How Inflation Erodes Personal Wealth

How Inflation Erodes Personal Wealth

The simplest definition of inflation is the decrease in the purchasing strength of a given amount of money over a specific period of time. Most working people know the real-world effects of inflation because they notice higher prices when shopping for groceries, fuel, professional services, homes, and more. In nearly every instance, inflation results from prices rising faster than average wages.

For economists, it’s easy to measure inflationary changes in terms of specific percentage increases in the cost of a particular basket of common goods, like a typical week’s groceries for a family of four. On news and financial TV shows, you’ll hear about the standard cost of a market basket, with commentators pointing out whether the price has risen or fallen during the past week, month, or year. Unfortunately, even modest price increases have the potential to erode your savings, buying power, and net worth as time passes. 

In addition to retail goods, other segments of the economy are deeply affected by inflationary pressure. Inflated prices throughout an economy mean weaker currency values, poor performance of retirement savings accounts, lower buying power for your income, and other negative repercussions. Here are several of the most typical results of inflation.

Retail Goods

Inflation’s effects are most apparent in the market for retail goods. All you need to do is walk through the aisles of a grocery or clothing store at one-month intervals and make note of price changes. For family’s rising prices take their most significant toll at the grocery store, fuel pump, and restaurants. While it’s possible to avoid dining out, it’s tougher to cut down on the amount of food you eat at home or the volume of fuel you purchase for necessary travel.

Currency Value

As an example of inflation’s role in currency strength, here’s a hypothetical case. Assume the United States economy’s current inflationary rate is 10 percent and the rate in the United Kingdom is two percent. If all other major economic factors are equal, the UK’s currency will be stronger than the dollar. Investors use logic when they assess currency values in the forex markets on a day-to-day basis. They tend to prefer currencies that are more stable and are able to hold their value. Forex traders usually study multiple factors before deciding which currency pair to buy and whether to go long or short. While inflationary economies tend to be weaker than non-inflationary ones, forex markets factor in the relative rates. Of course, other things, like balance of trade deficits, political instability, and unemployment rates, are also important.

Retirement Savings

If you have a retirement account, it’s possible to see your long-term wealth suffer as a result of rising price levels. Say your nest egg is part of a fund that earns six percent interest per year. If inflation’s bite out of that growth is five percent, then you’re only making one percent per year on those retirement dollars. It’s essential to calculate price level changes when figuring the real rate of return on retirement accounts.

Precious Metals

In general, inflation tends to drive up the demand for gold, which nearly always sends gold’s value higher. That’s one reason so many people flock to gold and other precious metals as a safe haven form of investment when the price of retail and other goods begins to rise.

On the Fence About Pet Insurance? Here’s What to Keep in Mind Before Deciding

pet insurance

If you own a pet, then you know how much time, effort, and money goes into keeping your furry friend happy and healthy. Apart from showering them with daily cuddles and attention, a more practical tip is to invest in pet insurance. 

Pet insurance is a form of financial security in the face of accidents, illnesses, and other unforeseen circumstances. It covers expenses related to your pet’s treatment, recovery, and in some cases, maintenance. However, many pet owners remain hesitant due to the pet insurance costs that come with getting a plan. 

If you’re on the fence about whether the cost of insurance for your pet is worth it, this may help you out. Here’s everything you need to consider before deciding on the best insurance plan, including coverage and costs.

Pet Insurance Considerations

Before anything else, it pays to know the factors that influence a pet insurance policy. Pet insurance providers typically assess your pet before agreeing to a plan. Depending on the provider, they usually take into account your pet’s health history and other relevant details, such as:

  • How many pets you will insure
  • Pet’s age
  • Gender of your pet
  • Pet’s weight
  • Pet’s breed and if they’re pure or mixed
  • Pet’s medical history and any pre-existing conditions

For pets of specific breeds or with pre-existing conditions, you can expect higher premiums. The same goes for older pets. However, if you are insuring several pets under the same provider, you may receive a special package price. Keep in mind that these considerations are applicable for dogs and cats. For exotic or rare animals, you will need to discuss potential coverage directly with the pet insurance provider.

Pet Insurance Coverage

Another factor to keep in mind is the coverage of a pet insurance plan. Generally speaking, there are three types of plans:

  • Accident-only plans
  • Accident and illness plans
  • Accident, illness, and wellness plans

In case of accidents, these are the services usually covered:

  • Blood tests
  • Injuries from accidents
  • Lab tests like x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs
  • Emergency care
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Prescribed medication

For treating specific illnesses, you can expect services related to common infections and conditions like:

  • Bladder infection
  • Ear infection
  • Respiration infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Wellness services, on the other hand, are mostly treated as add-ons for an additional premium. However, some providers offer them as part of a comprehensive plan. This usually includes:

  • Flea treatment
  • Neutering
  • Pet grooming
  • Teeth cleaning
  • Vaccinations
  • Some providers also offer therapy, chiropractic services, routine checkups, and behavior modifications 

Some plans, like Embrace pet insurance, allow you to take your pet to any licensed veterinarian as they have no network tied to the plan. All that said, you cannot expect the same services from all providers. While some offer only basic plans, others cover a wide variety of services. Moreover, more high-end providers extend their coverage to more services than we mentioned above. In any case, we recommend having a detailed discussion with several providers. It will allow you to compare what they cover and what they don’t, especially if your pet requires specific services.

Pet Insurance Costs

As a rule of thumb, the more services you have covered, the higher the premium. On a monthly average, it may cost you as much as $50 for dogs and $28 for cats. Then again, this will depend on the provider. Make sure to include this in your discussion.

Apart from the monthly premium, here are other costs you need to keep in mind:

  • The reimbursement rate is the percent of your expense covered by your provider. Most companies cover 100%, while some cover only 80%. Unlike health insurance plans, pet insurance plans require you to pay for the expense before asking for reimbursement.
  • A deductible is a minimum amount you need to personally pay before your pet insurance coverage can be used.
  •  The payout limit is the maximum amount your plan will cover. It is either applied per service or on your total annual expenses. 

Health considerations, coverage, and costs are the three main factors you need to keep in mind before deciding to purchase pet insurance. The good thing is countless providers offer customizable and affordable plans to cater to different pet owners.