Get a Life Loser

It’s a wacky world. For the 13th consecutive month, output from European factories has fallen. Japan remains mired in a deflationary slump, with May consumer prices showing their largest monthly decline since 1971. New Zealand’s economy shrinks by one percent, making it the country’s worst recession in thirty years. And across the world banks like UBS try to replenish their capital with new equity while preparing for more losses in the second half of this year.

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Should You Put Gold Into Your IRA?

Within the last year, 401(k)s and IRAs have ceased to be a safe haven for Americans’ nest eggs. In 2008, employees lost on average 14%, or about $10,000, of their retirement money. Those with more than $200,000 are even worse off – they lost more than a quarter of their savings. No wonder that more and more people are asking whether they can, or should, use an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to hold physical gold. Our answer to the first part of the question is yes, indeed you can. The tax rules governing IRAs leave room for gold. But our answer to the second part is equivocal.

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Signs of Life

In today’s episode of the Daily Reckoning, we find the dashing Federal opposition leader in the Australian parliament making a defiant stand against the government’s $42 billion jobs/recovery/schools/ plan. But to no avail. At 5:15 this morning the plan passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate. Its fate remains unknown.

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Dealing With Modern Complexity

I was in New York City last week for some meetings. I was walking around Lower Manhattan and – in a city that large – by chance bumped into an old Navy buddy who now works for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB ball cap gave him away. He was investigating the "splashdown" of the US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. It was an unbelievable coincidence to see this fellow after many years.

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All Roads Lead to Zimbabwe

U.S. new home sales clocked in at their lowest pace on record today, according the U.S. Commerce Department. Americans bought new castles at an annual pace of just 331,000 according to yesterday’s release. It revealed a 14.7% decline in sales in the month of December alone. What’s more, the median price for a new U.S. home fell by 9.3% in the last year to US$206,500.

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