Zig When Others Are Zagging

We’ve talked about that logic a number of times over the years when it comes to financial tools. These days – right now – it’s really critical that you think about doing the opposite of what financial institutions, mortgage lenders and utility companies want you to do.

With the high utility rates last fall, the marketing was to get you to lock in your rates “before they go higher.” The pitch was to have you think you’re getting a good deal at the time. Well – maybe. And I certainly know people who took a long term locked-in contract. Fast forward six to nine months and the rates are down significantly from those “good deal” fixed rates that large numbers of people are now stuck with.

What you will not see or hear in any bank advertising is any campaign to get you to lock in your savings. Term deposits, CDs, whatever are at a pretty good rate compared to what they were before the last two years of rate increases. Are rates going down as early as this winter? Depends on which economist you ask. Are they close to peaking and will at least stabilize? That’s a pretty reasonable bet, according to most economists. So, at this point, the fixed savings investments are about as high in rate as can reasonably be predicted. That’s why the last thing financial institutions want you to do is to now lock in those high/higher rates. That would mean they’re out a lot of interest payments to customers when they drop.

Since their profit is the spread from what they pay out to depositors to what they lend out, they obviously want tiny savings rates and high lending rates.

Who are the credit card issuers that have “won” the rate battle so far? The ones who sold variable rate cards. Why? Because they go up with every prime rate increase. What are they going to market to you now? Take that variable card and consider locking it in for a fixed rate. Why? Because rates are or should be close to the max right now. Your zagging would be their winning!

Mortgages work the same way. What you WILL see right now are ads to get you to lock in today’s rates. We’ve talked about that around a month ago or so – how long a term should you take on a mortgage renewal to be ‘up’ again when rates will/have/start to come down? If mortgage lenders have their way, everyone would take another five-year term right now.

Zig when they want you to zag: Lock in savings at a high rate – consider a fixed-rate gas or utility plan (if you must) at low rates and have your mortgage term land in the sweet spot when rates are down (again).

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