Category Archives: Debt – Debt Management

Thoughts from Barry Habib, Housing and Mortgage expert, from this year‘s 2022 Mauldin SIC Investor Conference…

For those of you with a memory like an elephant, congratulations, you may recall that we have delightfully attended the Mauldin Strategic Investor Conference (SIC) virtually during lockdown for the past two years. As a side note, a conference that we had never attended before due to the duration and the timing … very near tax time!

Good news, once again this year the conference was virtual and we are happy to attend.

While there were 40+ speakers, more to come on others, we found the following expert and presentation very interesting, if not somewhat controversial.

Barry Habib, Mortgage and Residential Housing Expert

You may recognize Barry as he is a regular speaker on many of the financial channels among other and was a presenter at this year’s SIC conference.

Cutting to the chase, Barry expects a recession later this year or early 2023 and as such expects mortgage rates in particular to drop precipitously from their current 5 1/2% rate along with all rates of other asset types.

These expectations, (forecasts), are certainly more economic and financial market related, as such we will make note as predictions and check back sometimes next year.

Now, to Barry’s wheelhouse, what we are all interested in, the expectation of housing appreciation or depreciation!

Understanding that Barry comes from a residential and mortgage background, so let’s be transparent that there may be some innate biases, but his expectations are for mid to low single-digit housing appreciation for this year 2022.

This flies in the face of many forecasters due to the aforementioned slow down or R- word recession and more importantly the heightened interest rates of Mortgages currently.

In Barry’s defense, lack of supply and his expectations of a sharp reversal in mortgage rates will lend itself to this continued growth.

Heck if housing prices hold their values we would consider Barry’s prediction a win.

There will certainly be pockets of strength and weakness across the country…

We will be watching as it’s very easy to monitor and will let you know!

Barry …thanks very much for a fantastic presentation and for the information duly noted…

Have a Great “Housing Analysis and Forecast” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Capital Market thoughts, looking forward not back … FOMC chaired by Jerome Powell gave, now taking away, for the moment

We don’t want to get too heavy and pound you with market thoughts, we know you’re getting enough of that from the “Market in Turmoil” like headlines, but we did want to give some explanations and let you know we are watching carefully as we have been on notice since December for a possible slowdown.

Look forward, not back

Economic reports such as today’s CPI (consumer price index) report is very much rearview looking, as such it’s sometime easy to forget that what’s most important is looking forward to what is going to happen next rather than backwards to what has happened. Yes it is much harder, and you do not know exactly what is going to happen … but you sure do not drive a vehicle looking continually in the rear view mirror – some humor on a dry subject… stay with me!

This is even more evident at the recent quick rise in interest rates, creating the headwinds to bonds. As noted here and again here in our posts (the second with even a special video) it’s highly likely and the probability is most that the headwinds for our fixed income investments are behind us. Once again looking forward, a slow down usually garners lower interest rates, exactly opposite to our slightly current and mostly rearview looking higher rates.

FOMC chaired by Powell gave and now takes

Over the past 18 months to two years the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) headed by Jerome Powell have taken very aggressive measures to stimulate the economy. Much of a stimulation, once the book is written may have over stimulated not only the economy but various asset prices. Their goal at this time is to slow inflation thereby doing a complete turnaround from their prior stance and taking away stimulus. This most likely will continue until they see evidence of slower inflation or lower employment. 

Higher rates are their main instrument of choice:

The FOMC waits for the reports such as the CPI to confirm their decisions, making for a lag in decision making and possibly longer decision-making, but they will eventually get there….

Finally, capital markets are certainly looking forward hence the sluggishness as they begin to price in a slowdown in full force. Eventually it’s very likely the FOMC will begin to see these clues as well!

Have a Great “Forward Looking” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Several Weeks of Consecutive Short Road Trips Finally … FOMC Raises Rates … Spring Friday Crazy Southern Weather

Happily, the schedule shows several road trips in the next few weeks making for a fast May …. Nothing air related, but a nice drive in all different directions in a return to normal…. as also mentioned in our Three Positives Happy Post here mid week….

FED Increases Rates – Jerome Powell

Mid Week, as expected the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by Jerome Powell increased the Fed Funds Rates (think our checking accounts) by 1/2 Percent or in Wall Street Speak, 50 basis points… We will talk more about this soon, but wanted to let the Capital Market Dust Settle before diving in….

Friday in the South – Heated Weekend

With near 1000 followers … many from all over the country of friends and clients we like to toss you the rollercoaster ride of deep South Texas weather every once in a while … a high 40 degree mid week start of the day to only top out at 60 this week, was a cool spell …. this weekend Donald the Brain hits 100 in his neck of the woods and we are expecting mid 90’s…

That is ok the cold, rain and ice are gone… Lot’s of water, sunscreen, shade and no extended time in the first round of heat….

Have a Great Friday and super Weekend- Talk next week!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Interest Rates on the Rise, Bond Prices Versus Interest Rates, The Bigger Coupon, Possible Peak Rates … Special Video Analysis Refresher/Reminder …

With multiple comments over the last few weeks and a pick up in headlines concerning interest rates, we decided to do an analysis and review! We also have added a video to help explain some of the complexities associated with rates and bonds … as while at face value bonds are a simple animal, their movements can be puzzling.

The main reason for the increased headlines and comments are when rates go up, the value of bonds goes down initially, and rates have really jumped dramatically for various reasons.

YouTube

Briefly as a reminder, Bond aka Fixed Income aka corporates aka treasuries aka high yield aka Fixed Income instruments are nothing more than a note with an income stream to the purchaser of the bond! There is a saying the bond market is “Smart” because you only have to worry about the ability and willingness of the lender to pay… nothing else…

Rates and Bonds – I Go Up, You Go Down

The Green line is the yield on the 10 year treasury… The red is a huge bond fund from Vanguard called the BND….

No doubt that this is an almost perfect inverse relationship.

One detail worth mentioning, longer term bonds are more volatile, both up and down than shorter term i.e. A one year bond will not move near as much as a 30 year. This makes sense because the longer the term, the more payments that are owed and the more change in the prevailing rate effects the bond.

Fast Fast Fast Movement

In true, be careful what you ask for fashion, (we have long been positive towards higher interest rates) rates have moved incredibly fast, especially Mortgage Back Securities which are pools of mortgages used for determining current new rates…

This is the average 30 year fixed rate mortgage…. as of yesterday, this rate was well over 5%…this rate is almost double the rate just a few quarters ago…. With eventual supply, our home asset is facing some headwinds !

Much of this rate movement is coming from Federal Reserve Bank Presidents public comments…..

Why would they do this? To slow the economy… if they can get the market to move rates up, their job is easier ….heck if they can get market participants to do all the work, the Fed would hardly need to do anything… plus markets are much faster to react than the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee)

Bigger Coupon

Once interest rates move, a new bigger income stream is the net effect… New purchases or re-investments are met with bigger income payments…

This continued higher income payment begins paying back the headwind of the drop in value as shown in the first chart…

Clipping that coupon will be nicer as rates increase!

How Far Can they Go? Rates and the FOMC?

Here comes is the sizzle…. be careful on extrapolating higher rates into the future… this extrapolation has garnered a lot of headlines as of late …. Whoaaaa

This is about a 35 year chart… go back farther, to a much younger demographic, there was a time when the FOMC raised interest rates to the roof… think 15-18% to tamp out inflation….

With an economy today of much more debt to service and older (more savers, less spender) demographics the last four decades have been a slow but continued lower longer term rate….

Note the top of the prior interest rate cycle looks like the top of the FOMC rate hike…again the last four decades….

Stall Speed

With the afore mentioned cycle high repeating as the following cap on rates, looks like, although very fast rate movement recently, the majority of the move is likely over….and therefore less headwind for the value of bonds and bigger coupons….

Lastly… a slowdown in economic times or a rush for the safety of our simple friends usually leads to a reversal in rates and a repeat of the afore mentioned process…but in reverse… lower rates, higher prices!

Have a Great “Bonds and Interest Rate Analysis” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Mortgage Rates, Possible Technique for New Mortgages

With the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) winding down their monthly purchases of US Treasury and Mortgage Backed Securities (Pools of Actual Mortgages) it is not surprising to see Mortgage rates, specifically the 30 year rate move up, FOR NOW!

Key Technique for New Mortgages

Knowing you may not read the entire article… we are all busy, so completely understand, the meat of the following information is think twice before trying to “buy down” your mortgage rate. Yes, they (rates) have gone up and yes it is more than just a few quarters ago, but it is entirely likely that the next economic slowdown will welcome in lower rates. If you pay a lot of money to lower your rate now … your hurdle to refinance in the future is much greater!

Mortgage Rates Review

While we may think recent rates are sky high… let’s take a longer term view.

Source: Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US, February 22, 2022.

The Short Term View looks much different

Source: Freddie Mac, 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Average in the United States [MORTGAGE30US], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US, February 22, 2022.

Between FOMC lowering their monthly artificial purchases, interest rate markets front running the FOMC and a slight reversion to the mean … rates are higher than recently… but think twice before “buying down” that rate!

Have a Great “Mortgage Rate Analysis” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Back to Basics Fun Educational Review – Part Three – Debt and Debt Planning, The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Welcome to Part Three of our fun educational “Back to Basics” series original started here with Part One “The Emergency Fund” and continuing with Part Two, Protection Planning, and now on to Debt and Debt Planning!

The goal of this series is to cover the most important Foundational Financial Planning items in not only order of importance but also order of technical difficulty. Once complete we expect to have a foundational, almost college like course of Financial Planning topics and goals that can be shared all at once in Netflix series drop like format for any that may be in need or interested. Longtime clients will most certainly find a repetition of items we have spoken or written about before but may occasionally uncover a topic that needs addressing due to a change in our situation.

Debt and Debt Planning – The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Debt and Debt Planning is an extremely important topic, ESPECIALLY in today’s buy now and pay later constantly pushed promotional items. But be careful, nothing is for free and one misstep could lead to an unneeded compound interest tragedy….

In a perfect world, no debt of any type may be a desire and many might feel success is reached upon this achievement, but not all debt is bad, and there are likely mandatory times of debt!

Once again, adhering to Part 1, and having a healthy Emergency fund allows control of ones own destiny giving full control of this topic… so let’s jump in!

The Good Debt

Student Debt May Be The Best Debt Someone Can Have

An investment in ones self in the form of higher education … while we can discuss the merits on how enrollment costs have increased rapidly, is generally a very helpful item for the long term and again generally, if career pointed will frequently pay off in the long term.

  • Reflect on what you are incurring the student debt for with watchful eye for help upon completion i.e. Might not be a good idea to incur debt for something you may never use career wise in the future
  • Keep an eye on the total expected amount of debt you may be saddled with upon completion and mind possible less expensive options
  • Watch the terms of the debt, deferred interest, government subsidized, zero interest, low interest
  • Of course try to keep it at a minimal

Residential Mortgage Debt

With long term Mortgage rates (30 year) recently in the 2% -3% range we can argue that Mortgage debt is not bad debt. Cautiously we put Mortgage Debt here in the good, but there is an interest rate that would make it bad debt i.e. An exaggerated example from decades ago of 10%+ would not be good debt.

Tax Benefits of Mortgage Debt can help make the headline rate even lower after tax benefits. But those can come and go as tax laws change.

Most can qualify for WAY WAY more than one should actually have! Our conservative view equation is generally a mortgage of twice annual earnings is a really good place to start, especially for those early in their careers.

Free/Zero Interest Debt is Ok if Handled Properly

Again pointing to our healthy Emergency Fund, Interest Free/Zero debt CAN be ok. Do not take it as an excuse to make an unaffordable purchase!

Watch the terms, as one mistake often carries a huge carry forward of interest, far negating the extra interest one would earn by using the “Free” debt.

Also be careful with a large lump sum payment at the end of a “Free” term… make darn sure we have the funds available and it will not damage our Emergency Funds stash!

The Bad Debt

Interest bearing debt for an item not needed is Bad Debt and borderline Ugly debt. As mentioned earlier, we live in a highly promotional world of “Buy Now, Pay Later” …. Do not bite.

Examples may include what we call Toys, such as extra motorized or floating vehicles, overly expensive devices or equipment and the like.

It is fine to “Treat” ourselves every once in a while, but don’t do it on Bad Debt and don’t mess up your Emergency fund !

The Ugly Debt

Any high interest debt, especially Credit Card type debt.

With interest rates very low on savings rates, having a debt interest rate over mid single digits would be called Bad Debt!

Most of the time this debt occurs is usually attributed to our Part 1 Emergency Fund inadequacy … possibly combined with a “life’s curve ball” unexpected event.

Rates as high as 20% are not common in this swimming pool… please don’t swim here and keeping that emergency fund healthy will keep you out of the water!

Now that we have a good foundation…. next up, Retirement Planning!

Have a Great “Debt Planning” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Bond Markets and Participants Say Raise Rates Mid 2022, FOMC Says WAY later (EOY 2022), Who is Correct?

Why this is important? Bond Markets are signaling a much faster interest rate increase(s) than Fed Speak… Someone is going to lose this game of chicken… Only time will tell us who?

Frequently, Wall Streeters (my nick name) are quoted as saying the smartest guys in the room are the Bond Markets/Participants.

Some of this rhetoric comes from the simplicity of a bond. Basically you have a time to payback (term) and risk of the asset (Quality i.e. Aa to junk).

With less to focus on, bonds and their players/participants are thought to have greater clarity…. However, in recent years (working on a decade now) the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) led by Jerome Powell currently, have been making direct purchases of bonds, causing possible distortions and lack of true free market discovery….

Well Maybe!

Recent Two Year Treasury Yields Rise Dramatically

Throwing water on the theme that the FOMC has taken TOTAL control of the bond market, this recent move in the 2 year treasury is signally to the FOMC by bond folks, they expect (and want) rate hikes sooner rather than later….. Hmmmmm

CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) FOMC Watch Tool

This neat CME Fed Watch Tool … overlays the current interest rates with a graph to show an expected increase time probability…

The way to read this chart is the orange represents the chance of a FOMC rate increase… March of 22 showing about a 20% chance of a FOMC rate increase….

Push forward to June 22, just two months later, and the probability of at least a .25% increase moves to about 80%!

The thing is, the FOMC is saying maybe one increase very late next year (2022), but certainly not the bond market/participants.

Wait too long and the FOMC may miss their chance to raise … raise too early (not likely at this time) and it could cause an unexpected headwind for the economy.

Let’s grab some popcorn and see who wins this tug of war!

Have a Great “Fed versus Bond Market” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Financial Bottleneck Update – Getting Worse, Do Not Procrastinate …. FHFA Conforming Home Loan Adjustment New Amount …. 18% Increase to $647,200 … Wow … Compared to 2020 Increase of 7.5% …. Inflation? … Maybe … Friday

Warning: Financial Bottlenecks are ….. well getting MORE bottlenecked

Do not procrastinate on transactions, especially ones planned, like donations, tax issues, account adjustments or necessary known in advance needed movement of money…

Do it now and avoid the stress if at all possible!

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled, a bit heavy Friday Post: FHFA Stunning Value Increase

A conforming or NON-jumbo Mortgage loan tends to have easier qualification terms, lower rates and lower down payment options … Of course each situation is different, but just on the normal margin, the preceding tends to be true…

FHFA Ups new confirming amount by 18% .. Wow

Earlier this week the FHFA here in this announcement, made the large increase announcement…

On a side note, just really enjoy the connections of the dots via our Government Agencies…OK, Digressing…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/30/2021

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the conforming loan limits (CLLs) for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) in 2022. In most of the U.S., the 2022 CLL for one-unit properties will be $647,200, an increase of $98,950 from $548,250 in 2021. 

Prior Year Release of 7.5%

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Baseline Limit Will Increase to $548,250

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE11/24/2020

​Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2021.  In most of the U.S., the 2021 maximum conforming loan limit (CLL) for one-unit properties will be $548,250, an increase from $510,400 in 2020. 

Some takeaways:

  • Great for homeowners as they fight higher prices
  • Especially for possible new young homeowners that would not have otherwise qualified
  • Inflationary?
  • Possible, another, not cheap asset class

Did not mean to get all heavy on a Friday, but thought it worth noting……

Have a Great Friday, Super Weekend and Talk Next Week!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Margin Debt Analysis … All Time Highs … Users and Take Away

Debt, or more specifically Margin Debt which is used to add more gasoline to an investment position is at all time highs…

For the record, we rarely use or recommend the use of Margin Debt, but watch it for tells of investor behavior.

Margin Debt Analysis

Margin Debt is the lending of money in an investment account against securities owned, for the additional purchase of more securities. Think leverage and gasoline on an investment portfolio…

Margin is mostly used by professional investors, but has gained some attention of the new, very young investors…

While amplifying returns on the up side, it does just the opposite on the down side as well.

This Data from the Margin Debt portion of FINRA a broker regulatory agency

While a long term monthly graph, again from FINRA and not adjusted for GDP or Inflation, it is easy to see downward moves in capital markets cause Margin to decrease.

While at an all time high, many investors who may have never felt a real down capital market may be over their skis….

Not to worry, we will keep you posted on this, as we have in the past!

Have a Great “Margin Debt Update” Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents

Bonds and Interest Rate Movement Analysis/Reminder, Bonds are the Voice of Reason Portion of Portfolio’s, Friend and Foe

Almost every portfolio needs some type of bond investment. Bonds cushion movements during volatile times, kick off regular interest payments usually very frequently and act as a foundation for the entire portfolio.

Bonds are the voice of reason in our portfolios… Much like the friend you had that always calmly mentioned the risk associated with some youthful action that upon second thought was not a good idea…

While a cushion and form of stability during bad times, during higher interest rate times, they act as a small headwind.

Bonds and Interest Rates – Tug of War

As interest rates move up, bonds face a bit of a headwind in the short term, but eventually they catch up to the new higher prevailing interest rate through either maturity in the form of individual holdings or run off in Mutual Fund Holdings.

The following chart show a good example of rates down, bonds up and then the change of rates up and bonds down a bit…

Green = Rates Red=Bond Fund

Just a friendly reminder of short term headwinds by our must have friend, the bond!

Have a Great “Bond v Interest Rates” Reminder Day!

John A. Kvale CFA, CFP

Founder of J.K. Financial, Inc.

A Dallas Texas based fee only

Financial Planning Total Wealth

Management firm.

jkfinancialinc

street-cents