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Steve Forbes Talks Dollars and Sense


Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, and John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual, addressed recession challenges, investing principles, risk management and other free-market policies during their “Econo-ME: Ensuring Your Financial Security in the New Normal” tour last week at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

Palm Beach was the second stop for both businessmen during their three-day, seven city tour.

“I think the dollar will be re-linked to gold,” Forbes said.

Schlifske agreed to an extent, adding, “The idea that a weak dollar is some way to prosperity is a false notion. It’s likely to lead to problems. I’m all for a stronger dollar, if tying it to gold is the way to get there, I would be very excited about that. But I think there are other ways to get there.”

Schlifske believes to help the unemployment rate, the government has to solve some of the current problems the working class is experiencing.

“I think regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, it’s the desire to get some sense of closure on these problems that we know are going to be fixed,” he said. “What I talk to my management team about is the fact we have to grow. You can’t cut expenses as a way to prosperity.”

Schlifske stressed the importance of putting money aside every month to prepare for the challenge that lies ahead. Forbes agreed and noted that emotions are your enemy when it comes to investing.

“Your gut will mislead you,” he said.

This was Forbes’ third tour with Northwestern Mutual, since the recession began. As far as running for president again Forbes told the crowd, with a laugh, “I’m more of an agitator now.”

The agitator and Schilifske took time after the presentation to speak with Boca Raton magazine. Here are a few excerpts:

BRM: You mentioned in your seminar that businesses are “sitting on the sidelines” and worried to hire. Do you think small businesses be moving forward with hiring and taking that risk?

Schilifske: What I think is, the first thing that has to happen is that the government has to get their act together and has to solve some of the problems we all know are there. The reason all of these companies are sitting on the sidelines is because of the uncertainty that we see out there and the lack of understand about what actually is going to happen.

BRM: What can be done to help our working class?

Schilifske: I think the issues at the state level are the same at the federal level. People need to see that they are going to be rewarded for hard work. They need to see that if they take a part-time job, that it’s going to lead to something. I think too many people now are afraid to do that kind of stuff because they don’t see any outcome for it.

BRM: Do you believe that stabilizing the dollar with the gold standard will be a fast of slow process?

Forbes: I think it can be a pretty quick process, once the people believe we are actually going to do it. I think when the gold markets calm down, people will realize you don’t have to anticipate the worst, so I think it could be done in 12 months.