Friday, February 4, 2022

Fighting Inflation

 Fighting Inflation

Americans will be fighting inflation for the next 3 years as the Biden Administration is pursuing higher taxation, increased regulation, and significantly more spending without driving growth. These three elements will combine to cause lasting and harmful inflation that stifles the economy. What can you do?

Financial farmers and readers of this blog, like most fighters, don't want to ever get caught on their heels. Most studies indicate the vast majority of Americans are only one financial crisis away from bankruptcy, and typically this ruin is caused by not the loss of a job, loved one, or even the stock market. Rather this "risk of ruin" is directly related to a medical emergency. So rule one: To avoid the greatest risk of ruin, make sure you have medical insurance! If you're a worker, under Obamacare you're most likely paying for multiple people not in your immediate family too. That's just how criminal medical costs have become.

Next, inflation eats away at your earning power and cash value. So make sure your salary is keeping up or exceeding inflation; if the government is saying inflation is at 7% assume it is at least double. So you should be negotiating a 15% raise THIS YEAR to make up for lost buying power. Make sure you get you yours. Amazon is, they just jacked up Prime membership by 17% to $139/year!

Lots of cash sitting in a bank or checking account? Hmmm...well a certain degree of cash is good, no doubt. But are you really losing 1-2% of buying power PER MONTH by having a lot of cash in an inflationary environment? Also who can seize your cash on a whim? (Hint: They take some of your paycheck every month too.) Rule Two: Mind your cash. That might involve old school mattress stuffing or burying. I kid you not. Physical gold makes cents (see what I did there?) to me too.

Finally, what isn't affected by inflation? Nothing. That's right. So look for assets in terms of ownership percentages increasing, increasing cash flow, alternatives to actual cash (it still takes a LOT of effort to mine a troy ounce of gold), and companies buying back their shares all benefit you. Real estate becomes a double-edged sword in the sense that since rates will increase, demand drops for housing. So buyers MIGHT pay less, but their loans cost more. But does a 30-year mortgage @ 3% really matter when inflation is running 7-14%? Seems like a decent bet. Plus you get to homestead and live there. That's nice.

Until inflation is tamed, which I don't think happens in the next 3 years, investors need to be on their toes. Nothing kills work and productivity more than inflation. It is the "silent killer" which reduces the value you receive for labor, innovation, toil, everything. So increase YOUR price and look for assets that pay you to own them. Be wary of leverage. Embrace quality cash flow. Stay in the ring and land some punches!
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