Reader Q&A: Your Questions, Answered

Boy, do I get mail. I’ve been inundated lately with letters from readers…and that’s a good thing. My high volume of reader correspondence (typically in the form of emails) shows that Mind Over Markets is grabbing your attention in a meaningful way.

I strive to create an interactive community with my readers, because your questions and feedback help keep this Monday-Friday newsletter in line with your investment needs.

Here’s a representative sampling of recent reader emails, with my answers.

A question of balance…

“Please show me stocks or funds that will make my portfolio balanced and defensive in case of a strong dip or crash.” — Sarah G.

Sarah, this column takes a macro approach to investing, in which I provide context for deeper understanding. To receive specific investment picks, turn to our premium trading services.

That said, you’re right to worry about an imminent market sell-off. Valuations have gotten absurdly high and investor exuberance is unwarranted. Wall Street is ignoring mounting risks, such as negative earnings growth and geopolitical turmoil.

Considering today’s investment conditions, here’s a guide to asset allocation that strikes the right balance, generally speaking:

You should tweak the percentages depicted in this pie chart, depending on your risk tolerance and stage of life. As part of your hedges sleeve, about 5%-10% should be in precious metals, such as gold and silver.

Fox in the hen house?

“You didn’t mention the theft of Social Security that has been going on for years. I don’t recall if it’s SSI or what, but I understand that at some point in the past Congress dipped their hands in the Social Security cookie jar and never let go. That too has been our money that they have stolen. Does that make it legal, just because they make the law which says it isn’t? I’m 87 years old and have long ago given up on greedy career politicians in office. The fox is in the hen house and I don’t see the sheriff anywhere to overturn this travesty.” — Jim G.

Jim is referring to my January 29 article, in which I discuss how lawmakers on Capitol Hill are using the massive federal deficit as an excuse to gut Social Security.

Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, so it’s unlikely to run out of money. There’s a myth, though, getting spread by certain media outlets that members of Congress are ripping off the Social Security Trust Fund. That’s not true. Allow me to explain.

In previous years, Social Security payroll taxes reaped from workers added up to more than the amount of benefits paid to retirees. This buildup of surplus was planned all along. The federal government intended to amass a reserve that would cover the benefits of Baby Boomers, a huge demographic group that’s getting grayer. This surplus has been invested in special U.S. government bonds that are legally mandated to pay the specified rate of interest, and then repay the principal when they mature.

These special bonds are part of the funding of the overall federal government. Yes, Congress has been spending those Social Security taxes, on a variety of operations, including Social Security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Pentagon. But keep in mind, when you buy any investment, like a stock or a bond, the entity that issues the asset typically spends the money you paid for that stock or bond.

So when you hear a demagogic pundit say politicians in smoke-filled backrooms are “dipping their hands into the Social Security cookie jar,” rest assured it’s a distortion of the truth.

Regardless, Social Security benefits are likely to get slashed via legislation in coming years, as foes of the program persist in their efforts. You can’t rely on Social Security alone to ensure a comfortable retirement. Keep investing, especially in stocks.

Facts are stubborn things…

In response to my aforementioned story on Social Security, I also received this email:

“A rarity, maybe a unique event. A stock investment adviser telling it like it is without political bias. Good work.” — Bob B.

Thanks, Bob. I continually strive to avoid even the semblance of political bias. In the words of Founding Father and second U.S. president John Adams: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Commodities and the coronavirus…

My February 5 article, Coronavirus Sickens Crude Oil and Copper, earned me this gracious email:

“A particularly well-written article today. You hit all the points you intended to, with the excellent logic and supporting back-up that you are known for. I fully appreciate this sincere and high-quality ‘advice’ (and will now turn to see what Dr. Leeb has to say on the subject).” — Ken B.

For the views of my colleague Dr. Stephen Leeb on the investment opportunities in copper, click here now.

The forefront of 5G…

“I read that the poor penetration of higher frequency waves will require satellites to cover the same as 4G. Are there any 5G companies on the forefront of this technology?” — Dan E.

Our experts at Investing Daily have pinpointed a small-cap company that solves this frequency problem. It’s not in the satellite industry. Instead, it’s building a better antenna.

This company figured out years ago there would be huge demand for 5G antennas that provide wider penetration, so the firm invested heavily in designing and building some of the most innovative antennas in the world.

The number of antennas this company could sell over the next five years is on track to reach the hundreds of millions, potentially generating billions of dollars in new revenue.

This hidden gem of a company remains unknown to most investors, but it could very well become “the next Apple.” To learn more, click here for our 5G report.

Comments or questions? Drop me a line: I reserve the right to edit letters (ever so slightly) for the sake of concision and clarity.

John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.