The Fed Finally Tapers Seven Things to Know and One Alternative Investment Solution


The Fed Finally Tapers Seven Things to Know and One Alternative Investment Solution

The FOMC authorizes a minor reduction in bond buying starting in 2014.December 18 turned out to be T-Day: the day on which the Federal Reserve finally tapered QE3. In making the move, the Fed acknowledged an improving economy; Wall Street quickly and enthusiastically applauded its decision.

The Fed will reduce its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion.

QE3 will continue, but the central bank will buy only $75 billion of bonds per month starting in January. The $10 billion cut comes evenly across Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities; next month, the central bank will purchase $40 billion of the former and $35 billion of the latter.1,2

Fed officials voted 9-1 in favor of a taper.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren was the lone dissenter on the Federal Open Market Committee, terming the action “premature” as the jobless rate had not yet descended to the Fed’s target of 6.5%.1,3

Market reaction: thumbs up.

The 2:00pm EST announcement gave stocks a real boost; the Dow rose 292.71 for the day to 16,167.97, the NASDAQ gained 46.38 to 4,070.06 and the S&P 500 ascended 29.65 to 1,810.65. Judging by the rally, Wall Street seemed to agree that it was time for action.4

“I think logically, this is what they had to do,” JPMorgan Funds managing director David Kelly told CNBC, reflecting a broad opinion. “If you look at what’s happened this year, the unemployment rate has come down to 7 percent. We’ve got housing starts over a million units. We got the S&P 500 up 25 percent. In this economy, you have to pull back from the most extreme monetary policy in a century. So I think it’s overdue. I’m glad to see it.”3

Additional gradual reductions in QE3 may follow.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke noted that the central bank’s quantitative easing effort may be reduced in “further measured steps” determined in upcoming FOMC meetings.5

Could an interest rate decision be coming?

The FOMC addressed that topic in its policy statement. It noted its intention to keep the federal funds rate at current levels “well past the time” unemployment reaches its target of 6.5%.5

What does this mean on Main Street?

As the noted economist Peter Morici told MarketWatch: “The stimulus program was supposed to boost spending going in, so it’s going to reduce spending going out.”6

It may become slightly tougher to finance big-ticket purchases in 2014, especially if the Fed keeps reducing the scale of its monthly asset purchases as the year unfolds. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun commented to Market Watch that homeowners who want to move (or move up) “need to realize that it could be more challenging a year from now.” Yun thinks the average interest rate on a 30-year home loan could hit 5% or even 5.5% sometime in 2014. Home improvement projects, student loans and auto loans may all grow costlier.6

Retirees, on the other hand, may see some financial positives if the Fed opts to tinker with interest rates next year. “Interest rates close to zero punish savers and retired folks,” University of Michigan-Flint finance professor Mark Perry reminded Market Watch. “Right now, consumers are getting almost zero interest on their checking or savings account.” Perry estimates that under present conditions, American savers could realize $76 billion in additional interest income for every 1% that the Fed raises the key interest rate. Retirees and pre-retirees who dream of traveling more might also benefit in the near term – the dollar strengthened versus a basket of currencies prior to the central bank’s announcement, and an appreciating dollar certainly buys more overseas.6

One may consider investing in a Fixed Annuity.

An Annuity is a financial product that allows a contract holder to accumulate money on a tax-deferred basis and receive a series of payments at regular intervals. People purchase annuities to obtain an income or to supplement retirement income they will receive from Social Security, pension benefits, investments and other sources.

Annuities can help eliminate one of your fundamental concerns: Outliving your savings. They can offer you guaranteed lifetime income payments, which may give you:

  • Freedom to fulfill your retirement dreams
  • Financial peace of mind
  • Flexibility to use your cash however you choose
Unique among insurance products, annuities can offer you:
  • Guaranteed lifetime income payments that you can’t outlive
  • Tax-deferred growth which may minimize the taxes you have to pay when you start receiving payments
  • Flexible payout options that can help meet your financial needs.

There are many factors to consider when determining the best retirement strategy for you and your family. If you are interested in safety and guarantees without giving up great earning potential then an annuity may be right for you.

And due to market fluctuation an investor never has to work about losing a penny of ones principal and can be guaranteed a guaranteed return on your investment. Call me if you wish to learn more how you can get a positive return on your money whether the Stock market is up or down.


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Mark S. Gardner may be reached at 214-722-7555 office or 214-762-2327 cell or