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Editor's note: The stock market has suffered its biggest decline in two years. Chances of a global recession are rising. Experts are predicting rough economic times ahead. If you're concerned about these things, today's piece by Stansberry Research Editor in Chief Brian Hunt is a must-read. Below, Brian describes the simple, easy way to insure you and your family against financial disasters...

Weekend Edition

This is the difference between retiring early and just barely getting by
Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Weekend Edition is pulled from the daily S&A Digest. The Digest comes free with a subscription to any of our premium products.
 You wake up in the morning, turn on the news, and get a sick feeling in your stomach.
The stock market is crashing again. Another big Wall Street bank has failed. Your 401(k) has lost another 25%. It's bleeding value every week.
Your dream of early retirement is history. You've lost so much money in stocks that even a "regular" retirement is in jeopardy. If you live a long life, there's no way you'll have enough money.
 This is the financial disaster scenario that terrifies a lot of investors. It's what kept people up at night during the 2008 credit crisis.
Could it happen again?
Could another crisis cause the value of the U.S. dollar to collapse?
Could the stock market suffer another epic decline?
Many people say the answer to these questions is "yes."
Fortunately, I don't need to know the answer to these questions... and neither do you.
The good news is that it's very easy to buy insurance against financial disasters like these. I personally own this insurance. Many of the smartest, wealthiest people I know own it, too. It could mean the difference between a comfortable, early retirement... and just barely getting by.
 First, it's important to agree on what "insurance" is. In my book, buying insurance comes down to spending a little bit of money to hedge yourself against a disaster.
Throughout our lives, we spend a little bit of money on insurance and hope we never have to use it. For example, home insurance costs a small fraction of your home's value. Buy it and hope you never have to use it. Same goes for car insurance. It costs a fraction of your car's value, so you buy it and hope you never have to use it.
It's the same with investment insurance. You can buy "investment insurance" and hope to never have to use it.
There are hundreds of wealth and investment insurance policies out there. They involve intricate details, lots of forms to sign, and payment of big fees to advisors and salesmen (which are often the same thing).
I'd rather keep things simple and keep money in my pocket instead of a salesman's pocket.
 Here's how you can do it... Put a small portion of your wealth in gold bullion.
That's it.
That's all it takes to insure yourself against a financial disaster.
No complicated insurance products. No big fees to pay. Just pay a small commission to a gold seller, store the gold in a safe place, and you're done.
 Here's why this "insurance" is important...
Some popular market gurus are predicting a global depression, a collapse in the dollar, and a huge increase in the price of gold. The chances of them being right are relatively slim. People have been predicting the "next depression" for 30 years. The world just has a way of not ending.
However, the "doom and gloom" gurus bring up some good points. They aren't crazy. There are some big risks to our financial system. The U.S. government is spending way too much money on wars, Obamacare, welfare, and other programs. Europe and China's economies could decline and trigger a global recession. These are all real risks to your retirement account.
 I'm no doom-and-gloomer. I think the economy will deal with these risks and keep growing. Again, the world just has a way of not ending like so many people believe it will. That's why I want to own stocks, bonds, and real estate. These assets will do well if the crap doesn't hit the fan.
However, I also want insurance in case I'm wrong and the potential disaster that some are predicting takes place. People would likely flock to gold in a global financial disaster... and cause its price to soar.
That's why it makes sense to buy gold as a form of insurance.
 The good news is that you don't have to buy a huge amount of gold to have a good insurance policy. You can place just 5% of your portfolio into gold.
Let's say you have a $100,000 portfolio with 95% of it blue-chip stocks and income-paying bonds. You place the remaining 5% of your portfolio into gold. This gives you $95,000 in stocks and bonds and $5,000 in gold.
If the predicted financial disaster doesn't strike, your stocks and bonds will increase in value. Your gold will probably hold steady in price or decline a little. Since the bulk of your portfolio is in stocks and bonds, you'll do just fine.
But what if the financial disaster strikes? I've heard some top financial analysts say gold could climb to $7,000 an ounce in the financial-disaster scenario.
 Let's say a financial disaster sends the value of your stocks and bonds down 50%. That would be a massive decline. Throughout history, only the worst, most severe bear markets sent stocks down this much.
This epic financial disaster would cut your $95,000 stock and bond position by 50%, leaving you with $47,500. But let's say this disaster also causes gold to rise to $7,000 an ounce. Right now, gold is $1,230 per ounce. A rise to $7,000 would produce a more-than-fivefold increase in the value of your gold. It would cause the value of your $5,000 gold stake to rise to about $28,455.
Post-financial disaster, you're left with $75,955 ($47,500 from stocks and bonds + $28,455 from gold). The disaster still hits you, but not nearly as hard. Your insurance played a big role in limiting the damage.
 But what if you think the chances of financial disaster are higher than "unlikely"? What if you're more worried than the average Joe?
If you are, simply increase the "insurance" portion of your portfolio. Instead of a 5% position in gold, you could increase it to 20%.
If the previously mentioned financial disaster were to strike your $100,000 portfolio weighted 80% in stocks/bonds and 20% in gold, the math works out like this:
The 50% decline in your $80,000 stocks/bond position leaves you with $40,000. Gold's increase to $7,000 an ounce makes your $20,000 gold position increase to $113,821.
Your large gold insurance position actually produces a net gain in this scenario. You're left with $153,821... an increase of more than 50%.
As you can see, the larger your gold-insurance policy, the better you do in the financial-disaster scenario. But if the financial disaster doesn't strike, you won't benefit as much because you hold less money in stocks and bonds, which do well if the economy carries on. And keep in mind... it would take a serious financial disaster to send stocks down by 50% and gold to $7,000.
 Depending on what you think the chances of financial disaster are, you can adjust your gold-insurance policy. It all depends on your goals and beliefs.
Think the chances of disaster are slim? Consider a gold-insurance policy equivalent to 1%-5% of your portfolio. Think the chances of disaster are high? Consider a gold-insurance policy equivalent to 20% of your portfolio.
Are the "gloom and doom" gurus right? Is the financial disaster around the corner? I don't know the answer. Nobody does. But if you buy some "investment insurance" in the form of gold, you don't need to know the answer. It's simple. It's easy. It's low cost.
You buy gold and hope to never have to use it. You'll do fine if things carry on. You'll do fine if the crap hits the fan.
And the peace of mind you get from owning gold "insurance" is worth even more than the money it could save you.
 At Stansberry Research, we've found many Americans are woefully underprepared for financial and personal disasters. Most people don't realize that they are taking extraordinary risks with their finances, health, and homes.
What if there's another large-scale terrorism attack on U.S. soil... or a major flu pandemic... or an economic crisis that disrupts the entire fabric of our society? Who do you think your family is counting on in the event of a crisis?
Whether you know it or not... whether they've told you this or not... your family is counting on you. Do you have a plan in case the power goes out for a week or more... or if you don't have access to running water for two weeks?
Do you know what to do if the banks close for an extended period of time... or if it's not safe to go outside because of some type of health epidemic?
If you don't have a good plan for these scenarios, I have something special for you to pay attention to today.
You see, our own Dr. David "Doc" Eifrig has put together a fascinating presentation on something he calls the "Doctor's Protocol." It's a simple four-step plan that will ensure you are ready for just about any type of crisis.
I strongly, strongly encourage you to take a look at Doc's work. It's a real eye-opener.
It will help you look at the world in a different way. It will give you more confidence on a day-to-day basis and will help you sleep better at night. It will make you a much more valuable member of your community... and it could literally save your life. You can access Doc's informative presentation, free of charge, right here.
Brian Hunt

This Week's Winners
S&P 500 Symbol Change
Tractor Supply TSCO +21.3%
Celgene CELG +16.2%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals REGN +15.6%

Countries Symbol Change
Israel ISL +7.2%
Turkey TKF +6.9%
Ireland IRL +6.7%

Sectors Symbol Change
Homebuilding ITB +8.2%
Biotech PBE +7.3%
Health Care IYH +6.7%

Commodities Change
Aluminum +5.0%
Palladium +4.5%
Orange Juice +3.4%
Date Range:10/16/2014 to 10/23/2014
From The Crux
This Week's Losers
S&P 500 Symbol Change
Urban Outfitters URBN -11.2%
IBM IBM -9.8%
Peabody Energy BTU -7.6%

Countries Symbol Change
Brazil EWZ -8.0%
Lat.America ILF -4.4%
Russia RSX -0.7%

Sectors Symbol Change
Gold Mining GDX -3.8%
Clean Energy PBW +2.1%
Telecom IYZ +2.8%

Commodities Change
Coffee -11.0%
Natural Gas -4.6%
Sugar -3.1%
Date Range:10/16/2014 to 10/23/2014
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