“Sergeant, can we go for breakfast now?” “March first!” Welcome to March, with Mardi Gras beginning today, Daylight Savings Time on the 13th, Pi Day on 3.14, the Ides on the 15th, and St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th. (Nope, no paid days off.) Meanwhile, the world is watching Russia attack Ukraine and many are doing what they can. For example, broker dealer Jefferies will donate 100% of net global trading commissions on March 2nd for all trading in equities, fixed income and foreign exchange by the firm’s clients. In addition, Jefferies as a firm will donate $1 million directly, and its more than 4,500 employees worldwide will be given the opportunity to personally donate to these efforts. Economists are watching money flows for individuals, as it appears that the biggest share of the extra outlays on new cars, home improvements, and laptops comes from America’s top income tiers. Rates are dropping, but expectations of inflation are not. High-earners also usually own the most expensive houses, and they have tapped the fast-rising value of their homes through refinancing, HELOCs, and 2nds. The sudden spike in their net worth and their cash-out refis keep this segment of the population spending at rates far faster than before the pandemic struck. Inflation is effectively a “tax” that falls most heavily on lower-income households who devote much more of their incomes to buying goods and services than high-earners, who accumulate the savings to buy those houses and stocks that have risen so much in value.
Source: Mortgage News Daily