Tips For When Inflation Comes For You 

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How Behavioral Finance Can Help You Invest Wisely

People are struggling to make sense of what is happening to their money. The part of our brain that does price comparisons is overclocked from recalling all the small stores that haven’t raised their prices yet. While this makes for great comedy, it betrays a Titanic-esque mood in the current economic climate. 

What we’re experiencing may require a more foundational approach — because it may not end.   

The first thing you may feel tempted to do is to ask for a raise. If you do, don’t say it’s because of inflation. Most yearly raises are claimed to account for cost-of-living increases — and your boss may dismiss your request outright since it’s already accounted for. Most of us can come up with a laundry list of reasons why we should get a raise, so refer to those in your pitch instead of inflation. 

Another way to combat inflation is to maintain a diversified stock portfolio. When done right, a portfolio will outpace inflation. A financial advisor in my network elaborated, saying that the act of owning a piece of a company is itself a safeguard against inflation. 

We’re starting to see how useful an emergency plan can be in our office. I have clients with robust emergency funds who are concerned about inflation, but it has yet to really affect them. They use the fund to cover price increases, which, they figured, came out to $50 the last time they were at the grocery store.  

Other tips include:    

  • If you’re planning on doing any building or renovations, it might be prudent to postpone it. Construction is one of the industries most impacted by gaps in the supply chain and prices may come down.  
  • As long as prices stay in flux, don’t forget to update your budget or spending plan with newer numbers. 
  • Shop for groceries online if free pickup is available. This avoids the temptation to buy superfluous items. 
  • DIY weatherizing your house is relatively inexpensive when compared to what energy bills are likely to be this winter. An empty room with the heat turned way down is great insulation. 
  • Idling your car consumes one gallon of gas per hour. This and other wastes of gasoline can add up. To fight that, GasBuddy is an app that tracks gas prices in your area. 
  • If possible, break free from past purchases and concentrate on the present by paying off credit cards. The idea is you will save in the long run. 

There is such a thing as short-term inflation. Competition has a price-lowering effect — and as supply chain problems hopefully get resolved, some prices may come down. 

Every family’s survival strategy will be unique — for some people, it still makes sense to build a house or run up credit cards. Sooner or later, the rising tide is going to touch everyone — at least, if they use electricity (up 7.9%), eat food (also up 7.9%), wear clothes (up 6.6%), or receive medical care (up 2.5%). I hope some of these tips prove to be something of a lifeboat. 

Judy Heft is the CEO/founder of Judith Heft & Associates, a Financial and Lifestyle concierge celebrating 26 years in business helping people stay financially organized. She is a Certified Money Coach and the author of “How to Be Smart, Successful and Organized with Your Money” and the co-author of “Mastering Your Financial LifeCycles”. She is the host of the podcast “Mastering your Financial Life.”  For more information visit www.judithheft.com.

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