Stocks climbing to record highs, but for how long?

Despite continued uncertainty over the future of the national economy, stocks have been climbing higher and breaking records on Wall Street over the week ending November 15.  This is all despite many pundits and analysts anticipating that the U.S. economy may be running on a collision course for a repeat of the Great Recession, as expanded government interaction threatens to create an economy that will rely too heavily on federally-backed life support.

On Thursday, Janet Yellen, who was recently nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke when he steps down at year's end, announced that the nation's central bank will need to continue to input stimulus while the economy is still performing "below potential." 

Currently, the Fed is spending roughly $85 billion a month to purchase distressed bonds in an attempt to keep interest rates low and spur lending activity. However, this was originally expected to be a short-term practice that would, in theory, jump-start the economy on the fast track to standing on its own two feet. Instead, the central bank has continually decided to extend this spending as the economy continues to improve at only a modest pace over the past year. 

Bloomberg News reports that the Fed is likely to pare down qualitative easing to roughly $70 billion a month as early as their meeting in late March. And while this is a sign that the bank will be letting the free market have more self control over its health, it is still a hefty figure for a government body to be spending.

With the jury still out on how the government will be interfering further in rebooting the national economy, individuals with a lot at stake should look into not just safe investing for retirement, but also asset preservation in the long run.