Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.U.S. Housing Bull Market Over? House Prices Trend Forecast Current State - Nadeem_Walayat
2.The Coming U.S. Economic Collapse Will Trigger a Revolution - Harry_Dent
3. Stock Market Crash a Historical Pattern? - Wim_Grommen
4.Global Panic - U.S. Federal Government Stockpiling Ammo – Here’s What We’re Going to Do - Shah Gilani
5.AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs - Aaron Smith
6.This is Your Economic Recovery With and Without Drugs - James_Quinn
7.Gold and Silver Price Getting Set To Explode Higher - Austin_Galt
8.The Something for Nothing Society - Lifecycle of Bureaucracy - Ty_Andros
9.Another Interesting Stock Market Juncture - Tony_Caldaro
10.Inflation vs the Deflationary Straw Man - Gary_Tanashian
Last 5 days
Stock Market Panic Decline Begins - 27th Aug 14
The Monopoly of the Government Education Cartel - 27th Aug 14
How to Invest in Silver Today for Double-Digit Gains - 27th Aug 14
The Big Solar Energy Breakthrough We've Been Waiting For - 27th Aug 14
U.S. Empire’s Bumpy Ride - 27th Aug 14
Gold Market and the Interest Rate Trap - 27th Aug 14
Stock Market Staring Into the Great Abyss - 27th Aug 14
A Look at the Coming 30-year Inflation Cycle - 27th Aug 14
Forex Trading - Will USD/CHF Rally Above 0.9200? - 27th Aug 14
Europe’s Depressing Economy Dog Days of Summer - 27th Aug 14
How The Coming Silver Price Bubble Will Develop - 26th Aug 14
A Nation of Shopkeepers - Supply-Side (Voodoo) Economics? - 26th Aug 14
Stock Market Bear Tracks Abound In Wall Street - 26th Aug 14
65,000 U.S. Marines Hold up a Mirror to the Economy - 26th Aug 14
Bitcoin Market Provides Clues for Investors - 26th Aug 14
The Key to Trading Success - 26th Aug 14
Will The US Succeed in Breaking Russia to Maintain Dollar Hegemony?... - 26th Aug 14
Even Mainstream Academia Worried about Massive Bubbles in Markets - 26th Aug 14
Iraq and Syria Follow Lebanon's Precedent - 26th Aug 14
Colonization by Bankruptcy: The High-stakes Chess Match for Argentina - 26th Aug 14
Dow Stock Index On The Cusp - 26th Aug 14
Prohibition Laws and Agency Regulations - 26th Aug 14
Will Canadian Regulators be Able to Avoid Final Fatal TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) Crash? - 25th Aug 14
HUI Gold Mining Stocks Elliott Wave Projection - 25th Aug 14
Stock Market Uncertainty Resolved With New High - 25th Aug 14
Go Forth Multiply And Replenish The Earth - 25th Aug 14
Dollar Dumping: When Actions Speak Loudest - 25th Aug 14
A Plethora of Currency, Stocks and Precious Metals Chartology - 25th Aug 14
Why Isn’t Fed Monetary Pumping Helping the U.S. Economy? - 25th Aug 14
Myths About Money and Inflation - 25th Aug 14
The Fed Will Raise U.S. Interest Rates in March 2015 - 25th Aug 14
Gold Price Manipulation Still Alive - 25th Aug 14
The Ebola Outbreak: U.S. Sponsored Bioterror? - 24th Aug 14
Instigating War in Europe - Understanding Ukraine in 15 Minutes - 24th Aug 14
LNG Catalysts About to Hand You the investment Opportunity of the Decade - 24th Aug 14
Another Interesting Stock Market Juncture - 24th Aug 14
The West Set Up the ISIS Endgame - 24th Aug 14
Gold And Silver Low Prices Are NOT The Reason To Own Precious Metals - 24th Aug 14
U.S. Housing Bull Market Over? House Prices Trend Forecast Current State - 23rd Aug 14
Inflation vs the Deflationary Straw Man - 23rd Aug 14
U.S. Interest Rate Rise to Occur Mid-2015 According to Fed's Williams - 23rd Aug 14
Bitcoin Price Continuation of a Move up - 23rd Aug 14
Gold and Crude Oil Price on the Verge of Something Big - Hero's Rarely Win - 23rd Aug 14
Oxaloacetate Feeds and GROWS Brain Cells - Alzheimers Cure? - 23rd Aug 14
Gold Rising Interest Rate Fallacy - 22nd Aug 14
Jackson Hole: Myth of the All Powerful Central Banker Continues - 22nd Aug 14
Partying On In The Terror State - Thank God for Nuclear Weapons - 22nd Aug 14
The Something for Nothing Society - Lifecycle of Bureaucracy - 22nd Aug 14
Hitting The ISIS Panic Button In The Middle East - 22nd Aug 14
US Stock Indices 10-Year Consolidation Patterns ... Upside Breakouts? - 22nd Aug 14
Gold and Silver Price Getting Set To Explode Higher - 22nd Aug 14
Deflation's Final Curtain Call - Part II - 22nd Aug 14 - Clif_Droke
Gold Big Picture: Most Important - 22nd Aug 14
How the “Uncertainty Factor” Drives Crude Oil Prices - 22nd Aug 14
Inflation, Interest Rates, and Why You Should Own Gold - 22nd Aug 14
U.S. Interest Rates Can Rise States Fed President - 22nd Aug 14
Why Emotional Discipline is Key to Trading Success - 21st Aug 14
Getting the Most Value from Your “Geriatric Cruiser” - 21st Aug 14
Mafia Boss Claims Stocks A Bubble, Buy Physical Gold and Silver - 21st Aug 14
Outrage! On The Beheading of Our Media Brother James Foley - 21st Aug 14
Stock Market Crash a Historical Pattern? - 21st Aug 14
The Black Box Economy - 21st Aug 14
The Bond Market is taking Advantage of Janet Yellen`s Dovishness - 21st Aug 14
Meet Your Investment Manager - 21st Aug 14
Gold and Silver Trading Alert as U.S. Dollar Soars to New Highs - 21st Aug 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

The Biggest lie in Stock Market History Revealed

Why TIPS Won't Protect You from Inflation.​..and Other Government Lies

Politics / Inflation Dec 27, 2012 - 02:22 PM GMT

By: Casey_Research

Politics

If the "World Snake Oil Salesperson Society" had a hall of fame, good old Uncle Sam would be a charter member. When it comes to smooth-talking folks into buying debt instruments, he's the slickest around.

And Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are one of his slickest gimmicks.


Here's how the federal government describes TIPS:

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are marketable securities whose principal is adjusted by changes in the Consumer Price Index. With inflation (a rise in the index), the principal increases. With deflation (a drop in the index), the principal decreases.

The relationship between TIPS and the Consumer Price Index affects both the sum you are paid when your TIPS matures and the amount of interest that a TIPS pays you every six months. TIPS pay interest at a fixed rate. Because the rate is applied to the adjusted principal, however, interest payments can vary in amount from one period to the next. If inflation occurs, the interest payment increases. In the event of deflation, the interest payment decreases.

When a TIPS matures, you receive the adjusted principal or the original principal, whichever is greater. This provision protects you against deflation.

Sounds like a sure-fire winner, right? If inflation goes up you're protected; and if deflation occurs, you'll still earn interest on the original principal.

When TIPS were introduced in 1997 my broker suggested them to me. My response was, "Okay, I'm the lender, right? And the amount of the loan, the interest rate, and the time frame are fixed. The only variable is the size of the final principal payment based on the inflation rate determined by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and the borrower gets to keep score? I don't think so!"

Let's look at the details. Both the interest and principal growth are taxed. If the government calculates the inflation and pays out a net 4%, the investor must pay federal income tax on the income. That sure seems like a guaranteed way not to keep up with inflation.

And the picture gets even worse in today's economic climate. The government's version of the inflation rate, which it uses to adjust the interest and principal payments, is currently 3% – but that's really a lowball estimate. In the last few decades the government has significantly changed how it calculates inflation. Using the government's 1990 method, Shadowstats reports that the true inflation rate is really 6.2%, which is a much more realistic figure. If that's the case, the loss of buying power to inflation is even greater. Not only does the investor lose to inflation by being taxed on the income, he also loses because the true inflation rate is higher than the government's rate. This results in a final principal payment lower than the true inflation rate. I would call that a double-barreled loser.

The government has changed its method of calculating the CPI many times, and I urge readers to visit John Williams' ShadowStats website to see how. He clearly explains how true inflation is much higher than the figures the government calculates and reports.

I recently spoke with John, and he believes many consumers are under the illusion that the CPI is based on a constant basket of goods, and that their respective price changes are measured over time. In many of his special reports he outlines substitutions the BLS has made and the political significance of those changes.

In 1949 Benjamin Graham wrote an investment bible called The Intelligent Investor, and many pundits and advisors reference his work to justify their recommendations. Graham passed away before TIPS were introduced, but Jason Zweig has added some significant comments to the most recent publication of Graham's book, including a discussion on TIPS.

Because of the taxable nature of TIPS, Zweig suggests owning them inside an IRA or some other type of tax-sheltered account. He offers the following notes on TIPS:

In one easy package, you insure yourself against financial loss and the loss of purchasing power.

Either directly or through a fund, TIPS are the ideal substitute for the proportion of your retirement funds you would otherwise keep in cash.

For most investors, allocating at least 10% of your retirement assets to TIPS is an intelligent way to keep a portion of your money absolutely safe – and entirely beyond the reach of the long, invisible claws of inflation.

I would have agreed with the author when he wrote the book, but times have changed.

Most successful investors have a couple of things in common. First, they're not blinded by smokescreens and can see things as they really are. Second, they understand cause and effect. I suspect Graham, who had both of these qualities, would see TIPS for what they really are. When one applies these two principles to TIPS, a few conclusions become clear.

  1. TIPS won't protect against inflation if they're not held in a tax-sheltered account.
  2. If the government adjusts the principal of TIPS based on the CPI inflation rate, the best an investor can hope for is to stay even with inflation.
  3. If John Williams' inflation numbers are accurate, a TIPS investor risks losing a good portion of his life savings to the ravages of inflation.

Unfortunately financial planners tend to perpetuate the myth that TIPS adequately protect against inflation. Recently, when I asked a certified financial planner at a major brokerage firm how he protected his clients from the potential ravages of high inflation, he said he recommended TIPS. When I asked if they were doing anything else, he answered, "Not really." Several of my friends with managed accounts have also said their money managers "protect" them with TIPS.

Many financial planners simply take all of a client's financial information and plug it into the company computer, which then produces a report outlining a suggested financial strategy. If the person writing the computer program plugged TIPS into the formula, that's among the items a final report may suggest. If your planner insists that any of your money should be invested in TIPS, I would certainly ask for a solid explanation.

In my opinion, TIPS do the opposite of what they're supposed to do. With inflation on the rise and some creative accounting on the part of the scorekeeper, I think TIPS are a terrible investment. I urge every reader to do his own due diligence – ShadowStats is the best place to start. Questioning financial planners and money managers may lead to some stressful conversations, but the risk of losing a large portion of your nest egg to inflation warrants taking the time to educate yourself by demanding answers.

Many friends have asked me what they should invest in to protect themselves against inflation. Unfortunately, they're looking for an easy answer that doesn't exist. Only a combination of investments can accomplish the goal. Our model portfolio recommends a variety of alternatives to TIPS with the income potential and capital appreciation to help protect your portfolio.

Many readers may remember an entertainer named Alex Karras who also played professional football for the Detroit Lions. At the time, the Lions had a terrific defensive team and a horrible offense. When a reporter asked Karras for his prediction on the upcoming season, he replied, "I predict we will play to a lot of scoreless ties!"

If you're heavily invested in TIPS, a scoreless tie is the best you can hope for. At Miller's Money Forever we have much higher aspirations.

How I Realized the Government Lies about Broccoli

As a kid, I was led to believe the federal government was close to God. If a report came out from the government or even Walter Cronkite, no one considered questioning its authenticity. It was fact.

But somewhere in my 20s I actually started to think for myself a bit more and question certain things, including the government and its messages.

It all started with a headline-making government report. Apparently if I didn't eat broccoli – I mean at least two big helpings each week – I was certain to die of cancer by the end of the decade. Now, I hate broccoli. I hate the taste of it, the smell of it, and even the idea of having to eat it to survive. I began to suspect something was fishy.

Shortly thereafter there was a big editorial about Washington lobbyists corrupting America. I looked down the list and sure enough, there was a big broccoli lobby. Bingo! The broccoli lobby had corrupted the research process in the US. It bought and paid for the study that published the data indicating I had to eat two big helpings a week to avoid an early deathbed. Wasn't it that same broccoli lobby that paid someone to dump truckloads of broccoli on the White House lawn when Bush the First was president?

That was a traumatic day for me, realizing that the federal government could be paid to educate the public about something that wasn't true… particularly regarding broccoli.

I've finally concluded that any government that will lie to its constituents about big things like broccoli will think nothing of lying to them about little things like unemployment numbers, the inflation rate, nuclear weapons in Iraq, or the Vietnam War. Once it gets comfortable lying about the big stuff, the little ones come easy.

If you’re looking to get past the lies and misinformation on TIPS and want straight talk on retirement planning and boosting your income during retirement—without having to go back to work—then take a few minutes to read my newest report in my Miller’s Money Forever service. 

© 2012 Copyright Casey Research - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014