Have you ever taken a close look at paper money? Each U.S. bill has the words “Federal Reserve Note” imprinted across the top.
Many individuals may not know why the bill is issued by the Federal Reserve and what role the Federal Reserve plays in the economy. Here’s an inside look.
The Federal Reserve, often referred to as “the Fed,” is the country’s central bank. It was founded by Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safer, more-flexible, and more-stable monetary and financial system. Prior to its creation, the U.S. economy was plagued by frequent episodes of panic, bank failures, and limited credit.1
The Fed has four main roles in the U.S. economy.
In addition to its other duties, the Fed has been given three mandates with the economy: maintaining maximum employment, maintaining stable price levels, and maintaining moderate, long-term interest rates.1
It’s important to remember that the Fed cannot directly control employment, inflation, or long-term interest rates. Rather, it uses a number of tools at its disposal to influence the availability and cost of money and credit. This, in turn, influences the willingness of consumers and businesses to spend money on goods and services.
For example, if the Fed maneuvers short-term interest rates lower, borrowing money becomes less expensive, and people may be motivated to spend. Consumer spending may stimulate economic growth, which may cause companies to produce more products and potentially increase employment. When short-term rates are low, the Fed closely monitors economic activity to watch for signs of rising prices.
On the other hand, if the Fed pushes short-term rates higher, borrowing money becomes more expensive, and people may be less motivated to spend. This may, in turn, slow economic growth and cause companies to decrease employment. When short-term rates are high, the Fed must watch for signs of a decline in overall price levels.
Supervise and Regulate
The Fed establishes and enforces the regulations that banks, savings and loans, and credit unions must follow. It works with other federal and state agencies to ensure these financial institutions are financially sound and consumers are receiving fair and equitable treatment. When an organization is found to have problems, the Fed uses its authority to have the organization correct the problems.
The Fed maintains the stability of the financial system by providing payment services. In times of financial strain, the Fed is authorized to step in as a lender of last resort, providing liquidity to an individual bank or the entire banking system. For example, the Fed may step in and offer to buy the government bonds owned by a particular bank. By doing so, the Fed provides the bank with money that it can use for its own purposes.
Banker for Banks, U.S. Government
The Fed provides financial services to banks and other depository institutions as well as to the U.S. government directly. For banks, savings and loans, and credit unions, it maintains accounts and provides various payment services, including collecting checks, electronically transferring funds, distributing new money, and receiving and destroying old, worn-out money. For the federal government, the Fed pays Treasury checks; processes electronic payments; and issues, transfers, and redeems U.S. government securities.
Each day, the Fed is behind the scenes supporting the economy and providing services to the U.S. financial system. While the Fed’s duties are many and varied, its focus is to maintain confidence in banking institutions.
A Decentralized Central Bank
The Federal Reserve System consists of 12 independent banks that operate under the supervision of a federally appointed Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. Each of these banks works within a specific district, as shown.
If you have questions about the Federal Reserve or how their policies affect your plan, give us a call.
Have a great weekend!
Source: FMG Suite
Golf Tip of the Week
Beat The Golf Slice With A Tennis Racket
If you’re struggling with big slices and pulls to the left, try this drill.
When was the last time you hit a tennis ball with a racket? Whether it has been a while or you happen to play tennis regularly, I’m willing to bet you do a few things without even thinking about it that can help you beat the golf slice. I’ll bet you instinctively try and hit the ball over the net by hitting the ball with your elbow pointing down when the racket meets the ball. Now, if that’s hard to visualize, go ahead and grab a tube of tennis balls and a racket, then hit a few balls up and away from you as though you need to get the ball over the net. Try and hit the ball so it clears the net just barely. You don’t want to lob it way in the air.
For me, when I hit a forehand in tennis correctly, I don’t hit the ball with my right elbow flaring out or away from my body. If anything, my elbow is pointed down and close to my side, and I rotate my body through to add more power and control through the hit. Check out the pictures above to see what I mean.
How can this motion of a forehand in tennis be so helpful to you? Well, the overwhelming majority of golfers slice the golf ball to the right, losing distance and accuracy. Without having the knowledge of the proper adjustments needed to correct their slice, a golfer’s most common attempt to compensate for their slice is to bring their hands, arms and elbows well away from their body on the downswing and swing their clubpath too far to the left on the followthrough. This is commonly referred to as the “over the top move.” All this does is produce even bigger slices to the right and big pulls to the left, depending on the direction the clubface is pointed at impact.
Now back to our forehand in tennis. To transition this feel into your golf swing, as a drill, take your golf club in your right hand (right-handers) and hold it a little bit above the ground. Imagine a ball is coming at you, and hit a forehand! Let your instincts take over. Make several swings like this until you can really feel that forehand hit.
You’ll begin to notice that you’re keeping your right elbow close to your side and pointed down on the downswing and into impact. Remember, good tennis players hit the ball with their whole body, not just their arms, and they do it by rotating through the hit. Do the same in your golf swing, and let your instincts take over.
If you’re struggling with big slices and pulls to the left, try this drill the next time you practice, and think of every ball you hit as though you’re hitting a forehand in tennis. This will take your mind off your golf swing and, hopefully, help you hit better shots with improved mechanics.
Tip adapted from golftipsmag.comi
Recipe of the Week
Easy Blueberry Tarts
- 125g blueberries
- 1/3 cup (80ml) orange juice
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 x 150g pkts Coles Make At Home Tart Shells
- 300ml thickened cream
- Blueberries, extra, to serve
- Place the blueberries, orange juice, sugar and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 6-8 mins or until the blueberries just soften. Combine the cornflour and 1 tbsp of water in a small jug. Add to the blueberry mixture and cook, stirring, for 2-3 mins or until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool completely.
- Divide the blueberry mixture among the tart shells. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Place in a sealable plastic bag. Cut off 1 corner and pipe the cream onto the tarts. Top with the blueberries to serve.
Recipe adapted from taste.com.auii
Health Tip of the Week
Sleepless Nights? Try Stress Relief Techniques
In a recent national survey, 44 percent of adults said stress had caused sleepless nights at least once in the previous month. All that tossing, turning and staring at the ceiling can leave you feeling tired and more stressed the next day. If you’re caught in this vicious cycle of anxiety and insomnia, there’s good news: Simple stress relief techniques can help you sleep better and feel calmer.
Understanding Anxiety and Insomnia
What’s behind the more stress, less sleep connection? “If you’re frequently triggering your stress response, your body never gets back to its baseline,” says Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.
“Stress and sleepless nights are closely linked,” Buenaver says. “If you’re in pain, tend to worry, or are coping with a difficult situation in your life, you may have more stress hormones than usual circulating in your body. A poor night’s sleep adds even more. And those hormones may never be fully broken down. It’s like running an engine in fifth gear all the time.”
Stress Relief Techniques to the Rescue
“Activities that switch on the body’s natural relaxation response feel great,” Buenaver says. “And they have been proven by research to improve sleep. They help by reducing the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and by slowing your heart rate and breathing. Your body and mind calm down.”
Yoga, tai chi and meditation are helpful stress relief techniques. So are these two simple exercises that Buenaver recommends to patients who are struggling with sleepless nights.
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. It may help to close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly in and out for about five minutes. As you inhale, breathe down into your belly. Focus on your breath.
- If you’d like, repeat to yourself, “Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.”
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few gentle breaths, in and out.
- Begin tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Take a few breaths as you notice (and enjoy) how relaxed each muscle group feels.
- Start with the muscles in your head, neck and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.
- Repeat for any areas that are still tense.
“As you go through this exercise, feel the presence and absence of tension so you can spot lingering tension and do something about it,” Buenaver says.
Tip adapted from hopkinsmedicine.orgiii
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