Interest Rates: What Does 2024 Look Like if You’re Planning a Large Expense

magnifing glass with spreadsheets looking at bar graph

Are you gearing up to purchase your first home? Buy a new car? Have another large expense on the horizon? Whatever your game plans, the key to successful financial planning lies in understanding the ins and outs of interest rates. Much like the external factors that influence the rise and fall of the ocean, interest rates are subject to a variety of elements that shape their trajectory.

Current Interest Rates: What Does 2024 Look Like

Let’s start things off on a positive note – interest rates in 2024 are predicted to be more favorable compared to 2023. However, it’s essential to understand that predicting these rates precisely is like forecasting the weather – unpredictable. Although the Federal Reserve has paused interest rate hikes for the beginning of 2024, rates can still fluctuate due to various factors such as inflation, unemployment, GDP growth, and the balance of supply and demand for money.

Affordability and Timing

Interest rates wield a direct influence on affordability, but holding out indefinitely for a lower rate is no foolproof strategy. Timing the market is a tricky endeavor, and the decision to wait or proceed with a significant purchase, such as a home or car, should factor in considerations beyond interest rates alone. Keep in mind that while timing matters, it’s not the sole determinant.

Some things to consider are the seasonal buying cycle: spring and summer are generally better for buying houses as there is more inventory on the market. Fall is normally the best time to purchase a car as dealerships are unloading the current year’s stock in preparation for new models.

Conduct a thorough evaluation of your personal finances and consult with a financial advisor to determine if it’s the right time for a major expense or if adjustments to your budget are necessary to meet your purchasing and long-range goals.

Refinancing is an Option

If interest rates keep climbing or are slow to go down, don’t panic. Refinancing in a year or two is a strategic option if you are trying to lower your interest rate, allowing you to secure better terms and manage your finances effectively. Staying proactive and monitoring interest rate trends is key to making the most of refinancing opportunities.

Personal Finances and Expert Guidance

Your unique financial situation matters. Health reasons, children and grandchildren, and job factors all influence financial decisions. As you navigate interest rates in 2024, remember that an informed approach is your best ally. An advisor can help clear the financial fog, empower you with a plan tailored for your personal situation, and expertly advise you on making significant purchases now and how they influence your financial goals.

Chris Perry,CFP, Wealth Advisor