On Thanksgiving Day, people express gratitude for good things in their lives including family members, friends, financial security, and good health. It is also a great time to reflect on positive trends in the world of personal finance. Below are five recent events in the world of personal finance to be grateful for:
¨ Interest Rate Cuts- The Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times during 2019. This is good news for home buyers shopping for mortgages, anyone with variable interest rates on credit cards, home equity lines of credit, and other debts, and people who refinanced previously issued loans with higher interest rates.
¨ Stock Market Milestones- The Dow Jones Industrial Average index reached 28,000 on November 15 and all three major stock market indexes reached record highs on November 25. This is good news for the approximately half of Americans who own individual stocks or participate indirectly in the stock market via mutual funds and/or retirement savings plans.
¨ High Interest Savings Accounts- Robo-advisory firm Betterment launched a FDIC-protected savings account with a 2.69% yield in July 2019. Other fintech firms in the “non-bank bank” space include Wealthfront and SoFi. Funds are insured because they are deposited with multiple partner banks. These accounts are attractive to savers seeking lower fees and higher yields than brick and mortar banks offer.
¨ Equifax Settlement- Affected consumers were offered up to 10 years of free credit monitoring or up to $125 (depending upon the number of claims filed). In addition, starting in 2020, up to six free Equifax credit reports can be requested each year for seven years.
¨ Financial Planning Turn 50- The profession that holistically examines people’s finances and helps clients achieve their goals began with an exploratory meeting at a Chicago hotel in 1969. Today, 50 years later, about 85,000 certified financial planners nationwide help people manage their finances.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend. Set a goal to learn one new thing each day about personal finance.