“Better a borrower than a lender be?”

Falling Rates Aid Debtors, but Hamper Savers


“It’s the whole point of low rates, to entice borrowing and discourage saving, but it means a massive wealth transfer from savers to borrowers,” said Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. “It is a trend on steroids now because interest rates have been cut to the bone.”

For example, anyone keeping $500,000 in a 12-month certificate of deposit earning a rate of 1.5 percent annually — one of the best savings rates available nationally these days — would earn $7,500 a year, hardly enough to live on. Just three years ago, that same investment would have generated $26,250.


As long as rates stay this low, the plight of the saver will be especially disquieting for those who rely on their savings for a large slice, if not all, of their income. That is a particularly unnerving prospect for pensioners or for people approaching retirement age — who now want to draw on the interest from their savings to support them when they are no longer working.

“You have spent your life being prudent, building a nest egg for your retirement, and now the returns are terrible,” said Todd E. Petzel, chief investment adviser at Offit Capital Advisors, a wealth advisory company in New York. “I am 58 years old. I know lots of my peers who are thinking of retiring, and they are scared to death.”

Among the winners from low interest rates are people taking out new mortgages. The benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to 4.53 percent, the lowest in more than half a century, according to Bankrate.com.

Comment: I'm a far cry from the illustration above of $ 500K in a CD! One of the better savings rates is with INGDirect. Bankrate.com has more options.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic