There are lots of people fixated on trying to figure out what the federal reserve is going to do with interest rates and when they are going to do it. If you are a retail investor, you are not going to beat the professionals in that game, so stop trying. Instead, let the pros handle it and relax by looking at the view from 30,000 feet. Here’s what the bond experts at Oppenheimer are telling us in a messge titled Why Fed Watching Is Likely a Waste of Your Time
What to Remember for the Long Haul
For long-term investors, I believe there are essentially five important points to keep in mind.
1) Overall global economic growth is slow but most likely the worst is over. While there may be hiccups every so often, it is unlikely that we will revisit the financial abyss in the near-to-medium term.
2) Real interest rates are quite low. Over any reasonable investment horizon, they are going to go up. That is true irrespective of what the U.S. economy looks like this quarter or who the next Fed chair is.
3) Because interest rates are so low now, the likelihood that returns from any part of the bond market will get you to a comfortable retirement based on their real returns is virtually zero. You most likely have to have a significant portion of savings in assets that provide better real returns, albeit with greater risk.
4) That said, you can’t just put all your money in stocks. There will be future periods of equity underperformance. In order to make sure you don’t panic and go all cash at the worst point in the cycle, have some part of savings devoted to bond or bond-like instruments now. Even if they aren’t generating a lot of income, those investments may provide protection during equity downturns, which is as important.
5) Income, not price appreciation, is typically going to be a significant part of overall returns. Therefore, wherever you can, and whatever risks you are comfortable with, seek out income-generating investment options. As always, past performance does not guarantee future results.