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I can still remember 20 years ago when I needed new brake pads for my car, I knew this young mechanic at a shop who did some side work so he replaced them for me one Saturday morning.  He made the comment which was funny at the time and even funnier now, “These come with a ‘lifetime guarantee’ so it’ll be free if you ever need to replace them.” My immediate thought was, “My lifetime?  Yours, because you’re younger than me or the company’s lifetime who made the pads?”

“Lifetime guarantees,” isn’t that what it became all about?  You work for a company for so many years and “they’ll take care of you” for the rest of your life?  Or Social Security?  You “pay in” for however many years and when you turn 62 or 65 they pay you a monthly stipend.  We complain about the fact that we morphed into a nanny state but on the other hand “expect” that all of the “lifetime guarantee” promises be kept.  Just take a look recently at Detroit, what will happen with those pensioners?  How about the past workers for Chrysler or General Motors, how has worked out?  Do you see where I’m going?

The promises from city, state and federal governments cannot be fulfilled.  Corporate pension plans are ridiculously underfunded and the pension guarantee fund barely has enough to fix one large plan much less thousands.  People for years now have planned for and many relied 100% on promises made to them of the “lifetime guarantee” sort.  This will soon be seen for the problem that it is.

Yes, we have too much debt.  Growth doesn’t seem to be moving upward in any fashion, anywhere in the world.  Here in the U.S. more people “collect” than actually pay into the system.  Currencies are being debased everywhere and even if the promises are kept…the money is just not going as far as it used to. …And the people still largely just sleep because “it can’t (won’t) happen to me.”

My point for writing this is that no one is going to “save you” when the time comes that you need being saved.  The social fabric today is not even close to what it was in the 1930’s when neighbors helped neighbors.  Your company or state has not put away what was needed to pay what was promised and the federal govt., well when they tell you that they are there to help you…

You and only you can help yourself.  Stocks come and go, bonds can and do (will) go bust, currencies get debased on purpose…but gold gets passed down from generation to generation and is relied on during the worst of times.  Over a long timeframe I know of no other asset that offers a “lifetime guarantee.”  When financial systems get wiped out or empires collapse, gold has historically carried its owner into the next system with wealth intact.  Maybe the only things “guaranteed” in life are death and taxes but I can tell you with 100% confidence that no matter what happens that gold will spend and have value in the future.  The same cannot be said about many other things except maybe food and fuel but 2 month old bread  you will not eat nor will 2 year old gasoline burn.

By the way, when my “mechanic” picked up and left town 6 months after installing the pads I asked him as a joke, “What about my lifetime guarantee?”  He told me what we will all hear “oh well”… Who could have seen it coming?