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Inflation and Your Retirement

April 11, 2023

Inflation is typically measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a basket of goods and services representative of the average consumer's spending habits. The CPI is calculated by comparing the cost of the basket of goods and services at different times, usually monthly or annually.

Inflation can be caused by various factors, including an increase in the money supply, which can lead to too much money chasing too few goods, or an increase in demand for goods and services, which can lead to price increases. Other factors that can impact inflation include changes in government policies, such as changes in tax rates or interest rates, and external events, such as natural disasters or wars.

Inflation can have significant economic and social impacts, including reducing the purchasing power of a currency, increasing the cost of living, and impacting savings and investments. Central banks and governments use a variety of tools, such as monetary policy and fiscal policy, to manage inflation and maintain price stability.

Inflation can have a significant impact on retirement savings and income.  Here are some ways that inflation can impact retirement:

  • Reduced purchasing power: As inflation increases, the value of retirement savings and income decreases in real terms, meaning that the same amount of money can buy fewer goods and services.
  • Increased cost of living: Inflation can lead to an increase in the cost of living, which can impact retirees who are living on a fixed income. This can make it more difficult to afford necessities such as food, housing, and healthcare.
  • Reduced investment returns: Inflation can lead to higher interest rates, which can reduce the returns on fixed-income investments, such as bonds. This can impact the value of retirement savings that are invested in these types of assets.
  • Changes in Social Security benefits: Social Security benefits are adjusted each year for inflation, but the rate of increase may not keep pace with the actual cost of living increases. This can impact retirees who rely on Social Security for a significant portion of their income.

It is important to consider some strategies that can help reduce the impact of inflation on your retirement savings:

  • Diversify investments: Diversifying investments across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, can help protect against the impact of inflation. Stocks have historically provided a hedge against inflation, while real estate investments can also be a good inflation hedge.
  • Consider delaying Social Security benefits: Social Security benefits are adjusted each year for inflation, but delaying benefits can result in a higher monthly payment. This can help retirees keep pace with inflation over time.
  • Continue working: Retirees who continue to work part-time can supplement their retirement income and help offset the impact of inflation on their savings.
  • Reduce expenses: Retirees can also help mitigate the impact of inflation by reducing their expenses and living within their means. This can help stretch retirement savings further and reduce the need to dip into savings over time.

It is recommended that retirees work with a financial planner to develop a retirement income plan that takes into account the impact of inflation and other factors that can impact retirement savings over time.  If you have questions about your retirement plan, please contact the experienced financial team at IM Wealth Partners.