5 Obstacles To Your Retirement Goals (No. 1 Is a Killer)

  • If you had to retire today, how much would you have saved up?
  • Five reasons you’re not reaching your financial goals (and what to do about them)
  • Dow recovers, crypto suffers, manufacturers exuberant
  • Theranos, the final chapter: There is no justice
  • An Equifax hacking indictment: Will this be the only one?
  • Readers respond to our “who we are and what we’re all about” episode

Not that you need another reminder, but yet another survey finds that a lot of people don’t have enough saved for retirement,” says an article at The Washington Post. 

The GoBankingRates survey polled millennials, Gen Xers and boomers about their retirement savings accounts; in 2018, 42% of participants report they’ve scraped together $10,000 — or less! — for retirement.

And this is good news…

Not So Golden Years...

A silver lining? Really?!

Retirement savings are actually up: “The percentage of Americans who have $10,000 or less saved fell to 42% from 55% last year,” says the Post. “And the percentage with more than $300,000 in retirement savings increased to 16%, up from 14% a year earlier.”

The bad news? “On average, adults 65 and older spend almost $46,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

So if you only saved $10,000 for retirement, you’d have about 2.6 months before you’re flat broke… saying nothing of inflation.



Hilarious — if it weren’t so true.

Well, that’s grim… But even if you regret not saving more — sooner — don’t despair.

That’s where Tim Sykes comes in: “I want this year to be the year in which you’re actually reaching your financial goals,” he says.

Tim’s our penny-stock expert; he turned his bar mitzvah money into a million-dollar fortune when he was just a teen.

So, yeah, Tim knows a little something about setting goals.

And he’s identified five reasons you might not be reaching your financial goals, including saving for retirement.

Reason #1: You don’t have goals

“What are your goals?

“If this question is being met with crickets chirping in the silence, that’s a problem,” says Tim. “Chances are your lack of goals is playing a big part in why your financial dreams aren’t coming true.

“Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter what your goals are. What’s important is that you have goals that are meaningful to you and which you have thought out carefully.”

Clearly defined goals help you measure progress and set benchmarks.

Reason #2: You lack targeted training 

“You can have the most specific goals in the world… but it won’t happen if you don’t have the skills necessary to succeed,” Tim says.

If your goal is to make more money, a basic education about stocks just won’t cut it. Tim says, “You need to be specifically trained in what you need to know to make money.”

(More on that in a moment.)

Reason #3: You’re not working hard enough

Ouch. That one smarts… especially if you feel like you’re furiously spinning wheels.

You’ve probably heard the adage “Work smarter, not harder.” That’s the point Tim’s trying to drive home.

“When you work hard, you must be working hard on the right strategy,” he says.

“Becoming a millionaire requires a lot of hard work,” says Tim. If trading stocks, “whether you’re trading with a small account or moving hundreds of thousands in a single trade… research and preparation ahead of time matter most of all!

“If you’re new to trading, now is the time to develop good habits,” Tim contends, “so that you can learn the ropes and experience growing pains when the stakes aren’t as high.”

As you make more money, you’ll be glad you established good work habits early on.

Reason #4: You don’t have proper guidance

Everyone needs a mentor.

Tim says: “Why would you set yourself up for potential calamity and failure when a mentor can save you from experiencing both?

“A mentor has been where you are and probably made plenty of mistakes and bad decisions. By following their advice and consulting with them frequently, you can avoid many mistakes and bad decisions that could lose you a ton of money.”

As you try to beef up your bank accounts, you’re going to win some and lose some. That’s just the way it works… but if you can avoid some pitfalls by listening to someone who’s been in your shoes, why wouldn’t you?

Reason #5: You’re not adjusting your goals appropriately

“Being too rigid with your goals can actually keep you from attaining financial success,” Tim says.

To make money trading stocks, “you must ALWAYS be adapting to new hot sectors, new hot stocks, new patterns and being aggressive or conservative in various market environments.”

And Tim’s all about dreaming big… but big dreams need to be broken down into small achievements along the way; otherwise, you run the risk of losing momentum.

“Having a clean path to reaching your financial goals is a vital part of finding success,” says Tim. “These tips… are meant to help keep you committed to your goals and gain financial success.”

[Ed. note: Tim has hundreds of articles online showing how he invests, but he reveals all of his secrets in just one place — in this groundbreaking new seminar. You’ll see how you can start with as little as $1,000 and turn it into your “number” (pick a number BEFORE you click the link) for a retirement on your terms. For a powerful new way to secure your financial future… Click here now to watch his seminar right now… because it goes offline this coming Sunday.]

To the markets today, where the Dow has recovered all 250 points it lost yesterday, and then some. At last check the Big Board is back above 25,000.

Gold is losing ground, back to $1,317. Bitcoin is hanging onto the $8,000 level, barely; nearly all cryptos have taken a hit after Google announced it’s nixing cryptocurrency ads come June. From here it looks like a knee-jerk reaction — Facebook did likewise a few weeks ago and cryptos quickly bounced back.

Trader chatter includes the impending demise of Toys ‘R’ Us and the appointment of Larry Kudlow as Gary Cohn’s replacement as director of the White House National Economic Council.

If Kudlow’s job duties include anticipating catalysts for the next downturn in the economy, his track record is wanting. In 2005, he said “all the bubbleheads” expecting housing prices to crash in places like Vegas would be proven wrong. Yikes.

We’re getting our first fix on how the economy’s doing so far in March with the release of three numbers.

Manufacturing looks buoyant, with both the Empire State and Philly Fed registering crazy-strong figures. But again, this is “soft data” from surveys; the so-called “hard data” of sales and shipments are still playing catch-up.

Homebuilder sentiment, meanwhile, is still extremely strong — though not at the lofty levels of the last three months.

One loose end to wrap up from yesterday, while we were tackling a rare single-topic episode of The 5: Retail sales for last month were a massive surprise to the downside — a decline of 0.1% compared with an “expert consensus” calling for a 0.4% increase. Even if you factor out auto sales, the number is a stinker. Anyone who expected the tax cuts to give the retail sector some juice has gotta be disappointed…

There is no justice, Part 1: The penalty for the flimflam known as Theranos is 0.071% of the amount for which investors got swindled.

Yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a settlement in a civil securities-fraud case against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. It’s one of those sweetheart deals in which the accused neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing and pays a pittance of a fine.

Holmes raised $700 million from investors — including some of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters — to develop a machine she claimed could take a teensy finger-prick drop of your blood and test it for hundreds of diseases at rock-bottom cost. Holmes had a convincing shtick for potential investors, including a conscious emulation of Steve Jobs:

Elizabeth Holmes

Black turtleneck? Check. Vegan diet? Check. No vacations? Check.
[Photo by Flickr user Max Morse for TechCrunch, posted at Wikimedia Commons]

It turned out the machine was way less accurate than promised. A distribution deal with Walgreens fell apart. The whole thing unraveled.

Oh — the amount of her fine, you ask? $500,000. Again, the investors ponied up $700 million.

Perhaps the fine is such a slap on the wrist because — as we suggested in our uniquely 5-ish take on the Theranos story 18 months ago — Holmes was doing nothing different from much of Corporate America. She might have harbored doubts about the story she was selling… but America’s elite business schools instruct their students to sell their story with total conviction regardless.

[Amusing aside: A while back, a wag on Twitter asked something to the effect of, “Didn’t anyone at the company realize that ‘Theranos’ looks a lot like ‘Thanatos,’ the Greek god of death?”]

There is no justice, Part 2: The feds have filed the first criminal charges for the massive hack at Equifax, one of the big three companies that keep credit reports on all of us.

Unfortunately, the charge is for insider trading.

As you might recall, last year the hackers got their hands on the personal information of 148 million U.S. consumers.

Yesterday the SEC accused a midlevel IT executive at the company of unloading his Equifax shares to the tune of $950,000 — only 10 days before the company disclosed the breach to the public. The complaint says he deduced a breach had taken place before anyone informed him about it.

This is one of those rare instances where we daresay “insider trading” is an honest-to-God crime that has a victim — i.e., anyone who bought this guy’s shares.

But is this the most that’s going to come from an epic hack — in which the Social Security numbers of nearly half the U.S. population were purloined? Is anyone in dot-gov’s “justice” apparatus contemplating whether the negligence amounts to criminality?

Of course, if publicly held companies were held to account for their cyber-negligence, hundreds of executive suites would be emptied and prison blocks filled.

Then again, those executives are of a mind that cybersecurity is the government’s job. But as we learned a year ago, the feds spend nine times as much money on cyberoffense as cyberdefense.

“I appreciate this detailed explanation,” writes an appreciative reader after our “meta” episode of The 5 yesterday.

“It addressed a lot of things I was thinking as I go through the aggressive marketing. I am new to markets and this type of investing (I do real estate), but I’m eager to learn, and I will try one of your paid gigs in the future and see if I can make some progress.”

Says someone who’s been around a few years, “It is always good to have a refresher, and I for one look forward to receiving your daily missives, even if they sometimes may take longer than five minutes — oops, probably shouldn’t have gone there and opened that can of worms… too late 🙂 Keep up the good work.”

“Thanks, Dave, for the excellent summation of who/what Agora Financial and The 5 are all about.

“I am a subscriber to Rickards’ Strategic Intelligence, and I have received several of those freebies. When I needed to reduce the amount of emails that land in my inbox — a few just echoed each other — I simply hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button.

“But the one I will always keep reading is The 5, because it is exactly the kind of coherent, occasionally humorous information in compact format that I’m willing to take the time to read. I hope your complaining readers are sufficiently enlightened now to quit taking up space in that format with their gripes and grumbles.

“Incidentally, I’ve never had to call your customer support folks, but now I’m tempted just to hear that familiar Mid-Atlantic — or as we always called it back there —Tidewater accent; it’ll remind me of home, the way my southern Maryland family and friends always talked!”

“Dave, you and your team are good soldiers for tolerating the whiners who complain about the value they’re getting from The 5.

“The Society of the Miserable is like the Flat Earthers. Their members are lurking everywhere — and they jump on any opportunity to piss and moan.

“I have noticed that truth and insight are the things that always set them off. So the flak you’re taking is a high compliment. But it does require a thick skin.

“I have subscribed to this newsletter for some time. I look forward to it every day. I’m still waiting for you to set off my baloney detector (that’s sarcasm; it didn’t take me long to realize it just ain’t gonna happen). That’s coming from a cynical, jaded 56-year-old with an overactive noise filter.

“So you’re doing pretty darn well! I would have no complaints if you charged a fee for this service. It’s that’s good.

“As always, thank you for the great work you do. It is uncommon.”

“I would not let a day pass without reading The 5,” writes our final correspondent.

“Reason? It is candid, sometimes funny, always caustically entertaining and it is a gauge whereby I measure my own personal take on things related to business, investment and politics. I usually concur, but sometimes not.

“In either case, I never sense I’m reading a puff piece written by a flaming liberal or a catatonic conservative. I often chuckle at the irreverent style of writing and the realistic take on politics, which by definition is most unrealistic.

“P.S. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy reading The 5 is obviously long overdue for a good bowel movement.”

The 5: That’s one of the — uhhh — more unusual testimonials we’ve received in 11 years.

But as long as you brought it up, here’s some Thursday afternoon entertainment…

Colon Blow

Man, hard to believe Phil Hartman’s been gone nearly 20 years now…

Best regards,

David Gonigam

Dave Gonigam
The 5 Min. Forecast

P.S. James Altucher recently made an extraordinary promise to his readers — and made an extraordinary offer to back it up.

But he can’t keep the offer open forever. It’s open for only five more days.

What’s in it for you? See for yourself, right here.

Dave Gonigam

Dave Gonigam

Dave Gonigam has been managing editor of The 5 Min. Forecast since September 2010. Before joining the research and writing team at Agora Financial in 2007, he worked for 20 years as an Emmy award-winning television news producer.

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