Savers and Interest Rates

My father lived through the Great Depression and was forever nervous about whether he had saved enough to pay his bills after he quit working. He always saved all he could and put his savings into safe Certificates of Deposit (CDs). He had to move to assisted living and then began to fret that the interest he was earning wasn’t enough to keep him from beginning to use up the principal. I can’t imagine how upset he would be with the miniscule rate of return available to savers for the past few years. There must be millions of older Americans trying to figure out how to stretch their retirement savings to pay their bills while they earn less in interest than the rate of inflation.

The financial crisis resulted in the government intervening by “increasing the monetary supply” and reducing the interest on loans to near or at zero. It has struck me as beyond baffling that the result was a boom in the stock market while elderly savers suffered. I know I wasn’t the only investor who decided to take the additional risk of buying stocks with dividends that were higher than anything to be found in CDs. While politicians were railing against people who have money (the “investor class”), they supported policies that enriched those same “evil Capitalists” to the detriment of elderly savers.

I wonder when the millions of elderly savers who are voters will rebel against the economic policies that have punished them. I acknowledge that the current stock market has begun to look risky for the “investor class” that has been willing to take risks for higher returns. My father would probably say something such as “Learn from this and stick with CDs.”

The Federal Reserve has actually introduced negative interest rates into their recent discussions of the economy. Perhaps the “saver’s revolt” will happen when the message is that you will receive less than what you put in your CD when it matures?

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