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I’m retired and was handed a large buyout from my company 3 years ago. My investment “Advisor” put me into a variety of large and mid-cap funds and a global one. I capitalized “Advisor” because he deserved a capital “A”for all the capital he cost me. Anyway, within a month, I was receiving sales statements for commissions at $100 a clip. I averaged 3 a week costing me hundreds of dollars. My “Advisor” explained there was a lot of movement in and out of the market and of course, I paid for the buying and selling. That was in spite of the fact I didn’t receive a dime. After a few months of watching thousands go down the drain, I asked him to change my direction and stop the madness. Yet the real madness was just around the corner. In January I got a notice of $14,000 in capital gains for the year although I actually lost money. So I had to pay taxes on money I didn’t make. Furious, I made a call to my “Advisor” and heard the following. “It’s a technical setback, but stick with the market and you’ll be fine.”

So I stuck it out and got a whopping six-percent return the following year. I had always believed the standard historical averages of the market returning 10.8 % over a 60-year period. But this was not anywhere near that number. After another complaint, he moved me to an annuity-type market account and I still watched my cash dwindle as various fees added up. Eight months later, I saw I was getting further behind and began to investigate other ways to earn income. But the more I read, the more I realized that stock marketing investing is just another racket. It mainly benefits the ones that advise, write books, or have investment or management firms. The average person doing the investing is subject to the whims of the up and down market. Then add in the “Advisor” that moves you in and out of certain pet investments that he or she loves to tout as the next best thing. That fact they make extra profit from all this action is probably just a coincidence, right? Sure.

The problem is that you must keep your money in when it goes down, hoping it will go up. It could be a month, year or more, for that to happen. And when it does, you’re back to the beginning. So, if it only makes you 3% this year and you need 10%, you had better hope for a 13% market next year. But if the market dips, your “Advisor” will tell you that it’s a buying opportunity and you should add even more to your portfolio. It almost makes sense except that it assumes the market will go up from there. And remember that your “Advisor” just made another commission. It is called dollar cost averaging and it says to invest on a regular basis whether the market is up or down. I t is designed to smooth over the risk. And your risk is based on how long you can stand to lose money. Your “Advisor” may remind you that you can’t lose money until you sell, so stay the course no matter what. That’s easier said than done as you watch the market tumble 300 points at a time. That roller coaster is hard to watch even with a strong stomach.

So, what do you do? Some folks may tell you to invest a portion of your savings in CD’s, which now pay 3%. But those of us needing 10% can’t live on that. So, should we wait for that 10.8% average return? What if it takes 10 years? Consider the following scenario in the market.

Here are some possible realistic percent returns for the next decade: 6, 5, 10, 11, 3, -2, 6, 12, 14, 18.

Look at all those wonderful years with returns over 10%. Did that make you feel much better? But did you also do the math? It seemed that you eventually averaged about 8.3 percent, but that was before fees and taxes. You would be lucky to be getting 7%. My “Advisor” received 1.8% of my profit. So, for all the aggravation of watching the gut-wrenching market, you may get a bit more than from a stable savings account that averaged 5.5% over the same years. Great. But how much was the therapy or anti-stress drugs? You must admit there should be a better way to invest for retirement.

I continued to research the Internet and found a few alternatives. I won’t detail all of them here, but I can tell you I now have pulled everything out of the market and get better than 12% returns with a fixed rate. Even though I took a huge penalty and paid a ridiculous fee, I bit the bullet. That’s because I refused to watch my life savings erode based on the greed of stock market investors than can’t wait to pounce on their next victim.

If you don’t believe what I’ve said so far, ask if you can see where all the “Advisors” have their money. Are they totally invested in the market? Can they assure you won’t lose money in the long run? Are you willing to wait a decade to even-out your loses? I can’t and won’t. So take a good long look at your particular situation and don’t blindly invest in a fluctuating market that mostly benefits those in the industry. Do your homework and look for other investments. Then if you still enjoy watching the Dow Jones surge and retreat, then the market was made for you. I, on the other hand, never have to check the market and barely notice when it drops a few hundred points. Fine, you may be annoyed, but it’s the truth and are you making 12% like me? Now, what’s the most annoying part of this article?

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