This year has, for sure, been an interesting one. As it winds down to its final days we look at one thing that sets this year’s tone—rising prices. This can be explained by the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike response to the rising Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI peaked at 9% year over year, this summer, which is the highest it has been since 1981. The Fed’s hike was meant to calm the economy though it has sent out a signal leading to the financial crisis we see today.
It all started with rock-bottom rates, the likes of which many haven’t seen since 2008, pushing investors to take pretty sizeable risks and pushing stocks high. Though rising rates, at the same time, scared off investors and pushed Americans to experience inflation as they never have before after emerging from COVID’s aftermath.
Real estate, stocks, bonds, and crypto all experienced a crazy shift that has set in a deep panic. Real estate rates, on a 30-year mortgage, have increased by 3% from what they were this time last year. S&P 500 is down more than 20% from what it was last year at this time, which has changed investors’ calculus. And as stocks are down, it is expected that investors would turn to bonds but that isn’t even the case. Many are stating this is the worst year ever. Even in crypto, the tightening in the Fed has set off a domino effect of failed crypto companies.
For Americans, this means that while coming out of COVID times and getting their life back together, maybe taking on new jobs, the rise of prices and a front-row seat to inflation feels like being thrown back in the ringer. As watching paychecks get cut into by inflation is the furthest from fun there can be.