Inflation, Savings and Investments

Most people think a market crash is the biggest danger to investors ...

Think again!

Nowhere on your bank or brokerage statement are you likely to get a report on what inflation is doing to the real value of your savings and investments.

So if your money is stowed in a "safe" investment, like a savings or money market account, you'll never see how inflation is gobbling up virtually all of your return!

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Inflation is the rise in price of goods and services.

We all know that things seem to cost more every day, but how many fully realize just how much that thief called inflation steals?

Even with relatively low inflation, you steadily lose buying power of any money you just hold on to!

To stay even, you must invest at rates of return that at least match inflation rates.

Your real rate of return, in terms of buying power of your money, is your savings or investments rate of return less the inflation rate.

If inflation is 4 percent per year and your return is 5 percent per year after taxes you have managed only a 1 percent gain in real buying power.

If your after-tax return is only 3 percent, you lose 1 percent in buying power.

Inflation occurs when demand increases relative to the supply available. During periods of economic growth moderate inflation is expected.

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However, hyperinflation which is inflation of 100% a year or more is a major concern as people lose confidence in the currency.

During hyperinflation hard assets like gold and real estate rise as they usually retain their value in inflationary times.

Cost-Push Inflation:

Is inflation caused by rising prices of raw materials. When demand exceeds the supply of raw materials manufacturers pay higher prices.

The manufacturers then charge merchants more for their finished products. The merchants then raise the prices they charge consumers.

Demand-Pull Inflation:

Occurs when supply is not adequate to meet demand. This causes higher finished goods prices that merchants must pay leading to higher consumer prices.

Deflation:

Is a decline in the prices of goods and services. Deflation is the opposite of inflation. When prices are falling due to deflation, economic activity is negatively effected as the price weakness is usually due to very weak demand factors.

Deflation is a significant aspect of economic depression as economic recession is accompanied by declining prices and a shrinking economy.

Stagflation:

Is the term used to describe an economy that is growing very slowly accompanied by high inflation. Usually when the economy is growing slowly the inflation level is low.

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How The Central Bank controls inflation?

The Central Bank attempts to control inflation by adjusting the cost of money to member banks by raising or lowering interest rates.

Low Interest Rates

Low interest rates tend to stimulate economic growth as the cost of money is less and leads to increased borrowing which encourages additional economic activity.

High Interest Rates

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High interest rates tend to depress economic growth as the high cost of money limits economic activity.

During periods of low inflation the Central Bank allows interest rates to remain low and monitors economic activity to keep growth at a sustainable but non-inflationary pace.

During periods of rapid economic expansion and high inflation the Central Bank raises interest rates to slow the pace of economic activity and limit inflationary pressures.

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