Are You Ready For The Next Bubble?

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The Nobel economist who spotted the last two bubbles talks about the bond bubble

Robert Shiller predicted the tech bubble and the housing bubble before they burst.  If you read any financial news you might have heard of the looming bond bubble or student loan bubble.  There are few inputs that go into making a bubble.  The most important one is a result of psychology feedback where people make up some story to explain why prices keep going higher.

Learn about the causes of bubbles and if the bond market is about to burst.

Shiller, however, resists applying the B-word to bonds. “It doesn’t clearly fit my definition of ‘bubble,’” he says. “It doesn’t seem to be enthusiastic. It doesn’t seem to be built on expectations of rapid increases in bond prices.” (Shiller spoke with Money in December.) In the unlikely event you meet anyone at the proverbial cocktail party talking about bond funds, he’s probably complaining about the lousy yields, not talking about the killing he expects to make.

The difference this time is the story people can make up.  For the dotcom boom it was the thought of a new economic era through tech, for housing it was getting a high priced home with cheap mortgages made possible through new financial instruments.  The value of both these assets were increasing rapidly during the bubble.  The story driving bonds is the same as it always has been.  Bonds are what people invest in for safety or to diversify their portfolio and with yields so low and stock returns so great the only thing propping bonds prices up is fear of the economy not returning to prosperity.  No one is expecting to get rich quick from bond prices increasing.

Detailed explanation of why the bond bubble isn’t the same as the housing or tech bubble.


About Shaun Archer Tatum

Shaun works in corporate finance in New York City. He has done financial consulting for several start-ups and has worked at several Fortune 500 companies. He has contributed several finance/investing articles on Seeking Alpha which have been published on Yahoo! Finance.

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