A rate hike will come and the bull market will stumble, bond yields will climb and the economy will slip into a recession.
This we know.
What we don't know is how long all of that will take and how long it will last.
For the economy specifically, history offers little guide about timing. A recession has come as quickly as 11 months after the first rate hike and as long as 86 months.
The Federal Reserve's aggressiveness in raising rates is often, though not always, a determinant in how the economy and financial assets respond. That's why officials at the U.S. central bank have stressed so vigorously that investors should not be focused on when it starts raising rates but rather the trajectory of how long it will take to normalize.
There are, indeed, multiple variables at play. In the end, however, market participants may find that all the rate-hike fuss may have been overdone.
"The first hike from the Fed since the global financial crisis will inevitably be interpreted by some as signaling the end of the era of 'cheap money,' " Julian Jessop, chief global economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients. "In contrast, we do not expect the gradual return of U.S. interest rates to more normal but still low levels to be the seismic shock that many seem to fear."
That's not to say there won't be effects, however. Here's a look at how some areas of the economy could react, based on historical trends: