Seemingly everyone is on edge about the Federal Reserve's next moves — with reason.
Throughout the nearly nine-year bull market run, the Fed held rates near zero. But recent signs of rising inflation could push the central bank into hiking rates more aggressively, which will have far-reaching consequences for consumers.
"Inflation is accelerating and may well push interest rates higher, allowing the Fed to move policy rates three times this year, and perhaps even four," Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock, said in a statement.
For the average American, the threat of rising interest rates isn't necessarily bad. It's generally considered a sign that the economy is doing well, which is what helped jump-start a wave of bonuses and may lead to more pay increases down the road.
"Financial markets shudder at the thought of higher inflation, simply because from an investment standpoint, inflation erodes the buying power of future earnings," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. For consumers, "a little bit of inflation is a good thing — that's what enables their boss to give them a raise."