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Beating Inflation: Tactics for Maintaining Investment Value in an Inflationary Climate

Beating Inflation: Tactics for Maintaining Investment Value in an Inflationary Climate


Inflation refers to the consistent rise in general price levels for goods and services over a specific period, subsequently leading to a decrease in a currency's buying power. While inflation is an inevitable economic phenomenon, investors can implement effective strategies to counter its adverse effects and protect the purchasing power of their money.

Investors should remember that while some investments may appear profitable at first glance, their real returns might not look as appealing when adjusted for inflation. That's why savvy investors plan for inflation by focusing on assets known to outperform during periods of rising prices. It's crucial to remember that conventional bonds, though a go-to option for many income-focused investors, aren't the sole investment avenue that can provide a revenue stream.

Key Strategies for Hedging Against Inflation

  1. Diverting Funds to Equities: Inflation can potentially disrupt the bond market but invigorate equities. It may be advantageous to shift a portion of your investment from bonds to stocks, especially preferred shares.
  2. Diversifying Internationally: Investors can hedge against inflation by diversifying their portfolios with foreign stocks and bonds. This strategy can help shield your investments from the effects of domestic inflation.
  3. Real Estate Investments: Real estate tends to perform well during inflationary periods. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are a viable avenue for those looking to invest in property.
  4. Exploring Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS): These are unique, inflation-adjusted instruments that can provide an additional layer of protection against inflation.
  5. Investing in Senior Secured Bank Loans: These loans offer a way to secure higher yields while safeguarding your investment from potential price drops when interest rates rise.

Inflation-Hedging Assets: A Closer Look

1. Investing More in Equities

During inflationary times, transferring a portion of your investment portfolio from bonds to stocks could be a profitable move. It's commonly advised to maintain a 60/40 split between stocks and bonds in your portfolio. However, bear in mind that although such a division can help hedge against inflation, it may underperform over the long term compared to an all-equity portfolio due to the power of compounding interest.

Another effective strategy includes investing in preferred stocks. They typically offer higher yields than most bonds and might not drop in value as much when inflation kicks in.

2. Going International

US investors often favor domestic stocks and bonds, which can be a disadvantage in the long run, particularly during inflation. Expanding your portfolio with international assets can be an effective hedge against inflation.

Consider economies like Italy, Australia, and South Korea, which don't strictly follow the trends of U.S. market indices. By adding stocks or bonds from these and other similar countries, you can safeguard your portfolio against domestic economic cycles. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds offer convenient ways to diversify into international markets.

3. Real Estate as an Investment

Investing in real estate offers many benefits, including consistent income through rents and a potential rise in property values during inflation. However, as real estate investments are relatively illiquid, considering Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) may be a good alternative. They offer high liquidity and often yield higher returns than bonds.

4. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)

TIPS are a type of U.S. Treasury bond designed to help your investments keep pace with inflation. They offer interest payments twice a year at a fixed rate, with the principal value adjusted according to changes in the Consumer Price Index. Despite being a safe investment, it's important to be aware of the potential risks, such as sensitivity to changes in current interest rates.

5. Senior Secured Bank Loans

As a rule of thumb, some businesses flourish when prices escalate. Banks serve as an excellent example since they profit from rising interest rates and increasing loan prices.

Investing in senior secured bank loans is an intelligent move to earn higher returns and insulate yourself against falling prices if interest rates begin to climb. However, remember that there might be a considerable time lag before the value of loans increases as the rates rise. An example of a suitable fund is the Lord Abbett Floating Rate Fund (LFRAX).

Please note that these investments are complex instruments. For beginners, it would be wise to invest through a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF). For instance, the Vanguard Global Ex-U.S. Real Estate Index (VNQI) offers comprehensive exposure in global properties. The iShares TIPS Bond ETF (TIP) mimics the performance of inflation-protected U.S. Treasury bonds. The Lord Abbett Floating Rate Fund (LFRAX) is a recommended choice for those seeking exposure in lower-grade corporate loans.

Other Noteworthy Assets for Inflation Protection

The best hedge against inflation is dependent on your investment horizon. Commodities, particularly gold, are often seen as reliable buffers against the cost of living. However, research by Professor Campbell Harvey from Duke University and Claude Erb, the former commodities and fixed income manager at TCW Group, indicates that gold works best as an inflation hedge over extended periods—a century or longer.

Many analysts and economists suggest equities as a superior method for safeguarding your portfolio over the long haul, especially against unexpected inflation spurts. This is because corporate earnings often grow faster when inflation is higher, signaling robust consumer spending and economic growth. While it has seen fluctuations, the stock market (represented by the S&P 500) has appreciated an average of 10% annually over the past century.

1. Commodities

Commodities, such as gold, oil, or agricultural products, often rise in price during inflationary periods, making them an attractive hedge. While investing directly in physical commodities can be challenging, there are several accessible ways for individual investors to gain exposure to commodities. These include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track commodity indexes, and stocks of companies involved in commodity-intensive industries.

2. Inflation-Indexed Bonds

In addition to TIPS in the US, several other countries issue inflation-indexed bonds. These bonds work similarly to TIPS, with their principal value being adjusted according to changes in the inflation rate. However, bear in mind that investing in foreign bonds also exposes you to foreign exchange risk, which can impact your returns.

3. Cryptocurrencies

While still a highly speculative and volatile market, some investors have begun considering cryptocurrencies as a potential hedge against inflation. Advocates argue that digital assets like Bitcoin, with their limited supply, are not subject to the inflationary policies of central banks. However, the lack of regulation and the possibility of extreme price swings makes investing in cryptocurrencies a risky venture.


Protecting your investments against inflation is crucial to maintaining and growing your wealth. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, incorporating a mix of the above strategies and assets can help mitigate the adverse effects of inflation on your portfolio. It's important to remember that all investments carry risk, and the ideal approach should align with your risk tolerance, financial goals, and investment horizon. Consulting with a financial advisor is always a good step to tailor an investment plan that fits your specific needs and circumstances.