Tag Archives: depression

Are we living in the last days… of the dollar?

In 1971, President Richard Nixon made financial history by removing the U.S. dollar from the gold standard. Although the US dollar was still the world’s currency, but it was a road to financial ruin. The United States was free to print as much money as it wanted, and like blind leading the blind, the world went along with it.

Roll of Cash

Because of this historical change, foreign exchange became more complex. Today, to understand the world of currency, you need to think a little… differently — essentially because they don’t really don’t make a lot of sense. For example, today, the United States is “perceived” to be the richest country in the world. But like Hollywood, perception is usually wrong. In reality, though, America is now the biggest debtor nation in the world. And who is America indebted to? What many consider to be a Third World country: The People’s Republic of China.  The irony is that many Americans think we’re rich and China is poor. The joke’s on us because exactly the opposite is true. This is because the removal of gold’s backing from paper money has created a virtual explosion in credit and liquidity and a vacuum in accountability. The sheer amount of liquidity around the globe is like the sands of the seashore.

This excess money is constantly creating inflation and causes people to feel rich and almost everything to be more expensive. Today, stocks, real estate, automobiles, and gasoline become more expensive as the dollar depreciates. While some people do become richer in this system, this financial system actually punishes working people who save money. It devalues the value of your work and your savings, even though you may feel wealthier.

In overly simplistic terms, China, Japan and many countries in the world today lend the US trillions of dollars to spend. They send us products like mobile phones, electronics, LCD televisions, cars, clothing, almost every product in your home. Since they can’t spend those dollars at home, they simply lend them back to us so we’ll buy more of their products. That would be like me going to my local grocery store and asking them for a loan so I could buy their potatoes. A logical person would say, “That makes no sense.” Yet it’s exactly what happened after 1971, and to many highly educated people — bankers and politicians, especially — it somehow does make a lot of sense (or cents).

You can find current smaller examples of such financial insanity. For example, many people refinance their homes to pay off their credit cards. This makes no sense; obviously someday that debt will have to be paid.  Yet getting deeper into debt does make sense as long as you can repay your lender with cheaper dollars, and as long as your lender is willing to take those cheaper, less-valuable dollars. As long as the grocer is happy with this arrangement, things are fine.

Over the years, other currencies got stronger and the US dollar got weaker simply because America printed more and more money, all the while consuming more and producing less. Japan would lend America money and we would buy their products. Japan’s economy boomed, and so did America.  The problem today is that China isn’t willing to play the game the way the Japanese did. If America drops the purchasing power of the dollar, China, by pegging their currency to the dollar, also drop the value of their currency. The United States then pays back its debt with a cheaper dollar.

The irony is that America accuse China of playing games with their money. It’s more honest to say that China just isn’t willing to play the game America want to play.  But an even bigger problem is looming: It seems like the rest of the world is less willing to play that money game too. That’s why the European Union introduced the Euro.  If the oil-producing nations stop accepting the dollar and switch to gold or the Euro, things will definitely go “pop”. The world might be tipped into a global recession and possibly even a depression (which is actually a prolonged recession).

For now, though, this money game continues. When will it pop? Nobody really knows, but throughout history all paper money has eventually come back to its true value – zero. That’s when the game truly ends, and a whole new cycle of pass the buck begins. We’re living in the dollar’s last days.

Whatever debt you have, its time to start taking action. Many of you are perhaps deeply in debt and have no assets at all. In fact, statistically, 80% of Americans owe more than what they own. You must decide, first of all, not to take on any more debt, and second, to set up a schedule of debt repayment.  To learn more, you can  download the Financial Freedom Small Groups kit from our Store.

Collapse of the US dollar: myth or reality?

The gradual and systematic erosion of the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency has been greatly accelerated of late. America arrived at this condition because the US central bank has compelled the nation to rely on asset bubbles for growth and prevented the deleveraging of the economy by forcing down interest rates far below a market-based level. The real problems are government largess, money printing, artificial interest rates, asset bubbles and out-of-control debt. What is disturbing is that they have not been addressed at all.

So will the US Dollar finally and completely collapse? Before we get into that, let’s start from the beginning first.

The dollar became the  world’s reserve currency when US President Nixon abandoned the gold standard in the 1970s. The dollar is used for 43% of all cross-border transactions. The dollar’s value is strong as measured by central bank reserves — 61% of the these foreign currency reserves are in dollars. Today, America and the world is paying for that mistake.

A dollar collapse is when the value of the US dollar falls so fast that all those who hold dollars panic, and sell them at any cost. Sellers would include: foreign governments (like China and Japan) who hold large amounts of US Treasuries , traders in exchange rate futures who trade the dollar versus other currencies, and investors who will switch to assets like gold and silver. The collapse of the dollar means that everyone is trying to sell their US dollars and dollar-denominated assets, and no one wants to buy them, driving the value of the dollar down to near zero, hence a collapse.

What or who would cause the dollar to collapse? Would China and Japan ever really do this? Only if they saw their holdings declining in value too fast AND they had another market to sell their products to. Ironically, the economies of Japan and China are dependent on U.S. consumers. They know that if they sell their dollars, their products will cost more in the U.S., and their economies will eventually suffer. So right now, it’s still in their best interest to hold onto their dollar reserves.

However, China and Japan are selling more and more to other Asian countries, who are gradually becoming wealthier. However, the U.S. is still the best market in the world. Washington, on the other hand, has merely agreed to perpetually extend its lines of credit and to have the central bank purchase most of that new debt.

Instead of placating the fears of foreign creditors, the US government has done quite the opposite. Do they know something that the public don’t? Are they planning something in the near future? Something big?

So back to the question: Will the US Dollar collapse? There are many professional arguments from experts and analysts that are for and against the collapse of the US dollar. As Christians, how about listening to God’s prophets? Doesn’t it say in the Bible: Believe in His prophets and you will prosper?

If they are accurate, then the eventual and inevitable loss of confidence in the world system will ensure nothing less than surging prices and a complete collapse of not just the US dollar, but the US economy as a whole. And that is going to affect the global economy. What would you do if you knew what is going to happen?

Golden opportunity to buy gold?

Gold continues to fall, it’s taken a sharp turn lower and is now trading below at $US1300 an ounce. After years of gains, the price of gold is steadily dropping, and may continue to drop. It sank to $1,180 an ounce on June 27 — its lowest value in nearly three years — before rising again.

“We remain cautious on the outlook for gold, as the metal faces two strong headwinds,” says Michael Lewis, head of commodities research at Deutsche Bank. “The 1-month GOFO rate has moved into positive territory, suggesting an easing of physical tightness while the stronger-than-expected non-farm payroll data has strengthened the case for the Fed to begin QE tapering before year end, which we view as U.S. dollar bullish.”

People typically invest in gold  because of one reason. They fear inflation rates are eroding their spending power and they want an investment that they believe will hold its value better than cash.

But if such concerns have pushed people to buy gold since the global economic crisis started in 2008, recent events are giving them cause to reconsider. Chart-based selling pressure was featured amid a lack of bullish fundamental news for the metal.  Better-than-expected U.S. jobs and growth data fuelled demand for the dollar by fanning expectations for the Federal Reserve to begin scaling backs monetary stimulus programs in the near future. Notably, gold and the dollar trade inversely with one another.

Are there additional reasons why gold is falling?

Yes, and they concern the biggest investors of all — countries that buy gold.

During the global economic crisis, many countries have sought to increase their gold holdings so they would not be left with too much of their reserves in hard currency that could lose value.  In 2012, central banks’ gold purchases rose to a 48-year high and represented 12 percent of global demand, according to the World Gold Council.

But as the price of gold drops, buying gold looks like an increasingly unpredictable business. Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan all boosted their gold holdings in March 2013, only to see gold’s price slump by $270 an ounce by mid-April.  Now, with the U.S. economy looking set to gain strength, the dollar suddenly appears more attractive again. Central banks can choose whether to buy gold or to return to holding hard currency, and the previous upward pressure they put on gold prices is easing.

So what is the future of gold? Will it drop further? And is it a good time to buy gold?

Regarding how far it can drop, some analysts point out that gold was about $800 an ounce before the global economic crisis began in 2008, so there is little reason to expect it to fall beyond that. That would be quite a big drop – but not impossible.

Regarding the future of gold, unfortunately the signs are popping up everywhere that something very bad is about to unfold in the financial world on Wall Street and the global markets. There are some obvious and clear warning signals and when you put together this string of events over this time period, it should be clear that all something is about to happen on multiple fronts converging at the same time. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

From outrageous ammo, assault rifle, and armoured vehicle purchases by multiple governmental agencies, including the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security, among others, to reports are that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in a massive, covert military build-up. Evidently, someone in the US government is expecting some serious civil unrest.

From the known derivative liability of the top five banks in the United States, to preparations for martial law. The latest temporary government shutdown that lasted 3 weeks can be seen as a test, and of things to come. Riots and unrest are not out of one’s imagination. Martial law was avoided during the last crisis when legislatures succumbed to pressure and bailed out the banks. But many pundits are saying that another collapse is imminent — and this time, governments may not be so willing to step up to the plate.

Just take a look at the recent data on states that have more people on welfare than are working. The unemployment situation (in the United States) is as bad as ever and grossly understated, the real unemployment rate is probably 25 per cent. The real inflation rate is closer to nine per cent and is kept low by government agencies keeping the official cost-of-living increases artificially low by changing the basket of goods to be measured.

Something is seriously wrong with America. And the world economy. Governments are engaged in a “race to debase” their currencies. Some, like Japan’s government, are trying to end decades of economic doldrums. Others are cranking up their printing presses to inflate their currencies and get away from mountains of debt.

It’s time to get ready. It’s time to prepare yourself for the “transfer of wealth” – if you know what to do. Is it gold? You decide.

 

 

Wealthiest by Definition, Poorest by Default

How did the United States, the world’s richest and wealthiest nation, closed down its government and come to the brink of a catastrophic default on its debt that could send shockwaves through the fragile world economy? Relax. The worst is yet to come.

US DEBT shot up to reach more than 100 per cent of gross domestic, Treasury figures showed. The new borrowing took total public debt to US$17 trillion, and putting it in a league with highly indebted countries like Greece and Spain.

Public debt subject to the official debt limit – a slightly tighter definition – was US$17 trillion, rising from the previous official cap of US$14.29 trillion a year earlier. Treasury had used extraordinary measures to hold under the cap, while politicians battled over it and over   addressing the country’s bloating deficit. The official limit was hiked US$400 billion and will be increased in stages over the next 18 months.

Looking at these statistics, it is not hard to see why debt generates so much news and discussions. The average American family devotes at least 25 percent, some as much as 50 percent, of its spendable income to paying outstanding debts. And that’s during sound economic growth. In financially difficult times, indebtedness can imperil our survival. Unfortunately, indebtedness has become a pillar of America’s financial framework. Both nationally and domestically. Greed will bring about global financial disaster – on a Biblical scale.

Dire economic downturns — including the worst since the Great Depression of   the 1930s — giant tax cuts, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a pricey new health program all helped sour Washington’s fiscal picture. Or, as President Barack Obama put it literally in a speech  “For the last decade, we’ve spent more money than we took in.” Nervous Americans are bombarding their financial advisers with questions about what to   do if the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Although we do not expect the stalemate to result in a temporary default, we now see a more than 50% chance that US sovereign debt will be downgraded by the rating agencies in the coming months. How will America pay its debt? Eventually, the US government will shut down. It’s a matter of when, not if.

When this happens, it will send shock waves across the U.S. economy and the world that will hit consumers and businesses, both struggling through a weak global economic recovery. The debt ceiling debate already is weighing on the economy. The bankers says credit is an important part of your financial identity. the more credit you have, the better your lifestyle can be. “Anything is within your grasp if you can simply get the payments low enough.” Nothing can be further than the truth.

The Bible discourages debt, individually and nationally, because debt presumes upon the future – and on God. If you are concerned about economic uncertainty, the last thing you want to do is to take anything about the future for granted. In fact, debt is a curse. If you go into debt, you are obligated to repay – yet you take on that obligation without knowing for certain whether you will be able to repay or not. Second, debt may deny Him an opportunity to work.

If the financial forecast calls for difficult times ahead, you should work to get rid of all debt. To do otherwise is to presume on the future.

Can USA continue to meet its financial obligations. No way. Ratings agencies have warned the country to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio quickly   or facing losing its coveted AAA debt rating. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The runaway debt is beyond hope. The entire nation will eventually go over the fiscal cliff. What matters now is: Can  you continue to meet your financial obligations – car payments, credit card bills, housing instalment loans, and the like – if you lost your job? If there is hyperinflation? If the dollar collapses? We now have to view debt through the window of possibly one of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. We have to find answers that will enable you to approach debt with a proper perspective.

Debt is not something that seems to really bother buyers in good times. Yet borrowing money has its price – and it is a cost far greater than you realize. Anytime you use credit to borrow money, you pre-commit your future income. The effects of such obligations can range from simple inconvenience to financial devastation. Many are now paying that price today.

There are two simple principles to keep in mind if you want to work to strengthen your financial position. First, you must increase your financial flexibility, and second, you must reduce your financial constraints. If borrowing money limits financial flexibility, the absence of debt makes for a lifestyle of financial freedom and opportunity. With no, or even low, financial pre-commitments, you will be at liberty to pursue your goals and desires.

The freedom from the financial obligations of debt can spell all the difference in how effectively personal resources can be used by God. Getting rid of any debt, whether it is large home mortgage or a relatively small credit card balance, is a guaranteed profitable investment.

How to get out of debt? Whether your  debt is due to unwise overspending or an unexpected calamity, one thing is certain: Getting out of debt is always harder than getting in. The most effective way to get out of debt is to cut your spending. Establish a realistic repayment plan and discipline yourself to follow it. Beware of over-ambition. Once your strategy is in place, all you need is the  self-discipline to make it work.

Ultimately, it all boils down to 3 simple rules in financial planning: First, spend less than you earn. Second, avoid the use of debt. And lastly, save up for financial uncertainties.

The Bible does show many ways to overcome any financial crisis. Many of these principles are laid out in our successful course, the Scriptural Financial Freedom series. To learn more, you can  download the Small Groups kit from our Store.

Getting ready for yet another worldwide financial meltdown

Housing crisis. Credit-rating cuts. Sequestration. Debt ceiling. Government shutdown. Is the  worst over? Or is there a BIG one coming? Seems like financial recessions are becoming like birth pangs. Mass layoffs, inflation, savings wiped out, homes lost. People around the world, traders or not, are certainly wondering about what the future holds. One thing is certain about the economy, there will always be uncertainties. Here are a few financial principles that helps to ease the pain – and maybe beat it.

First thing you got to do is get out of debt. Debt and lifestyle go hand in hand in American society. When you use debt to fund a consumptive lifestyle, not only do you have the consumptive lifestyle   working against you financially, but you also have the additional burden of debt   working against you financially. A passage in Deuteronomy actually implies that getting into debt is a curse. Whereas to be blessed is to be free from debt. Read chapter 28:12, and you’ll get the picture.

Avoiding the use of debt is incredibly difficult because the promotion of credit card use has made credit so easy to obtain and the temptation to use credit or debt so overwhelmingly difficult to resist. Credit card companies are spending hundreds of billions of dollars to entice each of us to spend and to use credit with cards that make spending “easier”, and those amounts are a pittance when compared to additional advertising dollars of retailers. Lending institutions do not want people to pay their credit card debts each month   because of the 18% to 24% interest that is earned on that credit card debt.

As sure as the sun rises, there will be another credit crisis. How do we know? It’s because the entire financial fiat system is based on credit! When is it coming? No doubt, there are plenty of warnings, both in the secular and Christian circles. If you were to read the book of Revelations, there’s one thing that you’ll realise: things are going to get worse. If you are a mother, you’ll understand the meaning of birth pangs mentioned in Matthew. It just gonna get meaner and faster.

For centuries, many investors have slept comfortably in the knowledge that if they diversify their assets wisely among stocks, bonds, commodities and cash, they will do well enough over the long term. But is this a universal principle, or a man-made strategy?

The recent boom and bust of the global economy over the last decade, from which many portfolios are still creeping up, not   only left investors questioning their strategy for risk, but helped shine  the   spotlight on the importance of diversifying.

A little known statement tucked away in a little known part of scripture unveils that this is indeed a universal strategy for long-term investing. “Divide   your portion to seven, or even eight, for you do not know what misfortune may   occur on the earth.” says Eccl   11:2.

Have you heard of stories about people earning millions and you thought they had it all made, when suddenly they are declared bankrupt? And you wonder to yourself   “what happen?”. A typical mistake is to dump all your money into an investment and then when it sours up, you lose everything. Failure to diversify.

There are those who mock diversification and almost treating this concept with contempt.   But what does the Bible say? Ecclesiastes 11:2. Diversify.

Diversification is spreading your money among many difference types of investment. When you do   this, you lower your overall risk. There are many ways to diversify. You can diversify   by spreading your assets, diversify with different investment styles, diversify   by geography, and so on and so forth. I will go into some details.

Diversification by assets can be in the form of stocks, real estate, bonds, cash, and even precious   metal like gold and silver. However, diversification does not mean you jump into   it blindly. Do your research first. Diversification by investment styles can be in the form of value-driven investment, market orientated   investment, and small capitalization investment.

Real estate represents an investment that can benefit from geographical diversification.   International investments comprise another asset class that could and should be   invested geographically. Emerging markets may offer excellent growth potential.

Bottom Line

According to a banker in the banking industry, a person who uses his or her credit card for convenience sake and pays the debt off each month is known as a “deadbeat”. So the first step is the get out of debt. Secondly, no matter how to budget your finances, remember to diversify. That because calamities and misfortunes can occur on the earth anytime.

The Bible does show many ways to overcome any financial crisis. Many of these principles are laid out in our successful course, the Scriptural Financial Freedom series. To learn more, you can  download the Small Groups kit.