Newsmax Finance Insider Charles Sizemore told Newsmax TV that he worries there is a very real possibility of the Federal Reserve following in the Bank of Japan’s footsteps and buying stocks.
“My biggest concern is government ownership of stocks. Stocks are companies, is that not government ownership of companies? That starts to look a lot like socialism,” Sizemore told Newsmax Prime’s JD Hayworth.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that the U.S. central bank might be able to help the U.S. economy in a future downturn if it could buy stocks and corporate bonds. Speaking via video conference with bankers Thursday in Kansas City, Yellen said the issue was not a pressing one right now and pointed out the U.S. central bank is currently barred by law from buying corporate assets, Reuters reported.
See JD Hayworth on Newsmax TV: Tune in beginning at 1 PM EDT to see "America Talks Live" – on FiOS 115, YouTube Livestream, Newsmax TV App from any smartphone, NewsmaxTV.com, Roku, Amazon Fire – More Systems Here
“I didn’t expect to see the Federal Reserve even talking about the possibility of buying stocks,” said Sizemore, chief investment officer of the investment firm Sizemore Capital Management and the author of the Sizemore Insights blog.
“Now, they did make it clear that this is not something they can currently do, they don’t have the power to do it now, but all it would take would be for Congress to change the rules and all of a sudden, that becomes fair game,” he said.
For her part, Yellen said the Fed's current toolkit might be insufficient in a downturn if it were to "reach the limits in terms of purchasing safe assets like longer-term government bonds."
"It could be useful to be able to intervene directly in assets where the prices have a more direct link to spending decisions," Yellen said, adding that buying equities and corporate bonds could have costs and benefits.
Meanwhile, Yellen told a conference last month the Fed would fight a future recession by buying government debt and jaw boning interest rates lower with pledges on future policy. But she said other tools might be necessary, including expanding the range of assets it would purchase.
In that speech, Yellen also cited possibilities like raising the central bank's 2 percent inflation target or targeting the nominal level of national economic output.
Meanwhile, Sizemore explained that amid such financial uncertainty, savvy investors can only benefit by essentially bulking up their war chest: in most Americans’ cases, that means their 401(k).
Sizemore urged that the intelligent investment move with any extra cash you may have is to sock it away in your 401(k), reinforcing the theme of his recent Newsmax Finance blog.
“The benefit of a 401(k) plan is that even if you’re a little bit wary of the stock market, it’s still a very good option because of the tax break and because of the matching (contribution by your company),” he said.
“So, if your employer matches you 3 to 5 percent, that’s great. On that first 3 to 5 percent, you’re getting 100 percent return just on the matching alone, but the tax break is really the big deal. If you’re maxing out the 401(k), if you’re putting in the full $18,000 a year, or if you’re age 50 or older, you’re putting in $24,000 a year, and you’re in a high tax bracket, you could be making 30 percent or more just in tax benefits," he said.
"So even if the stock market doesn’t go up a single penny, it’s worth stuffing every single dime you can into your 401(k) plan just to get the tax benefit, of nothing else,” he said.
Sizemore also expounded upon the sage advice in that very same blog: “It’s time to live with a little less glitz and glamour to avoid running out of money in your retirement years.”
Sizemore urges one “to be realistic with your expenses,” whether that means plugging numbers from financial statements into a spreadsheet or literally sitting at the kitchen table with paper and pencil.
If the numbers literally don’t add up, “you have to make changes, if that means getting a smaller house, if that means driving a less glamorous car, that’s what you have to do because that’s what the math says. You have to live within your means,” he said.
“It’s something that a lot of Americans have had a really hard time doing over the last 30 years, but in retirement, better late than ever, right? It’s better to get started.”
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
© 2023 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.