The Fed sticks to its word. The board was expected to increase rates to combat soaring inflation. The rate increases may help curb prices but could mean paying more each month on things you weren’t before.
What do rate changes mean?
The federal funds rate is the interest rate financial institutions pay to borrow money from each other overnight. Low rates = easy access to borrowing (i.e., mortgages, personal loans, credit cards): higher rates = the opposite.
So why raise rates now?
Because on the upside, the economy is doing relatively better than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. On the downside, inflation is running a little wild. Or at least a little too far for the Fed’s comfort.
And these higher rates will curb inflation?
Hopefully. Because people tend to borrow and spend less when it’s more expensive to borrow money. With less demand comes more supply which means lower prices.
So, what does this mean for me?
Higher rates could make debt a little more burdensome if you’re looking to borrow money shortly. Here’s how the interest-rate increase could affect…
- The impact: When the Fed raises interest rates, mortgage lenders typically raise theirs too. So, we’ll probably bid those super low-rate pandemic mortgage rates goodbye. The good news is it might help ease the demand crowding the housing market. But that could mean bad news for homebuyers already stressing about their budget.
- Your move: Shop around. Even if rates go up, one lender is all it takes to find the right deal for you. Hey, we know a few you should check out!
- The impact: Like mortgages, rates on auto loans could increase alongside the Fed’s rates. Supply chain issues continue pushing car prices, which might mean borrowing more money.
- Your move: Get preapproved. Before you put a lead foot down on that accelerator, you’ll want to make a pit stop at your credit union. Once there, a lender reviews your financial picture to equip you with your best loan option. A preapproval shows the dealership you’re ready to buy. It may even give you the upper hand in negotiations.
- The impact: Your credit card issuer can (and typically will) change your rate based on economic conditions, especially the federal funds rate. So if you’re paying off a card with a variable rate, that debt could get more expensive soon.
- Your move: You’ve got two options. First, bring that debt balance down ASAP. It’s worth sitting down with an expert to review your finances and assess where you can make changes. Your second option is to transfer your high-rate balances to a card with rates and terms better suited for you. Kicking those crazy credit card interest rates to the curb ensures you’ll pay less in the long run.
- The impact: We saved the best news for last. When the Fed raises rates, financial institutions often raise the rates on savings accounts, C.D.s, and money market accounts to encourage everyone to save money.
- Your move: Go high-yield or go home. If you don’t have a savings account or aren’t sure you’re getting the best rate available on yours, check out these options that will put your money to work for you.
Is there anything else I can do?
Of course! We get it if you want to scope out more options before talking to our Altana team. That’s why we partner with our friends at Greenpath, who’ve helped people build their financial health every day for over 60 years.
Greenpath provides access to eCoach Lea, a chatbot that quickly connects you with helpful financial advice and a potential action plan. She can also share how to talk for free to the helpful humans at GreenPath, to take a deeper, more personalized look at your financial situation. Did we mention it’s free? Check out Lea here!
If you’ve got goals, let’s meet! We’re ready to support you and answer your questions.
(P.S. – If you’re more of a Social Media person, D.M. us on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll personally set you up with someone perfect for you and your goals.)