With Election Day behind us, economists and financial planners are predicting what the Donald Trump presidency could mean for Americans' wallets.
With Election Day behind us, economists and financial planners are predicting what the Donald Trump presidency could mean for Americans’ wallets.
On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to make huge investments in infrastructure and slash taxes, while suggesting he could loosen regulations on Wall Street. He also vowed to restore American jobs and sharply criticized international trade agreements.
“A lot of economists, myself included, are very worried about the protectionist policies Trump is championing,” said Aaron Jackson, a professor of economics at Bentley University in Waltham. “It would probably lead to retaliatory trade sanctions against us, which would hurt our exports … The uncertainty created by some of the things he’s said as well as what many see as conflicting policies could potentially tip the economy into a recession.”
Trump’s stated commitment to increasing spending on infrastructure while cutting taxes, Jackson said, is a recipe for increasing the federal debt. That, in turn, would cause interest rates to rise.
“For those on the verge of purchasing a home, this would suggest to me that they should do so when they can,” he said.
Bill Harris, a financial planner with W.H. Cornerstone Investments in Kingston, also said Trump’s rhetoric on trade could be a cause for concern.
“I worry about a trade war,” he said. “That’s been the posturing where he’s saying NAFTA’s going to get renegotiated.”
Brad Wright, a certified financial planner with the New England Financial Planning Group in Burlington, said the worst thing a diversified, long-term investor can do amidst uncertainty is to panic and sell at a loss.
“I don’t think you should pull everything out and move to Canada,” he said.
While Wright said it’s early to determine which of the campaign-trail economic policies Trump will pursue after Inauguration Day, he’s hopeful there will be a pro-growth, business-friendly climate. He predicts earnings growth will continue through 2017.
“It depends what he makes good on,” Wright said. “I don’t think he’s going to put up a wall, but if he does, it will affect who can come to our country and work.”
With Trump, Wright predicts there will be one near certainty in a sea of unknowns: controversy.
“There’s going to be a lot of news headlines,” he said. “There’s anxiety when markets are volatile. The media, I think, overall heightens anxiety. We have to filter through what’s noise and what’s fact and try not to panic.”FindTheData | Graphiq
Harris views Trump’s tax plan, which would increase standard deductions and consolidate federal income taxes into four brackets, as something that could have a major impact on people.
“I think people at the lower end of the wage scale are going to have more money in their pockets,” Harris said.
Increasing the standard deduction would reduce the amount of taxable income for most taxpayers.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has stated that while Trump’s plan would cut taxes at all income levels, the bulk of the benefits would go to the wealthiest taxpayers. The plan would reduce federal revenues by $9.6 trillion over a decade, the Tax Policy Center projects.
Harris also said it’s early to predict how much of Trump’s agenda will get through Congress. While the GOP controls the House and Senate, Harris said Trump is very different from traditional Republicans.
“I’m trying to remain positive and not be political,” Harris said. “It’s the dawn of a new day. We don’t know what that means yet. I think we’re witnessing our first third-party president. I think the system of checks and balances our Founding Fathers set up is going to be very evident.”