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Austerity Coming to America: How to Reduce Your Risk Now

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If you ask me, it is completely understandable to feel detached and removed -- even bored -- with the debt ceiling and deficit negotiations in Washington. But it is also completely unacceptable, especially if you see a dire future like Jeff Cox, the co-author of Debt, Deficits and the Demise of the American Economy. Cox not only predicts the crisis ahead, but paints a way to get through it and the coming wave of austerity and inflation.

"For the person looking to prepare for retirement, who's got a long-term investment horizon -- it's gonna mean minimization of risk in the portfolio," Cox says and then lists short-term bonds, dividends, best-of-show stocks, commodities and tangible assets like oil, timber, farmland and even real estate. "You are looking for assets that are going to grow. Things that will stand up in an inflationary environment because that's where we believe we are headed," he explains.

In fact, Cox believes most of the so-called professional prognosticators who have been talking of "soft patches and transitory things" are using "staid, stale, old thinking that's not prepared for something of this magnitude." As such, he says retirement-planning calculators that might factor in 8 percent to 10 percent average annual returns need to be recalibrated in to the low single digits.

And even as we fix the problem, which inevitably will involve some degree of belt-tightening, Cox says that will exacerbate the problem. "We're locked into a very slow-growing economy right now," he says, and "the type of spending cuts we're going to have to do are not going to be extremely growth-friendly and will act as headwinds."  This will not only hinder our ability to control our debt and deficits, but more importantly, to painlessly grow our way out of our problems as we always have in the past.

"The day of reckoning is here. We talk so much about debt and deficits, about how it puts a burden on our children and grandchildren. But now we are the children and the grandchildren, we are the people that are going to have to pay the bill," says Cox. And THAT is why YOU need to pay attention and take action to protect yourself and your financial future, starting right now.

Are we doomed as a nation? Have you made changes to your long-term plans and strategy as a result of the rocky path ahead of us?

Love to hear your comments and feedback below, via email at breakoutcrew@yahoo.com, or you can reach me on Twitter, @MattNesto.

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