A significant portion of Americans do not know what to expect from the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase and have little faith that more increases will improve the economy, according to a survey by Country Financial released Wednesday.
Country Financial, a national financial services firm based in Bloomington, Ill., surveyed 1,000 Americans to determine their feelings about the Federal Reserve’s interest rate increase and the increases expected for this year.
On average, Americans believe there is a 36 percent chance that the U.S. economy will fall into a recession this year, says the survey. In addition, less than 20 percent believe raising interest rates in 2016 will help the U.S. economy, and only 11 percent think rate increases will benefit them personally.
“While the Federal Reserve has taken its first steps in normalizing U.S. monetary policy, future rate hikes will be measured,” says Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at Country Financial.
At the same time, 31 percent of Americans report that they don’t know what the Federal Reserve’s actions on interest rates will do to the economy and 23 percent don’t know how slowly raising interest rates will impact their personal financial situation.
“While the Fed usually begins to raise short-term interest rates to keep the economy from overheating, in this instance the economy isn’t showing signs of excess, and this is more of a normalization process of historically low rates,” says Frerichs. “Initially, consumers won’t be deterred from buying homes or cars simply because of this initial rate hike. Financing costs are still very low.”
After growing accustomed to historic lows in interest rate levels, millennials are significantly more likely to be unsure about the impact of higher interest rates. Forty percent of millennials are unsure how rising rates will impact the economy, and 32 percent do not know how rising rates will influence their own financial situation.
However, more than half of millennials believe that the likelihood of rising interest rates will matter when it comes to making major purchases, such as buying a car or home.