Janet Yellen, Debt Reduction, and Year-end 2017

Believe it or not, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said yesterday in her statement that our country’s economy would suffer in the short-term due to the hurricanes. As you can see, there is a major connection between our daily lives and how we progress (or not) as a collective economy. I know that you were probably also very excited to hear Yellen asserted that the economy remains strong and on track. If you are unsure how these comments affect your investments, remember that investors look to the Fed to signal the trajectory of inflation, interest rates, and policies (monetary and fiscal). As such, these comments impact investor expectations about the future, including the stock and bond markets. While both markets were choppy today, the market can now move past its trading frenzy of the last couple of days now that the news is out.

Furthermore, I asked you to tell me topics/questions of extreme interest for the next 3 months. Here are a few interest points that your fellow Charisse Says members told me:

  • “Charisse, how do I make good stock investment decisions before the year is out?”

Well, we are closing in on the last quarter of 2017, and I urge you to take a look at your investments in the next couple of weeks and figure out if you want to take any action before the year is over. When I worked at JPMorgan on the equity investments team, we had rigorous discussion over whether we wanted to lock-in gains before the close-out of the year. I encourage you to do the same as the overall stock market has moved quite significantly this year. Continued earnings growth and above-expected expectations will keep pushing the market higher, but you must learn to take profits to lock-in some gains.

  • "Charisse, do you have any tips on getting out of extreme debt?"

Honestly, this a hard question because getting out of any debt drama really does depend on your personal situation. But, here are my 3 no regrets pieces of advice:

  1. Understand the debt that you need to climb out of – how much debt do you have, when’s it due, and what rate are you paying on each one of them.
  2. Figure out if you need specialized help – there are several really good debt counseling agencies, like GreenPath, who I’ve gotten to know just by being in the industry. The Simple Dollar highlights their favorite debt management companies – Cambridge and InCharge – that might be useful to you.
  3. Take action – It can be so easy to want to hide under a rock when it comes to facing our deepest debt issues. That said, the best way to get rid of the debt is to have a plan for paying it off. It sounds easier than it is, but one way to overcome the inertia of doing nothing is to have someone to hold you accountable to taking action. Find your friend, advisor, or family member who can help keep you on track.

I’ll share a few more topics next week, but the above ones are a start for now. Until next time, be well.