"Inflation is when you pay fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut you used to get for five dollars when you had hair." - Sam Ewing
If you have been to the grocery store or filled up your car's gas tank lately, I am pretty sure that you have noticed that you are paying a lot more than you did just one year ago.
At its core, inflation is the erosion of your purchasing power. Your dollar doesn't buy as much as it used to. A gradual rise in prices is to be expected; even desired. Sharp price increases like we are experiencing now are a shock to the system and can be extremely harmful if left unchecked.
Controlling inflation is the primary role of the Federal Reserve. Consumers prefer stable prices. Rampant inflation is the enemy of stable prices. One of the inflation-fighting tools used by the Federal Reserve is the influence of interest rates. When inflation increases beyond acceptable levels, the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to slow down the economy and rein in inflation. In effect, it tries to prevent our economy from overheating.
If you have a balance on a credit card or an adjustable-rate mortgage, you might be noticing changes in your payments. Higher interest rates are starting to ripple through the personal finance landscape, and it doesn’t look like that trend will change anytime soon.
The Federal Reserve has indicated it plans to keep raising short-term interest rates to help manage inflation, which is at its highest level in 40 years. You’re likely seeing the effects of inflation when buying gas or groceries, and you’ll notice it if you are shopping for a new or used car.
The Federal Reserve’s job is to control inflation. By raising interest rates, the Fed hopes to slow spending, bringing down consumer prices.
Time will tell whether higher interest rates will prompt us to consider changes to your portfolio. Remember, your overall strategy considers that there will be transition periods in the economy.
In the meantime, you may want to look at I Bonds, which are issued by the U.S. government and earn a fixed interest rate plus a variable interest inflation rate that’s adjusted twice a year. I Bonds have certain purchase limits, restrictions, and tax treatments, so they generally play a limited role in your financial picture. The Treasury Direct website has much more information about I Bonds as well as how to purchase them.
If you have any questions about inflation or interest rates, please reach out. We’re always here to help put things into perspective.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.