After the Fed’s 75-basis-point rate hike, here’s how to protect your wallet and your portfolio

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The Fed is ready to bring the pain. Are you ready?

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Weeks earlier, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned there would be “some pain for households and businesses” as the central bank raises interest rates to fight inflation that is the highest in four decades.

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Powell and other members of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee matched Wall Street’s expectations on Wednesday with a 75-basis-point hike in the federal funds rate, a repeat of the Fed’s previous decisions in June and July. This increase will once again affect credit-card rates, car loans, mortgages and, of course, investment portfolio balances.

This brings the policy rate to the range of 3% to 3.25%. Last year at this time it was close to 0%. But the Fed is now raising an additional 125-basis-point before the end of the year. “We will continue this until the work is done,” Powell said at a news conference after the announcement.

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The average annual percentage rate on a new credit card is now 18.10%The last time it reached an APR of 18.12% was in January 1996. car loan reached 5% and mortgage rates hit 6% for the first time since 2008,

None of this has been lost on Wall Street. Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,
is down 15.5% year to date and the S&P 500 SPX,
More than 19% is closed, dragged down by a number of concerns, including a hawkish Fed. The choppy trading eased in the afternoon following the announcement and Powell’s remarks. On Wednesday, the markets closed sharply and on Thursday the fall continued.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Dow was down 92 points, or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 was down 29 points, or 0.8%. Nasdaq Composite Comp,
fell 159 points, or 1.4%.

,‘I believe the Fed will be in pain if they want to maintain their credibility, which we believe they will, and if they really want to get inflation under control.’,

— Amit Sinha, Managing Director and Head of Multi-Asset Design at Voya Investment Management

Six in 10 people say they are moderately or extremely concerned about rising interest rates, according to a survey released Tuesday by the nationwide agency Forward, a research initiative within the insurance and financial services company Nationwide. The survey showed that more than two-thirds of the rates are expected to be higher, potentially much higher, in the coming six months.

The Fed is raising borrowing costs to spur demand and calm inflation, said Amit Sinha, managing director and head of multi-asset design, Voya Investment Management, Voya Financial Voya’s asset management business.

“I believe the Fed will be in pain if they want to maintain their credibility, which we believe they will, and if they really want to get inflation under control,” Sinha said.

But experts advise that people should not take the Fed’s decision as lying. Keeping debt under control, timing key rate-sensitive purchases and considering portfolio rebalancing can all help ease financial pain.

pay off the loan as soon as possible

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans had about $890 billion in credit-card debt during the second quarter of 2022. A new survey shows that more people are sticking to their debt longer – and balancing with rising APRs has become more expensive, resulting in them paying more interest.

Experts say focus on eliminating high-interest debt. There are very few investment products that deliver double-digit returns, so it pays to get rid of credit-card balances with double-digit APRs, they note.

It can be done, even with inflation above 8%, said financial advisor Susan Greenhall, president of Rhode Island-based Mind Your Money, LLC. Start by writing down all of your debt, breaking down the principal and interest. Then group all your income and expenses for a time, listing expenses ranging from large to small, she said.

“Visual connection” is important, she said. People may have a hunch about how they are spending the money, Greenhalgh said, but “until you see it in black and white, you don’t know.”

From there people can see where they can cut costs. If the tradeoff turns out to be tough, Greenhalg brings it back which is causing the most financial pain. “If the debt is causing more pain than some expense cut or adjustment, you make the deduction or adjustment in favor of paying off the debt,” she said.

Make Big Purchases Carefully

Higher rates are helping to deter people from making big purchases. Look no further than the housing market.

But the financial ups and downs of life don’t always accompany Fed policies. “You can’t take time off when your kids go to college. You can’t at the time when you need to move from place A to location B,” said Voya K Sinha.

It is a matter of classifying purchases into “wants” and “needs”. And those who decide they need to move forward with buying a car or home should remember that they can always refinance later, the advisor says.

If you decide to hold off on a large buy, choose some range as a re-entry point. This could be interest rates or a fall in car or house prices to a certain level.

While you’re waiting, say financial advisors, avoid putting the down-payment money back into the stock market. The risk of volatility and loss outweighs the potential for short-term gains.

A safe, liquid haven such as a money-market fund or even a savings account — which enjoys increasing annual percentage yields due to rising rates — can be a safe place to park money that can be used to make purchases. Will be ready to go when opportunity appears.

According to Ken Tumin, founder and editor, the average APY for online savings accounts has increased from 0.54% in May to 1.81%. deposit account.comWhereas the online one-year certificate of deposit (CD) has increased from 1.01% in May to 2.67%.

Reading Rai: Surprise! CDs are in vogue with Treasury and I-bonds as a safe haven for your cash

Portfolio rebalancing for rocky times

Standard investment rules still apply: Sinha said long-term investors with a tenure of at least 10 years should stay fully invested. Havoc for the stock now may present bargains that will pay off later, he said, but people should consider increasing their fixed income exposure to at least one in line with their risk tolerance.

It can start with government bonds. “We are in an environment where you are paid to be a saver,” he said. This is also reflected in increasing returns on savings accounts and yields on the 1-Year Treasury Bill TMUBMUSD01Y,
and 2 year note TMUBMUSD02Y,
They said. Yields for both are hovering at 4% compared to around 0% a year ago. So feel free to lean into that, he said.

As interest rates rise, bond prices typically fall. BlackRock’s Gargi Choudhary said shorter-term bonds, with less chance for interest rates to push down the market value, are attractive. “The short end of the investment-grade corporate-bond curve remains attractive,” Chowdhury, head of iShares Investment Strategy Americas, said in a note on Tuesday.

“We are more cautious on long-term bonds as we expect rates to remain at their current levels or even rise for some time,” Chowdhury said. “We urge patience as we believe we will see more attractive levels to enter long positions over the next few months.”

For equities, like the health and pharmaceutical sectors, think stable and high quality right now, she said.

Whatever the array of stocks and bonds, make sure it’s not a willy-nilly mix to mix, said Eric Cooper, a financial planner at Commonwealth Financial Group.

He added that any rebalancing should be based on well-thought-out strategies and matching an individual’s gut for risk and reward, both now and in the future. And remember, the current pain in the equity market may pay off later. In the end, Cooper said, “Saving you”. [in the long term] That’s what’s crushing you now.”

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