Friday, 3 February 2012

Negative interest rates turn Parable of the Talents upside down.

The guy who hid his boss's money instead of investing or putting it out at interest is the loser in the Bible story.  Not any more.  "Preserving capital" is in.   If you succeed in hanging onto the boss's capital, you're a hero.  If you are taking risks without immediate payback, you will be looking for a new job.

US Treasury committee recommends negative yields on some auctions.  October 25nd 2011, some Treasury securities sold with a minus 0.55% return.  Last August, New York Mellon Corp began charging to accept large cash deposits to cover overhead and the insurance fee on deposits charged by the FDIC.

I prefer the first two servants in the bible story who reached out to opportunity but get used to the new deflationary reality.  You may have to pay someone to keep your money safe, never mind earning a little retirement income off it.  As others have pointed out, with deflation you can actually increase your wealth  by stashing money in the mattress or burying it in the old woolen sock.

With all the money printing, you'd expect inflation but new money is being parked, not spent.  The money in circulation shrinks faster than the "presses print it".  The money that IS available, is scarcer and gains value. You can buy more house for your dollar than a few years ago.  The guy who comes to fix your porch will take a few bucks less to do the work.

New version of the parable:  Well done thou good and faithful servant who buried thy talents.  Take thou the talents of thy fellow servants and bury them likewise!  (Matt 25 is original version.)

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