Inflation is an economic phenomenon that affects the prices of goods and services, as well as the purchasing power of consumers. This article will discuss the causes and effects of inflation.
It’s not a secret that many are feeling the pinch. The post COVID economy looks bleak, as global supply chains continue to struggle, and many countries roll out eye-watering stimulus packages in an attempt to kick-start their own economies. Inflation may have never been as contentious as it is today. Let’s define the phenomenon, understand how it works, and get an appreciation for the effects it may be having on you and your family. This is the first part in a series on inflation, where we’ll attempt to provide holistic yet easy to digest content, so you’re in the best position possible.
There is considerable semantic confusion that makes it extremely difficult for a non-expert to grasp the true state of affairs. Inflation, as this term was always used, means increasing the quantity of money in circulation. However, people today use the term "inflation" to refer to the phenomenon that is actually a consequence of inflation, that is, the tendency of prices and the cost of living to rise.
And this makes sense. A rise in prices is tangible for the everyday person. It’s the point of contact we all have, so naturally it’s what we care about most. However, we want to preface this blog with this: price inflation is in part caused by monetary inflation, along with other global pressures. There are ways you can protect yourself, but at some point these issues become structural, and placing the responsibility on the individual could be considered not only useless, but harmful.
To get a better understanding of this, let’s quickly look at two definitions of inflation, which we will use during the rest of this article, and moving forward.
The calculation of the consumer price index, and therefore the inflation rate, varies from country to country. In our example, we’ll be looking at the CPI calculation for the United States, and using that as a benchmark for our discussion. It’s important to note that the good and services selected in your country may differ. Here’s a brief overview of some of the categories used by officials to gather an understanding of consumer prices.
Despite the effect of the US and the US dollar on global inflation rates, it is largely a global phenomenon. Inflation rates rise and fall consistently across the board. This is all to say that no matter where you live, you will feel the effects of inflation one way or another. Each of these categories is weighted differently when calculating the overall ‘inflation rate’
How to brace yourself for inflation.
Preserving your purchasing power. Money's purchasing power is expressed in terms of how many goods or services can be purchased with one unit of it. With inflationary currencies, we see goods and services rising in cost, meaning that the purchasing power of that particular currency is going down.
Once again, we feel it important to reiterate, these issues are structural. Placing too much responsibility on the individual to react, removes the responsibility from those who have the tools to enact meaningful change. Our hope is that by educating more people, there will be greater pressure to create systems that work for all of us.
Bull markets: we all love 'em, but what are they? Today we're discussing the characteristics of a bull trend, and some tips and tricks for maximizing them!
Bear markets. We all hate them. But they’re here to stay. In fact, they’re just part of a normal market cycle. The severity of each will change over time, but they’re not going anywhere. It’s best to just get comfortable around it!