In this week's installment of Industry Focus: Financials, host Jason Moser sits down for an interview with Caroline Feeney, CEO of Individual Solutions for Prudential Financial, to discuss the evolving role of women in the financial industry. Plus, Moser and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, take a closer look at five bold stock market predictions for 2020. Spoiler alert: They're a bit more negative than last year's.
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This video was recorded on Dec. 9, 2019.
Jason Moser: Welcome to Industry Focus, the podcast that dives into a different sector of the stock market each day. It's Monday, December 9th. I'm your host, Jason Moser. If you remember, on last week's show, we revisited our own Matt Frankel's list of bold predictions for 2019 and how those have worked out so far, given that we're getting ready to wrap up 2019. Well, this week, we're jumping into Matt's bold predictions for 2020. I think you're going to like them. But first, today, we have another installment of "Between Two Fools."
Caroline Feeney is CEO of Individual Solutions for Prudential Financial, which provides financial advice and other outcome-oriented solutions for consumers. Feeney began her career with Prudential in 1993 and currently serves as Prudential's representative for the National Association for Female Executives and serves on the Executive Roundtable.
Caroline, I've been looking forward to this interview, because we get to talk about something that feels like it's starting to gain some serious traction, and that is the evolving role of women in finance, the challenges and the opportunities, what's working and what's not. Let's go ahead and start with the idea that traditionally, historically, the financial services industry has been a male-dominated industry. Given that, what have been the biggest drivers that have helped you succeed in the industry today?
Caroline Feeney: Jason, I had the opportunity to start with Prudential about 25 years ago. I started on the sales and distribution side. Certainly, as you do say, it's been a male-dominated industry historically, and certainly was 25 years ago. I think there were a number of factors that helped me along. First and foremost, like most things in people's career, I never felt the need to go at it alone. I did have the good fortune to have great advocates who supported me and mentored me along the way. I also had the early experiences of dealing with clients firsthand. And I think in those interactions, I really did gain a passion and understanding for the difference that I could make in this business with clients first and foremost. And then I had the opportunity to move on fairly quickly to help lead individuals on the sales and distribution side.
I certainly had my fair share of challenges. And candidly, had my fair share of occasions where people made it known to me that maybe I didn't fit in or didn't belong. I think those are those times you have a decision to make. And my decision at that point was to persevere through some of those challenges.
I also have taken some risks along the way in my career that have paid off. And more importantly, I do think, also, Jason, I recognized very early on in my career I wasn't one of the guys, I didn't need to pretend to be one of the guys, and my best bet was to just be myself and be authentic. And I've tried to carry that through the rest of my career as well.
Moser: That's an interesting point you made there in during your career, people making you feel like you didn't necessarily fit in or you perhaps didn't belong, so to speak. I wonder, does it feel like to you, as time has gone on, do you feel like that is changing? Is it becoming less and less an environment where women are being made to feel like they aren't meant to be there, they don't belong? Is that really improving?
Feeney: Yeah, I absolutely believe, Jason, that it has absolutely changed over the 25 years I'm talking about when I started. It's good for me to see that that has changed. That being said, while we've made enormous progress, Jason, I still think there's some opportunity for additional progress. It is still very much male dominated. But I think the good thing that we're seeing is, we're seeing more women who are finding their career path in financial planning or as a financial advisor. That, then, is leading to women in leadership roles in financial services. And I think the more that you see that, I think sometimes you'll have women come in, and they see role models around them. So I think it's this virtuous cycle that happens. And it is very different.
Moser: Well, you've been with Prudential, and I want to talk about this for just a minute, because culture is a very important issue here at The Motley Fool. We are very business-focused investors. We care more about the businesses in the longer term and the culture that these companies are developing and growing. Looking back, you've been at Prudential since 1993. So you're coming up on three decades with one company. Today's day and age, that's really not as common as it would have been back then. So, No. 1, what got you to Prudential? And then, No. 2, given the challenges that you faced early on, just with the greater challenges that women face in finance, what is it about Prudential that has kept you there, that's kept you growing, that's made you excited to be a part of that family?
Feeney: Well, in addition to the three decades, Jason -- making me feel old this morning!
Moser: [laughs] That was not the intention! I didn't say that, you did!
Feeney: [laughs] I did say that, I did say that. Well, what I would say is, if you'd actually told me 25 years ago I'd still be here with the company all these years later, I actually wouldn't have believed it. I can boil it down to a few reasons as to why I'm still here, why I love this company, and why I feel so good about what we're doing, and so positive about our culture.
I would say, first and foremost -- and I mentioned this earlier -- I have never felt, even though you have challenges through your career, that I was going it alone. I had, actually, many male allies and advocates along the way who were there to mentor and support me and sponsor me. So I think that has made a difference.
I would also say that we are an organization that, when we see things that aren't right, we react. So when I think about making sure we're building an environment that is inclusive, we're very much front and center on that. We take it very seriously. So I think that matters to me. It's always mattered to me that I believe in senior leadership and where they're taking the organization. And I think at this point in my career, I do believe I'm trying to be part of that solution, which is, how can you help pay that forward? So I make it a point in my current role to mentor and coach many women, not just within Pru, but actually across the financial services industry.
Moser: I guess that's the sword that cuts both ways, right? You're at a place, it seems, where you love to be. You love the company you work for; the culture is strong. I feel very much the same way. I enjoy watching the years go by as a Motley Fool employee. And then the flip side of that is, I do recognize that every year that goes by, I'm a year older as well. But, hey, with that comes experience. At least we have that, right?
Well, let's get back to this issue of women in finance. Particularly, I want to talk about women as breadwinners, because there's plenty of data out there that tells us now that the share of breadwinning or co-breadwinning mothers has more than doubled since 1967. Now, that's not as big of a surprise maybe now as it would have been 10 or maybe 15 years ago. But Prudential recently released data on the opportunities and the challenges facing women in the workplace, and this seems more relevant than ever, given that breadwinner status. Can you talk to us a little bit about that research? What did that research find that stood out to you?
Feeney: There were a few things in terms of the research, actually, the research that Prudential did. One of the things that I'd say before I even get into those research findings, though, is, I do think, as you state, with more and more women being breadwinners or primary breadwinners or sole breadwinners in their family, I think it's really important to just take a step back and recognize first women's importance in the economy overall. The reality is, women do stand to receive the lion's share of the estimated $3.2 trillion that's going to be transferring to the next generation in the U.S. in the coming years. But even though you think about all of that wealth that women do control, there do continue to be unique challenges when you look at the relationship with women and money, and that's where it goes squarely to the research that Prudential has done.
Really, what we've done, Jason, is we've categorized into four different buckets. The first of which I think is really unique, is this time gap, which tells us that working women are spending 28 hours per week on unpaid work, which is 65% greater than working men on average. It's funny that you say that. I usually do get a "wow" with that. And it's all important work. It's the things like household chores and caregiving. As I said, all important work. But women are not getting paid for it.
Then you also have the very real wage gap, where women on average continue to make $0.81 for every dollar earned by the male worker. And then you also continue to have what we call the longevity gap, which remains very real. Women still are living five to six years longer on average than men. Of course, if you think about that, then that is obviously going to exacerbate the need for a longer funding period for retirement, could translate to higher healthcare costs.
And then finally, the last bucket that we found in our research that is unique to women is this investment gap. What that demonstrates is that women tend to invest less than men, for a whole host of reasons. So rather than trying to make up for things like this time gap or the wage gap, the opposite is actually true.
So I think the main thing is, it's really critically important that we actually speak openly about these challenges, that women realize that they aren't going it alone, and they don't have to go it alone.
Moser: Yeah. It's always been frustrating to me in regard to women investing less or not investing as much as men, because there's a lot of data out there that really tells us that women are great investors, better investors than men in most cases, and it's because of that ability to take the longer view and exercise more patience. Women tend to be more patient, more deliberate, more able to take the big picture into consideration. That really, as an investor, is of tremendous value.
I do want to go back to one thing. This is something that kills me. I don't understand why it's still the case, and it's the wage gap that you mentioned. For the life of me, I still don't understand how we live in a world where it's not completely totally equal pay. I just don't get it. Why are we still talking about this, and when are we going to get to a point where a woman is going to get the same amount as a man for the same job that they're being hired for?
Feeney: Well, listen, I think there are certainly steps that are being taken. Serious steps are being taken. As an example, in certain states, you actually can't be asking how much a woman is making as she's interviewing for a role coming into a company. There's a lot of research that also shows that women are less inclined to negotiate starting salaries than men. So you start off at an uneven playing field, and it never catches up. So I think there's a number of reasons why, Jason. But I do think it's incumbent upon companies like Prudential and other companies to really take those steps to say it's not OK and really do reviews within the company around pay equity. I think it's going to take bold steps like that to really make a difference.
Moser: I have two teenage daughters. A lot of our listeners have children. I know they would love to know what we as parents can do to encourage them. So I want to talk to you a little bit about what you've learned along the way, and particularly what you wish you knew when you were younger. If you knew then what now, what could make a difference, and what are some of the things that we can do for our kids, particularly those of us with daughters, to help them navigate this changing landscape?
Feeney: Actually, it's great to know, Jason, you have a couple of teenage daughters. I actually have a teenage daughter myself. One of the things that I would say is, if I looked at notes to my younger self, and what advice would I give myself, the first thing that I would say is, recognize earlier on the confidence and the capabilities that you have. That comes across in a number of different ways, but one of the things -- I have so many different examples there, Jason -- that I would say is, there is a very real confidence gap for women. I felt it through my career. Sometimes earlier on in my career far more. There are still occasions where I see that play out today. But one of the things that I would say, and I see it with women in the career place today, is that women are not as inclined to throw their hat in the ring. So, they might not put their name forward for a particular position unless they meet, let's say, 90% of all the job requirements. Now, you look at that, and that is very different in what you find with men. Men, on average, as long as they hit about 65% of the job requirements, feel that that's good, and they can learn the rest on the job. And that very real confidence gap plays out in a number of different ways. They're not going for, maybe, the P&L jobs, or other roles that would recognize them as an advancement in their career.
And then, the only other thing that I would say specifically around teenage girls, because I've been fascinated with it, I've really looked at all of this -- I question, when does this start? It seems to track all the way along with women, whether they're junior in their career or even, honestly, at CEO level. It seems to just continue. And one of the things that I came across was a research study that actually showed -- this is done in 2018, Jason -- the difference between teen girls and boys found that up until the age of 12, girls' and boys' confidence level was very similar. However, between the ages of 12 and 14, girls on average lose one-third of their confidence, and they never get it back. That is a staggering statistic.
Moser: It really is.
Feeney: So, something to watch for your girls, and certainly something I watch out for my daughter. And I think ultimately, it's incumbent, then, upon all of us to recognize great talent in the workplace, to tap people on the shoulder, to let them know that they're ready for the next assignment, to make sure, even if they don't check off every single box, how are we making sure that we're supporting individuals in the stretch assignments? I do think that that's important, because if they're not going to put their hat in the ring, how are we being proactive to let them know we believe they're ready for the next assignment, for the next step, for the next project, whatever that may be?
Moser: That confidence statistic is staggering. I really didn't realize that. I would view our daughters as fairly self-confident. They are right at that age where your data would become more relevant there, so I definitely will keep an eye out for that. Yeah, I didn't realize that.
OK, let's touch on financial wellness and financial literacy. It's something I think we can all agree is an important cause. I wanted to talk with you about this. How do you define or view the financial wellness journey, and why do you believe it's especially important for women?
Feeney: I think there's a few things. One, Jason, and I mentioned earlier, the important role that women do play in the economy. Obviously, with women being 51% of the population, they're controlling over $11 trillion of investable assets today. I also think, obviously, retirement today can span for decades, because we're living longer, which makes retirement, in many cases, a transition point rather than an end stage. Also, coupled with the fact that the reality today is that pensions certainly have become more of a rarity, and Social Security was obviously never meant to be our sole source of income. So, personal savings are more important than ever to help us cover those monthly expenses that continue after we retire.
But for women, that savings gap is larger. And then, the retirement income need is longer, as I said previously. By the age of 85, women are outnumbering men by 2 to 1. That is absolutely intensifying the need for retirement savings that is ultimately going to provide them with an ongoing longer-term income stream.
A few things. One, I would suggest that women, in order to solve some of these challenges, do their homework. Taking a very realistic assessment of how they view their long-term financial goals, what are the assets they believe they have today. I think the thing is, with women in particular, what we've seen is that sometimes, they either won't have the time, or they will view it as, "I can't afford any financial professional guidance," be it a financial advisor, or they don't have the assets. So, I think, understanding that there are so many options these days for women -- and men, for everyone -- to really learn how to be more financially secure. We're in an age today, obviously, where it doesn't have to be face to face. There's so many online tools and resources that allow people to be more self-directed. There are hybrid approaches where you can have the combination of online tools and advisors that you can speak to via phone. And obviously, finally, there's that face-to-face advisor that can hold your hand a little bit more, particularly when it becomes more comprehensive.
So I do think it's so important for women to understand that this is one where they don't have to go it alone. They don't have to be the expert. They already have so many other responsibilities, and certainly, this is one area where they can rely on a professional to help answer their questions.
Moser: Yeah. That's a subject that we work on a lot here at The Motley Fool, financial literacy. It's a cause we believe in greatly, obviously. Another thing I've noticed is that oftentimes, it's the resources at home. There are so many parents that still aren't really aware of all the options that are out there as well. They haven't necessarily gotten that financial education that helps them stem that interest in their children to learn more and whatnot. It really is one of those things that's going to require a constant attention, and it's going to take generations to continue to grow that interest and that knowledge.
You talked a minute there about women consulting financial professionals. I think that's an interesting way we could wrap up the discussion here. Going back to women as breadwinners of their households, there's data out there that tells us that women could be working more with financial professionals. What are the opportunities out there? How can we make that happen? What are the opportunities there for companies and individuals to stoke those relationships and build that trust?
Feeney: I'd say, I think there's a few things. First of all, I think, conversations like this. I do think the more we are having these conversations, it creates more awareness. Women are hearing that I'm not alone. I might be thinking this, I might be worried about it, I might be losing sleep about it, but I'm not alone. And I do think it's incumbent upon companies like Prudential, obviously, squarely in the financial services space, to be having these conversations; provide education in many different mediums, whether that would be through online tools and resources, whether that would be through advisors that are there.
And I think for women in particular, this is so much less about a transaction. This is not about a particular solution. I do think that it is important, especially research, we show that women really do want to take the time to make sure that somebody is understanding their holistic needs and the challenges that they are facing. Then it's about matching up the solution that will help solve that challenge. I do think it's a very different approach, that companies need to be taking a more holistic approach. It's taking the time to provide all of the necessary education, so then the women can take the time to say, "What is right for me, and where do I feel right in terms of taking the next step?" But we have seen very specifically the importance of relationships, be it face to face, or at least connection, with a company that's going to provide all the tools and resources that they can avail themselves of.
And, I think, making it convenient for people. I do believe, at the end of the day, we really have an entire advice continuum. I do think it is so important for companies -- and we stress this at Prudential -- how do you meet somebody? How do you meet that woman where she wants to be met? How does she want to engage? In what manner does she want to engage with this company, and with the financial advice she needs? And we need to meet them there on their own terms. I think that's so important.
Moser: She is the CEO of Individual Solutions for Prudential Financial. Caroline Feeney, thanks so much for taking the time to join us this week!
Feeney: Thank you very much, Jason! It was a pleasure speaking with you this morning.
Moser: Now joining me in the studio via Skype, it's the man of the hour, the man with the bold predictions, Certified Financial Planner Matt Frankel. Matt, how's it going?
Matt Frankel: Pretty good. My predictions are a little bit negative compared to last year. Not to spoil the fun. Hopefully everyone still likes me after this discussion goes on.
Moser: [laughs] How can they not like you? Come on, you're Matt! Everybody likes you, buddy. It's all right. Listen, they've got to be bold, right? If they're not bold, what's the point of even doing them?
Frankel: That's true. They'll only not like me if I'm correct. If I'm wrong, they'll be fine with it.
Moser: Well, let's jump right into it, then. Let's give you a chance to explain yourself. I'm going to read your bold prediction, and then I want you to tell us why. We'll start with No. 1 here: Warren Buffett will make his biggest acquisition, I think, ever. Is that correct?
Frankel: Yes. I wanted to make this a little bit bolder than last year's version. Last year, I was wrong, if you listened to last week's show. At the time I made the prediction last year, Buffett had about $100 billion in cash to work with. Given that he likes to keep about $20 billion in reserves at all times, that gave him about $80 billion to work with. Now, that's ballooned to $128 billion. So, even subtracting the reserves, that's well over $100 billion to work with. Berkshire has fantastic credit, too, so they could potentially borrow if they needed to.
I'm going to say that 2020 -- when you see the rest of my predictions, you'll see why I'm thinking it's going to be a great market for Buffett -- I think he's going to go buy Berkshire's biggest acquisition ever. The most they ever spent on an acquisition, I believe, was in the $30 billion range. I think it was Precision Castparts, actually. I'm thinking they're going to buy something that's double that price or more.
Moser: How does that compare to Burlington Northern, which was another big deal, right?
Frankel: Yeah, that was a big one, too. I believe that was in the $20 billion to $30 billion range, but don't quote me on that, because I'm not totally sure. But I know the $30 billion range was probably the most Berkshire's ever spent on a single acquisition.
Moser: Well, we are wondering when he's going to pull that trigger. Maybe 2020, is it.? I like that prediction. I think there's something to that. We'll have to wait and see what it is. But there's plenty of stuff out there.
Let's look at No. 2 here. The stock market -- listeners, go ahead and take a seat here, because you're not going to like this news -- the stock market will have a rough year.
Frankel: There's a few reasons I say this. For one thing -- and this might not sound like that bold of a prediction. You're hearing all these recession predictions, and people saying the market's going to crash if the Democrats take the White House. But that's not why I'm saying this. In the average election year, including when Democrats win the White House, the average is an almost 10% gain for the year, other than 2008, when Barack Obama won. We all know what was going on in 2008, so that's a special case. You have to go all the way back to 1940 to find a negative stock market in a year when a Democrat won. So I don't think that alone would do it. I just think there's a lot that could go wrong this year. The trade war has become so unpredictable and has gone on so much longer than we've thought. The global economy is not doing that great. Economic growth in the U.S. is slowing down. I don't see any major legislation, like the Tax Reform 2.0 that you keep hearing about, I don't see any of that happening this year.
So I think there's a lot more that could drive the stock market down than could drive it higher. And I mentioned that the stock market usually goes up during an election year here, but it depends who gets elected. Some of the Democrats, like Elizabeth Warren, for example, who's talking about higher regulation specifically, could be a really negative catalyst for the banking industry, which we cover very closely, among others. So there's a lot more that could become negative catalysts than positive ones this year. That's where this prediction came from.
I think it'll finish in the red, but I'm not predicting another 2008. I'm saying single-digit percentage down is likely.
Moser: Well, that's certainly plausible. Along with that idea that the stock market will have a rough year, bold prediction No. 3 is that the U.S. economy will actually fall into recession.
Frankel: A lot of people are saying that the economy's strong, there's no reason to think a recession's coming, even though we haven't had a recession since 2008. Economic growth has slowed down quite a bit globally. Just one statistic -- growth forecasts are at their lowest levels since 2008. The trade war isn't really showing many signs of progress. We keep hearing about the phase one deal right around the corner, we have an agreement in principle, things of that nature, but we really haven't seen any tangible results of the trade war whatsoever. Not to mention, if one of the more left-leaning candidates wins, we can really see negative catalysts for certain sectors that could trigger -- I mean, anything negative for the financial sector that would hurt consumer confidence could be a recession catalyst.
And, not to mention, remember that the yield curve inverted earlier this year. That usually is a nice forward indicator of a recession. There's no real set time frame, but pretty much every recession has been preceded by a yield curve inversion, and we saw that this past year. Experts are putting the chance for a recession at about 1 in 4 this year. I think it's much higher than that. I would not be at all surprised if we saw a recession in 2020. I'm actually putting it at about a three-quarters chance. We'll have to wait and see. This is one that I hope I'm wrong about, and I'm sure all the listeners hope I'm wrong about as well, but I could easily see it happening.
Moser: Well, you could just sit there and scream "recession" every year, and then eventually you'll be right. That's just one of those things that comes with the territory, right? We're getting ready to wrap up the first decade with no recession in many, many, many decades. I guess you could make the argument that we're overdue. We know how these cycles work. There's a culling that takes place, and that's just a natural byproduct of it.
Now, this is something we talked a little bit about last week. We talked a lot about it through the year. We've seen some examples thus far. You think we'll see more consolidation in the financials sector.
Frankel: Yeah. Actually, it's interesting that we're talking about this today, because the BB&T and SunTrust merger actually just finalized today. You can actually invest in Truist Financial on the stock market now.
Moser: I still can't get past that name, Matt.
Frankel: I know, but when you look back, a lot of company names seem to be silly at first, but then they become household brands. It's a recognizable name. It's easy to remember.
Moser: It is, you're right.
Frankel: I think they should have kept the SunTrust name. That was my favorite out of the three. Most people don't know what BB&T stands for. I do, but the average consumer doesn't. I think SunTrust, it's a positive logo, the sun. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
Anyway, we're getting off topic there. [laughs] And, we just saw TD Ameritrade agree to be bought out by Schwab. And that's just two big deals that happened this year. I think we could see a lot more consolidation going forward. We've talked many times that the direction of fees in the financial industry is lower. We saw most brokers scrap commissions this year, just for one example. People are much more conscious of the fees they pay these days. The reason is, you have all these online banks and online brokerages, and really disruptive companies like Robinhood, which is, in my opinion, the reason that all the brokers ended up scrapping their commissions. But, you see a lot of this war on fees. That's going to really push on the margins of these banks. And the best way to mitigate that is to become more efficient. There's a couple ways to become efficient, but scale is pretty much a foolproof one. It's efficient to have a company that's twice the size where you have one CEO that looks over twice as much business, for example. That's just one basic example of an efficiency. I think we'll see a lot of companies attempt to merge in an effort to fight off the margin pressures and to remain competitive in the new low-fee financial world.
I don't really want to predict any specific deals. I know, Jason, your bold prediction last year was that Apple was going to buy Square.
Moser: Yes, yes, that was my bold prediction. Thanks for reminding me it didn't come true, Matt! [laughs]
Frankel: Well, I could still see it happening now. Maybe you were just a little early with it.
Moser: I think I'd prefer to see them go it on their own. But, shoot, talking about Buffett making a big deal, Square could be something. It's right in their crosshairs. They've obviously shown a willingness to adopt a bit more of a forward-thinking mindset when it comes to the finance industry.
Frankel: Sure. Buffett has no desire to own a bank, but Square doesn't have a banking license. They were thinking of pursuing one for Square Capital, but to this day, they don't have one. I could see Berkshire building out sort of some financial conglomerate within its borders. That's one thing Buffett really hasn't pursued yet. There aren't any wholly owned financial sector companies other than insurance businesses in Berkshire's portfolio that I can think of off the top of my head. A lot in their stock portfolio. But I could definitely see Square being a Berkshire target. Or Berkshire could actually buy PayPal if they really wanted to.
Moser: That's a good point. They certainly could. That'd be a big acquisition.
Frankel: This prediction really has a lot riding on what the outcome of the election is. In the current environment, I could see two big banks being allowed to buy each other. If, say, Elizabeth Warren is president, I really couldn't see JP Morgan acquiring Wells Fargo getting any traction or anything like that. Not that that particular deal would happen, but it's not out of the question in the current environment. You could make an antitrust argument, but I could see two of the big four buying each other in the current regulatory climate. No specific deals being predicted, but I do think we're going to see a lot of consolidation this year.
Moser: All right. And then, going into your final bold prediction, I think this might be the boldest of them all, because I'm actually not really sure where else we can go. But you think interest rates will fall. Interesting.
Frankel: This is contradictory to my prediction last year, where I predicted that the Fed was going to raise rates like three times. They went the complete opposite direction. But, the latest projections are for no more rate cuts in 2020. I don't think that's going to happen. This goes with my calls for a recession and a falling stock market. As we know, Donald Trump is the stock market president. He's cited the stock market's success many, many times. The market starts falling, I think you're going to see a lot more political pressure on the Fed. I think it's really tough to make the argument that political pressure didn't motivate any of the 2019 decisions.
Moser: Yeah, I'm with you there.
Frankel: Yeah. So, I think that you might see a lot more political pressure, especially if a recession or a stock market plunge happens. I think the Fed is going to end up cutting rates. I think it's going to trickle down into bond yields. I think we're going to see 10-year Treasury rates under 1.5 again. Mortgage rates, I think, are going to test the record lows that we've seen a few times over the past few years. I don't think we're going to get negative interest rates, which we've talked about a few times, that are actually happening in some parts of Europe right now. But I wouldn't be surprised if the new normal is, say, a 3% mortgage rate, or Treasury yields in the 1% range. I wouldn't be surprised if that's our new normal for the foreseeable future.
Moser: I can't believe I'm saying this, but if that is the case, shoot, I'm going to be making a call to refinance our house in short order, even with the low, low rates that we've already got. If you can get it a little bit lower, that really can make a big difference. If that does come to fruition, I would encourage all of you out there with any sort of home equity or any type of mortgage debt, certainly, keep that in mind.
Well, Matt, I've really enjoyed following your 2019 bold predictions. I appreciate you taking the time to open up your mindset for us and for the listeners as far as your 2020 bold predictions. I think that's going to wrap it up for us this week. You have anything else you'd like to add?
Frankel: Our fellow Industry Focus guest Dan Kline, who's my pinch hitter sometimes, asked me to share his bold prediction when I told him what we were talking about. He thinks that a major household-name company -- he didn't specify -- will go out of business in 2022. Two that he specifically mentioned, just to give you an idea, were Tesla and Uber. Not necessarily those, but a company of that magnitude, he thinks, is going to really surprise the world and go out of business in 2020.
Moser: That is bold! I like that! Hey, buy five bold predictions, get your sixth one for free! We'll leave it at that, folks. Matt, thanks again! It's always nice talking to you.
Frankel: Always fun!
Moser: As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about, and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear. Today's show is produced by Austin Morgan. For Matt Frankel, I'm Jason Moser. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week.