Although, we hear, a lot of opinions, about, interest rates, and their trends, and impacts, very few people seem to understand, the significance, and importance/ relevance, of these rates, in several areas of our lives! After, many decades of involvement, in political campaigns, leadership, leadership training/ planning, real estate, financial sales and consulting, etc, I strongly believed, one benefits, by understanding, more about these, and how they affect, many things, in our lives! Whether, related to personal, organizational, and/ or, public finance/ spending, home ownership and related costs, credit – related issues, business matters, stock and bond pricing, etc, interest rates, truly, significantly, matter! With, that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 5 of these areas, and how the cost – of – money, makes a significant difference.
1. Bond prices and interest rates: The price of a bond, generally, is inversely – related to interest rates! When these rates go down, prices, rise, and when they go up, the inverse occurs! Bonds have, what is known, as, a par – value, which is the price, paid, at the end of the term. Markets usually set these at 100, which represents $1,000 per bond, at maturity. However, during the period, the pricing can rise or fall, which impacts, liquidity – related issues!
2. Mortgage rates: For the last few years, we have been witnessing and experiencing, record – low, mortgage interest rates, which have helped the overall, real estate/ housing market, especially, in terms of, pricing increases! In most areas of this country, we are seeing, home prices, at their highest levels, ever, by a significant, dramatic amount! When this rate, is low, a home buyer is able to buy, more – house – for – his – bucks, because, his monthly payments, are so low! Consider, however, what might be the potential ramifications, and impacts, when these rates, will, inevitably, rise?
3. Consumer credit: Low costs of borrowing, help the automobile industry, in terms of consumer financing, etc! Although, not as much as other vehicles, rates on credit card debt, are lower, and there are often, shorter – term, promotions, offering deals! However, since, most of these are variable, and based, on some index, etc, what happens, when there is an increase, in this?
4. Business borrowing: Another area affected, is business cost of borrowing! Presently, they have had access, to relatively, cheap – money, which helps in reducing the costs of borrowing, overall operations, purchasing inventory, etc. But, what happens, when this, ticks – up?
5. Impacts on stock market prices: For some time, because bonds have paid so little, in terms of dividends, etc, many have considered, the stock market, the only game, in – town! In addition, many corporations, have seemed, better – off, than they probably are, and we have witnessed, a higher, ratio of prices to profits, than in the past! How long will this last? How high can it go?
Many factors impact these issues, especially: actual and/ or, perceived inflation; consumer confidence; politics/ government actions/ the Federal Reserve, etc. The more you know, and understand, hopefully, the better – prepared, you will be!