You Can’t Get a Loan for Retirement

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Well, I guess that’s not really true. You can get a reverse-mortgage. If you own a house with enough equity. Or you can pull equity out of other real estate you might own. Or borrow from relatives.

What I should say is you don’t want to get a loan for retirement. It sort of goofs up the low-stress time we’re trying to create for our golden years, having to worry about paying back a loan or destroying equity.

LET YOUR KIDS OR GRAND-KIDS PAY FOR THEIR EDUCATION

I know, I know. It sounds heartless but it’s true. You offspring can, and should, get a loan for their education. It’s a great investment. Probably the very best one they’ll make their whole lives. If you haven’t already seen this famous chart form the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s the summary:

Median Weekly Income (annual):

High School Grad: $668 ($34,735)

College Grad: $1101 ($57,252)

Advanced Degree: $1386 ($72,072)

It’s real easy to multiply these numbers over a 40-year career. The basic bachelor’s degree earner gets $900,000 more over their working life than a high school-only grad. The advanced degree person gets $1.49 million more!

Can the kids afford it or what?! According to The College Board, the average cost, per year, of state college for a resident is about $8,900. Over four years that’s $35,600. Remember, that person will average an extra $900k in lifetime income. Return? Subtracting the college cost: $864,400 or 2,428 percent! That’s a huge return on investment.

(Here’s the link to the BLS data.)

Plus, there are many ways to make this great investment into education:

  • loans
  • work studies and other jobs
  • grants
  • scholarships
  • accounts like Education IRAs and 529 plans (funded from gifts)
  • service agreements (e.g. Peace Corp, ROTC, military)
  • local community college then transfer to a university
  • tax credits and probably more ways

Now, back to retirement, can we get grants and scholarships to pay for it? Of course not. So, if we have to make a choice, the higher priority is our retirement. Not that we don’t want to pay for the kids but we may not have the resources. And they’ll be just fine with that extra million or million-and-a-half.

This advice comes with a big caveat: If you have several million already for your retirement you can probably spring for education costs. Some folks do and that’s wonderful. Pay up. Your grand/kids will always remember it and be grateful. And probably earn a lot more lifetime income from your generosity.

 

 

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The Outlandish Prediction by Bill Gross

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Bill Gross is know as “The Bond King.” And with good reason: he co-founded PIMCO and helped grow it to almost $2 trillion in assets. Two trillion! He’s recently left the company, headed to Janus and he always has strong opinions.

A recent Bloomberg headline read: “Bill Gross Says the Good Times Are Over”. Is this really so?

I’ve written about Mr. Gross in the past. He’s also well-known for creating/popularizing the term “new normal.” Basically, new normal means the U.S. will experience a European-style economy: regular high-unemployment and stagnant/low GDP growth in the area of 1-2 percent yearly. My previous article disagreed with this notion. We were simply experiencing multiple bubbles popping over the last full decade (Tech Bubble, Housing Bubble, Commodities Bubble, Credit Bubble, etc. from 1999-2009).

With unemployment steadily dropping and GDP growing 4 and 5 percent in the most recent quarters, The Bond King is being proven very wrong.

But is he right about the current stock market party being over? Yes and no.

I completely agree that we’ll have a market correction (10-20% drop in stock prices) at any time. The U.S. markets have made record new highs and been up for six years straight. So, yes, the party’s over…in the short term.

But long term I think the party’s just begun. If you look at the past 90 years of the market, we have long up and down cycles. They usually last 15-22 years. It’s very, very clear when you look at a chart of stock index prices for this 9-decade period.

Our latest down cycle started around the year 2000. I think the long term cycle, or secular bear market, ended in 2013 when the DJIA broke through to new records. That’s roughly fourteen years. Right on track with history.

Now, in my opinion, we’re starting a new secular (long term) bull market. The kind that can last 15-22 years. But it could be shorter. Things have sped up: information, investment trading, technology, product cycles, careers, etc. This could compress the current secular bull to a shorter time….

Why might we be in a super-bull market? The fundamentals. Michael Jordan said “You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.” The fundamentals of the U.S. economy and stock market have never been better. We’re hitting new records in GDP and corporate earnings as far as estimates go into the future.

For example, GDP will go from $17.4 trillion in 2014 to $22.1 trillion in 2019, according to the IMF. And S&P 500 earnings have hit new records for the past four, or so, years and are estimated to hit new records this year and next.

Those are the big fundamentals. Add to that lowering unemployment, real estate sector growth, growing consumer wealth and saving, and lowering consumer and corporate debt and that equals a very positive future.