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FEBRUARY 2024 Newsletter: Cloudy Rate Outlook Invites Volatility

February 08, 2024

We can't remember the last time there was such a wide divergence in the outlook for short-term interest rates. But, some confusion is to be expected when the Federal Reserve primes the markets for lower rates but provides few details.

At its December 2023 policy meeting, the Fed communicated it would become more “accommodative” with three rate cuts possible in 2024. The markets cheered the news. But at its January 2024 meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell cautioned that they are not ready to start cutting yet.1,2

Powell then appeared on “60 Minutes” to help clarify the Fed’s stance. He said the Fed will move carefully this year–perhaps at a rate slower than markets expect.3

For example, CNBC surveyed 25 economists and market strategists, and the group said it expects three rate cuts in 2024, with the first coming later this year. That’s consistent with the Fed. However, as the table below shows, other market participants see six rate reductions, with the first coming in May.4,5

Long ago, we learned that it’s best to stay out of the prediction business and focus on the here and now. When short-term interest rates do change, we anticipate there will be plenty of time to make any necessary adjustments.

Trying to make sense of the various outlooks can be downright maddening when the Fed is being vague. So, if you have any questions, please reach out.

1. CNBC.com, January 31, 2024. “Fed Chair Jerome Poweel says a March rate cut is not likely.”
2. CNBC.com, December 13, 2023. “Fed holds rates steady, indicates three cuts coming in 2024.”
3. CNBC.com, February 4, 2024. “Powell insists the Fed will move carefully on rate cuts, with probably fewer than the market expects”
4. CNBC.com, January 30, 2024. “The Fed will cut rates fewer times and start them later than market hopes, according to CNBC Fed Survey.”
5. CMEGroup.com, January 31, 2024

  • We are excited to announce that Teresa Marchitto has recently joined the CRF team! Teresa brings with her managerial client experience from the sales and recruitment industries, and will be working directly with our Senior Partner, Rick West. Please join us in welcoming Teresa!

  • For detailed information on the upcoming 2023-24 Tax Season, including a comprehensive guide and tax form mailing schedule, please see our Client FAQ page.

  • Please keep an eye out for upcoming design enhancements to the Account View Client Portal in March of 2024! The new design promises to offer a more engaging user experience, and we will keep you informed of the changes as they are released.

Vacation Home Rentals

If you receive money for the use of your primary residence, you may have to report this rental income on your tax return; this means that the “vacation home rental” classification can apply to your home, even if you don’t own multiple short-term rental properties. The rental expense deduction is limited in the case of a property used as a home; the rental expenses can’t be more than the rent received. The rental income may not require reporting if you rent the house to your tenant for fewer than 15 days during the year.

A vacation home is a house, apartment, condominium, or other dwelling that you use to generate income, but you can also use it as a residence during the year. For tax purposes, it’s critical to divide the expenses of a property into personal and business purposes.

To report rental income and rental expenses, use Schedule E. In addition, rental income may be subject to a net investment income tax.

*This tax tip is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Consult your tax, legal, and accounting professionals for more specific information.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov

Combining A Password Manager With MFA

Combining a robust Password Manager with MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) provides a comprehensive solution for enhanced security, ease of use, and peace of mind. This practice offers many benefits:

Enhanced Security

  • Password Managers provide a secure repository for storing your passwords. They generate and manage complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts.
  • When combined with MFA, you add an extra layer of security. MFA typically involves something you know (password) and something you have (like a smartphone or hardware token). This dual authentication significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized access.

Deterrent to Hackers

  • MFA makes it more challenging for attackers to compromise your accounts. Even if they obtain your password, they would still need the second factor (such as a time-based code from an app) to gain access.
  • Password Managers further enhance this by ensuring that your passwords are strong and unique, making brute force attacks less likely to succeed.

Streamlined Authentication

  • Integrating Password Managers with MFA streamlines the login process. You can store MFA credentials securely within the password manager.
  • This means you don’t have to juggle multiple authentication methods separately; everything is conveniently managed in one place.

You can rearrange the letters in insatiable to make another ten-letter word that starts with the letter b. What is this ten-letter word? 

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Last Month's Riddle: A man tells you there are 12 seconds in a year. This sounds absurd, but in what sense is he correct?

Answer: In one sense, there are just 12 “seconds” in a year – January 2nd, February 2nd, and so forth.

In terms of how many seconds, as a unit of time - in a typical calendar year of 365 days, that's 31,536,000. (60 seconds per minute x 60 minutes per hour x 24 hours per day x 365 days).