We received confirmation yesterday afternoon that the Federal Reserve is pausing rate hikes.
That’s the first FOMC meeting without a rate hike since early last year. In that time the Fed has raised its target Fed Funds Rate ten times from 0% up to it’s current target range of 5% – 5.25% in an effort to fight inflation and take the economy off emergency life support.
Continue reading “Rate Hikes Are On Pause”
The most common discussion with clients recently has been about interest rates (and bonds) as interest rates have been rising swiftly as of late.
It’s a popular topic because interest rates impact our lives in various ways; rising interest rates causes bond prices to fall, rising interest rates means things purchased with borrowed money cost more (houses / mortgages, autos / auto loans, credit cards, etc…), future cash flows from investments / projects become less valuable, etc… 30-year mortgage rates have doubled to over 5% from 2.5%
On the other hand, rising rates also motivate us to save more as savings vehicles yield more and motivate us to take on less debt / pay down debt faster. When’s the last time we’ve earned any notable interest in our checking and savings accounts? Many young people probably don’t even realize that banks used to pay interest on those checking and savings balances. Continue reading “On Interest Rates: The Federal Reserve is in a Difficult Position”
The debt of the US government recently crossed $27 trillion. Additionally, there are talks for another $2 trillion of stimulus (which the stock market is loving by the way). So, if passed, that would put the US national debt at around $29 trillion!
We should note that the US National Debt was about $20 trillion at this time in 2016. So, the debt was doubled to $20 trillion from $10 trillion (2008-2016) during President Obama’s two terms and looks to be on pace to double again over the subsequent two terms based on the increase thus far in President Trump’s first term.
A $29 trillion debt represents almost $90,000 per US citizen. That means a household with four people has about $360,000 as their share of the national debt in addition to their own private debt and their state and local government debt. Consider that total US household debt is about $14 trillion so that’s another $42,000 per citizen, or $170,000 for that same household of four on average.
Let’s consider what this really means. Continue reading “$27 Trillion National Debt and Counting, How It Gets Paid and Who Pays It”
A question I’ve received frequently the last couple months from many different people is about the potential for inflation given the unprecedented response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic. It is an important question because it impacts the best investment approach going forward as well as other personal finance decisions.
I understand the rationale behind the question. After all, trillions of dollars have been pledged between the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury in the last few months in what essentially amounts to a “helicopter drop” of money on the economy. So, it is understandable that people are beginning to have concerns about the potential for inflation.
Ultimately, I believe we will get inflation mainly because the Federal Reserve will stop at almost nothing to make it happen, HOWEVER, we must allow for the possibility of getting deflation first. Continue reading “Deflation or Inflation?”
As I’ve written about recently, I’ve allocated almost all of my clients’ bond investments to Treasuries and away from corporate bonds the last couple years. This worked well especially early in the pandemic / economic crisis we find ourselves in currently as corporate bonds lost value and Treasuries gained initially. However, it may be time to change tact. Continue reading “Changing Tact and Swimming Naked”