Investments of all types depend on the performance of the U.S. economy. No one can see into the future, of course, but plenty of speculation exists about what is coming. For some, the fear that the economy is slowing is a big factor in realigning investment strategies and capitalizing on taxation.
A change is likely in 2019, most expect. Just on December 19, the U.S. Federal Reserve made it clear that it, too, believes the economy is slowing. Though Chairman Jerome H. Powell stated that the economy is still “solid” and “healthy” in his notes, he also noted there were signs it was softening. Though it still plans to increase its benchmark interest rates in 2019 and raised the rate by a quarter-point this month, it was clear to acknowledge a level of uncertainty exists.
What’s behind the risk? What could be causing the full-steam-ahead economy to begin to slow? Numerous possibilities exist.
Is Washington to Blame?
A survey conducted by CNBC puts the blame squarely on Washington and the policies there. The Millionaire Survey, which was conducted by Spectrem Group, showed that many believe the policies in Washington are a big risk. According to the survey, 37 percent of those millionaires responding reported that government dysfunction is their biggest threat to building personal wealth in the year to come. Another 32 percent blamed the stock market’s less-than-stellar recent performance.
It’s clear that political lines are drawn. The survey showed 41 percent of responding Republicans believe the economy will continue to grow in the coming year, while only 8 percent of Democrats responded favorably. And, that disparity in itself could be a key factor in Washington’s inability to work together. Political dysfunction, along with growing government debt, could be key concerns for the economy in the year to come, according to the report.
The survey provides a few other key factors. For example, about half of those polled believe the S&P 500 will be up 5 percent or more in 2019. A full 20 percent believe it will be flat. And, 37 percent expect to see returns between 4 and 5.9 percent over the next year.
Trade Wars Dragging On
Though President Donald J. Trump continues to make statements about the current state of affairs, it is clear that the ongoing trade wars with China will play a role in the strength of the U.S. economy in the coming year as well.
Another survey, this time conducted by the Wall Street Journal, showed that the trade war with China is the biggest concern for 2019. This survey, which polled economists in the U.S., found that 47.3 percent believe that the ongoing conflict with China is the biggest risk for 2019. The survey also found 20 percent of economists believe the financial market disruptions are a key factor. And, many stated that a slowdown in the economy was likely.
Finding a Conclusion: What’s to Come?
What does this mean for investors and those planning to build wealth in the coming year? It’s clear there is looming trouble ahead. Promises of a resolution, negotiations and even a truce have surfaced in the last few weeks in regards to the U.S.–China trade war, and expectations are there will be a lasting impact. Washington will see significant changes, as well, as new representatives are sworn into place in the new year. The only promise here is that individual investors will need to put more attention and care into their portfolio and tax-planning strategies to minimize any impact of a downturn in the economy as the year plays on. This could become a critical factor for many.
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