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'YOLO' Spending Spree to End Soon Followed by Financial Trouble, Warns Wharton Professor

Professor Siegel suggests that the summer months may be the last good stretch for the economy before the credit card bills start piling up.
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Nout Gons
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Nout Gons

As the summer season draws to a close, there is growing concern that the unexpected buoyancy of the U.S. economy may wane. Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel has identified a group of consumers he calls 'YOLO'–you only live once–consumers who are driving the current spending spree. These individuals, who are living for the moment and spending their cash reserves on travel and leisure activities, have played a crucial role in keeping the economy afloat, says Yahoo. However, Siegel warns that their spending spree may soon come to an end, leading to potential economic challenges.

Professor Siegel suggests that the summer months may be the last good stretch for the economy before the credit card bills start piling up. Historically, the period when students return to school in September and October has been challenging for the markets. Siegel cautions that this year might not be any different, and the economy could experience some turbulence.

Furthermore, Professor Siegel has a message for the Federal Reserve. He believes that it would be a mistake for the Fed to wait until it witnesses a downturn in the job market before adjusting its rate hikes. Drawing attention to the Fed's previous stance on inflation being transitory, Siegel highlights how long it can take for inflation to reverse. Once the economy weakens, a turnaround could occur rapidly. Professor Siegel's view is that the Fed should not underestimate the potential speed at which a weakening economy can impact the markets.


Despite the concerns, Siegel does not foresee a crisis or complete calm in the markets. He anticipates a battle between recession fears and a slowdown, with expectations that the Fed will respond by implementing accommodative measures and lowering rates. While the second half of the year may not be great for the markets, Siegel does not predict a dramatic deterioration.

Image Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock project
Image Source: Pexels/RDNE Stock project

Legendary investor Bill Gross, often referred to as 'The Bond King,' shares a similar perspective. Gross believes that American consumers will exhaust their funds by the end of the year. Many experts have long speculated that the Fed would push the public to the 'point of pain' to control demand-driven inflation. Bank of America analysts predicted that rates would need to be raised to around 6% to bring inflation back to target levels. With inflation currently at 3.1%, the Fed has already increased rates to the range of 5.00% to 5.25%, with indications of two more hikes on the horizon.

Cover Image Source: Pexels | Ingo Joseph
Image Source: Pexels | Ingo Joseph

Gross's outlook aligns with this timeline, as he suggests that the fourth quarter is when the consumer spending spree is likely to come to an end. The massive amount of COVID-19-related spending, totaling around $4 trillion, is still gradually seeping into the economy, and consumers are spending their last $500 billion or so. The key question remains: when will this spending spree reach its limit?

Other notable figures have also voiced concerns about a potential cash crunch. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned last October that consumer spending would dry up during the summer due to inflation and ongoing uncertainties such as energy price volatility and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Michael Burry, famous for his prediction of the 2008 financial crisis depicted in 'The Big Short,' has been warning of a consumer recession for over a year, predicting it would occur this year.