Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Interest Rate Dilemma

Will she or won't she? The entire financial community is watching today to see if Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will raise interest rates. If she does, it's likely to be an unpopular choice: According to a new Gallup poll, more U.S. investors  say today's low interest rates do good for consumers by helping borrowers (68 percent) than say low rates do harm by hurting savers (24 percent).

Many of the poll's respondents have taken advantage of low interest rates to refinance or take out various types of new loans. Overall, 58 percent said they have taken advantage of low rates in the past two years by doing at least one of the following: buying a car (30 percent), refinancing a mortgage or home loan (17 percent), purchasing a home (16 percent), taking out a student loan (9 percent) or taking out another type of loan (10 percent).

Furthermore, twice as many investors say today's low rates are helping their own finances (29 percent) than say the low rates are hurting them (15 percent). Low rates especially aid nonretired investors, with 34 percent saying the rates are helping them financially, whereas 12 percent say they are hurting them. Only 15 percent of retired investors, on the other hand, say the low rates are helping them, while 28 percent say they are hurting.

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