Skip to content

Interest Rates in Uncertain Times: Navigating the Ambiguity

As a mortgage professional, I’ve been receiving a lot of questions lately about what I think interest rates will do. The truth is, even the experts can’t predict the future with certainty. The Bank of Canada and the US Federal Reserve have been sending mixed signals, making it challenging to provide a clear answer. But, I’ll do my best to give you my interpretation of what I am seeing and hearing in the market.

But first, let’s remember one thing: Always focus on what you can control. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to protect your family and financial future. That’s why I want to stress the importance of being prepared for any scenario, whether interest rates go up or down. By understanding future trends and using the concept of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), I aim to sweat during times of peace so I don’t bleed during times of war. This means that I take steps to hedge, protect, and strengthen my financial position, giving me peace of mind that my family will be taken care of no matter what the future holds.

Information Overload: Decoding the Media-Saturated World

I get it, keeping up with the latest in economic news and analysis can feel like a full-time job. But don’t worry, I will always do what I can to keep you informed. I’m constantly monitoring the market and staying informed so you don’t have to. It may not be as frequent as I like but at some point you have to sit down and put pen to paper and just say it like you see it. And let’s be real, the mainstream media loves to oversimplify complex issues and push the narrative set by larger industrial interests that shape the production, distribution, and dissemination of information and media content. The constant flood of information can be overwhelming and lead to confusion, but it’s important to stay skeptical and question the sources and narratives being presented. That’s why I always recommend you should be seeking out independent and credible sources to make informed financial decisions. It’s out there, you just have to dig for it and then take action.

During these uncertain and high inflationary times, it’s important to be mindful of the actions you do take. So here are some Do’s and Don’ts to consider:

Do’s:

  • Replace high-interest debt with lower-interest debt
  • Manage your cash flow effectively
  • Improve your credit profile/score
  • Be prepared for your first mortgage renewal (it is not as far away as you think)
  • Consider finding a side hustle to increase your income
  • Leverage your creativity and ingenuity to create something fast and financially productive, utilizing the technologies available today
  • Hold on to some cash and let it work for you, at least you can get a modest return in a short-term secure investment i.e. GIC etc. in this high inflation environment
  • Diversify your investments (that doesn’t mean just holding a bunch of different stocks)

Don’ts:

  • Break a low-rate first mortgage
  • Lose a very attractive discount on a variable rate
  • Take on more consumer debt
  • Speculate on the next hot stock or crypto scheme if you have no experience
  • Use credit cards to offset any monthly shortfall(s)

Note for Variable Rate Clients:

For clients who have a variable rate mortgage, the decision to lock into a fixed rate may seem appealing, especially if they believe they can find savings. However, based on the signals from the Bank of Canada and markets in general, it appears that the majority of large interest rate hikes have passed, with only one or two small hikes possible before a pause. The bond market suggests a potential recession in the future, by way of an inverted yield curve .

Given this outlook, locking into a fixed rate now may not be the best decision, as the fixed rate could end up being equal to or higher than the current variable rate. Additionally, if things take a turn for the worse, locking into a fixed rate can also result in a much larger (insult to injury) penalty when selling the home, breaking, or reducing the mortgage. It’s important to carefully consider your options and make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals (short and long term) and your risk tolerance.

The Significance of an Inverted Yield Curve

The inverted yield curve occurs when long-term interest rates are lower than short-term interest rates, which is the case right now. This is significant because it’s often seen as a leading indicator of an impending recession. The inverted yield curve suggests that investors are more pessimistic about the long-term prospects of the economy and are demanding higher returns on short-term investments.

In terms of its impact, it often signals that the central banks may lower interest rates to stimulate economic growth. However, lower interest rates can also lead to higher inflation, which is where we find ourselves right now.

Overall, the inverted yield curve is a significant indicator for those monitoring the future of the economy and interest rates. Although it does not guarantee a recession, it does indicate that the economy may experience challenges in the near-term. Currently, the consensus among market analysts is that the Bank of Canada and US Federal Reserve may lower interest rates by the end of 2024. However, it’s important to note that this is a market prediction and not a certainty. In this uncertain economic climate, it’s advisable to be vigilant and stay alert to any potential changes in your financial situation. By being cautious and keeping a close eye on your finances, you can be better prepared for any potential challenges.

Stay resilient

To wrap up, as a provider for my family, homeowner, and consumer just like you, I understand the challenges that come with rising payments and concerns about the future, especially as it relates to the housing market. While the future of interest rates remains uncertain, it’s important to focus on what we can control: being prepared and taking steps to protect your financial well-being.

I am here to help you navigate these uncertainties and would be happy to have an open, unscripted conversation with you. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out and book a call with me.

Let’s catch up and work together to find the best solution for your financial future.

Stay resilient,

Bruno

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *