The stock market got a big boost on Sept. 13 when the Federal Reserve announced it would be pumping money into the financial system for as long as it takes to lift the economy. But what if the Fed is up against a force that’s stronger than money—demographics?
Last week I came across a gloomy analysis on the aging of America’s impact on the economy. Then I found strategists who are using demographics to make a bullish case. Here are the details.
An economics blog posted a depressing speech given by author and newsletter writer Harry Dent, called “A Decade of Volatility: Demographics, Debt, and Deflation.” “There is,” Dent says, “simply no way the Fed can win the battle it’s currently waging against deflation, because there are 76 million Baby Boomers who increasingly want to save, not spend. Old people don’t buy houses!”
He explains that the peak of the recent housing boom featured upper-middle-class families living in 4,000-square-foot McMansions. “About ten years from now,” he says, “what will they do? They’ll downsize to a 2,000-square-foot townhouse. What do they need all those bedrooms for? The kids are gone. They don’t visit anymore. Ten years after that, where are they? They’re in 200-square-foot nursing homes. Ten years later, where are they? They’re in a 20-square-foot grave plot. That’s the future of real estate. That’s why real estate has not bounced in Japan after 21 years. That’s why it won’t bounce here in the U.S. either. For every young couple that gets married, has babies, and buys a house, there’s an older couple moving into a nursing home or dying.” Read more.....