21: A Thief in the Night
On this week’s episode of The Momentum Advisor’s Show, Tiffany and Allan discuss the thief in the night, AKA inflation! Inflation is technically defined as the increase in the price of goods and services over time. It's an economics term that means you have to spend more money each year to fill your gas tank, buy a gallon of milk, or get a haircut. Inflation increases your cost of living and therefore erodes the value of your cash.
But inflation can be a benefit too-especially if you’re a business owner, landlord or investor. Listen to find out how you can gain from inflation.
And if you can’t gain, check out our tips below for how you can keep its effects at bay.
1. Make more money. The most powerful way to protect yourself from inflation is to increase your earning ability and income. A 5 percent annual raise, or a promotion that nets you a 20 percent gain, will make inflation irrelevant. But if that's not an option, or you are on a fixed income, then you'll need to explore other options. Find another source of income, whether you attempt to start your own business, make money from a hobby, or find other ways to pick up a little extra cash.
2.Invest in stocks. The best way to protect your savings is to invest in the stock market. It has returned around 8 percent per year over time. Whether it will do so in the future is unknown, and there's the risk. As always, consult with your financial planner before making any financial decision to be sure this fits within your goals.
3. Buy “TIPS” Treasury Inflated Protected Securities. These bonds pay a fixed rate of interest plus a variable rate based on inflation. The more inflation rises, the more these bonds return. TIPS do well during inflation but do worse during times of non-inflation or stability.
4. Barter and Trade services. Foster your relationships with your neighbors and friends who live close by. If you can set up groups for trading services (like babysitting or meal exchanges) or goods (like lawnmowers, tools, etc.), you aren’t exchanging cash so inflation is irrelevant.
5. Buy a car that’s good on gas. As much as you may love your SUV, owning a smaller car or hybrid can save you anywhere from $200 to $1,500 a year in gas alone. With gas prices skyrocketing, trading in your SUV might be a good move to make right about now.
6. Drive better. Don’t drive too fast or too slow. It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph. Also, accelerate slowly after stops.
If work is close enough, consider bicycling to work in agreeable weather.
Consider public transportation if you live in a city.
Find a group of people to carpool with to work. Use the internet as a resource for finding the cheapest gas price in town.
Use websites like GasPriceWatch.com to track gas prices. You can also visit GasBuddy.com for a network of 174 local sites complete with maps and message boards that tally gas prices by ZIP code.
Keep your car properly maintained and tuned. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas.
Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving anyway, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.
Save fuel by combining errands into one trip. Wasteful driving habits can double your fuel consumption.
Don’t top off at the gas station. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “you might be paying for gas that goes back into the station’s tanks after your gas tank is full.”
7. Buy a home vs. renting an apartment/home. If you get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you will have the same payment for 30 years. If you rent apartments for 30 years, your rent could triple over the same period of time due to the annual or periodic increases built into your lease. Additionally, once the mortgage is paid off, your payment drops to near zero (you’ll still have to pay property taxes and insurance of course).
8. Invest in real estate. One of the benefits of owning investment properties as a landlord is your ability to raise the rent over time. Rental rates for apartments, commercial spaces, and offices typically rise by 2-3% per year. Therefore if you are the landlord your income is increasing with inflation or maybe even faster than inflation. For example, if you have a property that generates $1,000 in rent per month, with annual increases of $20 per year, in 10 years, you’d be receiving an additional $200 per month in cash flow.