Economy Is Strong, but Investor Uncertainty Lingers

June 13, 2024 Michael Townsend
Even with a growing economy, falling inflation, and record low unemployment, investors can’t shake concerns about interest rates, the election, and the U.S. debt and deficit.
Transcript Open new window

After you listen

  • Check out "Deficits, Debt, and Markets: Myths vs. Realities" by Mike Townsend, Liz Ann Sonders, Kathy Jones, and Kevin Gordon.
  • " role="dialog" aria-label="" id="body_disclosure--media_disclosure--244201" >

    In the first half of 2024, although the markets are doing well, inflation is cooling, unemployment is near record lows, and the economy is strong, there continues to be an undercurrent of anxiety among investors. That's likely due to the sense that there are a lot of uncertainties out there, including the Fed's rate-cut timing, the looming election, potential tax changes, the nation's rising debt load, and more. On this episode, Daniel Stein, who manages three Charles Schwab branches, joins host Mike Townsend for a wide-ranging discussion about investor concerns and offers solid suggestions for navigating them. Dan also provides strategies for building a bond portfolio to capture today's strong rates while also planning for rate changes in the future, shares insights on where to look for potential opportunities spurred by the growing interest in artificial intelligence, and offers ideas for how investors can position themselves in anticipation of potential tax code changes in 2025.

    In his Washington update, Mike discusses bills moving through Congress to create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency and to discourage the Fed from launching a central bank digital currency. He also provides an update on a setback for the SEC, which saw a new rule for hedge funds rejected by the courts.

    For more reading on one of the topics discussed on today's episode, see the Schwab Center for Financial Research's latest deep dive into the implications of large federal deficits and the growing national debt: "Deficits, Debt, and Markets: Myths vs. Realities."

    WashingtonWise is an original podcast for investors from Charles Schwab. 

    If you enjoy the show, please leave a rating or review on Apple Podcasts

    The policy analysis provided by the Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., does not constitute and should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any political party.

    The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. All expressions of opinion are subject to changes without notice in reaction to shifting market, economic, and geopolitical conditions. Data herein is obtained from what are considered reliable sources; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed. Supporting documentation for any claims or statistical information is available upon request.

    Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

    Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.

    All names and market data shown above are for illustrative purposes only and are not a recommendation, offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. Supporting documentation for any claims or statistical information is available upon request.

    The information and content provided herein is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended, and should not be construed, as a specific recommendation, individualized tax, legal, or investment advice. 

    Tax laws are subject to change, either prospectively or retroactively. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, individuals should contact their own professional tax and investment advisors or other professionals (CPA, Financial Planner, Investment Manager) to help answer questions about specific situations or needs prior to taking any action based upon this information.

    Digital currencies [such as bitcoin] are highly volatile and not backed by any central bank or government. Digital currencies lack many of the regulations and consumer protections that legal-tender currencies and regulated securities have. Due to the high level of risk, investors should view digital currencies as a purely speculative instrument.

    Diversification and asset allocation strategies do not ensure a profit and cannot protect against losses in a declining market.

    Performance may be affected by risks associated with non-diversification, including investments in specific countries or sectors. Additional risks may also include, but are not limited to, investments in foreign securities, especially emerging markets, real estate investment trusts (REITs), fixed income, small capitalization securities and commodities. Each individual investor should consider these risks carefully before investing in a particular security or strategy.

    Currency trading is speculative, volatile and not suitable for all investors.

    Money market funds are neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of an investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.

    Roth IRA conversions require a 5-year holding period before earnings can be withdrawn tax free and subsequent conversions will require their own 5-year holding period. In addition, earnings distributions prior to age 59 1/2 are subject to an early withdrawal penalty.

    A bond ladder, depending on the types and amount of securities within the ladder, may not ensure adequate diversification of your investment portfolio. This potential lack of diversification may result in heightened volatility of the value of your portfolio.  As compared to other fixed income products and strategies, engaging in a bond ladder strategy may potentially result in future reinvestment at lower interest rates and may necessitate higher minimum investments to maintain cost-effectiveness. Evaluate whether a bond ladder and the securities held within it are consistent with your investment objective, risk tolerance and financial circumstances.

    Investors should consider, before investing, whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available in such state's qualified tuition program

    Investment Research for Schwab Investing Themes™ is provided by Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (“CSIM”). CSIM is an affiliate of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). Both CSIM and Schwab are separate entities and subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

    Schwab Investing Themes is for informational purposes only; it is not intended to be investment advice (including fiduciary advice as defined under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or the Internal Revenue Code) or a recommendation of any stock. 

    Neither the tax-loss harvesting strategy, nor any discussion herein, is intended as tax advice and does not represent that any particular tax consequences will be obtained. Tax-loss harvesting involves certain risks including unintended tax implications. Investors should consult with their tax advisors and refer to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website at about the consequences of tax-loss harvesting.

    Forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only, may be based upon proprietary research and are developed through analysis of historical public data.

    Indexes are unmanaged, do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses and cannot be invested in directly. For more information on indexes, please see

    Past performance is no guarantee of future results and the opinions presented cannot be viewed as an indicator of future performance.

    The Schwab Center for Financial Research is a division of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. 

    Apple, the Apple logo, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Podcasts are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

    Spotify and the Spotify logo are registered trademarks of Spotify AB.