The Disappearing Retirement Fund

The Disappearing Retirement Fund

As a general principle, I’ve always tended to avoid entrusting others with my money. I’ve avoided funds, as they are often based upon investments that are peaking or close to peaking. I’ve avoided pension funds, as they’re often structured in a similar manner.

And whenever by law I’ve been required to be invested in such funds, they’ve rarely been successful over the long term. In the end, I would invariably have made more money by pursuing those investments that had great promise but at the time were unpopular (and therefore underpriced).

As dubious as I tend to be of conventional investment schemes (and those who broker them), I am doubly dubious of any government-run scheme. Governments, historically, have proved to be poor money managers, and politicians tend to place more value on big promises that garner votes than on delivering on those promises.

And so, I’m predictably biased as to the likelihood of any form of fund that any government may be involved in. Even if it’s structured well, which it may well not be, governments, if they have the power to do so, will tap into the fund, draining it of the intended recipient’s contributions, leaving the fund exposed, should a crisis occur.

And, periodically, crises do occur. Presently, the First World is facing an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions.

As someone who advises on internationalization (the practice of spreading one’s self both physically and economically over several jurisdictions in order to avoid being victimized by any one jurisdiction), I’m regularly asked what the optimum level of diversification might be for an individual in a given situation.

Whilst many of these individuals can unquestionably benefit from such diversification, there are quite a large number of people who are in the age sixty-and-over category who state that they’re hoping to get by solely on their Social Security and their pension. (If the investor is an American citizen, this often means a 401(k) or similar fund.)

For these individuals, I’m afraid it’s difficult to provide encouraging advice, as their retirement is rooted in what I consider to be dead-end investments that will diminish drastically, or disappear, long before the individual reaches his own demise.

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