong as the company that backs it. When my wife retired, we decided to buy annuities with the lump sum of her pension rather than depend on the company she worked. To be frank about it the guy who ran the company when she left was a greedy SOB who paid huge and unwarranted bonuses to himself and his cronies. (We are talking $20 million for one year when the company had a so-so year.) Even the “Wall Street Journal” committed about how his compensation plan was unwarranted. We were afraid that he would find some way to screw to the pensioners so we opted out.

    As it turned out we lost a little money by doing that, but I still don’t regret the decision.

    The 401k can be great option because you don’t have bet on the financial health of the company for which you work. You can direct the investments to other segments of the economy and not have all your pension bet on one firm. The government does have pension plans for companies that go bankrupt and can’t pay their retirees, but those people might end up with a fraction what they were scheduled to get.

    In my wife’s family there is a man who worked in a high level position for the old General Motors. When it went bankrupt, he ended up on the government plan and lost a lot. Fortunately he had saved, and is living well today, but that’s not the case for a lot of people.
     

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