"Social Security is running out of money."
That's the story that took over financial headlines on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") released its annual report card, showing that Social Security and Medicare are teetering on the brink of insolvency... and in the case of Social Security, getting worse.
According to the government, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the Social Security trust depletion to 2034... a year earlier than last year's reported 2035 date. Medicare will become insolvent in 2026 (unchanged from last year).
Longtime readers know I hate Big Brother programs. Poor management and petty disagreements in Congress push these programs to the brink of collapse. And everyday Americans pay the price.
Millions of people, including the elderly and those with disabilities, rely on their money from Social Security payments. More than 64 million Americans receive a monthly check that accounts for at least 33% of their income. Medicare is the largest health insurance program, insuring nearly everyone 65 and older.
We're not fear mongers who like to claim that Social Security and Medicare are about to be bankrupt (a few tax hikes will fix it – as unpleasant as that may be) ... but we don't want to bet our financial future on it.
And remember, Social Security was only meant to be a safety net. I don't have space in this report to detail how untenable the current program is (although if you plug "Social Security outlook" into an Internet search engine, you can read plenty on the topic.) Just trust me... If you're 55 today, in 10 years your Social Security payments won't be as generous as you may think.
That's why you should consider making sure you've got at least a certain level of guaranteed income. Even in the worst-case scenario, you'll know that you've got enough money to meet your basic expenses.
That's why I've recently issued an urgent warning... what I call a "Final Wake-Up Call," for any American who cares about their money, finances, or retirement.
I explain exactly what's going on in America, why you should be concerned about what is coming, and four steps that every American should take right now.
Before we get into this week's Q&A... It's almost our birthday! Next month, we're celebrating our 6th anniversary and we'd love to hear from you. How have we helped you improve your health and wealth? Send your experiences to [email protected].
Q: I would like to buy gold but don't want to go through the steps to buy physical gold and are not interested in holding it. I would think there would be better options than going through the trouble just to have physical gold in your hands. Maybe I'm wrong.
My question is would buying gold through an exchange traded commodity like CEF be the best option? Or possibly a physical gold trust through Sprott? These are just two options that come to mind.
Thank you for your time. – L.H.
A: To us, gold stocks count as a chaos hedge just like physical gold. And you can go further and say they may even be a better chaos hedge than gold itself.
Gold stocks tend to amplify the move in gold. Smalls moves in the precious metal can lead to big moves in its stocks. So if we see real chaos, they could protect your portfolio even better.
But on the other side, gold stocks tend to be more volatile than physical gold. And as an underground mine that is producing gold and selling it off, it is a declining asset. Investors often use the phrase "a melting ice cube," while gold itself acts differently as a store of value.
You could get a big return from gold stocks if you truly need your chaos hedge. However, when times aren't that bad, they could hurt your performance and make you wish you held regular gold.
The final call: Hold some gold stocks in your chaos hedge, but don't make them a large percentage of your portfolio. A little bit goes a long way.
Q: I received this email from a friend [about one diet soda tripling your stroke risk]. Is it true? It seems like you wrote something similar to this in one of your previous columns. – J.K.
A: Lots of folks drink diet sodas because they believe they're the healthier version of a regular soda. But after years of research, we know that really isn't true.
Artificial sweeteners – like those used in diet sodas – cause all sorts of health problems.
An Israeli study showed that artificial sugars damage our gut bacteria. The researchers looked at different sweeteners, including popular ones like aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin (Sweet'N Low).
Researchers discovered that feeding these fake sugars to bacteria found in our guts can lead to toxic results. The surprising part was that even low concentrations — much lower than levels previously studied — created problems. In other words, no amount of artificial sweetener is safe.
Aspartame increases inflammation, damages healthy gut bacteria, and causes headaches. It also lowers your sex drive. We've seen that the body reacts to fake sugars as if they were real sugars. Research from the journal Diabetes Care demonstrated that artificial sugar can in fact raise insulin levels as well.
Insulin even results in fat production. The extra fat leads to high blood sugar and keeps metabolism stuck in "storage mode." Lots of insulin causes the vessels to oxidize and stiffen... leading to higher blood pressure. Over time, this can cause strokes and heart disease. So the study you sent us only confirms what we've been saying for years...
Stop hurting your health with diet soda.
Editor's note: Our offices here at Stansberry Research will be closed on Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day. Look forward to your next issue of Health & Wealth Bulletin on Tuesday, September 7.
What We're Reading...
- Beware the zombies.
- Something different: Can your employer require you to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
September 3, 2021