Why inflation matters
U.S. government bonds in 1990 were paying investors 8% a year. That sounds amazing! Especially for a low risk investment. 🙂 But not everyone was buying them. Why? Because investment returns don’t tell the whole story. The inflation rate that year was 5.4%. That means the real rate of return on those bonds was only 2.6%. Stashing $100 under a mattress would have lost $5.40 in value during 1990. As Ray Dalio says, “cash is trash.”
Obtaining a mortgage from an unconventional lender
Earlier this year I bought a rental property and took on a new mortgage at 2.44% fixed interest rate for 5 years. After asking around different banks I decided to use monoline lender MCAP. They deal with broker channels and often have lower rates than the big banks. 🙂
Since this is an investment property the interest on the mortgage is tax deductible. My marginal tax rate is about 30%. So my effective interest rate after tax adjustment is 1.71%. But this is the nominal rate. To get the full picture we have to subtract the inflation rate. Last year Canada’s official inflation rate was 2.25%. So my real mortgage rate equals the nominal rate (1.71%) minus the inflation rate (2.25%) which comes to -0.54%.
So I’m effectively paying a negative interest rate. I’m earning 54 basis points to borrow money. Woot! 😀 Personal finance author Robert Kiyosaki says smart people use debt to get rich. He’s right. I’m growing my net worth by literally having this mortgage.
The historical average inflation rate in Canada has been about 2% annually. Let’s assume it will continue to average 2% for the foreseeable future.
This is bad for my mortgage lender. The asset they are holding (my mortgage) will slowly lose value over time. Fortunately for them the 2.44% interest rate they charge me is still higher than the expected inflation rate.