With regards to your personal finances, 2014 might offer you the best chance to leverage the low interest rates and get out of debt as soon as possible. Since the economic catastrophe in 2008, the Federal Reserve has made continuous monthly bond purchases in order to keep interest rates exceptionally low and boost consumer borrowing and spending. With the US economy refurbishing itself, the Fed is gradually pulling back on its bond purchases (tapering). In anticipation of this decision of the Fed, the long term interest rates have already risen and hence there will be most likely no rapid changes in mortgage rates, which have already increased a point higher than the historic lows of 2013. Nevertheless, prospective homebuyers could expect mortgage rates to cross 5% in 2014 as the US economy continues to bolster. But apart from the mortgage loans, the interest rates on some other consumer loans are supposed to remain low as they're tied to short term interest rates that the Fed has promised to keep near zero.
Knock off your credit card debts as 2014 is the best time to do so
The interest rate that is charged by the banks to their best clients is called the âPrime Rate' and this rate has been static at 3.25% since 2008. Hence, prospective borrowers will keep enjoying low interest rates on credit cards, car loans and student loans apart from all the other short term loans. This might not be the case forever and therefore this is perhaps the best time to tackle your credit card bills, according to a senior financial analyst at Bankrate. Greg McBride also adds that 2014 might be the last year for reorganizing personal finances and one should plan accordingly to knock off his high interest debts.
Credit card companies are charging an Annual Percentage Rate of about 15% but the borrowers with poor credit are being subject to double-digit numbers that are higher than 15%. However, the borrowers with stellar credit rating will continue to receive APRs at single-digit rates and will also enjoy the privilege of 0% introductory offers lasting for 18 months. Auto loans are also predicted to stay at their record low level in 2014 and 3-4% offers will remain fairly common. Similarly, some private student loans too will carry low single-digit interest rates but all these rates are dynamic. The rates of the private student loans are tied to the prime rate or rather the Libor rate. Hence, it is pretty evident that this is the best time to pay down your unpaid student loan debt as they often carry variable rates that may jump in the near future.
Pitfalls of lower interest rates - There's more to it than just the benefits
Apart from the fact that 2014 is perhaps the best time to repay the high interest debt, there's also a downside to low rates. 2014 is also going to be discouraging and depressing year for the savers as the money market accounts, the savings accounts and the short term CDs will yield average returns that are far below 1%. 5 year CDs that yield average returns of 0.8% might offer slightly higher rates.
How will 2014 be the year to fix your personal finances?
What about your New Year resolutions? How many are you planning to achieve by the end of June? Well, unfortunately, the fact is that New Year resolutions are usually forgotten by February but taking some small steps to fix your personal finances can bless you with a prosperous New Year. Managing your dollars can always be daunting but that doesn't mean that you will give it a pass. Here are some vital money management steps that can result in smarter financial decisions.
1. Give a second look to your investment portfolio: Before taking an investment related decision, it is always better to review one's own investment portfolio. While you review your overall investment portfolio, you should ask some basic questions as to how much risky is the investment portfolio and thereby make the required adjustments. If you're someone who has started off with investment, you can choose a much riskier portfolio than someone who's married.
2. Trigger off your debt: Paying back old debt is one of the best ways to start off a New Year. Paying off debt and budgeting isn't as difficult a job as it may seem to be. Getting out of old debt might enhance the chances of repaying debt with higher interest rates like personal loans and credit cards. Take help of different debt relief options in order to trigger off your debts.
3. Protect the future of your family: Explore the financial future of your family by analyzing their life insurance needs. In fact, protecting the needs of your family should be a part of your financial resolution. Apart from taking into account the life insurance needs, you should also check your medical insurance coverage so that you don't have to blow a hole in your wallet during medical emergencies. With time, keep analyzing your changing financial and medical needs and making the required adjustments to the coverage so that you don't keep overpaying.
4. Boost your credit score: Another great financial resolution is to improve your overall FICO credit score. There are many people who are stuck with poor credit scores due to their own financial mistakes. Resolve in 2014 to cut out on unnecessary credit card usage so that it doesn't result in a spoiled credit score and mar your efforts of seeking new lines of credit in the near future. Pay off your loans on time and avoid missing payments as missed payments trash your credit score to the highest extent.
Hence, it is needless to say that 2014 is the best time to repay your high interest debt before it starts taking a toll on your finances. Before the Fed starts off with its tapering decision, try your best to close the doors on credit card debt. Get help of a financial advisor if you're not pretty confident about your money management skills.