Thoughts, Concerns, And Speculations – Halfway Through 2023

Have you heard about the fed now program being rolled out shortly?

Over 120 financial institutions have joined in the launch of the first phase of the “Fed Now” program.  The Federal Reserve issued a notice back on 8/5/19 (Docket No.—OP-1670) announcing their new interbank, real-time gross settlement service, which is intended to reduce the delays, costs and inefficiencies involved in today’s transfers of money for both businesses and consumers.     

The list includes most of the big banks, but will be rolled out to virtually all banks, and credit unions.

It will provide customers with instant payment or transfer of funds abilities, 24 hours a day, every day. So, it appears that it will directly compete with Zelle/Venmo/PayPal/etc., and may eliminate wires and even ACHs.

I hope this is not another step toward a Central bank Digital Currency (CBDC), which I am very concerned about, because CBDCs are programmable and controllable forms of money.  CBDCs can affect your ability to spend, receive, and invest money.  From what I have heard at this stage, they are much to be feared.  I will be doing a blog and/or video on the subject of CBDCs in the not-too-distant future.

  • Will China invade Taiwan? 6-12 months ago, that seems very unlikely, but at this point, it seems quite possible.  Since Taiwan produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones, what would a Chinese invasion or takeover mean for the markets and world economy?
  • More than a dozen major retailers have announced that they will close over 2,200 stores this year. Brick and Mortar Retail outlets continue to suffer from too much supply and competition, and the still growing move to shop online and have items delivered to your doorstep.
  • In recent weeks, there have been some alarming headlines about a potential escalation in the Russia/Ukraine mess to include a possible nuclear accident or use of nuclear weapons. While we can probably assume that cooler heads will prevail, the rhetoric on this front has been red hot, and worrisome.

 It may make some sense to reduce your risk levels and/or increase cash in this unpredictable environment, especially with the markets up near their all-time-highs, and being led by only 5-10 large stocks. (The S & P 500 is within 9% of its all-time-high)

  • Higher food prices coming? As of early summer 2023, Kansas farmers were bracing for their worst wheat crop harvest in 60 years, due to a persistent drought.  Kansas is the country’s largest producer of wheat.
  • The question on the markets’ mind, of course, is when will the Federal Reserve stop raising interest rates, and start cutting them again? As of 7/6/23, the 10-year treasury was yielding a little over 4%, and the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 7.21%, which was more than double the sub-3% rates seen only 18 to 20 months prior!  In many desirable towns in central New Jersey, where I am based, the prices for houses for sale have held up completely, or remarkably well, despite the huge increase in mortgage rates, due to a pronounced lack of supply.  It remains to be seen how long this abnormal condition will stay in place.  Obviously, if rates on mortgages rose too high, or a recession that led to lots of job losses were to hit this economy here, prices would fall, perhaps sharply, from their bubble – like current levels.
  • On the political front, it seems like the more attacks/troubles/persecution Trump receives, the better he does in the polls. On the Biden front, it seems like the walls are closing in on him, and that the party/media may want him to step down, or vacate that chair in the next few weeks or months. Time will tell on both of these. At least it is never boring in DC!


Robert Ryerson

Although Robert M. Ryerson completed all the necessary requirements to earn bachelor of arts degrees in both English and economics at Rutgers University, college policy at the time prohibited the issuance of dual degrees. As a result, he graduated from Rutgers with a single bachelor of arts in economics before finding employment as a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman American Express in New York City 1984. Robert M. Ryerson has since established himself as a respected estate administrator and legacy planner. In addition to his economics degree from Rutgers, Mr. Ryerson holds several professional designations including Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)®; Certified In Long Term Care (CLTC)®; Certified Financial Fiduciary (CFF)®, and Certified Identity Theft Risk Magenament Specialist (CITRMS)®. He has shared his knowledge on the subject of identity theft as the author of the book What’s The Deal With Identity Theft?: A Plain-English Look at Our Fastest Growing Crime. He has also covered identity theft issues directly for students as the instructor of the adult education course Understanding Identity Theft: Our Fastest Growing Crime.

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