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Inflation: Lessons from the Past to Help You Plan for Your Future

Posted by: Nick L. in Tips

The other day, I was having an interesting conversation with my grandmother. She was considering replacing her flooring in her home and was literally “floored” with how much the cost had gone up since she installed her last carpet 10 years ago.

It really is fascinating to talk about money with our older generation. We quickly can see that their idea of “a lot of money” is very different from what we consider a large sum of money today. Consider that in 1970, a gallon of gas cost $0.38, the average home was $17,000 and the average household income was just under $9,000.  Surely, today you could not live a similar lifestyle on $9,000.

What is Inflation?

Inflation is defined as the price of goods and services increasing over time. Inflation can be caused by many reasons, but two of the most significant reasons are costs of raw materials and labor. Prices of raw material can increase if supply chains are short or during times of disaster.  Labor cost can sharply increase due to the job market. If unemployment rates are low, companies will need to increase their wages to attract job seekers. If wages increase, this will give people a little extra to spend.  If enough people have extra money to spend, this will ultimately increase demand for goods and services starting the cycle of inflation over again.

Monetary policy can also contribute to inflation. Central banking systems control the flow of money in economies. They will tighten or loosen the flow of money into economies by setting interest rates. Recently home prices have surged in the United States in response to record low interest rates. These low rates made homes more affordable for first-time buyers and allowed current homeowners to sell at a premium and upgrade their current homes. This increased demand for homes and drove prices up. It is likely that as rates increase, the market will slow again and prices will stabilize.

Inflation’s Impact

While some things inflate faster than others, one thing is for certain. Your current lifestyle will not cost the same when you are ready to retire. It can be daunting to think about how much your lifestyle will cost in 10, 20, or even 50 years. The average long-term inflation rate in the US is 3.1%. There have been times in our history when inflation has been much higher. In the late 1970s and early 1980s inflation soared to double digit rates. Inflation raged again in 2021 and continues to increase prices on goods and services.

If your savings nest egg is growing less than the rate of inflation, you are losing your purchasing power. Therefore, it is very important not only to save for your financial future, but also to have an investment strategy that will outpace inflation. A solid financial plan can allow you to evaluate how your current savings strategy will stand up to inflation. Talk with a trusted advisor today to review your strategy and determine the potential effects of inflation.

Rebecca Agamaite

Investment Advisor Representative 

Rebecca joined the firm in 2011 as an Investment Advisor Representative. In this role, she works with clients to manage their investment assets and help them obtain their financial objectives. Rebecca brings a great deal of experience to the team having worked for several years at Marshall & IIsley Bank and MetLife. She earned a Masters of Business Administration degree (with an emphasis on finance) from Concordia University.

Advisors Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment adviser whose principal office is located in Wisconsin.   Opinions expressed are those of AMG and are subject to change, not guaranteed, and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.  Past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and investing involves multiple risks, including, but not limited to, the risk of permanent losses.  Please do not send orders via e-mail as they are not binding and cannot be acted upon.  Please be advised it remains the responsibility of our clients to inform AMG of any changes in their investment objectives and/or financial situation.  This commentary is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to AMG’s investment advisory/management services.  Any subsequent, direct communication by AMG  with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides.  A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available for your review upon request.

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