For a bond that must be held for a minimum of five (5) years for full interest to be received and can only be bought in amounts of $10,000 per year, I get a lot of questions.
To put the situation in perspective, for clients and friends with high levels of income, in the hundreds of thousands and much more, and high tax rates – marginal rates of over 32% – the interest at stake with an I-Bond is currently $600 to $800 per year and that is before taxes! That level of net interest may pay a portion of one car lease payment per year or weekend gas for a boat (in 5 years). BUT nevertheless, I get questions.
This note would be even better in a short video…so stay tuned for that version next week! In the meantime, a couple of quick written notes:
This week the “Energy Information Administration,” an actual division of the US government, warned that nearly HALF of US households who heat their homes with natural gas will pay 30% MORE this year, yes 30%, versus last year.* AND that if winter is 10% colder, then bills will go up 50%! If winter is 10% warmer, then bills are still projected to go up 22%. Can’t wait for that cold weather!
Long time readers of TGIF 2 Minutes may remember the above photo* which accompanied a February 2018 post describing how inflation feels.
Earlier this year in March, a TGIF 2 Minutes post titled Get Ready for Corona Inflation described what could happen if government spending and stimulus continued unchecked. This week’s reported economic numbers underscore reality: a three-month continued surge in inflation that in several categories has not been seen since the early 1980’s. Lots of people reading this post may not have even been born in 1981 – which was the last time that restaurant meals and food prices rose this fast. To the younger generation, inflation may be learned painfully early in their careers. Inflation hurts EVERYONE, most of all the middle class and low-wage workers. For the wealthier, inflation gradually eats into returns on savings and investments.
NERD ALERT: This edition of TGIF 2 Minutes will get a big “wonky” but still worth the read. A good number of people reading are familiar with the terms, “risk off” and “risk on,” terms that are used frequently in financial media and by financial industry traders and risk managers.
Even for a business owner or anyone familiar with risk, the term “risk on” or “risk off” may make sense. But for those still wanting clarification on how these terms relate to personal savings and investments – specifically the stock and bond markets – here are a few details.
First, the reason it made sense to highlight this topic is that just this week the US Fed said,“[The US] economy has made progress toward its goals, teeing up bond taper.” *
Just like that it is July 2021! That means both the 2nd Quarter and 1st Half of the year have come to a close. Here are a couple of quick notes about the quarter including a few things that changed and did not change on the year.
Stock and bond markets along with portfolio performance continued to be strong. It seems there is less caution in the air with an economy continuing to come out of the pandemic. Although the expression “the most unloved bull market” is still on peoples’ minds. Reason being that worries abound as the US Fed and Treasury continue to pump record amounts of money into the US economy. And there are plans for the stimulus to continue. This state of affairs risks inflation among other economic maladies.
It may be time to diversify – if that was not already the name of your game.
When is the last time that BONDS, no less the 10-year Treasury and TIPS, were the information we sought to read before we checked TSLA and AAPL??
Yes, when stock markets get rocky it is wise to look to the bond market, interest rates and the Fed for answers. Here is a less than 2-minute primer on several terms that matter. Oh, and my bond expert and bond trader friends will smile at the following statement: Everyone knows the “bond gals and guys” are smarter than the “equity gals and guys.” (PS. I started out as an equity gal.)
Low and near-zero interest rates have become a fact of life. Rates could likely remain low for the foreseeable future based on the economic and US Federal Reserve environment. This statement is not meant to be a predictor of where interest rates are going. Still, the fact of near-zero interest rates needs to be on investors’ radar screens, as boring as the topic may sound!
The bond market and interest rates involve far, far more complicated math than stocks. Trying to predict bond prices and interest rates is mostly not worthwhile.
“Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
“Should I be selling my stocks?”
“Should I be selling my bonds?”
Although I stress to clients and friends NOT to listen to the Talking Heads on TV, radio & internet amidst dramatic market moves —and then make rash investment decisions – we are human! It is nearly impossible to ignore completely what is going on daily in the news and markets. And the stock markets have crept down a bit over the past few weeks. (Note, in 2019 the downturns and recoveries have been often.)Continue reading “Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets”
Are you familiar with the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”? The show is in its 11th season and lots of people by now have heard of Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Howard and Penny… but for those who have not heard of the show it is really funny and has been a HUGE success.
Typically, I do not get too far “into the weeds” of technical terms in my TGIF 2 minutes messages. However – this has not been a typical last two weeks in the markets – at least not “typical” as defined by the past several years of gradually UP markets (and portfolios) month after month. Thus, a short walk into the weeds to talk a little about inflation is warranted – and may shed light on the volatility we have experienced lately with more likely to come over the next months and year or so.
Also, see this visual of a rocket launch* – and not just any rocket launch, the Falcon Heavy launch as photographed by a friend of mine with years of clearance for NASA rocket launches – as an appropriate comparison to what inflation can look like.