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Retirement, Real Estate Investment and Keynesians vs Austrians

Listeners’ Questions, Peter’s Answers Audio- January 20, 2012

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Russell from Louisville, KY
I fear my father’s retirement will come during the next severe downturn, rendering his life’s work into his retirement fund worthless. Same with my mom who has more to lose. Should they cash out of their 401(k), take the hit, and pay off their mortgage? Should they cash out individually and invest in a diversification of precious metals, currencies and foreign stocks? Is the best bet to somehow roll it from Fidelity to Euro Pac?

Bob from Brampton, Ontario (Canada)
Can you speak on the outlook of hour prices in Canada, specifically Toronto and its surrounding environs? My mom is encouraging me to purchase a house now…she thinks the house prices will either go up a little, or worst case scenario, stay the same. I, on the other hand, think they’ll fall roughly 10 percent in 2012.

Doug from Medord, OR
What is your opinion of 401(k) plans? My company matches 50 percent of every dollar, but given the potential for the dollar to continue losing value, I’m concerned that even if I contribute the maximum amount it might be worth less than if I take the tax hit and put the money in contra-dollar investments.

Kevin from Abbotsford, BC (Canada)
I am interested in a book comparing the ideals of Keynesian and Austrian theories. Could you recommend a book (or several books) that I can read in order to get a deeper insight?

Tom from Sydney, New South Whales (Australia)
As an employer in the financial sector, what sort of credentials do you look for in employees? What would you recommend in terms of courses/learning for someone wanting to find themselves employed by someone like yourself, or others who are Austrian-inclined?