Americans are facing a lot of pressure these days to make some additional money to support themselves, especially older individuals who may have lost their savings or livelihood in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession. Therefore, a lot of people have been looking for quick, easy solutions that get them the money they need. But is this really possible?

Unfortunately, a lot of people are discovering that the supposedly no-hassle option of investing in the stock or bond markets is actually quite disadvantageous. Today’s stock markets play by different rules than they used to, and the worst part is that the ones who write the rules tend to make the most money. Lightning-fast trading programs and insider connections make it difficult to perform even modestly when you lack cutting-edge technology and millions of dollars to lobby with. Simply put, it’s rare for someone to build a retirement nest egg if they’re putting their money into a mutual fund or building an investment portfolio from scratch.

A quick look at some tough numbers

In the Obama economy, the numbers are grave for middle-class Americans. Based on recent housing market statistics, there is a 10 percent chance that you’re facing foreclosure. Losing a home is one of the hardest financial issues a person can face. Even worse is the fact that there is a nearly 25 percent chance that you’re going through unemployment, and a 33 percent chance that these conditions have led you to fall behind on your bills. Strictly speaking, there is a 99 percent chance that you are not wealthy and 100 percent chance that the dollar bills in your wallet, your bank account, your investments and your retirement fund are losing value by the second!

The point of all these figures and percentages is that Americans today are facing financial pressures that haven’t been felt since the Great Depression. With commodity prices rising and the value of the dollar falling, purchasing the essentials and making a decent living is an increasingly tougher proposition. Folks approaching retirement are in an even worse position, as there are few economic safeguards to rely on and Social Security benefits simply don’t cover everything.

Finding a way forward

A self-directed independent retirement account (IRA) is a vehicle for investing in just about anything. This flexibility and freedom is what you need to craft a tailored retirement plan that maximizes your strengths and minimizes the risk of falling victim to negative market forces.  – – >>> Watch a short 30 minute recorded webinar here.

What can you invest in? You could choose a foreclosed property to turn around and sell or rent out. You could use your funds for seed capital to generate revenue through a small business. You could invest in a percentage of a strip mall. You could buy farmland in Venezuela or natural resource assets in Europe. Simply put, when you work with Great Wealth Strategies to develop an IRA dedicated to supporting your financial goals, you have the option to do whatever you want with your money — and make it work.

Today, two out of three Americans over the age of 65 rely solely on their Social Security benefit to help them get by. This is unsustainable and dangerous. Many of these folks are in this position simply because they relied on a cookie-cutter retirement plan that wasn’t built to withstand an economic downturn, especially one like the Great Recession.

Take control of your financial life today by learning more about self direction. We believe that empowering Americans through education and self-discovery is the key to unlocking economic potential.