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WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver

 
paladin
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08/07/2006 08:01 PM
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WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
CONGRESSIONAL INERTIA, PART ONE
by Paul Petillo
Managing Editor, BlueCollarDollar.com
August 7, 2006

On August 4th, 2006, Congress approved a heavily debated bill that could have an effect on not only pensions but also how your 401(k) and similar self directed retirement plans work. While it is too early to tell exactly how this will impact the average worker, I can give you some of the basics of these changes and how you can be diligent when they eventually take place. Most of the changes, it should be noted are not scheduled to take effect until 2008.

The move from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans changed the retirement landscape when they were first adopted over three decades ago. The flaw in the plan, as many of us found out rather quickly, created a situation that put many people at risk of not investing in the right mix of investments and worse, allowed some people who needed it most, to simply sit back and do nothing.

The company had little more to do that provide the opportunity and sometimes, although this sentiment has waned in recent years, a match for employee contributions. Employees were left to sift through the choices and determine where to direct their money. Few knew the basics of investing. Even fewer knew how much risk their choices had or whether they were prudent places to direct their retirements.

As a result, far too many investors simply did nothing. Although there was a plethora of financial education offered from risk assessment to the lessons learned from Enron employees, the plans languished in a nether world of half hearted investments or worse, low risk alternatives to growth.

We prodded and pleaded with workers to take charge of these plans. We used fear. We painted a bleak picture of the future. We mostly failed with only half of the workers eligible to participate actually doing so.

Congress viewed this as an evil inertia, a state of non-investment that Wall Street worried about enough to lobby for change. Inertia by the way is Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion and states that a body will remain at rest or in motion until a force changes its direction or compels it to move. Congress with the help of Wall Street seeks to be that force. That may prove to be unfortunate.

While actual statistics vary on the exact number of investors on the sidelines or under-invested, the bill will change these plans and the role your company has in administering them significantly.

It will take several years for the plans to evolve into the new structure, which will give you time to get your own house in order before your company with the assistance of a truckload of financial advice from Wall Street steps begins to implement the bill. But when that change does happen, the current participants may be the ones most deeply impacted. Here, in a nutshell, is what will happen to the plans of those who are not currently enrolled or have taken the default investment.

401(k) plans and similar self-directed plans will no longer be completely self-directed. This is an enormous change in philosophy giving your employer the right to step in and direct the plan without your approval. If the company deems that your plan is not growing at an acceptable rate because you are underinvested in money market accounts or are not invested at all, the company can change your plan. Doing so on your behalf, if you fall into one of the categories I just mentioned, will be a considerable improvement over the way these plans are introduced to newly hired workers. Legislation was not needed to change this lack of interest. The fiduciary responsibility of helping employees achieve a retirement goal was supposed to begin with the employer in conjunction with the plan. Failure to do so should have resulted in penalties not legislation.

When these plans were first introduced, they provided an important shift in roles, one employers were all to happy to shed as they turned away from pensions (which they had control over) to 401(k) plans (which they did not). The idea behind this Congressional bill attempts to help the less-than-savvy employee by taking their misdirected money and putting it into higher risk stock and bond funds or a diverse mix of funds designed to provide additional growth. While millions of words have been dispersed over the years helping folks determine risk, this bill gives your employer the omnipotent role of determining that difficult to pinpoint factor. Can they do what so many have failed to do?

The bill will also allow the employer to make increases in contributions on your behalf. The bill does not actually require such actions but the incentive to allow for minimum step-ups such as 3% one year, 4% the next, and up to 6% in subsequent years seems on the surface to be a good thing. There is no requirement for employers to match “step-up” increases with their own funds. Could this be the new wage increase?

Automatic enrollment for new employees also seems to be a positive move in the right direction. Employees will be enrolled in the plan although the waiting period for eligibility will not change in many cases.

And lastly, Wall Street will be there with advice. Opponents of the bill harbor a realistic fear that the advice would not be completely trustworthy. The investment community convinced Congress that they would be, keeping the clients best interest at heart and promising to direct them to the best investment. The worry was based on the possibility that these “advisers” would direct investors without much savvy to investments that might better serve their firms profit margins and not their “client’s best interests”. Really?

The best investor is a skeptical one. Free lunches like free advice are often not free or very satisfying. Even if the changes the legislation brings actually helps workers who may not have invested or done so with any success do better, your best path will always be the one you choose. It is the one you feel most comfortable taking because you have educated yourself on the possibilities and potential.

You are the reason Wall Street exists. Stay in control of that situation which is something you can do without Congressional assistance. If you do you will be a better investor.



[link to www.financialsense.com]
paladin (OP)

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08/12/2006 03:21 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
for one......I can not understand that there was no feed back on this..


what is it that you do not understand..


Bush wanted the SS trust fund in the stock market..

now he went in through the back door.

paladin
Iron Chef
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08/12/2006 03:26 PM
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The question is who & why do they want your SS$ dumped into the Market???? So another Enron cronie can run off with it?
slightly retarded republican
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08/12/2006 03:36 PM
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The question is who & why do they want your SS$ dumped into the Market???? So another Enron cronie can run off with it?
 Quoting: Iron Chef 130185



That's an easy one to answer. the housing market was engineered to boom thanks to unnaturally low mortgage rates to offset the slowdown in the stock market. this accomplished two things: kept peeople feeling euphoric over the prospect of making more money, while simultaneously removing panicky investors out of the stock market. Now they have no choice but to force people out of the dwindling housing market and back into stocks.
Lester
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08/12/2006 03:44 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
Sorry Paladin,

The asshole that wrote the article shows he/she has no understanding of retirement plans.

A Pension Plan is either a Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution. These are contractual obligations to provide either a formula-derived funding amount or final benefit amount to the retiree.

America has been transformed into a here-today, gone-tomorrow business environment due to the lawyers and smart-guy MBA pukes that loot every functioning entity they get their hands on.

Only a Pension Plan is a bonafide Retirement Plan. Evidently, the only ones remaining will be Government Entity funded; because they can steal from US via taxation powers.


Anyone who thinks a 401(k) is a Retirement Plan is off their rocker. A 401 is an adjunct to a Profit Sharing Plan, which gives employers the right to decide annually (maybe quarterly) if they will "fund" or not.

Taxes have never been lower.

Anyone who thinks there really is "free money" out there, (employer matching funds) is rather naive.

Many plans do not allow participant loans, or self-direction of investments. Those that do likely offer only a few options for self-direction and maybe 30% of vested or employee contribution funds to be loaned out.

There are many "Gotcha!" clauses that make it almost impossible to get fast access to "your" money. Even Termination is not a guarantee of prompt access to your net funds.


I did not read the post beyond the gigantic error the author made in the first couple of sentences.

Anybody who has vested money in a Profit Sharing, 401k, VEBA, Private Pension, or other Retirement Scheme sponsored by employer, union, or Employee Leasing corporation ought to take steps NOW to get as much of their money as they can, IF they want to preserve it.


Don't blame your employer for this mess.

Blame the legislators, Business School professors, and Lawyers that have made corporate looting and theft the way of life in America.
Enlightened George

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08/12/2006 03:46 PM
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Had enough of the jew controlled federal reserve private bank system yet?
Our battle field is the mind, our weapon is truth and our shields are honor and courage.
paladin (OP)

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08/12/2006 03:56 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
sory...LESTER..


401(k) plans and similar self-directed plans will no longer be completely self-directed. This is an enormous change in philosophy giving your employer the right to step in and direct the plan without your approval. If the company deems that your plan is not growing at an acceptable rate because you are underinvested in money market accounts or are not invested at all, the company can change your plan. Doing so on your behalf, if you fall into one of the categories I just mentioned, will be a considerable improvement over the way these plans are introduced to newly hired workers. Legislation was not needed to change this lack of interest. The fiduciary responsibility of helping employees achieve a retirement goal was supposed to begin with the employer in conjunction with the plan. Failure to do so should have resulted in penalties not legislation. This is an enormous change in philosophy giving your employer the right to step in and direct the plan without your approval. If the company deems that your plan is not growing at an acceptable rate because you are underinvested in money market accounts or are not invested at all, the company can change your plan. Doing so on your behalf, if you fall into one of the categories I just mentioned, will be a considerable improvement over the way these plans are introduced to newly hired workers. Legislation was not needed to change this lack of interest. The fiduciary responsibility of helping employees achieve a retirement goal was supposed to begin with the employer in conjunction with the plan. Failure to do so should have resulted in penalties not legislation.




this is the point I was trying to make..

401(k) plans and similar self-directed plans will no longer be completely self-directed.


paladin



read it again....please....if I am reading it wrong...please tell me
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:03 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
It seemed to me that Lester was saying that only a Defined Benefit rather than a Defined Contribution is a true Retirement Plan, and I tend to agree with that assessment. Employers who now have the right to alter a 401k plan without an employees consent seems fascist. The next step might be to force employees to have a 401k. The purpose seems to keep money flowing into the Stock Market, and the return analysis is just another Index prop.
paladin (OP)

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08/12/2006 04:09 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
It seemed to me that Lester was saying that only a Defined Benefit rather than a Defined Contribution is a true Retirement Plan, and I tend to agree with that assessment. Employers who now have the right to alter a 401k plan without an employees consent seems fascist. The next step might be to force employees to have a 401k. The purpose seems to keep money flowing into the Stock Market, and the return analysis is just another Index prop.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 130204




thank you
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:14 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
Sorry Paladin,


Don't blame your employer for this mess.

Blame the legislators, Business School professors, and Lawyers that have made corporate looting and theft the way of life in America.
 Quoting: Lester 129981



dick " Thanks you did not mention me , it was not my idea anyway "

bushfing "It was not my idea either , but my financial chief/chef advisor "
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:15 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
So anyone have any recommendations of what to do with an existing 401K?
Lester
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08/12/2006 04:20 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
Nope.

It is the "Defined" part that makes the "pension".

What is defined is either:
1) How much money (benefit) will be paid to retiree upon retirement as a percentage of final salary/compensation; or
2) How much money (contribution) will be contributed to investment to build a pool of money that will be the source of retiree's pension payment.

There is a difference. Defined Contribution is superior for a small group of employees you want to maximize benefits to. That is why corps have several plans for various types of employees.

The DB or DC plan is a FIXED, annual obligation upon the corporation, which must be funded to remain in compliance and keep plan Qualified with Dept Labor and Treasury/IRS.


In this BraveNewWorld of "level playing fields", the USA based corp is severely disadvantaged to compete with the rest of the world, ***SO THE RATIONALE GOES*** thus corps chase weekly and quarterly results and will not have any funding obligations they can't defer, defray, or defraud.

The Congress has the richest rerirement plan in the nation. Why not, you pay for it? Very small amount of service. Everything COLAed, no Social Security limits on benefits, provides almost 100% of final pay, plus they keep their political warchests.

Better benefits for selling US down the river. Its the American Way.


I would pay tax on all my earnings now and get the money free and clear. Think taxes won't go back to 70% marginal rate? We will see.
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:20 PM
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Not really sure what the article has to do with gold and silver though.
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:28 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
The benefit of an existing 401k depends a lot on how much the employer is contributing. I don't buy into the 'tax advantages' given that a $1 in hand is worth .25c in any given 10 year period. In some ways, it is kind of a scam to tie up your money until you are 59 years old.

If you try to cash it out, they take 25% or so to cover taxes, and if you try rolling it over to an IRA you have to make up the difference on how much they have taken out.

I had a 401k that started in 2000 and was worth about $3000. After the market tanked it was worth about $1800. The company forced me to "resign," the plan was transfered to another Trustee in cash and not in the securities I had invested in, and by the time I cashed it out I got about $1400 on $3000.

Shit happens and I got hosed.


Some of the newer trends seem to be to declare bankruptcy and void out the Pension obligations altogether. Often times mergers or outright acquisitions dissolve Defined Benefit plans. With a Defined Contribution plan, the money is still yours, but companies play games to pocket as much of YOUR money as they possibly can.
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:33 PM
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Ha! I knew chef was in on this! :southpark5:
Lester
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08/12/2006 04:33 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
Used to be, employers added plans to enable tax breaks for their people.

Cost about $4k to write a profit sharing plan, get it approved by the various govt entities and then do all the compliance testing. About $2k a year after that.

Good professional firms offered Pension, Profit Sharing and the 401k plus other Cafeteria benefits. The pension was their bare-bones minimum, the profit-share was motivation to the troops to do a good job so that above and beyond year-end bonuses there might be more for everyone. The 401k was for the savings conscious ees to get a tax-break and access for home downpayment or education expenses.

In the 80's, when non-yuppie Baby Boomers tuned into Bruce Williams and other Money Magazine gurus, they wanted more. Employers at the same time were getting more strapped for income. Cash flow wasn't as fastly flowing.

Competitors began raising pay, dropping benefits, doing away with Pensions. They sold this to their people, and they BB's bought it.

Lotsa employees became leased employees.

The 2000 tech world collapse ended benefits competition between tech employers.

The benefits market consollidated and suddenly there were fewer quality providers of benefit programs.


Someday soon, that .10/hour Nike worker in Micronesia will have the same benefit pkg, maybe better than the USA worker. It is the goal.

If you have any money of your own to protect; Now Is The Time.
paladin
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08/12/2006 04:35 PM
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Not really sure what the article has to do with gold and silver though.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 82898




I have a IRA in gold
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:40 PM
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Had enough of the jew controlled federal reserve private* bank system yet?
 Quoting: Enlightened George


pirate*

dark
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:49 PM
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Paladin, what if anything do you know about the two holding company's allowed to administer gold and silver pension plans?
Ningishiddza
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08/12/2006 04:59 PM
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Sorry Paladin,

Only a Pension Plan is a bonafide Retirement Plan. Evidently, the only ones remaining will be Government Entity funded; because they can steal from US via taxation powers.
 Quoting: Lester 129981


I think you're missing something.

The S&P 500 companies have underfunded their pensions by as much as $500 Billion.

I can tell you from having worked at the 3rd largest law firm in Florida, that these companies have no intention whatsoever of funding those pensions.

Their plan is to dump everything onto the Pension Guaranty Corp. And who funds the Pension Guaranty Corp? The US taxpayers.

What the S&P 500 companies are doing is shifting their assets around to protect them from the PGC (I am not an attorney but I drafted and packaged some of the documents which were prepared by attorneys).

Anyone who thinks a 401(k) is a Retirement Plan is off their rocker. A 401 is an adjunct to a Profit Sharing Plan, which gives employers the right to decide annually (maybe quarterly) if they will "fund" or not.

It's a retirement plan as defined by the IRS.

An employer need not fund a plan. They only need to sponsor the plan. The employee can make contributions to the plan.

Even Termination is not a guarantee of prompt access to your net funds.

Minimum 60 days from the date of termination.

Anybody who has vested money in a Profit Sharing, 401k, VEBA, Private Pension, or other Retirement Scheme sponsored by employer, union, or Employee Leasing corporation ought to take steps NOW to get as much of their money as they can, IF they want to preserve it.

Any amount contributed by an employee is the employee's.

Any amount contributed by an employer is not the employee's until the employee has become vested. The vesting reqiurements have been lowered and I believe that under the legislation, employees become fully vested at around 3 years or so.

Blame the legislators, Business School professors, and Lawyers that have made corporate looting and theft the way of life in America.

I don't necessarily think so. I think Bush is looking for a back door way to move social security off of the government rolls and into the private sector. The first step would be setting up every American worker with a 401(k) account through this legislation.

Anyway, the bottom line is that we, or more correctly, you all, deserve whatever fate befalls you.

You all stood around like cows chewing cud when the demoocrats increased the social security tax to 7.65% in 1976, even though it was unnecessary.

The proof that is was unnecessary is the fact that there has been a surplus each and every year, which the democrats raided to fund pet projects like counting the number of times a duck farts in any given 24 period.

When the republicans came to town, all of you were still standing around like cows looking stupid while the republicans raided the surplus funds.

As of June 1, social security will be insolvent in 2017, and there is every indication that the actual insolvency date will be sometime between 2012 and 2014.

That means taxes will have to be raised. Either the social security tax will have to be raised to fund the outlays, or income taxes will have to be raised to convert the IOUs (in the form of T-Bills) to money to put back into the trust fund.

When the democrats raised the tax to 7,65% in 1976, it resulted in the massive recession in 1978 which lasted until 1983.

Some of you might remember the 13% interest rates and the 11% unemployment rate. Some of you also might remember states and counties laying off employees and/or reducing the number of hours that state/county emloyees worked which resulted in closures of state/county offices.
Anonymous Coward
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08/12/2006 04:59 PM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
An IRA filled with gold is like wearing a belt and suspenders..whatever floats your boat...
Lester
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08/12/2006 05:58 PM
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To the lawfirm worker;

Actually, a 401k is not a Retirement plan. It is a Qualified plan, meaning employer and employee contributions and expenses are deductible; but it is a Savings plan, not a Retirement Plan.

Section 401(k) functions as an adjunct to a Profit Sharing Plan. An ESOP functions in a similar way, but is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.


No doubt that many crooks are trying to dump their problems on the PBGIC. This has been an ongoing battle for years. Some clever attorney whispering into a clients ear is all it takes. Interestingly, attorneys rarely are on the hook (if ever) for the quality of their advice. Unlike the Big accounting firm that advised Enron and cratered into dissolution; lawfirms never hold the bag. But, it will be a very hard sell to construe that a 2% premium entitles any corporation to dump their pension funding obligation off onto the US Taxpayer. Yet, it is the attorneys job to sell litigation and blue-skies to his client. If attys were honest, they would steer clients away from litigation; but there's no money in that.

The point is, US workers have been sold out. Legislation was enacted that paid corps to move jobs offshore. Corporations have been gutted to suck out salaries and fees to loot stockholder equity, while cooking the books to file 10K quarterlies that meet Wallstreet expectations.


The bottomline is:
Any assets you think you own, that you can't carry, transport or watch over to protect, are illusory; you only think you have them.

Read your Mutal Fund prospectuses.
Likely your fund mgr has discretion to pay share redemptions IN KIND rather than in cash. This means, in a falling market when you sell, you might ultimately receive shares of stock that were valued at your redemption amount on the day you "sold", but are worth less at the time you receive them.

What is a "promise to pay" worth?
All depends on how much money the one making the promise has, and how soon they promise to pay you.

Cash value life insurance and annuities often have Gotcha Clauses that allow the carrier to defer payment for 180 days from date request is approved.

Once a few promises to pay come unwound, many if not most will.

How will Govt continue to function?
How can Govt guarantee everything?
How will Govt pay for its promises to pay?

Got Gold or Silver?

Better to have stuff, than paper.
But if you have your "stuff", better have some Gold or Silver.
my 2 cents
User ID: 129986
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08/13/2006 12:05 AM
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Defined benifit pensions are failing for two reasons: 1) The rate of return assumption was too high; 2) By entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, ALL funds a company carries on their balance sheet are subject to seizure by the companies' creditors, ie, pensions funds cease to exist because they now belong to the creditors. The government is then garanteer of the pension when the company emerges from bankruptcy, BUT, it has its on maximums it will pay based on your years of service and salary. Those limits are always mean a smaller defined benefit for the pensioner, sometimes much smaller than the original company plan would have provided. All of this is legal and law, so what Lester is saying is this, imo, if you can get your money out, take it because you will have control then, not the courts, a bankruptcy judge, the companies creditors, bondholders, banks and the plethora of people standing in line ahead of you who will get paid before you do.
Anonymous Coward
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08/13/2006 12:09 AM
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I should add that what I just posted is not true if your company has little or no debt. However, those are few and far between. The only one that comes to mind is Microsoft. They have no debt. But do your own due diligence.
Anonymous Coward
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08/13/2006 12:10 AM
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...

Taxes have never been lower.

...
 Quoting: Lester 129981



OK, I think we can dismiss the rest of your comments.
paladin (OP)

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08/13/2006 10:44 AM
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thanks all......there is some great info here..


my 401K is not in the hands of my company.......they add to it base on how much I put in..

I can invest in a set of funds that they .....the 401K manager...puts in the group....

it took a few letters to get them to add Templeton to the selection..

I agree..

never let your company control your 401K

paladin
paladin (OP)

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08/13/2006 10:48 AM
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[link to rsch1.ml.com]



as you all can see.....oil....gold/silver....mining... are the plays to be in...or should I say this is what I am doing

paladin
Anonymous Coward
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08/13/2006 10:57 AM
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I'd like to know how and why gold and oil plummeted on news of the alleged plan to attack airliners on Monday. Common sense dictates a rise in commodities. No?
Shadow
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08/13/2006 11:00 AM
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What do you think of this Paladin? Anywhere near realistic?

[link to news.silverseek.com]
paladin (OP)

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08/13/2006 11:14 AM
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hey....Shadow


I posted this on Eagle # 1 thread..

[link to godlikeproductions.com]


hold on....let me reread it.....I read so much....sometimes they all blend togeather... baby
paladin (OP)

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08/13/2006 11:23 AM
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Re: WARNING.......must read....401k's ...IRA...Gold...Silver
What do you think of this Paladin? Anywhere near realistic?

[link to news.silverseek.com]
 Quoting: Shadow 130476



Shadow..

yes I belive this..,,as everyone knows I am in the GATA....Bill Murphy camp....

this is what I am seeing....maybe..

the housing bubble was put in place to cover the DOT.com bubble....

now with housing starting to tank.....they will need a new bubble....so the trick will be to get in it at the start....

News