Many people are confused about the recent debt deal and how it will affect them. The details of the deal raise a lot of questions and offer few answers. Federal spending will face huge cuts over the next 10 years and about one third of all cuts will come from defense and security.
One of the bills main feature is the establishment of a committee whose aim is to find a further $1.5 trillion in cuts. There are no guidelines as to where these funding cuts will be made and some commentators expect to see significant reductions in Social Security and increased taxation. However if this committee fails to come up with a comprehensive spending reduction plan then a series of automatic cuts will come into being. These cuts will hit Medicare, Medicaid, and military spending the heaviest.
There are a few things that savers and investors can do in order to protect themselves in these uncertain times. Investors should investigate how dependent the companies they hold shares in are on government contracts. These contracts will surely dry up in the coming years.
Anyone close to retirement should hold off on stopping work in order to defer their Social Security retirement plan. This will add 8% to your benefits, which is a lot more than you’ll get by putting that money in the bank.
If you are not already doing so you should do your own tax. You’ll save money by doing 2011 taxes yourself instead of hiring a professional. Once you have done your own tax for one year, you will be able to continue to make this saving for many years to come.
Anatomy of a Debt Reduction Deal: Five Money Moves to Make Right Now
What’s next? If you have found yourself deeply confused about how a recent debt reduction deal will likely affect your wallet, you have plenty of company.
The small writing displayed upon the contract form often induces more questions than answers. Nearly all discretionary expenditures of the US Government are slated for drastic reduction during the next decade or so. Defense costs are an especially burdensome budgetary item that is overdue to be slashed dramatically. The legislative proposal currently pending before Congress would free up an estimated total of $917,000,000,000 USD in fiscal resources from federal coffers during the first ten years after its enactment. Approximately $350,000,000,000 of that figure falls within defense and national security budgetary categories.
A fact of perhaps even more import is the recent proposal drafted by a dozen-member Congressional committee that would entail identifying areas in which to affect an additional $1.5 trillion in budget cuts. That faction’s fiscal agenda is currently an open slate that portends to entail slicing Social Security funding and increased 2011 taxes. If the committee cannot specify a minimum of $1.2 trillion in total budgetary savings or its recommendations fail to garner sufficient Congressional approval, automatic cuts become effective as of December 23, 2011. This belt-tightening campaign looks to be pervasive and severe. Vital programs like the Armed Forces and Medicare would be affected in a major way, while Medicaid, Social Security, and a few other Federal programs might be spared.
It appears as though all problems have been aptly identified but remain unresolved. This does not mean, however, that individual savings and investment plans should be left by the wayside. Consumers must continue to implement protective measures to shield themselves from the federal government’s impending fiscal fallout. Following are some specific steps to take or immediately preclude right now:
– Employ defensive investment strategies for all private government contractors’ corporate stocks. American Assoc. of Individual Investors spokesman Charlie Rotblut recently advised stock investors whose holdings depend highly upon federal funding must maintain them most vigilantly. Private defense firms will probably lose revenue due to the trickle down effects of these budget cuts. This phenomenon will have universal impact across the board, however. State contracts will also lose out as recession-ravished state economies deteriorate further from diminished federal fund inflows.
Rotblut further observed that national infrastructure is especially vulnerable, due to it being much more difficult for states to complete the construction of roadways, bridges, and highways.
He went on to advise individual investors to thoroughly peruse 10k annual reports of various corporations to glean their true level of relative governmental project dependency.
– Do not be too uptight about bonds. Bonds are no longer as risky as they have historically been. This was the recent observation by Mayflower Capital spokesman Don Martin. Of course, conventional wisdom remains valid about long-term bond values being likely to decrease as interest rates take a hike. The debt deal under consideration is likely to delay the day of ultimate reckoning for several reasons, however. As Congress is honoring its foreign obligations, it reduces the probability that ratings will go down, thereby inches T-Bill rates upward. The pending bill’s proposed budgetary cuts will not take effect until at least 2013. Their specific terms, however, hold out what many commentators believe to be the nation’s brightest rays of hope for future fiscal horizons.
Mr. Martin went on to posit that the current US economic posture is stagnant and threatens to slip into recessionary status on a daily basis. Thus, lowered government stimuli due to American leader’s austere attitudes will mean dramatic falls in bond values and other discrete, short-term investments. While this calls for a cautious approach, it is hardly an occasion for endemic panic.