12 Indications That The Next Major Global Economic Crisis Could Be Just Around The Corner
ZeroHedge.com Sat, 05/26/2018 - 18:50
Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,
There have not been so many trouble signs for the global economy in a very long time. Analysts are sounding the alarm about junk bond defaults, the smart money is getting out of stocks at an astounding rate, mortgage rates are absolutely skyrocketing, and Europe is already facing a full blown financial meltdown.
Of course expectations that another global economic crisis will happen among the general population are probably at an all-time low right now, but the reality of the matter is that we are probably closer to a new one erupting than at any point since the last one in 2008.
Since the last financial crisis our long-term debt problems have just continued to grow, and there are many that believe that the next crisis will actually be far worse than what we experienced ten years ago.
So how bad are things at this moment?
The following are 12 indications that the next major global economic crisis could be just around the corner…
#1 The “smart money” is getting out of stocks at a rate that we haven’t seen since just before the financial crisis of 2008.
#2 Moody’s is warning that a “particularly large wave” of junk bond defaults is coming. And as I have written about so many times before, junk bonds are often an early warning indicator for a major financial crisis.
#3 According to the FDIC, a closely watched category known as “assets of problem banks” more than tripled during the first quarter of 2018. What that means is that some really big banks are now officially in “problem” territory.
#4 U.S. Treasury bonds are having the worst start to a year since the Great Depression.
#5 Mortgage interest rates just hit a 7 year high, and they have been rising at the fastest pace in nearly 50 years. This is going to be absolutely crippling for the real estate and housing industries.
#6 Retail industry debt defaults have hit a record high in 2018.
#7 We are on pace for the worst year for retail store closings ever.
#8 The two largest economies on the entire globe are on the verge of starting an international trade war.
#9 The 9th largest economy in the world, Italy, is in the midst of yet another financial meltdown. In fact, this one appears to be the worst yet, and there are fears that it could spread to other areas of the eurozone.
#10 Italian banking stocks crashed really hard this week.
#11 Italian two year bond yields are the highest that they have been since the crisis of 2014.
#12 German banking giant Deutsche Bank just announced that it will be cutting another 7,000 jobs as it “seeks to turn the page on years of losses”. Those of you that have followed my work for a long time know that I have written extensively about Deutsche Bank, and it really is amazing that it has survived for this long. If Deutsche Bank fails in 2018, it will essentially be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for the entire planet.
The mainstream media in the United States almost entirely ignores Europe, but I believe that what is going on over there is the key right now.
Italy is a financial basket case, and Europe isn’t going to be able to handle a complete and total Italian financial collapse. If you will remember, Europe could barely handle what happened in Greece, and the Italian economy is many times the size of Greece.
The can has been kicked down the road several times before on the Italian crisis, but now we are getting to the point where it simply won’t be able to be kicked down the road any further.
And once things start unraveling over in Europe, we will be deeply affected in the United States as well. The global financial system is more interconnected than ever before, and at this point we are even more vulnerable than we were just prior to the crisis of 2008.
When this thing breaks loose, it won’t matter who is in the White House, who is in Congress or who is running the Federal Reserve.
When this bubble bursts there is nothing that anyone will be able to do to stop it.
Global central banks have been able to buy a few extra years of time by engaging in unprecedented levels of intervention, but now they are almost out of ammunition and events are beginning to escalate at a very frightening pace.
We shall see if they can pull another rabbit out of a hat in 2018, but I wouldn’t count on it…
Protecting your money 7 ways to keep your money safe, even from your own bank
Alex Thomas Sadler clarkhoward.com
When it comes to protecting your money, we’re typically talking about protecting it from criminals, like identity thieves who steal your information to gain access to your bank account or other financial accounts.
But after the huge scandal involving Wells Fargo employees opening millions of bank and credit card accounts without customers’ authorization, a lot of consumers were left wondering what precautions they should be taking to protect themselves from their own bank.
On top of that, the recent Equifax breach is a scary reminder of just how important it is to take steps to protect your identity and money.
So here’s a list of steps you can take to make sure your money is protected!
How to protect your money (even from your own bank)
The reality is, sneaky people are everywhere, and unfortunately, everywhere includes banks. That means keeping tabs on every aspect of your financial life is crucial to protecting your accounts and everything in them.
And it’s not just sneaky people, banks and other financial institutions make mistakes all the time! Whether it’s a glitch in the system or simple human error — it can cause you big financial trouble without you realizing it.
You can never be too careful when it comes to your money and your livelihood!
So here are some tips to help you protect your money — from system glitches and both people inside and outside the bank.
1. Check your accounts DAILY
It may seem kind of extreme, but it’s not — especially when it comes to fraud associated with a debit card and/or checking account.
Of course it’s not good if you experience issues with your credit card, but with a credit card account, it’s not technically your money. But with a debit card, checking account, savings account or other financial account that holds your personal cash and savings, then you want to take every precaution possible to protect that money! Because if that cash is wiped out, it could be gone forever.
It sounds kind of scary, but taking steps to protect yourself is that important.
Monitoring your accounts on a daily basis will not only allow you to always have a good idea of what’s going on with your money, but it will also help you spot any potential fraudulent activity immediately.
And if you do ever see something that looks suspicious, contact the bank immediately and find out what steps you need to take to repair the damage.
2. Know your protections
Debit and credit cards come with very different protections under the law for you as a consumer. Here’s what you should know:
Credit card fraud:
If you’re used to doing everything electronically, the idea of paper statements may seem outdated and a little bit of a pain — but if you want to protect your money, it’s worth turning paper statements back on!
Here’s why: what happens to all of your confirmations, records and statements if someone you thought you could trust somehow causes them to disappear? Or what if any of the electronic services you use get hacked or wiped out?
Paper statements make it a lot easier to keep track of your financial life, and if you’re ever in a situation when you need proof of something, you’ll have a hard copy to back you up!
4. Choose a bank with good customer service
When you’re working with a big bank, it can sometimes be tough to get the personal service and attention you may need or want.
Consider taking your business to a credit union or a local bank that has a good reputation. You’ll typically find that you get a better and more personalized customer service experience, which can make handling your financial life a lot less stressful.
You also want to make sure you’re banking with a company that you feel comfortable with, which is different for everyone. So do a little research into some local banks regarding their customer service and other things like how they respond to and handle any issues etc.
5. Never share your banking information with anyone
In order to protect your financial life, you never want to share any of your sensitive information via text, email, phone, social media or any other messaging app.
If you call the bank directly, that’s fine (well, usually).
But if you ever receive a request to share your information, do not respond or provide any piece of information about yourself.
Thieves are looking to collect any bit of information on you that they can, so eventually they will be able to put the pieces together and gain access to your accounts. So never respond to any correspondence that did not originate from you!
Keep in mind that scammers have found ways to make emails, texts and other messages look exactly like the real ones you get from your bank or other company — even using the exact logos and language you’re used to seeing. So if you get a request or update that your information is needed for something, call the bank or whatever company that sent the request directly.
Bottom line: do not respond to any unexpected request for your information. Contact the company directly to verify the request.
6. Use strong passwords & two-factor authentication
Any time you log in to any online account, whether it’s Amazon, your bank account or some other shopping site, criminals could be watching without you even realizing it. And any piece of information they can pick up about you could help give them access to what they’re really after — your money.
So it’s important to text extra steps to protect your information online, and many sites now offer two-factor authentication to help make it more difficult for scammers to get in.
Two-factor authentication (sometimes called two-step authentication) requires you to take an extra step to authenticate who you are when you sign in or when you are doing a transaction. It’s sometimes also referred to as two-step authentication.
The extra step just depends on the company or website, so it could be a unique code that’s texted your cell phone or unique password you have to give when authorizing anything over the phone.
Whatever the extra step is, opt in for it! It’s another layer off security for you and your money!
7. Don’t access your financial accounts from just anywhere
You should never log in to your bank account — or any other account that contains your bank or card information — from an unsecured device or unprotected Wi-Fi network.
Ideally, you should have a separate computer at home that you use for your banking and other financial activities.
If you unknowingly click on an email attachment or link that contains a virus, that virus can scan everything in your computer and send it all back to criminals without you even realizing it! So having a separate computer that you don’t use for email, Internet searches or anything else besides banking would help you avoid those types of scams.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself when doing online banking:
Choose a better bank for you A step-by-step guide to cheaper & easier banking
Alex Thomas Sadler / clarkhoward.com
Choosing the right bank can be tricky, especially if you aren’t quite sure what to look for and haven’t had to make any big purchases that involve big loans — like a mortgage or a car loan.
With so many options out there these days, it can be easy to just stick with the big mega bank you’ve been using for years. In fact, most Americans have a checking account with one of the four largest banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. According to Consumer Reports, these “big banks” hold about 40% of all U.S. commercial bank assets. They’re also convenient, with more than 17,000 branches and more than 80,000 ATMs – and most of them offer easy-to-use digital tools and resources.
But with all the various banking options available to you these days, there are several factors to take into account when deciding which bank — or credit union — is best for you.
Survey says: Bigger is NOT better
According to Consumer Reports data, all four “mega banks” scored in the bottom fifth of a recent survey, which rated more than 74,000 banks and credit unions.
Customers of the big banks weren’t necessarily unsatisfied, they just discovered that once they shopped around, they were able to find better banking alternatives at smaller banks — including some that only operate online. The survey also found that consumers were more satisfied with credit unions, particularly concerning customer service and fees.
How to choose a better bank for you
The good news is that if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your bank, choosing the best bank that fits your needs is now a lot easier than ever. And even if you do feel satisfied with your bank, it’s crucial that you shop around to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
If all of your finances are in one place — so let’s say your checking account, savings account, car loan and home loan are all with one bank — then you may get some added benefits or fee discounts for that. But according to Consumer Reports, “when you buy a ‘product bundle’ at a bank which contains a number of services rolled into one offering, it’s hard to know if the fees you pay are lower than if you opted to get different services at different banks.”
There are so many low-cost and convenient options available these days, you don’t have to settle for one bank or one offer.
In fact, you can get specific services from as many banks as you want — which can often be the best way to get the best deal on each product or service. There’s no rule against having separate accounts at a bank, credit union and online bank — or a combination of two.
How to shop for the best deal on each of your financial needs
If you shop around for the best deal at different financial institutions, there’s a good chance you’ll save some money. According to Consumer Reports, 38% of people said they have a second bank or credit union they do business with, because they “were able to get better rates for some services and products at other institutions than their primary bank or credit union.”
Most people stick with the same old bank because they just don’t want to deal with the hassle of moving everything — but it can be a lot easier than you think.
Plus, online banks are now offering much higher rates on savings accounts — significantly higher than the current rates at traditional, bigger banks. So with that in mind, why not just move your savings to take advantage of the bigger return?
To give you some context, online bank Ally increased the rates on its savings accounts to 1.60% — while the rate on a regular savings account at Bank of America currently sits at only 0.03%.
Bottom line: You aren’t tied to one bank no matter how long you’ve been doing business there. With so many options available, you will very likely find better deals if you start looking around. Do some research and find the best bang for your buck on each service you need — or may need in the future (like a mortgage or car loan).
What to look for to get the best service, lowest costs
Here are a few tips to help you get the best deals on all of your banking needs.
Checking & savings accounts
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing where to open a checking or savings account.
Here are just a few examples:
Your best bet is going to be a credit union or online bank — especially considering America’s three largest banks (Chase, BoA & Wells Fargo) raked in nearly $6.5 billion last year in overdraft and ATM fees.
A new study from Bankrate.com says 82% of the largest credit unions offer free checking. When it comes to overdraft fees, credit unions also will cost you less compared to banks ($28.20 vs. $33.38 respectively), according to Bankingrate.com.
Certificates of deposit (CDs)
Credit cards and mortgages
Here’s how they work: You deposit money into an account that can be used as if it were a credit card (but without consumer protections) or like an ATM card to withdraw money (but without the protections of an ATM card).
Prepaid cards may boast a Visa or MasterCard logo — but they’re really just inferior versions of the real deal.
Some people like the idea of not being able to spend more money than you have, but the problem with that way of thinking is that prepaid cards typically fee you to death — which is just a big waste of your hard-earned cash.
Switching banks can get tricky depending on how many accounts, cards, automatic payments and other things you may have set up through your current accounts. Here are a few steps to take to make the process as easy as possible.
1. Open a new checking account
If you’re switching your primary banking services to a new bank, credit union or online bank, first open a checking account to start the process of moving things over. Most banks will allow you to do this online, and if not, then it’s a pretty quick process in person at your local branch. Opening the new account may require an initial deposit of $50 or less, but just make sure there’s no annual fee on the checking account.
2. Switch your paycheck direct deposit
This process may take your bank some time, so it’s better to do it as soon as you open the new account
3. Stop automatic bill payments
If you use automatic bill pay for any of your monthly bills, make sure to stop those immediately. Just make a note of when each bill is due each month, if you’re worried about forgetting to pay without the automatic bill pay doing it for you. There are two ways to do this:
Also, when it comes to monthly payments and bill pay, Clark suggests not turning off the paper statement option. If you have the bills sent to you in the mail each month, you will always have records of everything in case a mistake is ever made.
4. Temporarily keep the old account open
Don’t close your old checking account until all payments and bills have been made — and have cleared your account.
5. Close the old account
Once all balances have been paid off, you can transfer the money from your old checking account to your new one or get a check from the bank to deposit into your new account.
6. DO NOT close credit card accounts
If you open a new credit card and don’t use your old one anymore, do not close the account — that will damage your credit. Just let the account sit there after the balance is paid off.