Retirement Planning, Elder Law, and Senior Finance

2/23/2022 | By Jill Schlesinger, CFP

Baby boomers and their elders lived through the inflationary period of the 1970s and early 1980s. Remember the red WIN – “Whip Inflation Now” buttons? As a result, we can remember some of the strategies that helped us at the time. Financial expert Jill Schlesinger of “Jill on Money” reminds us of six inflation-fighting strategies … to whip our own inflation now!

As the post-COVID inflation spike persists, it is abundantly clear that we are going to be contending with higher prices for longer than previously thought. As a result, it’s time to dust off some of the inflation-fighting strategies that consumers used four decades ago.

Inflation-fighting strategies … for all the ages

1. Delay spending:

Whether it’s a new device, a much-desired wardrobe addition, a home renovation, or a trip, delaying a purchase is the easiest way to avoid being slammed with higher prices.

2. Be flexible:

As inflation soared in the 1970s, manufacturers introduced the concept of generic alternatives to brand names, to reduce prices. In the early 1980s generic sales made up 2.4% of all grocery sales, according to Selling Areas Marketing Inc. Today, generics and private labels account for 19.5% of all units sold in 2020, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association. If your favorite brand is not available or a bit too pricey, it’s time to consider a generic brand.

3. Help the planet (and your bottom line):

Sticker shock at the gas pump and with utility bills might prompt you to reduce driving (or go electric), better manage your thermostat, and seal up those inefficient windows and doorways. Yes, the little things add up to a lot.

4. Boost your income:

Workers have more power today than they have in two decades. That means it’s time to ask the boss for more money, either in the form of a raise or perhaps a one-time bonus. If you don’t want to leave (or you’re already retired), consider a side hustle.

Related: 10 post-retirement second acts

5. Prepare for higher interest rates:

The Federal Reserve has told us it will increase short term rates, probably at the next meeting in March. That means you should try to lock in fixed rate mortgages now. Don’t worry if you missed the rock-bottom levels of the cycle, borrowing for the long term is still historically cheap. If you are refinancing, you may want to fold in home equity loans or credit card debts that are tied to variable, short-term interest rates.

6. Diversify your portfolio:

The goal of every long-term investor is to grow your nest egg at a quicker pace than the rate of inflation, while keeping focused on the total risk level you are willing to assume. When inflation arrives, a diversified portfolio can help shield you from the corrosive nature of rising prices. Consider these asset classes for inclusion in your account.

Commodities: When inflation rises, the price of commodities like gold and energy increase. However, this is a volatile asset class that flatline over long stretches of time. Try to limit commodity exposure to three and six percent of the total portfolio value.

Real estate investment trusts (“REITs”): The ultimate “real asset,” REITs tend to perform well during inflationary periods, due to rising property values and rents.

Stocks: Long-term data show that stocks, especially dividend-producing ones, tend to perform well in inflationary periods.

Treasury Inflation Protected Securities: To help the investor dilemma of inflation eating into a bond’s fixed-income return, the US government introduced inflation-indexed bonds (TIPS) in 1997, which are linked to the consumer price index.

I-Bonds: Issued through the US Treasury, these savings vehicles provide an annual interest rate, which is derived from a fixed rate and a semiannual inflation rate. For bonds issued Nov. 2021 — April 2022, the total is a whopping 7.12%. There are a few caveats to consider the purchase of I Bonds:

  • Maximum Purchase per calendar year: $10,000 electronic bonds, $5,000 paper bonds
  • Minimum term of ownership: one year
  • Interest-earning period: 30 years or until you cash them, whichever comes first
  • Early redemption penalties: Before five years, forfeit interest from the previous three months

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Jill Schlesinger, CFP

Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is a CBS News business analyst. A former options trader and CIO of an investment advisory firm, she welcomes comments and questions at Check her website at