How To Preserve Your Assets During 1970’s Style Inflation?

So times have changed, but inflation is back. In the 1970’s prices went up 10% year over year due to a few things – in my opinion OPEC and the departure from the gold standard were the biggest reasons. During that time period you would have made out quite well if you kept all your cash in energy stocks and real estate investments. You’d also make out like a bandit holding gold and silver.

During this period I think the same is true, however there’s a few differences.

  1. Energy stocks now should include “Green Energy” companies and not just comprise of typical fossil fuel producers/ refiners.
  2. I’d focus more on residential real estate instead of commercial real estate especially if the commercial REITS are heavily invested in traditional office buildings and property in large metropolises.
  3. Gold and silver now have competition – cryptocurrencies led by bitcoin and etherium. Altcoins offer large APY yields to those who risk holding them and “staking” them or participating in defi programs. Bank interest rates are still abhorrently low, and at the time of writing this the best interest you can get on a savings is basically 0.5% with Ally unless you are using some promotion or something that requires you go through hoops. Defi can easily get you closer to 20%.
  4. One sector I’m willing to keep cash in is food producing companies and food sellers. That means Lamb Weston, Conagra, Archer-Daniels Midlands for the food producers and Albertsons and Walmart for the retailers. These companies make money off of an inelastic good, and for those who took economics that means that people can’t really stop buying regardless of the price. When it comes to low level luxury goods price elasticity means that demand goes down when price goes up, and for some goods this effect is stronger than others.
  5. Another sector that sells goods that are partially inelastic is energy, that means energy companies and I’d throw in green energy companies into this mix. Fuel is needed for heating during the winter and essential transportation year round.
  6. One winner of inflation that wasn’t around during the 1970’s could be the internet and internet based businesses. As people are too poor to go out, pay for fuel, and dine out they may turn to internet based entertainment such as we saw during Covid in mid 2020.
  7. Regarding real-estate, we did see a huge surge in price in the past few years as people moved around the country with the ability to work from home and the newfound realization that their life is finite due to the pandemic – we may see real estate prices keep up with inflation or slow down a bit, I think a slowdown is more likely as homeowners feel the strain of inflation and sell-offs start to happen. This will benefit people and corporations who have the means to buy up these properties and rent them out.

What not to do:

  1. Nothing – don’t do nothing. Take action to preserve your value that you’ve worked hard to build.
  2. Bank CD – if you lock your money into these low yield fixed rate certificates of deposits you are effectively throwing your money away.
  3. Keep all your money in Consumer Discretionary and related businesses stock. That means Footlocker, Texas Roadhouse, etc.

Is inflation “transitory”

  • I don’t think so, I think it will slow down in the future but what you can buy for the dollar now will never buy you more in the future. I see inflation going up 5 to 10% for the next few years, and that is on the optimistic side.
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