Sean Casterline

What is Inflation?

 Sean Donovan Casterline

Sean Donovan Casterline

inflation image

We have all heard the news about current inflation rates hitting a 40-year high in recent months. And as the cost of most all goods continue to surge, we can all attest to the struggles that inflation creates for all of us.

Yet, one question often remains unanswered in this news. What exactly is inflation? And why is it impacting our world so intensely right now?

This post will get to the bottom of inflation so you can better understand what it is, how it works, and what you can do to weather the storm.

Inflation Explained

To put it in simplest terms: inflation is a rise in the prices of goods and services over time. In other words, it represents a drop in purchasing power in a given period.

Purchasing power is how much of a given good or service you can get for a fixed price. As inflation rises, it shows that purchasing power diminishes.

Think about it like a basket of groceries. As purchasing power drops, you can get fewer goods for a given price. As a result, you need to pay more money to get the same amount of goods in the original grocery basket.

Economic Impact Relative to Inflation

The idea of inflation rates is to measure an overall impact that many consumer goods and services have on purchasing power. These goods and services are generally regarded as a measurement of living a decent, comfortable life.

This means having all the following:

  • Food you need
  • Appropriate housing
  • Transportation (vehicles, gas)
  • Entertainment, recreation, fitness

As prices rise, the same amount of money gets you less. And this has a residual effect on the overall cost of living for the public.

Decelerating Economic Growth

If inflation rises at a rapid rate, consumers can no longer buy as many of the goods and services they once did with the same amount of money. In situations like the current economy, this leads to a deceleration or slowing of economic growth.

A slowing of economic growth means an overall decrease in engagement with all areas of an economy. Less service business, less purchasing, fewer entertainment expenses, and less disposable income all factor into a cumulative economic effect.

In simpler terms: we all feel strained by getting less for our money. All areas of the economy also feel strained as consumers have less spending power than they did before. In short, it hurts all around.

How Does Inflation Happen?

Three primary factors are what contribute to inflation within an economy.

1. Demand-Pull

As demand increases for a product or service, it can sometimes hit its limit in production or availability. As a result, the price rises.

For example, a wildly popular video game console is released with a predetermined MSRP, but the demand is greater than can be produced. Accordingly, the price for the console goes up.

2. Cost-Push

As production prices increase, consumers inevitably see these increases in their final prices. For example, the price of materials for building a house has increased substantially. To ensure a profit, a contracting and construction company must increase the costs of the home production.

3. Built-In

As prices increase, wages paid to employees also increase. A rise in wages is the only way people can endure things like rises in cost of living.

What About My Investments?

This post offers a fairly simplified spotlight on the basics of inflation. The truth is that all the factors leading to inflation are interrelated and complex.

This applies to any investments you may have as well. How does inflation impact your investments? Is there anything you can do to better endure this instability?

The advisors at Delta Capital can help you understand all these elements much more clearly. That way, you can find a strategy that works best for you – and make adjustments as needed.

To learn more about Delta Capital Management, get in touch with us today.