What is fiscal policy?
Fiscal policy can be defined as the means by which governments adjust spending levels as well as tax rates to influence a country’s economy.
What is monetary policy?
Monetary policy can be defined as the process by which monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks or currency boards control the supply of money by changing interest rates.
Effects of fiscal policy on personal finance
Since fiscal policy is simply about how the government decides to spend money as well as the tax rates/rules it puts in place, fiscal policy has a significant impact on the personal finances of citizens in a country. Government spending takes many forms varying from government investments in development to spending on social security payments, welfare, etc.
When a government spends more on development, there is a positive impact on the economy. For instance, more jobs are created, and citizens have more money in their pockets to spend on goods and services. When people have more money, they are able to support small businesses which are the main drivers of the economy. The opposite happens when the government lowers spending on development. Unemployment is bound to rise. The price of goods and services also rises making life expensive.
The government’s stand on taxes also has a direct impact on your personal finance. When the government lowers income tax, for instance, citizens have more money to spend on goods and services. This, in turn, propels the industries that make those goods and services boosting the economy in the process. When the income tax is too high, citizens have less money in their pockets which reduces their buying power and slows down the economy.
In a nutshell, your personal finances are bound to be affected favourably when there are favourable tax laws and the government is spending money on things that grow the economy and put more money into the pockets of ordinary citizens.
Effects of monetary policy on personal finance
The monetary authorities of a country i.e. the central banks control the supply of money mainly to boost the economy. Central banks have several of tools for controlling the money supply. For instance, central banks can increase or decrease the amount of reserves banks are required to maintain. This increases or decreases the amount of money banks have for lending to the public as loans. Central banks can also buy or sell financial instruments like bonds to increase or decrease the money supply. Central banks can also raise or lower interest rates to make loans expensive or cheap.
Central banks can maintain tight, neutral or loose monetary policy depending on the performance of the economy. For instance, central banks tend to lower interest rates when there is poor economic growth. This encourages people to borrow since people have more access to cheap loans. This type of monetary policy is accommodative. Central banks can also take tight monetary policy stands i.e. raising short-term interest rates to moderate the pace of economic growth. This usually takes place when inflation is increasing significantly, and central banks want to reduce the amount of money in circulation to stabilise prices.
Monetary policy has a direct and indirect impact on personal finance. The direct impact revolves around the direction of interest rates while the indirect impact revolves around the expectations of economic players. When central banks raise interests, the cost of credit also increases as lenders increase the interest rates charged on loans. New, as well as existing loans, become more expensive. In regards to expectations, potential investors who depend on loans are bound to slow down or stop investing when the cost of loans increases. Monetary policy also has an effect on asset classes such as bonds, equities, real estate, commodities, and currencies. In real estate, for instance, high-interest rates tend to make mortgages expensive.
Fiscal and monetary policies have a significant impact on every person’s finances. Government spending and tax rates have a significant impact on development, employment, social security payments and overall economic growth which determines how much money citizens have in their pockets. The interest rates set by central banks also determines how much money is circulating in the economy at any given time and this has an effect on how much citizens pay for goods and services.
You must strive to understand fiscal and monetary policy in-depth for you to be able to make smart personal finance decisions.