"It's a better economy that gets people to buy houses," says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
Likewise, an improving economy means stronger sales for businesses, even if they, too, have to pay a bit more for loans. And rates on auto, student and credit card loans are unlikely to change much. They're tied more to the short-term rates the Fed is leaving alone.
Savers have suffered from the Fed's low-interest rate policy. Wednesday's move could offer some relief to people who keep money in three- and four-year CDs. But it probably won't mean a big jump from, say, the average 0.48 percent rate on 3-year CDs.
"They're starting from such a low point, it's not going to be nearly enough to make three- and four-year CDs anywhere near compelling," McBride says.
By keeping short-term rates near zero, the Fed move does nothing for people with money in savings accounts and very short-term CDs.
Banks earn money from the difference between the short-term rates they pay depositors and the longer-term rates they charge consumers and businesses. The gap reached a five-year low in the middle of this year. But it's likely to widen as longer-term rates rise and short-term rates stay fixed. Bank profits should rise as a result.
Banks will also benefit if an improving economy leads more credit-worthy businesses and consumers to seek loans.
The Fed intended its bond purchases, in part, to push bond yields so low that investors would move money into stocks, thereby driving up share prices. Since mid-November 2012, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has surged 28 percent.
Many Wall Street analysts feared stocks would plummet once the Fed announced a pullback in its bond buying. On Wednesday, the opposite occurred: The Dow rocketed 293 points. Investors appeared to focus more on the good news (the economy is improving) than the bad (the easy-money days may be ending).