But people who have a potentially profitable use for that money—preferably an investment—could come out ahead using this strategy.
Yes, I’ve got a “potentially profitable” tip down at the dog tracks. I “could come out ahead” by borrowing money to double down. Or I could get a metal bat to the kneecaps.
Anyone likely to be able to use leverage half-wisely (and as we’ve seen in the last few years, that’s almost nobody) doesn’t need Wall Street Journal reporters to tell them now is a good time to borrow cheaply to goose returns. The audience here is people who don’t know what they’re doing.
Then there’s this gem:
Most important, “there’s nothing inherently wrong with leverage,” or borrowed money, says Christopher Jones, a New York financial planner working with high-net-worth clients. For people with the capacity to take on debt, who understand it and can tolerate the risk, “now is an ideal time to leverage cheap dollars to buy into areas that can produce much higher returns over the longer term,” he says.
Spoken like a true High Bubble snake-oil salesman. The inherently bad thing about leverage is that it reduces the investor’s (or company’s) ability to withstand a downturn.
And the same guy says this is in the following graph:
Mr. Jones is advising clients who can afford to pay cash for a home to take out a mortgage instead and invest the funds in a diversified portfolio. “If you look at where the market is now and where it could be five to 10 years from now, the return potential is significant,” he says. Ideally, investors would want to borrow at rates below 5% and invest the money in a well-diversified portfolio aiming to return 8% a year over 10 to 15 years.
Shoot me now. The market “could be” down 50 percent five to ten years from now. Ask the Japanese.
But forget all the particulars and step out of the weeds. The bigger point: What is a financial newspaper doing promoting loading up on debt in the middle of a debt crisis?
Wouldn’t the smarter, more responsible story be about how market conditions (and market advisors like Jones) are lining up to tempt investors into the same old traps that crashed the financial system two short years ago?