Investor Basics: Inflation 101

Contributed by: Nicholas Boguth Nicholas Boguth

The most basic definition of inflation is “the rise in price of goods and services.”

Below you will see the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) inflation data for the past 10 years, but what do these numbers mean?

Let’s look at last year for an example – average inflation was 1.3%. That means the price of goods and services in the U.S. increased by about 1% last year. It does not necessarily mean that the t-shirt you bought last year for $10.00 is now going to cost $10.10, but rather 1.3% was the average change of all the goods and services that the BLS measures.

Inflation is largely determined by the supply of money, which is why it is a major long-term goal of The Fed to target a certain inflation rate (that target right now is 2%). Keeping a clear inflation goal can promote price stability, interest rate stability, and aligns with The Fed’s goal to help maximize employment.

Since The Fed has explicitly stated that it will be targeting a 2% long-term inflation rate, you may see why investing can be a very important tool for personal retirement planning. If The Fed nails the 2% target, $1 that sits in your change jar for the next 20 years will likely only buy you the equivalent of what $0.67 will buy you today. Feel free to talk to us about strategies about how to combat the effects of inflation!

Nicholas Boguth is an Investment Research Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® and an Investment Representative with Raymond James Financial Services.

The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Nick Boguth and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. The Consumer Price Index is a measure of inflation compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Studies. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.