The Markets

How high will they go?

Just as the market anticipated, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) chose not to raise interest rates last week. However, Fed officials made it clear another rate increase might be necessary before the end of 2023 as continued economic strength, higher energy prices, robust consumer spending, and rising wages in a strong labor market have kept upward pressure on inflation.

FOMC economic projections indicate the Fed anticipates the effective federal funds rate will remain higher for longer than many hoped. The median projected rates were:

  • 5.6 percent in 2023,
  • 5.1 percent in 2024, and
  • 3.9 percent in 2025.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell indicated that an economic soft landing – a slowdown in economic growth that results in lower inflation without a recession – remains a possibility, reported Howard Schneider and Michael S. Derby of Reuters.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned that any expectation for a soft landing might be too optimistic as significant risks remain, including upward pressure on wages, slowing consumer spending, and higher borrowing costs, reported Chris Anstey of Bloomberg. As a result, it’s possible the Fed could be surprised by weaker economic growth or higher inflation.

After the FOMC meeting, yields on bonds moved higher. The yield on a one-year United States Treasury bill finished Wednesday at 5.47 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note closed at 4.35 percent.

U.S. stock markets moved lower as investors considered the potential effects of high interest rates for longer. Rising interest rates (and tightening bank lending standards) make borrowing more difficult, lifting the cost of capital and lowering profits. When company profits drop, share price valuations tend to move lower, reported Mary Hall in Investopedia.

As investors mulled the Fed’s outlook, the possibility of a government shutdown, and other factors, major U.S. stock indices finished the week lower, according to Barron’s. Yields on U.S. Treasuries generally moved higher over the week.

Data as of 9/22/23 1-Week Y-T-D 1-Year 3-Year 5-Year 10-Year
Standard & Poor's 500 Index -2.9% 12.5% 15.0% 9.2% 8.2% 9.8%
Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index -1.8 5.1 13.8 1.8 0.4 1.2
10-year Treasury Note (yield only) 4.4 N/A 3.7 0.7 3.1 2.7
Gold (per ounce) 0.0 6.4 15.3 0.4 9.9 3.8
Bloomberg Commodity Index -1.2 -5.8 -8.4 14.4 4.6 -1.9

S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MarketWatch,, London Bullion Market Association.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

The Rules Will Change in 2026

Since 2001, workers who are age 50 or older have been able to make catch-up contributions to their workplace retirement plans. As the name implies, the idea was to help people who are behind on saving for retirement catch-up by saving more. For example, if older plan participants reach the annual contribution limit of $22,500, then they can choose to contribute an additional $7,500 in catch-up contributions.

However, Secure 2.0 changed the rules for higher-income earners, reported Paul Mullholland in PlanSponsor.

Plan participants who earn $145,000 or more each year will no longer be able to make catch-up contributions to traditional plan accounts. Instead, higher-income earners in 401(k) and similar types of retirement plans must direct any catch-up contributions to Roth plan accounts.

As a reminder, contributions to traditional plan accounts are typically made with pre-tax dollars so they may help reduce the amount of taxes owed today. In addition, any earnings in traditional plan accounts grow tax deferred. Taxes are owed when a distribution is taken.

In contrast, contributions to Roth plan accounts are made with after-tax dollars. While there is no immediate tax benefit, the contributions and any earnings grow tax-free. Distributions are tax-free, too, after the account has been open for five years and the owner has reached age 59½.

The change was originally slated for 2024. However, many workplace retirement plans don’t have designated Roth accounts, which presents a problem for higher-income earners who want to save more. To give plan sponsors and administrators time to adjust to the new rules, the change will now take place in 2026.

Secure 2.0 also included an opportunity for older retirement plan participants to supercharge their savings efforts. In 2025, participants who are between the ages of 60 and 63 can make bigger catch-up contributions – either $10,000 or 50 percent more than the regular catch-up contribution amount for the year.

If you have any questions about retirement plan contributions or how to generate enough income to live comfortably in retirement, please get in touch.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“[In retirement] we do have something we never had before: we have the added pressure of time. We can no longer wait around for the ideal opportunity. If we have not achieved our early dreams, we must either find new ones or see what we can salvage from the old. If we have accomplished what we set out to do in our youth, then we need not weep like Alexander the Great that we have no more worlds to conquer. There is clearly much left to be done, and whatever else we are going to do, we had better get on with it.”

—Jimmy Carter, former U.S. president

Wishing you and your families well,
Sean M. Dowling, CFP, EA
President, The Dowling Group Wealth Management

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  • Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
  • Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
  • The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
  • All indexes referenced are unmanaged. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment.
  • The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
  • The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
  • Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
  • The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
  • International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
  • Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
  • Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
  • Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
  • Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
  • You cannot invest directly in an index.
  • Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.
  • The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change. Investing involves risk including loss of principal.
  • The Price-to-Earning (P/E) ratio is a measure of the price paid for a share relative to the annual net income or profit earned by the firm per share. It is a financial ratio used for valuation: a higher P/E ratio means investors are paying more for each unit of net income, thus, the stock is more expensive compared to one with a lower P/E ratio.
  • These views are those of Carson Group Coaching, and not the presenting Representative or the Representative’s Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice.
  • This newsletter was prepared by Carson Group Coaching. Carson Group Coaching is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.
  • The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
  • Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.

Sources: [Historical, 20 Sept 23] (or go to (or go to (or go to

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