A Wall Street street sign is framed by an American flag hanging on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in early trading Wednesday, June 29, 2016, echoing strong gains in global markets as investor worries about Britain’s vote to leave the European union eased. Traders also got encouraging data on U.S. consumer spending. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Douglas and Theresa Moser had no particular interest in the United Kingdom’s surprising recent decision to leave the European Union in search of political and economic autonomy from the group. And whether precipitated by nationalist and racist propaganda or a move to simply stand alone, the Olney, Md.-based couple, considered the fall out to be far removed from their lives. But when the U.S. stock market began an aggressive decline following the U.K.’s departure vote (known as Brexit), the Mosers realized their 401Ks and children’s college savings plans, could be in jeopardy.
The true consequences of Britain exiting from the European Union, according to analysists will likely be gradual, however, the immediate impact on stock prices has proven quick and brutal. For Black families, like the Mosers, whose saving habits have been poor, heavy losses in their stocks could further aggravate saving.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 611 points, or 3.4 percent on the first day of trading following the Brexit-Bremain vote, with The Standard & Poor’s 500 falling 3.6 percent, and the Nasdaq composite slipping to 4.1 percent. Wall Street insiders, including PNC Financial Services Group senior economist Bill Adams, said in a statement to customers June 26, families like the Mosers should brace for rocky trading.
Adams, who specializes in international monies, said global markets sold off sharply in the late evening on June 23 because many had begun anticipating that a “leave” vote was becoming more likely. “For the Federal Reserve, the Brexit vote would make it more difficult to raise interest rates since it would likely spur the Bank of England, European Central Bank, and the Bank of Japan to cut interest rates or otherwise increase monetary stimulus in the second half of 2016,” Adams said in a statement. “Most investors who are decades away from retirement have plenty of time for their portfolios to recover from any losses they might see in the near term, but those with shorter-term investments will need to manage their investments through what may be a volatile few years.”
Having borrowed against the 401K for an unexpected water heater replacement and the addition of a new baby to join their two teenage sons, Douglas Moser said he fears he will lose as much money pulling out of the stock market as he would gritting his teeth and bearing the fluctuations.
“We were already earning so little with our 401Ks that we considered moving the money into other accounts, but we were told that the last thing we should do is pull money out when the system is already unsteady because it further taxes the system,” Douglas told the AFRO. “Besides, we actually owe on part of the plan so it makes more sense to ride it out. Brexit in the U.K. has actually created a similar dilemma for investors in the U.S.”
Bankrate Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride said in a statement that the Brexit referendum will have a short-term, fleeting impact. As of June 29, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up almost 100 points over the past year. Savers, however, will need to keep shopping around with financial institutions, including small banks and credit unions, to look for the best deals.
“Financial markets are going to be ugly,” he says, while adding that it’s going to be a great buying opportunity for investors. “Mortgage rates will tumble, maybe to new lows, so buyers should not wait to look.”