The top person and head of the world’s largest single amount of bonds recently said that if you are lucky enough to make 5 percent on your money for the foreseeable future, you are likely to be counted as one of the fortunate few.

Wow, this comes as quite a shock since it seems that forever we’ve been led and inclined to count on double digit long-term returns on our and our clients’ investments.

Even Dave Ramsey and his throng of followers still believe his website, touting 11 percent returns or better forecast annually for investments. And Dave isn’t a money manager nor licensed to be such, while Bill Gross, the head and fearless leader of PIMCO investment (and the head of more bonds than any other human on the planet), has the motivation and credibility to offer a much rosier outlook.

With Europe now hitting the banking crisis we dealt with in the USA back in 2008, it seems likely that many and many more financial markets will tumble like dominoes.  

The U.S. dollar has become the tallest midget or the cleanest dirty shirt as a perceived safe haven for those wanting to invest or park money until things improve. And surely the banks know this and offer virtually nothing in the form of interest on money in your bank and checking accounts.

But today it’s much better to play defense and win by not losing, or staying even and not going backwards in your savings and investment accounts. And what product is better suited than index annuities for this?

But until our nation gets out from under the burgeoning, humongous debt now topping $15 trillion, there isn’t much optimism on the horizon for Baby Boomers or Generation X. As agents and registered reps it’s time to readjust your lifestyle now before it’s too late and reevaluate what you need and buy.

And there’s no time like the present to begin educating both our children and our clients to a healthy, less-heavy financial footprint. Lead them by your example financially. Be a financial hero and role model to those you interact with; teach them where to safely invest to ride out this storm.

Your clients and prospects need to know that burying their resources or money in a coffee can in the back yard or under their mattress is not being a good master or steward either. Help them to seek out advice and local help on places to stash their cash.

With the New Year around the corner, it’s time to get serious about setting up a personal or family budget, and sticking to it. Whether you clients may need an IRA, to add more to their 401K or 403B or start their own PRA (personal retirement account), there’s no reason for them to go it all alone.

Remember that everything goes in a cycle and has a season. In this holiday season be mindful of this and also be thankful for that which you do have. It takes the tough times in life to help make us more appreciate the easier times when they return. Don’t fret about it but instead be relaxed, prepared and content knowing that you and your family will be OK.