When inflation rises and the purchasing power of your hard-earned dollars starts to diminish, it’s common to feel less secure about the future. What will happen to your savings and long-term investments? Are your retirement plans still intact?
Luckily, there are strategies experts suggest to help safeguard finances and navigate a high-inflation economy with more confidence.
Consider inflation-protected bonds
Real-Return Bonds (or RRBs) are bonds issued by the Government of Canada that increase in value during inflationary periods. RRBs are tied to the costs of consumer goods as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) and adjust their principal and interest payments when inflation rises.
That being said, these bonds may not offer you protection during deflation. Their value typically fluctuates based on interest rates, so when interest rates rise, bond prices will fall. Investing in RRBs isn’t a risk-free proposition, but they may be a good option to consider if you’re concerned about a high-inflation economy.
Diversify your investment portfolio
When your investments are spread across multiple “asset classes” — i.e., stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, etc. — you’re less likely to get burned by one poor-performing asset. Inflation can affect some asset classes more than others, so diversifying your portfolio across multiple classes may offset a decline in one investment with growth or stability in other areas.
Utilize registered retirement accounts
Registered retirement accounts are savings plans that are formally registered with the government of Canada. Canada’s most common retirement account is an RRSP, or Registered Retirement Savings Plan.
An RRSP is useful for adding to your savings while reducing taxes — contributions up to a certain limit are deducted from your taxable income in the year of the contribution. You won’t have to pay any tax when contributing to your RRSP, but tax will be taken from your payments once you start receiving them from this fund. However, as a retired person, you may be in a lower tax bracket than when you were working.
Married couples can use a joint RRSP and save for retirement together, and when it’s time to receive payments from this account you’ll be able to split them with your spouse as well.
Another option for a registered retirement account is a TFSA or Tax-Free Savings Account. A TFSA is a more general-purpose savings account. TFSA payments are not tax-deductible: however, you also won’t have to pay taxes on the money you receive from the account.
Look for dividend-paying stocks
Dividend stocks come from companies that pay out a portion of their profits (determined by their board of directors) to their shareholders. These payments are received monthly, quarterly or annually and may be paid out in cash or via additional stock in the company.
The amount you get paid per share is a percentage of the company’s share price, called the “dividend yield.” These yields often increase when inflation rises, as companies can manually adjust their dividends to appease their shareholders. Dividend stocks tend to have sustainable and (relatively) predictable returns, which may make them a good option to help you hedge against inflation.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.