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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Interest rates are INTERESTING, part 1: both sides to the coin

Rising interest rates may seem like a burden for Australians, particularly those who are paying off a large mortgage. The thing to remember is that whilst the family picnic may be ruined by wet weather, the farmers love the rain! More rain will eventually mean more food and more picnics later on.

Examples of people who may be affected positively by interest rate rises are investors, particularly self-funded retirees or those who are about to retire (such as the "Baby Boomers"). These people will now be receiving a higher income which means that they can spend more money on new goods and services; possibly in your workplace.

Yes, the average home-owner with a mortgage will have to spend more money on their bank loan, but this will have a flow-on effect in the greater economy. Consider that without an interest rate rise, the economy may overheat, which causes further job losses. A higher interest rate can be a good thing if your homeloan costs more but you do get to keep your job!

At present, interest rates are at record lows in the UK and the USA (below 1%). We will look more at why this is in “Interest Rates Part Two: how to make $50 000 for nothing”. These economies are suffering badly and job losses are at record highs. The economies in Australia and China are weathering the economic storms more strongly, and both countries have just raised their interest rates.

International investors are strongly attracted to Australia with its stronger dollar, more secure economy and higher rates of return on investment. Investors are attracted to China for similar reasons. Investors’ money is rapidly leaving the USA & UK (earning 1% interest) and flooding to Australia and China to be invested at 5% or greater. This international investment means more jobs, even if the mortgages are going up.

Whilst mortgage rates may be high for the foreseeable future, homeowners are advised to cut back on unnecessary expenditure, such as cable TV, cigarettes, alcohol, work lunches or anything that is not essential or anything does not MAKE you money or SAVE you money. Ensure you do essential maintenance on the car but hold off on the new in-dash DVD player.

Consider doing an imaginary cashflow projection based on a 10% mortgage; you will soon see areas where you can cut back. You can pay 10% payments off the mortgage anyway; this will put you in front on the loan, impress the banks and be good insulation if anything unexpected should occur.

Next article: How to make $50 000 for nothing & Higher interest rates just like 1992: where to invest for the best returns beyond 2015.

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