The Federal Reserve’s Role in the Economy

One of the most influential organizations to our economy in the United States is the Federal Reserve Board. Many people don’t notice the substantial impact the decisions of the governors of this board effect on the lives of citizens.

Why is it important to understand the role of this agency in your life? It affects how much you pay in interest on your mortgage, car loans, credit card balances and other credit instruments involving the banking system of our country.

The Federal Reserve Board (referred to simply as “the Fed”) was created on December 23, 1913 through the Federal Reserve Act. Seven Governors guide the functions of the board with each Governor appointed by the President and confirmed by Senate. A full term on the board is fourteen years with one Governor rotating off the board every two years.

Primarily, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve are charged with serving the public interest by promoting effective operation of the U.S. economy. This charge is accomplished by regulating the banking system and managing the economy to maximize employment and manage stable prices of goods in the country.

One of the most powerful committees of the Federal Reserve Board is the Federal Open Market Committee. This committee is charged with maintaining orderly markets by reviewing economic and financial conditions, determining appropriate monetary policy and evaluating the risks to long-term goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Twelve members govern this committee consisting of the original seven Governors of the Federal Reserve Board and five of the presidents of the regional banks of the Federal Reserve of which the President of the Bank of New York is a permanent committee member.

What does all of this have to do with you, the citizen? Everything! Think about the credit card you have in your wallet. The interest rate charged by banks for unsecured debt is typically higher than that charged for a mortgage collateralized with real estate. The Federal Reserve Board is the primary policymaker that establishes the discount rate (the rate at which banks participating in the Federal Reserve System can borrow money from the Federal Bank) which serves as the basis for calculating loan rates.

The Board of Governors meets every other Monday to review economic data for purposes monitoring progress. Should the Fed desire to slow down the money supply in the economy which would slow inflationary pressure, a simple raising of the discount rate will be entertained. 

Inflation is the invisible effect that all consumers feel when buying gas, groceries or other goods. The U.S. Dollar is directly impacted by the inflation present in the economy and buys fewer goods when inflation is higher.

If you wish to make your retirement income last a lifetime, contact a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. See you on the jogging trail!

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