Retirees Should Not Listen to This Investopedia Financial Advice

This article was first published by me on Talkmarkets:

Retirees should not listen to Investopedia's recent financial advice. It is contained in the article: Retirees: 7 Lessons from 2008 If There Is Another Crisis. They should, at least, think for themselves and consider the opposite view. I am not an investment counselor or attorney, so I am not giving advice, merely trying to get older people to reconsider the bullish advice.

I find Investopedia to be quite helpful on many issues, as it has brief, clear cut definitions of terms and concepts used in the financial world, as well as great articles on finance.  

The Investopedia article in question was written by Tim Parker in February, 2016.  So, this was posted after the decline of oil and food prices has been in full swing. China is bleeding money trying to prop up the Yuan, and Europe and Japan are suffering negative interest rates.

Yet, Investopedia is being quite bullish with the Parker article. The article speaks to some various strategies, not all suspect for the older crowd. For example, the concepts of hedging, not being in stocks only, keeping calm, and diversity are all good concepts. If anything, the author is hedging his bullish comments.

But other advice given, such as sitting still, preparing to buy, and not hoarding cash, are not consistent with turbulent times and retirees. Return of capital is paramount in turbulent times. Tim Parker does not really acknowledge that. His advice would likely be helpful to young people, who have time to turn around mistakes in investing. Older folks have no such time.

I could not find any information that contributors do or do not speak for Investopedia. I would assume that front page articles are vetted by editors. Again, this is not a criticism of the website in total, just about the concerns I have about the advice given in this particular article.

Of course, Investopedia often gives good advice, to the investment community. They say beware of new Alt-A liar loans. That is a great piece of advice, as doing the same thing over and over again with the same disastrous results as what happened prior to the Great Recession is the definition of insanity.

Now, getting back to retired individuals, there are various ways to hoard cash in times of trouble. One could hoard it in a bank account. So far that seems to be a pretty safe bet, especially in FDIC insured accounts, as banks do not pass along negative interest rate costs to consumers. And the Fed has not yet saddled the banks with negative interest rates to pass on.

But that could change, and maybe sooner than we think. If it does, and the Fed introduces negative rates to retail accounts, very conservative bond funds and total return could be an option for those seeking appreciation of principle as negative penalties are applied to the account. That makes more sense than letting the money sit in a bank account while interest is charged.

The powers that be are not significantly worried about a small excursion into negative interest rates for banks themselves, because it costs more to store cash than it would to pay the Fed a small fee to keep digital money at the Fed. But retirees, if you see negative rates extended to your retail bank accounts, seek shelter in government bonds and total return, where the prices can appreciate, and positive interest rates may be found in longer maturities.

This change to the negative may be a few years away, but retirees in any era need to have a plan to maximize their return on capital. Seeking return of capital are the funds BRASX and the bond fund TLT.


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