Pension’s Worst Nightmare is Here… Now

Five facts determine a pension’s fate.   How much the contributions.  How much the investment return.  How much the withdrawals and when will they be drawn.

We are living with a currency time bomb. We have 284 days, 17 hours and 11 minutes to go.


“How much will the currency, that a pension distributes, be worth?”  This is the fifth, most important fact.

Oops…  284 days, 17 hours and 10 minutes.

If a pension pays out a worthless currency… the pension is worthless, a broken promise and sham that leaves living a shadow of what it was meant to be.  Yet pensions are locked in to one currency… because this is what they have to pay.

30 more seconds are gone.   We’ll be down to 284 days, 17 hours and 5 minutes (or even less depending on when you began reading) when you stop 5 minutes from now.

Tick tock… the clock is ticking.   Politicians are working by this clock and the bomb will ruin many lives.

We can avoid the ruin if we act now.

The timer was really set 70 years ago.   After WWII there was huge population explosion… economic expansion and prosperity that left the Western population expecting more.  The winning political system… democracy, favored politicians who promised more and more… later and later.

Later is now.   The timer has just about run out for pensions.

284 days, 17 hours and 9 minutes.

1,825 days ago the big wave of boomer retirements began.

Pensions were in a terrible state.  The great recession had reduced jobs and encouraged early retirement.  Withdrawals in pensions rose.  Contributions shrank.  Investment returns were terrible, even negative.

This was a pensions worst nightmare, but a strong and rising US dollar gave pensions hope as it slowed inflation down.   Investment returns have in recent years risen.  In 2017 returns averaged 11% or so for most pensions.

This did not solve the problem of underfunded pensions. 

A Scremento Bee article “CalPERS beats earnings target for first time in three years” points out how serious pension underfunding is and why it’s not likely to get better.

The article says:  The California Public Employees’ Retirement System rode a strong year in the stock market and private equity investments to earn a return rate of 11.2 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30, the pension fund announced Friday morning.

CalPERS, which manages about $323 billion in assets, now has about 68 percent of the funds it would need if it had to pay all of the benefits it owes to retirees and public workers.

Senate, Democrat Richard Pan of Sacramento, said he was “certainly happy to see the return for this year, but it’s not a year-to-year thing.”

“I don’t think anyone is saying ‘One year and we’re all set,’ ” he said. “It’s about the long term and we continue to take steps at the state government to be sure we keep our pension system sound.”

A number of negative forces in 2018 could destroy pensions as they push the purchasing power of the US dollar down.

First, pensions should expect a lowered return on investments in 2018.  The US stock market might not crash (or it may), but growth is highly likely to slow significantly.

Second, interest rates will be slow to rise.

Third 2017 tax reductions will pump money into the economy now.  That looks good, BUT… the tax cut will increase the already swollen US deficit and debt by trillions.  This will be offset by economic growth… maybe… later.

In the meantime the national debt, now around $20 trillion, will get larger.  The Congressional Budget Office projects debt rising to 86% of GDP in 2026 and to a whopping 110% in 2036, exceeding the historical peak of 106% after World War II.

This is only manageable if  US dollar interest rates remain low.  The CBO calculates that the yield on the 10-year note will rise to 4.1% by 2026 from its current 1.5%.  That rise can push the government’s annual interest payments from $223 billion to $839 billion.  Government predictions are that within ten years, the higher interest rates mean that all federal corporate income tax collections would only cover a bit more than half of the interest.

The Congressional Budget Office figures that every one percent of interest will raise interest payments $160 billion per year.

wall street journal

Fourth Debt Timing Problem

The timing of this growing US debt increase makes it a bigger problem.

Monday’s Wall Street Journal article “By Adding to the Debt, Tax Cuts Could Complicate Next Downturn” (2) points out the timing concern when it says:  In enacting a tax cut that is projected to raise annual federal-budget deficits to nearly $1 trillion in the coming years, Washington could be trading more growth now for the risk of more pain down the road.

The U.S. government has traditionally reduced interest rates, boosted spending or cut taxes when the economy contracts. Budget analysts warn that future policy makers would have less ammunition to take such actions during the next recession because tax changes are projected to push already-rising national debt levels even higher. That could make the next downturn more severe than it would otherwise be and put added pressure on the Federal Reserve to respond to future crises.

“While I’m always for reforming the tax code, the timing of this thing doesn’t make any sense,” said William Hoagland, a former budget adviser to Senate Republicans now at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, referring to the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump in December.  “If we do actually have a downturn in the economy, what are the levers available from the federal government’s perspective?”

The big question is, “Will corporate tax cuts trickle down?” If so “Will the trickle be fast enough.”

The fifth and worst problem for pensions, is that the current political process is weakening the US dollar between now and this autumn’s midterm elections on November 6, 2018.  284 days, 17 hours and 7 minutes until the elections.

The Wall Street Journal article “As ‘America First’ Trade Focus Returns, The Dollar Is Still Too Strong” (3) says

In order to fully close the U.S. trade gap, one estimate suggests the greenback would need to fall another 10%

The Trump administration is shifting its focus back to “America First” trade policies. That could put the spotlight back on the U.S. dollar, which economists say still is still too strong even after the currency notched its worst year in a decade.

Economists at the Institute of International Finance estimated on Monday that the greenback remains about 10% overvalued despite a year-long slide that has driven the currency down 7% against a basket of 16 currencies tracked by the Wall Street Journal.

All these pressures are pushing down on the US dollar and pensions that pay in US dollars.  This gives us time as private investors.

For years the market has been voting for the greenback.  Eventually the gravity of US debt will weigh in and the US dollar will fall.  This will not be a good thing for investors who are tied to the buck.

The purchasing power of the greenback and dollar based pensions will drop even more.

We, as investors, can take advantage of these facts by finding good value outside the US dollar.

The portfolio (called the Pifolio) we manage at at the online broker has risen 32.4% (blue line) this last year. That’s better than the S&P 500 (green).


This portfolio is composed entirely of Country ETFs that invest in the top value, non US dollar denominated markets defined by the Keppler Asset Management value analysis.

There are two important facts.  The first fact is that the value of these stock markets is twice that of the US market.  The MSCI US index is now selling at 3.29 rice to book value.  The top value markets are selling at less than half the price, at 1.58 times book.


The second important fact is the current fall of the US dollar.  In 2017, the Pifolio is up 32.4%, but only up 20.4% in local currencies and 15.1% in euro.   About half of the 2017 increase is due to the falling US dollar.  This gives room for these non US good value shares to rise much more.

The five forces listed above are at work… right now and the political process will attempt to magnify them until at least November.

Dollar linked pensions cannot take advantage of this fact.   They have to pay pensioners in US dollars… now.

Pensions that invest in other currencies but pay in dollars face forex risk… now, because they are seeing surging demands.

You and I, as private investors, can invest in good value, non dollar equities and wait, if we do not need the money right now.


The significance of the dollar’s fall is that the weakness is taking place while the US stock market is skyrocketing and U.S. companies are bringing home overseas profits.  These factors are creating a demand for the dollar.

The greenback should be rising instead of falling.

The Bretton Woods agreement that came into effect after WWII fixed exchange rates of most currencies in the world.  This agreement made the dollars as good as gold, but like pensions now, the agreement then was not sustainable.

The system dissolved in August 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon “temporarily” suspended the dollar’s convertibility into gold. Attempts to revive the fixed rates failed, and by March 1973 the major currencies began to float against each other.

The chart below from shows how the dollar versus other currencies has risen and fallen since.

Non dollar investments made during US dollars peaks have gained astounding extra profits over the past four decades.

We are in this position now, but the clock is ticking.

The purchasing power of the dollar has fallen steadily.  What a dollar bought at the end of WWII typically costs near $20 now.  Regretfully dollar based pensions (and Social Security) are locked into paying out US dollars now.   It is much harder for them to take the forex risk of investing in non dollar assets.

Private investors do not have this pressure and can easily gain extra profit with Top Value country ETFs in non dollar equity markets.

For the next 284 days, 17 hours and 5 minutes, political forces will  strive for a weaker dollar that stimulates US exports.   This will temporarily make US jobs better, but those who are living on  pensions will see their purchasing power fall.

Time is running out and the time to protect against the dollar’s weakness is now.


The Huge 2020 Risk

Here is a huge risk that could explode in 2020.

I hope I am wrong… but the numbers are clear.

According to, (1) as of December 26, 2020 the total US public debt was 23 trillion and 845 billion dollars.

This is not a theoretical problem for the future.  This is not something that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with.  This is a problem in the here and now for you and me.

Rising interest rates create a massive problem for every American.

treasury direct

Look at how the interest costs alone have risen to over a half trillion dollars a year.

treasury direct


The bad news is that the (US federal debt) is getting bigger….harder to miss.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected in 2010 (the debt then was a bit over 14 trillion) that, under law at that time, debt held by the public would exceed $16 trillion by 2020, reaching nearly 70 percent of GDP.

The $7 Trillion Error.

They sure goofed on that.  Here we are… only in 2020 and debt has shot past 23 trillion.

How could the CBO be so wrong? 

The CBO screwed up because they could never imagine that the Fed would push interest rates so low… and keep them there.  The interest rates are so low that the government has been able to borrow more than imagined and still afford the interest.

For example, US Federal government interest last year amounted to around $573 billion.  Yet in 2008 on debt of only $9 trillion +  the interest that year was $451 billion +.

Interest payments in 2017 were 27% higher than they were in 2008.  Yet the debt is over 250% higher.  

Very low interest rates have helped the government borrow.  Low interest has also helped the US stocks reach all time high prices.

The government will resist raising rates because it will ruin their budget, cause a collapse of the stock markets and destroy the US dollar.

Rising interest rates, will create an almost unimaginable debt crisis.  If government interest doubles it is like the $23+ trillion national debt  rising to 46 trillion!  Unless there are some huge tax increase the interest payments are not sustainable.

Learn how to have more freedom and time, less stress, better health care, extra income, greater safety and profit in your savings despite America’s deficits, debt and currency risk.

Fortunately there are secrets that will allow a few to live much better, free of debt and worry despite the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power.   My wife, Merri and I, have traveled, lived, worked and invested around the world for nearly 50 years to gain this information.

Let me share the basics of this data and how we can be of help through 2020.

The first fact behind this secret is that things are really good in the western world.  Despite many problems, we are surrounded by more abundance and greater opportunity than almost anyone has ever enjoyed, anywhere, ever.   To enjoy a fair share of this wealth, all we have to do is understand human nature and learn how to invest in the new economy, as it changes and becomes new, again and again.

Merri and I have made seven huge transitions in the 50 years.  Each has allowed us to always stay ahead of losses that the majority of Americans suffer.  We are in another transition right now and want to share why and what to do so you can stay ahead and live a richer, independent life through 2020 and beyond.

A falling US dollar is one of the greatest risks we have to our independence, safety, health, and wealth, but also brings a window of huge profit as I explain below.   Though the greenback has been strong for a number of years, its strength is in serious jeopardy.  The growing federal deficits increase the national debt and this with rising interest rates propels a growing debt service.

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average passed a record high, the U.S. national debt passed the $20 trillion mark.

The problem is that the Dow will come back down.  National debt will not fall.

The double shock of money fleeing Wall Street and US debt skyrocketing, will destroy the purchasing power of the greenback.

Go to the store even now.  Statistics say inflation is low, but buy some bread or, heaven forbid, some fresh vegetables like peppers or fruit.   Look at the cost of your prescription or hospital bills.  Do something simple like have your car serviced at an auto dealer.  Look at the dollars you spend and you’ll see what I mean.

The loss of the dollar’s purchasing power erodes our independence, our freedom and our savings and wealth as well. 

At the same time, low interest rates by big banks and higher health care costs soak up the ever diminishing income and savings we have left.  According to a Gallup poll, the most unpopular three institutions in America are big corporations & Wall Street banks, HMOs and Congress.

Yet there is little we can do because these institutions are in control.

Over the last 50 years the average income for 90 percent of the American population fell.  Our health system is restricted by a Kafka-esque maze of legislation and insurance regulations that delay, frustrate, and thwart attempts by patients and doctors from proper medical care.  Big banks and corporations restrict our freedom of choice.  The business customer relationships are no longer transactions between free equals.

Banks can trap us in indebtedness at every age from student loans to mortgages to health care costs.  They pay almost nothing on our savings.  They hide unexpected fees and payments in complex and unreadable documents.  Banks and big corporations routinely conceal vital information in small print and then cheat.  Weak regulations and lax enforcement leave consumers with few ways to fight back.  Many of these businesses ranging from cable TV to phone and internet service to health insurance have virtual monopolies that along with deceptive marketing destroys any form of free market.

These same companies control the credit-scoring agencies so if  we don’t pay unfair fees, our credit scores will plunge and we could lose the ability to borrow money, rent an apartment, even to get a job.  Many consumers are forced to accept “arbitration clauses” in lieu of  legal rights.  The alternative is to lose banking, power, and communication services.

Big business has also usurped our privacy.  Internet companies sell our personal data.  Personal information is pulled from WiFi and iPhones track and store our movements.  The government can access this information, sometimes without subpoenas.  There’s a lot that we don’t know, often withheld under the guise of “National Security.”

The glow on Western democratic capitalism has dimmed… or so it seems.  The US, leading the way, is still a superpower with economic, innovation and military might, but the institutions that should serve the people have become flawed or broken.

America’s infrastructure is in shambles.  The nation’s bridges are crumbling, many water systems are filled with toxins, yet instead of spending more to fix this, we build more prisons.  The 2.2 million people currently in  jail is a 500 percent increase over the past thirty years.  60% of the inmates belong to ethnic groups.  Not just non-white ethnic groups are suffering.  Annual death rates are falling for every group except for middle-aged white Americans.  Death rates are rising among this group driven by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse, alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.

America’s middle class is shrinking.  Nearly  half of America’s income goes to upper-income households now.  In 1970 only 29 percent went to this group.  How can we regain our freedom, our happiness and our well being in such a world?

What can we do?

Gain a better, freer life is to combine better health, higher income and greater savings for a happier, more resilient lifestyle. 

Merri and I will celebrate our 50th year of global living, working, investing and researching to find and share ideas on how to have simpler, low stress, healthier, more affluent lifestyles.  Our courses, reports and email messages look at ways to gain:

#1:  Global micro business income.

#2:  Low cost, natural health.

#3:  Safer, more profitable, investments that take little time or cost to buy and hold… so you can focus on earning more instead

Many readers use our services for just one of these three benefits.  They focus only on health or on earning more or on better, easier investing.

28 years ago Merri and I created the International Club as a way for readers to join us and be immersed in all three of these benefits.   The International Club is a year long learning program aimed at helping members earn worry free income, have better affordable good health and gain extra safety and profits with value investments.

Join us for all of 2020 NOW.

The three disciplines, earning, health and investing, work best when coordinated together.  Regretfully the attacks on our freedom are realities of life.  There is little we can do to change this big picture.  However we can change how we care for our health, how we earn and how we save so that we are among the few who live better despite the dollar’s fall.

We start with better lower cost health care.

Club membership begins by sharing ways to be free of the “Secret Hospital Charge Master”.   Just as governments hide truth behind “National Security”, big health care businesses hide medical truths behind “Charge masters”.  Most hospital charge masters are secret because big business does not want us to know how much hospital costs have risen.  Motivations beyond our good health, like corporate greed, want to keep us in the dark about health care cost.

Despite rising health care costs, a report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention shows that hospitals are the last place we want to be for good health.  One report shows that hospital-acquired infections alone kills 57% more Americans every year than all car accidents and falls put together.

Often, what patients catch in the hospital can be worse than what sent them there.  Governments and health care agencies agree  – antibiotic resistance is a “nightmare.”  An antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be spreading in more hospitals than patients know.  About one in every 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection and a report from the Journal of Patient Safety showed that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the country.

Along with the risk of hospital acquired illness and medical errors, the second huge threat to our well being… is health care costs, especially at hospitals.  This is why charge masters are so often secret.  There are few risks to our wealth that are greater than a hospital stay.

I have created three natural health reports are about:

#1: Nutrition

#2: Purification

#3: Exercise

Each report is available for $19.95.  However you’ll receive this free as club member and save $59.85.

Club members also receive seven workshops and courses on how earn everywhere with at home micro businesses.  We call this our “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”.   The program contains a series of courses and reports that show ways to earn and be free. These courses and reports are:

  • “International Business Made EZ”
  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell”
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3
  • The report “How to Raise Money Abroad”
  • Report and MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • The course “Event-Full – How to Earn Conducting Seminars and Tours”

This program is offered at $299, but is available to you as a club member free.  You save $299 more.

Next, club members participate in an intensive program called the Purposeful investing Course (Pi).  The purpose of Pi is finding value investments that increase safety and profit.  Learn Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing.

Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies.  These destroyers of wealth can create a Behavior Gap, that causes investors to underperform in any market good or bad.  The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear.  Pi helps create profitable strategies that avoid losses from this gap.

Lessons from Pi are based on the creation and management of a Primary Pi Model Portfolio, called the Pifolio.  There are no secrets about this portfolio except that it ignores the stories from economic news (often created by someone with vested interests) and is based mainly on good math that reveals the truth through financial news.

The Pifolio is a theoretical portfolio of MSCI Country Benchmark Index ETFs that cover all the good value markets using my 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of four mathematical investing geniuses (and friends).

There are seven layers of tactics in the Pi strategy.

Pi Tactic #1: Determine purpose and good value.

Pi Tactic #2: Diversify 70% to 80% of portfolio equally in good value developed markets.

Pi Tactic #3: Invest 20% to 30% equally in good value emerging markets.

Pi Tactic  #4:  Use trending algorithms to buy sell or hold these markets.

Pi Tactic  #5:  Add spice speculating with ideal conditions.

Pi Tactic  #6: Add spice speculating with leverage.

Pi Tactic  #7:  Add spice speculating with forex potential.

The Pifolio analysis begins with a continual research of international major stock markets that compares their value based on:

#1:  Current book to price

#2:  Cash flow to price

#3:  Earnings to price

#4:  Average dividend yield

#5:  Return on equity

#6:  Cash flow return

#7:  Market history

We combine the research of several brilliant mathematicians and money managers with my years of investing experience.

This is a complete and continual study of what to do about the movement of international major and emerging stock markets.  I want to share this study throughout the next year with you.

This analysis forms the basis of a Good Value Stock Market Strategy.  The analysis is rational, mathematical and does not worry about short term ups and downs.  This strategy is easy for anyone to follow and use.  Pi reveals the best value markets and provides contacts to managers and analysts and Country Index ETFs so almost anyone can create and follow their own strategy.

The costs are low and this type of ETF is one of the hardest for institutions to cheat.  Expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund.  Little knowledge, time, management or guesswork are required.  The investment is simply a diversified portfolio of good value indices.  Investments in an index are like investments in all the shares of a good value market.

Pi opens insights to numerous long term cycles that most investors miss because they have not been investing long enough to see them.

The Pi subscription is normally $299 per annum but as a club member you receive Pi at no charge and save an additional $2299.

Profit from the US dollar’s fall.

In the 1980s, a remarkable set of two economic circumstances helped anyone who spotted them become remarkably rich.  Some of my readers made enough to retire.  Others picked up 50% currency gains.  Then the cycle ended.  Warren Buffett explained the importance of this ending in a 1999 Fortune magazine interview.  He said:  Let me summarize what I’ve been saying about the stock market: I think it’s very hard to come up with a persuasive case that equities will over the next 17 years perform anything like—anything like—they’ve performed in the past 17!

Club members receive a report about opportunity in the  current strength of the US dollar is a second remarkable similarity to 30 years ago.   The dollar rose along with Wall Street.  Profits came quickly over three years.  Then the dollar dropped like a stone, by 51%  in just two years.  A repeat of this pattern is growing and could create up to 50% extra profit if we start using strong dollars to accumulate good value stock market ETFs in other currencies.

This is the most exciting opportunity I have seen since we started sending our reports on international investing ideas more than three decades ago.  The trends are so clear that I created a short, but powerful report “Three Currency Patterns for 50% Profits or More.”   This report shows how to earn an extra 50% from currency shifts with even small investments.  I kept the report short and simple, but included links to 153 pages of  Good Value Stock Market research and Asset Allocation Analysis.

The report shows 20 good value investments and a really powerful tactic that shows the most effective and least expensive way to accumulate these bargains in large or even very small amounts (less than $5,000).  There is extra profit potential of at least 50% so the report is worth a lot.

This report sells for $29.95 but when you become a club member you receive the report, “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” FREE.

Plus get the $39.99 report, “The Platinum Dip 2019” free.

With investors watching global stock markets bounce up and down, many missed two really important profit generating events.  The price of silver dipped below $14 an ounce as did shares of the iShares Silver ETF (SLV).   The second event is that the silver gold ratio hit 80 and has remained near this level, compared to a range of the 230s only two years ago.

Now there is a new distortion ready to ripen in the year ahead.

These two events are a strong sign to invest in precious metals.

I prepared a special report “Platinum Dip 2019”.   The report explains the exact conditions you need to make leveraged precious metal speculations that can increase the returns in a safe portfolio by as much as eight times.  The purpose of the report is to share long term lessons about speculating in precious metals gained through 30 years of speculating and investing in gold and silver.

The low price of silver offers special value now so I want to send you this report because the “Platinum Dip 2018” offers enormous profit potential in 2018.

The report “Platinum Dip 2019” sells for $39.95 but club members receive it free as well.

The $39.95 new “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere Report” is also free.

There is an incredible new economy that’s opening for those who know what to do.  There are great new opportunities and many of them offer enormous income potential but also work well in disaster scenarios.

There are are specific places where you can reduce your living expenses and easily increase your income.  Scientific research has shown that being in such places actually make you smarter and healthier.  Top this off with the fact that they provide tax benefits as well and you have to ask, “Where are these places?”.

Learn about these specific places.  More important learn what makes them special.  Discover seven freedom producing steps that you can use to find other similar places of opportunity.

The report includes a tax and career plan broken into four age groups, before you finish school, from age 25 to 50 – age 50-to 65 and what to do when you reach the age where tradition wants you to re-tire.  (Another clue-you do not need to retire and probably should not!)

The report is very specific because it describes what Merri and I, our children and even my sister and thousands of our readers have done and are doing, right now.

Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere focuses on a system that takes advantage of living in Smalltown USA, but earning locally and globally.

This report is available online for $39.99 but International Club members receive it free.

Save when you become a club member.

Join the International Club and receive:

#1: The $299 Personal investing Course (Pi).   Free.

#2: The $299 “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”. Free.

#3: The $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More”. Free.

#4: The $39.99 report “Platinum Dip 2019”. Free

#5: The three $19.99 reports “Shamanic Natural Health”.  All three free.

#6: The $39.99 “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere” report. Free.

#7: A year’s follow up subscription to the Purposeful investing course… Plus more.

Join the International Club for $349 and receive all the above online now, plus all reports, course updates and Pi lessons 2019 at no additional fee.

Click here to become a member at the discounted rate of $349




(1) CalPERS 11% return

(2) By adding to the debt tax cuts could complicate next downturn

(3) As America first trade focus returns the dollar is still too strong

(4) Dollar drops to lowest level since September

(5) US dollar falls ahead of budget showdown