Health Care: Total Costs

Middle-Class Families Confront Soaring Health Insurance Costs

Middle-Class Families Confront Soaring Health Insurance Costs

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Consumers here at first did not believe the health insurance premiums they saw when they went shopping for coverage this month on HealthCare.gov. Only five plans were available, and for a family of four with parents in their mid-30s, the cheapest plan went typically for more than $2,400 a month, nearly $30,000 a year.

With the deadline for a decision less than a month away, consumers are desperately weighing their options, dismayed at the choices they have under the Affordable Care Act and convinced that political forces in Washington are toying with their health and well-being.

“I believe in the Affordable Care Act; it worked for me under the Obama administration,” said Sara Stovall, 40, who does customer-support work for a small software company. “But it’s not working as it was supposed to. It’s being sabotaged, and I feel like a pawn.”

Ms. Stovall said she might try to reduce her hours and income, so her family could qualify for subsidies on offer to poorer families to help pay for premiums.

Heather Griffith, a 42-year-old real estate broker, said she would put aside much less money for her retirement and the education of her two young children so she could pay the premiums.

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Why health care costs are making consumers more afraid of medical bills than an actual illness?

  • Health care costs are spiraling higher, but patient visits to a doctor have been on the decline.
  • A growing number of consumers are staying away out of fear of big bills.
  • However, “untimely visits or delay of visits to the physician ultimately leads to the increased cost of care,” the Cleveland Clinic’s CEO told CNBC.

As health care costs keep rising, more people seem to be skipping physician visits.

It’s not fear of doctors, however, but more of a phobia about the bills that could follow. Higher deductibles and out-of-network fees are just some of the out-of-pocket costs that can hit a consumer’s pockets.

U.S. health care costs keep rising, and hit more than $10,000 a year per person in 2016. According to a recent national poll, over the past 12 months, 44 percent of Americans said they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick or injured because of financial concerns. Meanwhile, 40 percent said they skipped a recommended medical test or treatment.

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Your total costs for health care: Premium, deductible & out-of-pocket costs

Your total costs for health care

When choosing a plan, it’s a good idea to think about your total health care costs, not just the bill (the “premium”) you pay to your insurance company every month.

Other amounts, sometimes called “out-of-pocket” costs, have a big impact on your total spending on health care – sometimes more than the premium itself.

Beyond your monthly premium: Deductible and out-of-pocket costs

  • Deductible: How much you have to spend for covered health services before your insurance company pays anything (except free preventive services)
  • Copayments and coinsurance: Payments you make each time you get a medical service after reaching your deductible
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: The most you have to spend for covered services in a year. After you reach this amount, the insurance company pays 100% for covered services.

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Millennials: Agrihoods – Investing – Retirement

Agrihoods: The newest trend in millennial living

Agrihoods: The newest trend in millennial living

Millennials are harkening back to simpler days and creating communities on farms, surrounded by nature’s bounty and benefits. There are now more than a hundred of these neighborhoods — called Agrihoods — across the country, Full Story

This living in the nature type development is in its infancy and it’s too early to determine if it will become a trend. However, what this data reveals is that Millennials don’t have fixed values and have they are not loyal to any given brand or ideology. The next generation is going to be even more unpredictable for marketers seeking to make long-term projections.  However, unpredictability is fantastic especially for those who put the principles of mass psychology into use.  This is the reason many companies that look solid today will not be around in the years to come as they will either refuse to adapt or refuse to look at the situation from a different angle.  One area that is  going to experience a sea of change is the financial services industry.

 

Here’s why millennials would rather save than invest

Here’s why millennials would rather save than invest

Millennials are wary of entering the stock market.

New data from the latest Merrill Edge Report shows that, when asked what they’d be able to rely on in 20 years, millennials’ top response was their savings account, according to 66 percent of respondents.

When Merrill Edge asked older generations the same question, the majority of Gen-Xers (71 percent) said they’d be able to rely on their 401(k). The top response among boomers (54 percent) was their pension.

“In stark contrast to older generations who are relying on outside sources for their future financial security, millennials are looking to their self-created savings years down the line,” Aron Levine, head or Merrill Edge at Bank of America, writes in the report. “Millennials place even greater trust in their own stewardship than they do in their personal relationships with their significant other and friends.”

The report shows that young people today are taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to finance and investing, choosing to rely primarily on their own savings in place of vehicles like a 401(k) or IRA. Though many millennials do utilize these tools as well, there’s still an underlying feeling that their own efforts are more dependable.

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Will you have enough to retire?

Will you have enough to retire?

Methodology

This calculator estimates how much you’ll need to save for retirement. To make sure you’re thinking about the long haul, we assume you’ll live to age 92. But you could live to be 100 or incur large medical bills early on in retirement that may raise your costs even further. Social Security is factored into these calculations, but other sources of income, such as pensions and annuities, are not. All calculations are pre-tax.

The results offer a general idea of how much you’ll need and are not intended to be investment advice. The results are presented in both future dollars (at retirement) and today’s dollars, which is calculated using an inflation rate of 2.3%.

How we calculate your savings goal?

First, we determine what your income will be at the time you retire by growing your current income at an annual rate of 3.8% (the inflation rate of 2.3%, plus the salary growth rate of 1.5%). We then assume you can live comfortably off of 85% of your pre-retirement income. So if you earn $100,000 the year you retire, we estimate you will need $85,000 during the first year of retirement. For each subsequent year, we increase your income need by 2.3% to keep up with inflation. We then factor in Social Security by subtracting your estimated benefits (more on that below) since that income will reduce the amount you will need to save.

The second step is to calculate the total savings you will need at the time you retire, in order to generate enough income for each year of retirement. To do this, we determine what it would cost to purchase a fixed income annuity, with inflation-adjusted payments, using a discount rate (or rate of return) of 6%. The cost to purchase this hypothetical annuity is your target savings goal.

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Experts Making Stock Market Crash Forecasts usually know nothing

Stock Market Crash Forecasts usually know nothing

Over the past several years the Naysayers have predicted the Market would crash and burn; we blatantly disagreed and opted instead to state that the market would continue to soar higher and higher. Despite the severe beating these naysayers have taken, they insist on regurgitating the same trash over and over again in the blind hope that by some miracle their insane ramblings come to pass.  As soon as October was upon us, these experts started screaming at the top of their lungs. What was their latest prediction; a repeat of the 1987 Stock Market Crash.  We immediately repudiated these predictions. Here is a brief excerpt from the article posted in October by Tactical Investor.

They never seem to let up on pushing this sewage onto the unsuspecting masses. This is a clear example of insanity in action;  mouthing the same thing over and over again with the desperate hope that this time the outcome will be different.  The outcome will not be different this time, at least not yet. These guys should focus on writing fiction for reality seems to elude them completely. For years we have stated (and rightly so) that until the sentiment changes, this market will continue to soar higher and higher.

The latest nonsense is to state market omens that have a terrible record of coming to pass are about to trigger a crash; ones odds are better if one looks at tea leaves, plays with skull bones or hires some monkey to throw darts at a board with the words up or down plastered on it.   One has to determine the trend first and look at several underlying forces before one can attempt to predict where the market is headed. However, these fools read a book or two, memorise someone else’s theories and assume all of a sudden they are experts. Fundamentals and technical’s are both useless when used in isolation. One has to look at the emotion driving the markets. In other words, what are the masses thinking or doing? When one looks at the sentiment data, the conclusion is inescapable. Stock markets always crash on a note of euphoria and the masses are far from being happy.

Wall Street Experts Good For Nothing but Hot Air

Over the past 20 years U.S Markets have experienced two brutal crashes and on both occasions, almost all of the so-called  Wall Street experts were caught with their pants down.  The two cases in questions are the Housing bust and the dot.com bubble. Additionally, almost every two top economists failed to predict the great recession of 2008.  On the same token, these Jackasses (otherwise known as experts) failed to predict one of the biggest bulls of all time.

Masses are not embracing one of the Most Hated Bull Markets in History

The images below speak a thousand words, so there is no need for us to add any commentary.

Bullish Neutral Bearish Index

Anxiety Index

 

The Technical Outlook

Dow chart November 16th

While the Dow is trading in the extremely overbought ranges, any pullback will most likely end in the 21,000-21,500 ranges.  For the correction to pick up steam, it would need to close below this level on a weekly basis.  As the trend is still positive, the odds of the Dow crashing are very low. At the most, the Dow would test its breakout point which falls in the 18,900-19,200 ranges unless the trend were to turn negative suddenly or the masses suddenly embraced the market with gusto.  At this point, the trend is strong and showing no signs of weakening.  Remember that the markets can remain irrational for much longer than most traders can remain solvent by betting against it.

Inflation remains a non-issue on a worldwide basis

Central banks worldwide are either standing down or opting for rate cuts.  This indicates that while the economy is improving somewhat, the global economy is far from healthy and low rates will continue to dominate the scene.  In a lower rate environment corporations borrow more money and the new game is to use this money to buy back shares and in doing so magically improve the EPS.

Conclusion

When the Dow was trading below 20K, we stated that the next target was 21K; this target was struck in a few short months. After that, we raised the target to 22 and 23K.  Now we will go on record and state that the Dow is likely to test 28,000-28,500 with a possible overshoot to 30K before it crashes.  We will be providing our subscribers with an in-depth analysis of the path the Dow will traverse to achieve this target.    We don’t expect the Dow to just shoot to these targets, certain requirements have to be fulfilled, but so far the Dow is following the path we expected it to take.

Before you listen to these so-called experts who seem quite happy to dish out faulty information, take a look at their track record. A simple search will reveal that over 90% of them are full of hot air and had any of these Dr’s of Doom followed even a sliver of their advice, they would have been blown out of the game long ago. The fact that they are still here tells you that they are trying to pan their sage advice to you in return for a certain fee; advice they would never follow.

A simple game plan

View strong corrections through a bullish lens. This game plan will remain valid until the masses turn bullish or the trend turns negative.  The stronger the deviation, the better the opportunity.

 

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Companies will opt for Robots

 

Companies will opt for Robots

Manufacturing output continues to improve, even though the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. continues to decline and this trend will not stop.  Jobs are not going overseas only, in fact, machines are replacing most jobs. As this trend is in the early phase, the momentum will continue to build in the years to come.

Machines are faster, cheaper and don’t complain; at least not yet. So from a cost cutting and efficiency perspective, there is no reason to stick with humans.  This, in turn, will continue to fuel the wage deflation trend. Sal Guatieri an Economist at the Bank of Montreal in a report titled   “Wage Against the Machine,” states that automation is responsible for weak wage growth.

“It’s unlikely that insecurities from the Great Recession are still weighing, given high levels of consumer confidence,” he wrote. “However, automation could be a longer-lasting influence on worker anxieties and wages. If so, wages could remain low for a while, restraining inflation and interest rates.”

Guatieri goes on to state that “The defining feature of a job at risk from automation is repetition”.  This puts a lot of jobs at risk, many of which fall under the so-called highly skilled category today; for example, Accountants, Lawyers, Radiologists, X-Ray technician, etc.

North American business order record number of robots

In 2016, they order 35,000 robots, 10% more than in 2015.  But that is nothing compared to China, which ordered 69,000 robots in 2016, South Korea ordered 38,000 and Japan for its small size ordered 35,000 robots.  This proves that jobs are not going overseas but are being taken over by machines. Nothing will stop this trend; a trend in motion is unstoppable.

The largest user of robots is the automotive sector; in North America, over 20,000 of the 35,000 robots went to the automotive sector. Once upon a time, over 80% of the work done in this sector was done by humans, but robots perform today over 80%.

The total amount spent on robots in 2015 was $71 billion; experts project that this amount will surge to almost $135 billion by 2019.  The trend continues to gain traction.  Amazons purchase of whole foods and Lidl’s entry into the US market has triggered a grocery war, and automation is going to be one of the main ways to remain competitive in this industry.  Amazon already has a massive robot workforce; they use over 45,000 robots.  Sales of robots will triple from current levels by 2019

 

Minimum wage hike ignores impact of AI

The number of robots sold in the US will jump by 300% over the next nine years, according to the ABI research. It’s simple math; more automation equates to fewer jobs. One industrial robot replaces about six jobs. For now, the automotive industry continues to lead the way, but as companies are pushed to become more competitive, we expect companies in every sector to embrace automation.

The Rise Of The Machines; the death of Jobs

 

Source: Robotics Industries Association

Costs are plunging

In 2010 the average cost of a robot was $150,000; today the price has dropped to below $25,000, a drop of over 80%.  As prices drop more companies will seek the efficiencies that come with using robots. A day is fast approaching where the price could drop below $5,000 suddenly making them affordable for almost any small sized business.

The death of Unions

Unions continue to push for higher minimum wages while the purchasing price of robots continues to decline; a deadly and probably fatal punch for the majority unions.  In the era, where raising prices is not an option, the only leeway most businesses have is to cut costs. The human factor is the most expensive factor in any business, and that is where the focus will be going forward.

Robots are becoming more ubiquitous across a multitude of industries

Conclusion

The introduction of machines and tools created a significant demand for unskilled labor (it rose from 20% of the workforce to 39% from 1700 to 1850). Machines either pushed craftsmen out of the labor market completely, or encouraged employers to decrease their workers’ wages. The Economist cites this exact situation in which wages fell drastically in the early 1800s, not recovering until 1960.

GE’s recently introduced vision inspection system, as my colleague Chris Matthews, reported. In theory, machines can help workers become more productive, and productivity leads to higher wages — but that’s not the case. Machines like this one at GE actually reduce the need for workers — especially those who are typically paid between $20 and $40 per hour in this field. Full Story

As machines replace humans, the cost of producing goods will drop, and as more people will be competing for the remaining jobs, wages will trend downwards. Wages will rise in some specialised sectors, but these jobs will demand a specialised set of skills, for example, robotics.  It appears that AI will only exacerbate the current situation in the years to come. Therefore, deflation and not inflation is what we might have to deal with for years to come.

 

Bearish vs Bullish outlook: The Trend favours higher Market prices

Bearish vs Bullish

Bearish vs Bullish; outlook for a stock market bull is much stronger

Flashback; Dow today looks like Dow yesteryear. The pattern the Dow is tracing is jarringly similar to that of 2011.  If history is going to serve as a guidepost, then the Dow could be ready to roar as opposed to being down for the count.  When the markets were plunging in 2011, the same question was posed. Is the Dow going to crash, is the bull over? Turns out that the so-called crash was nothing but a hiccup in what turned out to be one of the most massive Bull Runs of all time. Now we are faced with the same paradigm, and once again the talking heads (many who actually have the audacity to call themselves experts) are marching to the same drumbeat and chanting the same song of doom.

Central banks created an Alternate reality

We have repeatedly stated over the years that we are living in an era of lies and deceit, where the laws of reality have been suspended and master of deception (A.K.A central bankers) have helped create an alternate reality. In this reality, savers are punished and speculators are rewarded. Markets have been manipulated for an extraordinary period of time by artificially holding down interest rates for a record period of time.

As we live in an era of lies and deceit, where rampant manipulation is the order of the day; worse still, no one is contesting this manipulation.  The masses have embraced that this is their destiny and surrendered to this new market norm.

Hot money rewards speculators punishes savers

This new norm rewards speculators and punishes savers. Under such circumstances, it makes no sense to focus on Bull vs bear market argument. Instead, focus on the Stock Market bull aspect only.

The laws of reality have been suspended (courtesy of the masters of deception, otherwise known as the friendly Fed), the markets will only crash if access to easy money is eliminated. This hot money is the main driving force behind these markets and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future. Against this backdrop of trickery and dishonesty, normal market rules cease to apply.

Sentiment not bullish; all strong corrections should be treated as buying opportunities

our contention has been that every major correction for the past several years is nothing but the market letting out a well-deserved dose of steam; a massive crash is not the makings; at least not yet. One day the markets will crash, but as this market is being propped up a by hot money, anything and everything will be done to prevent the markets from crashing. If there was any dose of freedom left in these markets, they would have crashed long ago. Therefore, once again, do not waste time on the  Bull vs bear market theme; instead, pay attention to the trend. As the trend is bullish the markets are expected to trend much higher.

There is a stark difference between thinking you know what will happen and from knowing what is going to happen. Mass psychology clearly states that markets usually run into a brick wall when the Crowd is Euphoric and chanting “Kumbaya my love”. This is not the case yet and sentiment is far from the euphoric zone.  This is one of the most hated bull markets in history.

Bearish vs Bullish; It’s 2011 all over again

The predictions that Dow was destined for destruction during the correction of 2011 might have appeared erudite in nature. Those predictions, now in retrospect, sound more like the ravings of a lunatic. Be wary when the masses are joyous and Joyous when they are not, that in essence is the most basic tenet of mass psychology.

Dow Index Pattern in 2011

  • In 2011, the from high to low the Dow shed roughly 16.2% or 2,070 points. Now, depending on your entry point the experience could have ranged from being mild to crash like in nature.  If you purchased right at the top, then the word crash was probably flashing through your mind.    Just because you think it’s a crash does not necessarily signify that your perceptions, that are being overwhelmed by fear are correct.
  • All media outlets were busy flooding the waves with stories that extremely pessimistic in nature. Misery loves company and stupidity demands it. Consumer confidence was not strong, the U.S. credit rating was downgraded, manufacturing was slowing down, and the list goes on.  The 3rd quarter ended and the 4th quarter began and all those bogeyman stories well proved to be just that.

Markets climb a wall of worry

In 2011, the Dow ended the year on a positive note, defying all the predictions of disaster.  Three months into the new year (20120, the Dow soared to a series of new highs. Like cockroaches, the naysayers vanished into the woodwork waiting for another day to sing the same old monotonous song, buoyant that time would make the masses forget the old proclamations and embrace the new ones; this falls dangerously close to the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  So far the outcome appears to be the same and if the pattern is repeated, then these chaps are going to get clobbered.

Outlook for the Dow 2017 and beyond

During the so-called market crash phase that started in August, the Dow from high to low shed approximately 16.3%. Strikingly close to the 16.2% that the Dow gave up during the 3rd quarter of 2011.  So far, in the 4th quarter, all the major market indices are faring much better as was the case back in 2011.  In the 4th quarter, the Dow has tacked on almost 5%.

Bearish vs Bullish; there is no case for a Bear market; take a look at this chart 

The VIX, which is an index that measures fear blasted as it was being chased by the hounds of hell. ItX surged to a new five-year high, pointedly illustrating that the masses were hysterical.  Panic is the secret code name for opportunity.  Mass psychology clearly indicates that when the crowds panic, the astute investor should be ready to jump in.

The bullish case for the Dow index in 2017
  • A host of technical indicators is still trading in the extremely oversold ranges.
  • Our trend indicator is dangerously close to triggering a new buy signal. The fact that it did not move into the sell zone validated that the correction was nothing but a market letting out some well-deserved steam.
  • Inflation continues to come in at the low end

Bearish vs Bullish outlook; here is our game plan

Fear has to be avoided under any circumstance when it comes to investing. It is a detestable emotion that just sucks you dry. It takes and gives nothing back in return. When the crowd panics, one should resist the urge to become one with fear and the crowd. We are not in the jungle and fear is a useless emotion when it comes to making money in the markets. Get rid of it or it will get rid of you. Fear is a parasitic emotion; the only good parasite is a dead parasite. So shoot to kill when it comes to fear

To break even for the year, the Dow only needs to trade approximately 600 points higher. If examines the entire journey (up and down) the Dow traversed from August to Oct,  the count comes in at roughly  5000 points. Examined from this angle, 600 points does not amount to that much; the Dow still has roughly three months to achieve this objective.

The Trend supports a bull market but ride up is expected to be volatile. 

The  V-indicator is trading well above the danger zone; 1100 points higher to be precise.  This means that extreme volatility is going to be the order of the day. One should not expect the ride up to be smooth.  We have a fair amount of resistance in the 17300-17400 ranges.  The ideal set up would be for the Dow would trade in these ranges, with a possible overshoot to 17,600 and then proceed to test 16,500-16,600 ranges.

Bear in mind that the above targets should serve as rough guideposts.  We never focus on trying to identify the exact bottom or top, a task we think is best left to fools with an inordinate appetite for pain. The game plan should be to view all strong pullback as buying opportunities.  Line up the stocks you love, and then use strong pullbacks to open new positions in them.

Dow Dejavu? When one examines both the patterns (2011 and 2015); the answer appears to be “yes”

What will you do? Wait for this event to pass and then reminisce over what you should have or could have done, or will you muster the courage to act decisively.

 

Focus on the Trend and not the noise

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Is The Most Hated Bull Market Ready to Crash?

Bull Market

This Bull Market is universally disliked because it’s being artificially Propped

Throughout this bull-run, a plethora of reasons have been laid out to indicate why this bull should have ended years ago. Mind you most of those reasons are valid, but that is where the bucket stops. Being right does not equate to making money on Wall Street. In fact, the opposite usually applies.  The Fed recreated all the rules by flooding the markets with money and creating and maintaining an environment that fosters speculation.

This is the most hated bull market in history is because logic states it should crash.  In the 2008-2009 volume on the NYSE was in the 8-11 billion ranges and sometimes it surged to 12 billion. Before that, every year, the volume continued to rise, this indicates market participation. From early 2010 volume just vanished, it dropped to the 2-3 billion ranges and even lower on some days.   Hence, all market technicians and students of the markets assumed that the markets would tank as markets cannot trend higher on low volume and that is where they erred.

No sellers around

The US government stepped in and started to support the market directly that is why volume dropped so dramatically. However as there were no sellers, the markets drifted upwards. Later on, they got the corporate world in on the scam.   They set up the environment that propelled corporations to buy back their shares by borrowing money for next to nothing and then using this trick to inflate their EPS, without doing any work or even increasing the profitability of the company. Mass Psychology states that the masses are destined to lose; do not follow the crowd for they will always lead you

Article of Interest: Why most investors lose money in the stock market

Mass Psychology states that the masses are destined to lose; do not follow the crowd for they will always lead you astray.In between a few minor corrections were allowed to transpire almost all of which took place on ever lower volume, to create the illusion that there was some semblance of free market forces at play.

Dark Pools helping this Bull Market Trend Higher

We also have something known as Dark Pools, this, in essence, allows big companies to purchase large blocks of shares without the trade showing up on the NYSE or any other major exchanges. In essence, it gives the government an avenue to manipulate the markets without actually leaving a footprint.  As the US can print as much money as it wants, this is a perfect backdrop to do whatever it wants.  By the way, don’t believe the hogwash that our debt is only 18.9 trillion.  There is no real mechanism in place to check how much money the US creates.  Nobody is allowed to audit the Feds books.

Fed’s objective is to devalue the US dollar

The Fed is hell bent on forcing everyone to speculate, and that is why we have moved into the next stage of the currency war games and the era of negative interest rates.  Negative rates will eventually force the most conservative of players to take their money out of the banks and speculate.  This process will be akin to another massive stimulus and will provide the bedrock for another huge rally.

Make a list of stocks that you would like to own and use strong pullbacks to add to or open new positions in.  Some examples are OA, AMZN, BABA, GOOG, CALM, CHL, etc.

Video illustrates why this Hated Bull Market is destined to  trend higher 

Published Courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Fear and Greed; main reasons most investors to lose money in the Stock Market

Stock Market Fear

Stock Market Fear and Greed are the primary driving force behind all markets

Introduction to Market sentiment Analysis

Stock Market Investing is all about not allowing one’s emotions to do the Talking; once your emotions start talking your money starts walking away from you. The financial crisis of 2008 scarred many individuals and scared away even more; add in the Great Recession, and one can see that the average Joe can come up with many reasons to avoid the stock market. However simple market sentiment analysis could have saved many a person from losing a significant portion of their wealth.   To make matters worse, the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and wages in most instances are dropping instead of rising which means that many Americans have little to no disposable income left after expenses. Don’t for one second believe the twisted statistics issued by the BLS (Bureau of labour department); those statistics are on par with toilet paper.

Most  individuals assume that they need a lot of money to invest in the markets 

Stock Market Fear: Individuals making $30,000 or less per year are more likely to avoid the stock market, citing insufficient funds as one of the main reasons. There appears to be a misconception in thinking that one needs a lot of money to invest in the markets. Nothing could be further from the truth.  One can start off with small amounts and slowly add to this base over the years.; the power of compounding is amazing. If you start young enough even putting away $50-$100 a month can add up to a sizable bundle by the time you retire.

The average person thinks that investing in the markets is very risky

This is just another misconception that has grown especially after the devastating crisis of 2008.  If one is investing for the long haul and in quality stocks, then investing is one of the surest ways of making money and building a sustainable nest egg. However, one needs to understand what one is getting into and not plunge into the markets blindly as is the case with most individuals.

People assume  that investing is hard to learn or master

Market sentiment analysis reveals that People assume  that investing is hard to learn or master

We are referring to financial education and not higher education from institutes such as colleges or universities. We would even go as far as to suggest what these institutes teach regarding the stock market is useless. As with everything in life, if one wants to master a new skill, one needs to set some time aside for this endeavour.  If you are going to talk the talk, then be ready to walk the walk. Don’t expect some expert to guide you to the promised land, for you will find that instead of finding paradise you are more likely to be welcomed into Hell.

Regarding the stock markets it would be wise to look at the history of the markets; study past stock market crashes; the events that lead to the crash and events that set the foundation for the next bull run.  Then paper trade before deploying your hard earned cash?

If you are going to rely on a financial advisor; how are you going to know if he is not selling you sack of sawdust if you know next to nothing. In most cases people set themselves up to lose in the markets or to be taken advantage of; it takes two to tango. Surveys done by bank rate shows that Millennials were twice as likely as any other group to cite lack of financial knowledge as their main reason for avoiding the markets.  If this trend persists, they are going to be ten times more likely to ask the government for handouts when they retire.

 

Most Investors Distrust the Financial Markets

Yes, one could say there is a valid reason to fear the markets as many Millennials have grown up in an era of financial disasters; two of the most painful ones were the dot.com bubble and the Financial Crisis of 2008, which later came to be known as the Great Recession.  However, again, lack of financial knowledge and the wrong perspective is what provides the foundation for this fear.  Fear is a useless emotion when it comes to the stock markets; the best time to buy is when blood is flowing freely; translation, so-called disasters always provide opportunities for the astute investor.   Additionally, one could have easily sidestepped both disasters by paying attention to market sentiment; in both instances the masses were euphoric, and they thought the bull market could last forever. Nothing lasts forever and when the masses are ecstatic it is time to leave the party. Disaster can be viewed as an opportunity or as a tragedy; it all comes down to one’s perspective. Alter the angle of observance and the perspective changes.

The Concept of retirement planning is nonexistent for many

Bankrate states that only 25% of Americans check their investments and retirement accounts more than once a month. These same individuals can spend countless of hours on their phones texting each other or on Facebook or otherwise known as Face Crack.  One does not need to look at one’s investments every day, however, spending time on finding out what’s trending or where the crowd is leaning could make the difference between banking your profits or trying to catch a falling dagger.

Ideally, individuals should have a rough idea of how much they would like to have by the time they retire and then come out with a feasible plan. Otherwise, they are bound to come up with some harebrained scheme that is fuelled by fear when they suddenly realise that the years have passed away, but the account is looking as miserable as it did on the day of its inception.

 

Fear and Greed drive the masses; they are Euphoric before a market crashes and panic close to market bottoms

Disaster is usually opportunity knocking in disguise, instead of running, stop and give it a massive a hug. The chart below clearly indicates that stock market crashes and other negative financial events are nothing but mouthwatering long-term buying opportunities.

The financial world often refers to black Monday (the crash of 1987) when they want to ratchet up the fear factor; on a long-term chart, it is just another blip that more aptly represents an opportunity rather than a disaster. In every instance before the market pulled back firmly, the sentiment was extremely bullish; in other words, the crowd was euphoric. If you used just followed the emotion you would have managed to avoid almost every disaster and this dates back to the tulip bubble. We are not talking about timing the exact top; those that try to time the exact top usually have plenty of time on their hand and an enormous appetite for pain.

For the masses, sharp pullbacks feel like a crash because they have the uncanny ability to buy exactly at the wrong time; they buy high and sell low.  We will examine the concept of opportunity being masked as a disaster in a future article.

How Fear and Greed  to your advantage 

The word disaster represents an opportunity for the astute investor. It is only the uneducated investor that views a market pullback through a negative lens, and this is usually done because they have not taken the time to study the markets.  One would be well served if one spent some time in examining the history of stock market crashes and what was taking place before the markets crashed. In every instance, one will find out that the crowd was bullish and every Tom, Dick and Harry was busy giving out financial advice.  When the crowd is happy, you should leave the party.

Spending a little time on history and market psychology could prove to be priceless. If you take the time to do this, you will have a better understanding of the markets than most so-called financial experts.  The phrase “knowledge is power” was not coined for no reason, but there is a difference between knowledge and rubbish. When it comes to the stock markets, most of the stuff that is marketed as valuable is nothing but garbage and in many cases what the experts make fun of is what you should be paying attention to.

For instance, market sentiment is far from bullish even though the stock market is trading close to its highs. Hence, all sharp pullbacks have to be viewed as buying opportunities. When the crowd embraces this bull market, it will be time to leave the party.

Articles Of Interest

What is quantitative easing?
The Boom And Bust Cycle: Fiat
Long Term Trends: stock market bull vs bear
Stock Market Correction
Bearish vs Bullish outlook: The Trend favours higher Market prices

Why Most Investors lose Money in the Stock Market?

Stock Market Game

Jesus said, “ Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.

The Gospel of Thomas vs 5 ( from The Nag Hammadi Library )

Information overload and the Stock Market Game

Stock Market Game: Under the guise of being “well informed”, the Age of Communication races toward the time when information is instantaneously available via a modem and brain interface made of nonmaterial’s and implanted at birth. Hello, the ultimate cyber-geek. However, there is no proof that more information helps the majority to be any happier, compassionate, or give us a few more nanoseconds of leisure. Information overload is one of the reasons most Investors lose Money in the Stock Market; they don’t know how to separate the riff from the raff.  At the end of the day, investing is nothing but a stock market game; understand the rules and win or vice versa.

Most of the information on the Internet is Tainted

If unable to evaluate information, or realise that all information is tainted with someone else’s values, its values become part of you, just like viral code being entwined in our own cell’s machinery – or computer code – or belief sets.

Our parents first mould These belief sets. It was then the role of religious institutions and schools to develop our “internal software”, but now we are in a time when most are weaned onto the boob tube. At school, we have teachers who were themselves nurtured on “the boob tube”. Take this principle one step further and apply it to the markets and you can see Most Smart Investors don’t lose money in the Stock Market. They don’t allow the values of these so-called experts to become part of them and then they start to think like these experts. Most of these experts are nothing but shills selling false information they would never use themselves.

Television destroys an individual’s ability to Imagine or think out of the box

With television, imagination is not needed for entertainment, and information of many types comes “plain wrapped” with no need to discriminate between reality and fiction, the useful or useless. Just 15 minutes of watching cartoons a day kill a child’s creativity.

There are many reasons that have been advanced as to why traders fail. My own experiences with educating traders are that:

  1. thinking without discrimination
  2. skimming information without understanding
  3. impatience with the expectation of quick gratification

 

The above three factors are major contributors to poor results.

Just as burning the bra didn’t help women’s liberation, smashing the boob tube is not going to change the way you think.

We must abandon ourselves to uncertainty and not cling to anything because it appears to be the answer. It is when we are prepared to look at multiple possibilities that we have the option to identify and follow The Truth.

By abandoning incorrect beliefs and certainty, we can follow The Truth.  Strange but True. Beliefs that are forged in the fires of doubt can survive the light of reality. All other beliefs remain untested. Will they survive? Will you survive?

Additional Insights to playing the Stock Market Game 

Most investors are not aware of Fiat and the dangers it poses. If you understand that Fiat only exists because the masses have been conned into believing it’s real money, then you will understand that all financial disasters are planned and that there will always be a solution. Why? Money is created out of thin air; hence, central bankers can create as much money as they want to rescue the financial system from the disaster they created. Each disaster creates a new breed of poor and makes the rich even richer.

Understand the  simple law of Paradoxes; it will help keep you on the right side of the markets

Understanding the law of Paradoxes could help you in many aspects of your life, especially in the financial arena. The stock market is full of snake oil salesman, all trying to sell you a different take but most of these experts don’t put a penny into what they are marketing. They make their money by selling you junk that they would never touch.

Grasp the simple concepts that fall under the field of Mass Psychology  & win the investing Game

Mass psychology states that one should never abandon the carriage until it’s about to buckle under its own weight. If you apply this principle to the markets; it boils down to buying when the masses panic (or there is blood in the streets) and selling when the masses are jumping up in Joy.  While you are at it, master the simple principles of being a contrarian investor.

Information overkills creates a breed of dumb investors

The video aptly covers this topic and highlights the dangers of information overkill

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Americans Are Becoming Dumber

Americans Are Becoming Dumber

Math Scores dropping precipitously indicating that Americans are becoming Dumber

A random study was conducted with 348 young children to find how many of them   (3-7 years of age) had a television in their room. The results were shocking, over 70% of them had televisions in their rooms.  These kids had an 8-point drop in math scores, a 7-point drop in reading scores and another 8-point drop in writing scores.   A similar study was conducted by John Hopkins University with 400 children. Full Story.  The evidence illustrating that Americans are becoming dumber is growing. A more recent article from USnews indicates that math scores continue to drop and there appears to be no end in sight.

“We’re losing ground — a troubling prospect when, in today’s knowledge-based economy, the best jobs can go anywhere in the world,” said Education Secretary John B. King Jr. “Students in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Minnesota aren’t just vying for great jobs along with their neighbours or across state lines, they must be competitive with peers in Finland, Germany, and Japan.”

 

Research indicates that the Victorians were much smarter than Today’s Generation 

Nonetheless, the researchers say that a meta-analysis of simple reaction times recorded between 1884 and 2004 shows a substantial decline in general intelligence: “1.23 IQ points per decade or fourteen IQ points since Victorian times.” While some dispute the notion that reaction time is an accurate measure of intelligence, Dr James Thompson, the honorary senior psychology lecturer at UCL told The Daily Mail that reaction times are “a real measure, with a reasonably large correlation with IQ, so this is an alarming finding and needs further investigation.”  Big think

 

Americans are becoming dumber due to their obsession with watching Television

The English call the Television the boob tube and rightly so; individuals are weaned from one breast that provides nourishment to another that provides nothing but pure arsenic for the mind.  Most of these kids watch meaningless cartoons where the concept of extreme selfishness and violence is the norm of the day; is it any wonder then that they grow up only thinking about themselves, their own needs, the fastest possible way to satisfy them and how to make a quick buck.

 

Throw in Reality TV, and you have the perfect recipe for stupidity on steroids.

After leading the world for decades in 25-34-year-olds with university degrees, the U.S. is now in 12th place. The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly 50% of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are foreigners, most of whom are returning to their home countries;

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs commissioned a civic education poll among public school students. A surprising 77% didn’t know that George Washington was the first President; couldn’t name Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Declaration of Independence, and only 2.8% of the students actually passed the citizenship test. Along similar lines, the Goldwater Institute of Phoenix did the same survey, and only 3.5% of students passed the civics test; Psychology today. If regular TV made individuals think less, reality TV is almost as TV on steroids regarding its effect on the brain. A brain is not even necessary when you look at what passes for TV today.

 

As people get Dumber morale values decline

More and more parents are being put into nursing homes because these chaps don’t want to be burdened with any problems. They forget all the hard work and sacrifice their parents went through to raise them.  There are more frivolous law suits now than any time in history; everyone is looking to make a big quick buck minus the hard work.  The rate of fraud has reached historic proportions, and people are willing to do more insane things for a quick buck; a woman auctioned the space on her forehead for 10,000 dollars. This gives the online casino that won the bid the right to tattoo her forehead with their logo for life.

According to a very recent Gallup Poll, US moral values have slipped to a 7-year low.

Americans ratings of US moral values

Americans’ ratings of U.S. moral values, consistently negative through the years, have slipped to their lowest point in seven years. More than four in five (81%) now rate the state of moral values in the U.S. as only fair or poor. Gallup.com

 

The massive decline in moral values proves that Americans are becoming dumber by the day; the new mantra is anything for a buck.

 

Individuals have Kids for the wrong reasons

The previous generation was dumbed down to a certain extent but the present generation is getting a super sized portion of dumbness, and the biggest culprits, for the most part, are the parents. They simply don’t spend enough time with their children; their reason for this is “we don’t have enough time we are too busy trying to earn a living”. Our response to them is then why did you have kids in the first place.

We posed this question to some of our associates and we rather surprised to find out that many of them were doing the same thing.  In many instances the answer was “Oh we felt it was time to have kids” or we wanted to have kids or some variation of that answer. Not once did any of them state that they wanted to have kids to maybe make this world a better place by teaching them the things they were denied or something along these lines.

 

Parents are catering to their Kids and in doing creating Generation of Spoilt Brats

Parents claim they want to give their children all the things they did not have when they were growing up.  However, this only turns normal kids into brats. It seems this world thinks that material things will make for a better generation (many parents seem to think that if they give the kids all the material things they lacked that they are doing a good job; wrong they are doing a terrible job. If these individuals have nothing to strive for as kids they will not want to work hard for anything when they grow up).

The dinner table is ground zero. “When parents begin to cede control to their kids, food choices are often the first thing to slide,” Sax writes in his new book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. A rule such as “No dessert until you eat your broccoli” has recently morphed into “How about three bites of broccoli, and then you can have dessert?” The command has become a question capped with a bribe, as Sax puts it. Dinner at home requires polling kids on what they’re willing to eat; the options might include roast chicken and potatoes or chicken fingers and fries. You can bet which they choose. So parents renegotiate: How about sweet potato fries? Full Story

Once the parent gives in, it’s all downhill from there. It’s the same thing with investing. If you give in and follow the herd, the result is always brutal. Only those that don’t follow the masses tend to well in life and the stock market.  Indirectly, parents are teaching kids that is good to be part of the herd. It’s good to give in as you will be rewarded; real life does not work this way.

 

Today’s general has lost the ability to think inductively

Inductive thinking is where you have to determine something without being fed standard or distorted data. For example, real Technical Analysis; here you look at a chart and try to determine a pattern, but you do so based on indicators that appeal to you and you also determine how you should use them. Now in fundamental analysis, you just look at fixed data, so you and everyone else end up with the same conclusion. The same is true for the so-called Technical Analysis the average Joe tries to memorise and hopes that this information is enough to make him a fortune.  The masses are taught to use a standard set of tools in a specific manner, so no inductive thinking is involved.

 

Reading stimulates the Mind; TV puts the mind to sleep

That’s why it’s far better to let kids read books or play games than to let them sit by the TV and vegetate in every sense of the word.  Is it any wonder then that the United States cannot even make it to the top 20 in the world when it comes to Mathematics, Science, and Writing skills even though we spend more money than any other nation on education; some of the poorest countries in the world are leading in these areas.  For more details click on this link Americans are behind other developed nations

 

Today’s Generation does not understand the principle of hard money

The main purpose of creating a generation of dummies is so that no one will question Fiat.  Fiat money is backed by nothing other than people’s faith in their government. As corrupt individuals run our government, it is easy to project that the deficit will continue to grow in the trillions with the passage of each year.  Most of the today’s generation does not even understand that they are being paid with a worthless currency that is created out of thin air.  Then they wonder why the cost of goods continues to rise; well the number of dollars has risen, so your purchasing power is dropping.

Very few people know the true significance of Gold and how it could end all the misery caused the insidious silent killer tax otherwise known as inflation.

 

To become a successful investor, you need to think out of the box

The crowd will always be used a cannon fodder and more so now as each generation seems to become dumber than the previous generation. This creates a vicious cycle, and the top players are only too happy to let it continue.  The crowd never bothers to learn from history; if they did, they would not fall for the same ploy over and over again.  They are tricked into buying assets when they are over inflated and then pushed into selling them when they are underpriced.

 

Dumb People are easier to Manipulate; expect more financial boom and bust cycles

Think like a true contrarian investor and not a fashion contrarian. Understand the basic principles of Mass Psychology, and you can avoid 90% of the pitfalls the average Joe succumbs to especially when it comes to the financial markets. In the financial markets, there is no room for hope or desperate people. In their desperate attempt (it may not seem desperate but study the actions of most parents, and you will find that in general, it is) to give their kids a better life than they had, they are giving them one that is infinitely worse than they could have ever imagined.

 

Once again we find ourselves mouthing the same phrase “welcome to the new world order”, an order which will be built on chaos and the “I want everything now syndrome”.

 

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor

Central Banks Stock Market Rigging Driving stocks to new highs

Central Banks Stock Market Rigging Driving stocks to new highs

Here’s how Central Bankers Rig the Markets

Central Banks Stock Market: Central bankers utilise fiat money to rain misery and pain on the unknowing masses. They no longer take from Peter and give to Paul, they make sure that Peter and Paul try to rob each other and everyone else to survive. They control the game, and you are just a pawn in this game. The only day the outcome will change, is when the Fed is eliminated from the equation. Many Great presidents and leaders warned of this day of reckoning but as usual, nobody listened, and it’s time to pay the Piper now.

Brian Rich, of Forbes, seems to agree wholeheartedly; this paragraph succulently summarizes his views.

stock market stocks surging

Stocks continue to surge; stock market volatility continues to sit at ten–year (pre–crisis) lows. The interest rate market is much higher than it was before the election but now quiet and stable. Gold, the fear–of–the–unknown trade, is relatively quiet. This all looks very much like a world that believes a real economic expansion is underway, and that a long–term sustainable global economic recovery has supplanted the shaky post-crisis (central bank–driven) recovery that was teetering back toward recession.

The Fed is on course to eliminate the middle Class in the United States and create a new generation of slaves. In fact, it has already destroyed a significant portion of this group.

According to article published on CNN, 6 in 10 American’s don’t even have $500 in savings

Nearly six in 10 Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 or $1,000 unplanned expense, according to a new report from Bankrate.

Only 41% of adults reported having enough in their savings account to cover a surprise bill of this magnitude. A little more than 20% said they would put it on a credit card, the report said, while 20% would cut their spending and 11% would turn to friends and family for financial assistance.

“This is a persistent American problem of how you should handle your finances and spending,” said Jill Cornfield, retirement analyst for Bankrate. Full Story

 

Another survey finds that nearly 7 in 10 Americans have $1000 or less in their savings accounts. GoBanking surveyed 7,000 people and found that 34 percent of the respondents had $0 set aside.

The current stock market bull is based on hot money; had the fed not injected trillions of dollars into the system, there would be no stock market bull or the so-called economic recovery.

These Quotes illustrate the Fed’s Nefarious Agenda

“The few who understand the system will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favours, that there will be no opposition from that class.” — Rothschild Brothers of London, 1863

“Give me control of a nation’s money, and I care not who makes its laws.”– Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

Great leaders have gone out of their way to try and educate the masses, but the masses have no interest in learning from history so will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors; the price for this stupidity rises with the passage of each day. Each generation pays a higher and higher price for their lack of foresight and preparedness. These shadowy players rely on the fact that the masses are ignorant regarding what real money is. They control the education system and so ensure that from day one you learn what they want you to learn. The only way to break out is to start educating yourself.

“Most Americans have no real understanding of the operation of the international moneylenders. The accounts of the Federal Reserve System have never been audited. It operates outside the control of Congress and manipulates the credit of the United States.” — Sen. Barry Goldwater

“Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is the absolute master of all industry and commerce.” — James A. Garfield, President of the United States

“To expose a 15 Trillion dollar ripoff of the American people by the stockholders of the 1000 largest corporations over the last 100 years will be a tall order of business.” — Buckminster Fuller

“It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” — Henry Ford

“We have, in this country, one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Board. This evil institution has impoverished the people of the United States and has practically bankrupted our government. It has done this through the corrupt practices of the moneyed vultures who control it.” Congressman Louis T. McFadden in 1932

“Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are the United States government’s institutions. They are not government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign swindlers.” — Congressional Record 12595-12603 — Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency (12 years) June 10, 1932

As soon as Mr Roosevelt took office, the Federal Reserve began to buy government securities at the rate of ten million dollars a week for ten weeks, and created one hundred million dollars in new currency, which alleviated the critical famine of money and credit, and the factories started hiring people again.” — Eustace Mullins

Suggested Strategy

Manipulation is the order of the day, and one can see this in every aspect of one’s life. This trend will continue to gather steam, and it will only end when the masses revolt.  The masses are notorious for responding very slowly, so we can assume that by the time they snap out of their comatose, the markets will be trading at unimaginable levels.  Tactical Investor April 2016

Well, the markets have soared significantly higher as expected and corporate debt continues to rise. Corporations are plugging money into share buybacks as this is the easiest way to create the illusion that EPS is rising. It is a win-win game; corporate director’s reward is based on performance.  As long as they can create the illusion that earnings are improving their paychecks continue to increase.

One other powerful tool that investors can employ is to pay close attention to mass sentiment. When the masses are nervous, the markets will continue to trend higher. That’s why this bull market is often referred to as one of the most hated bull markets of history.  Despite all odds, it has trended higher, and we predicted this would happen as mass sentiment was and is still somewhat negative. Until the masses embrace this crazy bull market, the path of least resistance appears to be in the upward direction.

We expect corporate debt to trade at levels that will make today’s insane levels appear sane one day.  As long as Fiat is in play; every major pullback/correction has to be viewed as a buying opportunity.  The markets will continue to be manipulated probably until the end of time or until Fiat is eliminated from the equation Therefore until the trend changes, every substantial pullback should be viewed through a bullish lens.

 

Published courtesy of the Tactical Investor