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Jun 24, 2021

The easing of the COVD-19 pandemic, increased consumer spending, supply shortages and continued government stimulus have resulted in the highest inflation rate since 1992. People are feeling its effects at the gas pump, at the supermarket, at car dealerships, at building supply companies and when they make hotel and airline reservations. But will inflation continue indefinitely, or even rise to the record levels of the early 1980s? Most economics believe it won’t. They predict that inflation will level off after consumers get their pent-up spending out of their systems, supply chain issues are resolved and pandemic-related stimulus spending eases. The Federal Reserve is keeping a close eye on inflation and is likely to increase interest rates and tighten the money supply if it sees inflation rising much beyond its target 2% annual rate.  

While inflation does affect consumers’ pocketbooks, it’s important to remember that it’s a symptom of a recovering economy and that the inflation rates you see quoted in the news are year-over-year rates. This means that inflation today is being compared to the same period in 2020, when lockdowns and millions of lost jobs depressed consumer spending. Still, if you’re worried how inflation and rising interest rates could affect your financial security during retirement you may want to see how different rates could affect your current financial and investment plan. When interest rates rise, prices of existing bonds will fall, which means you may want to avoid buying long-term bonds or CDs. You may also want to increase your stock holdings, since, historically, stocks have outperformed inflation by a wide margin. If your mortgage rate is high, you may want to reconsider refinancing at today’s low rates even if this extend your payoff period by a decade or more. If you don’t feel comfortable making these important decisions on your own, consider working with a fee-only fiduciary investment adviser. They can stress-test your entire financial picture against various inflation scenarios and suggest actions you may want to take to reduce its potential impact.