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Now, More than Ever Before, Responsibility is Yours

The spring tornado season of 2011 will easily go down in history as one of the deadliest on record, with both storm counts and death tolls more than doubling the previous year’s figures. In Tuscaloosa, AL, over 335 lives were claimed in the second deadliest day of twisters in U.S. history.1 In Joplin, MO, an EF5 ripped a path three quarters of a mile wide and 6 miles long – killing over 130 and marking the deadliest single tornado since 1950.   On May 24th, deadly twisters claimed 18 additional lives in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. Other states are reeling as well. There were 34 deaths in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, five in Virginia, two in Louisiana and one in Kentucky.2 The devastation this spring has been unbelievable, and our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to all those impacted by these many disasters. 

In analyzing the contributing factors to this year’s deadly season, many meteorologists note an incredibly unstable environment.  “This is just remarkable from a meteorological point of view,” says City College of New York’s Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science Stan Gedzelman. “The instability of the storms that hit Tuscaloosa is just about as large as I have ever seen,” he says.

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Unfortunately, weather patterns aren’t the only source of instability facing our country. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently informed Congress that the U.S. government had officially reached its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.  (CLICK HERE to view the full text.) What is the debt ceiling? It’s the maximum amount of money the government can borrow to finance existing obligations such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries and interest on existing national debt.  Geithner said he will immediately halt investments in two major government pensions to allow borrowing to continue, but repeated a warning that if lawmakers don’t increase the borrowing limit by August 2nd, the government is at risk of an unprecedented default on its debt.

With private sector pensions virtually obsolete, even major government pension investing freezing and the future existence of Social Security as a real source of retirement income hanging in the balance, the burden of creating a sound retirement strategy is falling squarely on the shoulders of the individual.  Much like the storms of the Midwest and the South, there have been warnings regarding recent financial storms, several of which have gone unheeded. 

You may have seen our previous post in which we relayed the findings of a recent study showing that 44% of Boomers aren’t sure they’ll have enough to retire – 25% reporting they don’t think they’ll see a day when they can. In this same national study, 11% reported feeling “deeply confident” that they could retire comfortably.3  Much as meteorologists have no ability to control the weather they analyze, there is very little we can do to control the factors swirling on the national economic radar. 

However, in the midst of one of the worst financial storms in recent times, there is safe shelter to be found.  While many in this country saw losses to their investments and retirement accounts in excess of 30-40% over the past three years4, several of our clients enjoyed the knowledge that their hard-earned assets were safeguarded from all loss, potentially even earning interest while others around them saw dramatic drops.  As millions now head into retirement wondering what the forecast may bring, we have scores of valued clients knowing exactly what to expect – at peace with even their worst case scenario – because of the guaranteed* retirement income (through the use of annuities) and overall strategies we’ve helped them put in place.

If you’d like to prepare for the instability ahead and help ensure you’re not in the path of the storm, simply contact us today! 

To help those affected by recent tornado devastation, please consider supporting American Red Cross Disaster Relief or other local relief agencies. Ours has always been a nation willing to roll up its sleeves and help in times of need, and to get started, simply CLICK HERE.

1,  April 30, 2011.
2, May 23, 2011.
Associated Press – Poll,, April 5, 2011.
4 USA Today. “401(k) losses: Older investor’s retirement funds hit hard. October 31, 2008.

* Guarantees subject to the financial strength and claims paying ability of the issuing insurer.

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