Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
A Lesson About Gold – How Bullish Can It Be? - 24th Jan 20
Stock Market January 2018 Repeats in 2020 – Yikes! - 24th Jan 20
Gold Report from the Two Besieged Cities - 24th Jan 20
Stock Market Elliott Waves Trend Forecast 2020 - Video - 24th Jan 20
AMD Multi-cores vs INTEL Turbo Cores - Best Gaming CPUs 2020 - 3900x, 3950x, 9900K, or 9900KS - 24th Jan 20
Choosing the Best Garage Floor Containment Mats - 23rd Jan 20
Understanding the Benefits of Cannabis Tea - 23rd Jan 20
The Next Catalyst for Gold - 23rd Jan 20
5 Cyber-security considerations for 2020 - 23rd Jan 20
Car insurance: what the latest modifications could mean for your premiums - 23rd Jan 20
Junior Gold Mining Stocks Setting Up For Another Rally - 22nd Jan 20
Debt the Only 'Bubble' That Counts, Buy Gold and Silver! - 22nd Jan 20
AMAZON (AMZN) - Primary AI Tech Stock Investing 2020 and Beyond - Video - 21st Jan 20
What Do Fresh U.S. Economic Reports Imply for Gold? - 21st Jan 20
Corporate Earnings Setup Rally To Stock Market Peak - 21st Jan 20
Gold Price Trend Forecast 2020 - Part1 - 21st Jan 20
How to Write a Good Finance College Essay  - 21st Jan 20
Risks to Global Economy is Balanced: Stock Market upside limited short term - 20th Jan 20
How Digital Technology is Changing the Sports Betting Industry - 20th Jan 20
Is CEOs Reputation Management Essential? All You Must Know - 20th Jan 20
APPLE (AAPL) AI Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 20th Jan 20
FOMO or FOPA or Au? - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market SP500 Kitchin Cycle Review - 20th Jan 20
Why Intel i7-4790k Devils Canyon CPU is STILL GOOD in 2020! - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market Final Thrust Review - 19th Jan 20
Gold Trade Usage & Price Effect - 19th Jan 20
Stock Market Trend Forecast 2020 - Trend Analysis - Video - 19th Jan 20
Stock Trade-of-the-Week: Dorchester Minerals (DMLP) - 19th Jan 20
INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Mega-trend 2020 and Beyond - 18th Jan 20
Gold Stocks Wavering - 18th Jan 20
Best Amazon iPhone Case Fits 6s, 7, 8 by Toovren Review - 18th Jan 20
1. GOOGLE (Alphabet) - Primary AI Tech Stock For Investing 2020 - 17th Jan 20
ERY Energy Bear Continues Basing Setup – Breakout Expected Near January 24th - 17th Jan 20
What Expiring Stock and Commodity Market Bubbles Look Like - 17th Jan 20
Platinum Breaks $1000 On Big Rally - What's Next Forecast - 17th Jan 20
Precious Metals Set to Keep Powering Ahead - 17th Jan 20
Stock Market and the US Presidential Election Cycle  - 16th Jan 20
Shifting Undercurrents In The US Stock Market - 16th Jan 20
America 2020 – YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (PART TWO) - 16th Jan 20
Yes, China Is a Currency Manipulator – And the U.S. Banking System Is a Metals Manipulator - 16th Jan 20
MICROSOFT Stock Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Mega-trend 2020 and Beyond - 15th Jan 20
Silver Traders Big Trend Analysis – Part II - 15th Jan 20
Silver Short-Term Pullback Before Acceleration Higher - 15th Jan 20
Gold Overall Outlook Is 'Strongly Bullish' - 15th Jan 20
AMD is Killing Intel - Best CPU's For 2020! Ryzen 3900x, 3950x, 3960x Budget, to High End Systems - 15th Jan 20
The Importance Of Keeping Invoices Up To Date - 15th Jan 20
Stock Market Elliott Wave Analysis 2020 - 14th Jan 20
Walmart Has Made a Genius Move to Beat Amazon - 14th Jan 20
Deep State 2020 – A Year Of Living Dangerously! - 14th Jan 20
The End of College Is Near - 14th Jan 20
AI Stocks Investing 2020 to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend - Video - 14th Jan 20
Stock Market Final Thrust - 14th Jan 20
British Pound GBP Trend Forecast Review - 13th Jan 20
Trumpism Stock Market and the crisis in American social equality - 13th Jan 20
Silver Investors Big Trend Analysis for – Part I - 13th Jan 20
Craig Hemke Gold & Silver 2020 Prediction, Slams Biased Gold Naysayers - 13th Jan 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Collateral Damage: What You and Monica Lewinsky Have in Common

Personal_Finance / Pensions & Retirement May 09, 2014 - 02:47 PM GMT

By: Don_Miller


Collateral damage can assume many forms—and though some may be more newsworthy than others, the latter are no less real, nor any less frightening.

On Tuesday, controversial radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called Monica Lewinsky “collateral damage in Hillary Clinton’s war on women,” saying that President Bill Clinton and his wife destroyed the former White House intern “after he got his jollies, after he got his consensual whatevers.”

Last month, Jeremy Grantham, cofounder of GMO, a Boston-based asset management firm that oversees $112 billion in client funds, dubbed savers “collateral damage” of quantitative easing and the Federal Reserve’s continued commitment to low interest rates.

Would it be worse to be known as the “president’s mistress” for more than a decade and, as Lewinsky claims, to be unable to find a normal job? Maybe. But it’s no laughing matter either to find yourself penniless in your “golden years.”

Signs of Monetary Collateral Damage Among Seniors

The 55-plus crowd accounts for 22% of all bankruptcy filings in the US—up 12% from just 13 years ago—and seniors age 65 and up are the fastest-growing population segment seeking bankruptcy protection. Given the wounds bankruptcy inflicts on your credit, reputation, and pride, it’s safe to assume those filing have exhausted all feasible alternatives.

But even seniors in less dire straits are finding it difficult to navigate low-interest rate waters. Thirty-seven percent of 65- to 74-year-olds still had a mortgage or home equity line of credit in 2010, up from 21% in 1989. For those 75 and older, that number jumped from 2% to 21% during the same timeframe—another mark of a debt-filled retirement becoming the norm. With an average balance of $9,300 as of 2012, the 65-plus cohort is also carrying more credit card debt than any other age group.

While climbing out of a $9,300 hole isn’t impossible, the national average credit card APR of 15% sure makes it difficult. For those with bad credit, that rate jumps to 22.73%—not quite the same as debtor’s prison, but close.

None of this points to an aging population adjusting its money habits to thrive under the Fed’s low-interest-rate regime.

Minimize Your Part of Comparative Negligence

A quick side note on tort law. Most states have some breed of the comparative-negligence rule on the books. This means a jury can reduce the monetary award it awards a tort plaintiff by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault. Bob’s Pontiac hits Mildred’s Honda, causing Mildred to break her leg. Mildred sues Bob and the jury awards her $100,000, but also finds she was 7% at fault for the accident. Mildred walks with $93,000. (Actually, Mildred walks with $62,000 and her lawyer with $31,000, but I digress.)

Comparative-negligence rules exist because when a bad thing happens, the injured party may be partly responsible. For someone planning for retirement, the bad thing at issue is too much debt and too little savings. Through low interest rates, the Federal Reserve is responsible for X% of the problem.

Though ex-Fed chief Bernanke doesn’t seem to see it that way—in a dinner conversation with hedge fund manager David Einhorn, he asserted that raising interest rates to benefit savers wouldn’t be the right move for the economy because it would require borrowers to pay more for capital. Well, there you have it. And there’s nothing you can do about that X%. You can, however, reduce or eliminate your contribution.

In other words, you don’t have to be collateral damage; you can affect how your life plays out.

Money Lessons from Zen Buddhism

This might sound like a “duh” statement, but it bears repeating from time to time. Inheritance windfall from that great-aunt in Des Moines you’d forgotten about aside, there are two ways to eliminate debt and retire well: spend less or make more.

Rising healthcare costs, emergency car repairs, and the like are real impediments to reducing your bills. Costs rooted in attempts to “keep up with the Joneses,” however, are avoidable. Those attempts are also futile. A new, even richer Mr. Jones is always around the bend.

Instead of overspending for show, make like a Buddhist and let go of your attachment to things and your ego about owning them. Spring for that Zen rock garden if you must and start raking.

One of the wealthier men I know drove around for years with a gardening glove as a makeshift cover for his Peugeot’s worn-out stick-shift knob. It looked shabby, but this man wasn’t a car guy and had no need to impress. As far as I know, the gardening glove worked just fine until he finally donated the car to charity and happily took his tax deduction. Maintaining your car isn’t overspending, but you catch my drift. Dropping efforts to show off can benefit us all.

That said, keeping up isn’t always about show. You may feel pressure to overspend just to be able to enjoy time with your friends and family. Maybe you can no longer afford the annual Vail ski week with your in-laws or the flight to Hawaii for your nephew’s bar mitzvah. Maybe your friends are hosting caviar dinners, but you’re now on a McDonald’s budget and can no longer participate.

Spending less in order to stay within your budget can mean missing out on experiences, not just stuff. If you’re in this camp, there’s no reason to hang your head. As I mentioned above, you can spend less or you can make more. The latter is far more fun.

An Investment Strategy to Prevent You from Becoming Collateral Damage

While it’s tempting to start speculating with your retirement money, resist. If you have non-retirement dollars to play with and the constitution to handle it, carefully curated speculative investments can give you a welcome boost. However, if all of your savings is allocated for retirement, just don’t do it.

Unless you’re still working, how, then, can you make more money in a low-interest-rate world? At present, my team of analysts and I recommend investing your retirement dollars via the 50-20-30 approach:

  • 50%: Sector-diversified equities providing growth and income and a high margin of safety.
  • 20%: Investments made for higher yield coupled with appropriate stop losses.
  • 30%: Conservative, stable income vehicles.

No single investment should make up more than 5% of your retirement portfolio.

Whether you’re designing your retirement blueprint from scratch or want to apply our 50-20-30 strategy to your existing plan, the Miller’s Money team can help. Each Thursday enjoy exclusive updates on unique investing and retirement topics by signing up for my free weekly newsletter. Don’t let the Fed’s anti-senior and anti-saver policies unravel your retirement. Click here to start receiving Miller’s Money Weekly today.

The article Collateral Damage: What You and Monica Lewinsky Have in Common was originally published at

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

© 2005-2019 - 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules