Sunday 8 May 2022

money no enough | inflation woes & is investing the way to beat inflation?

It’s been said so many times and I have definitely seen the inflation in my everyday purchases. So many articles have talked about inflation and of course, there are many things that have brought about inflation at such a rapid pace.

I think the recent events has also amplified the effects of inflation as supply chains delays reflected strongly through prices and shortage of workers have also made prices increase. There are a lot of downstream impacts and it all cascades down.

In this volatile time that we are in, it really is stressful if you do not have enough money to cope with the rising cost which doesn’t seem to be stabilising as we see the Russia and Ukraine conflict deepening coupled with lock downs in China and raw materials having price surge.

Everyone is affected just at varying degrees

Everyone is affected by inflation as prices across the board are increasing. I would say of course, the rich are also being affected as we see how the environment could also affect income due to the many restrictions.

Most recently, we saw Eason Chan talked about having very little to no income due to the pandemic and his saving has dropped to HK$30 million (S$5.2 million), leaving him "panicked" and stressed, as it can only last him at most for 2 years. Well, the reactions to that wasn’t that good as the amount was something that most people might not even be able to attain in their lifetime. But it was not sufficient for him to last beyond 2 years.

Of course, this doesn’t show how inflation affects him as it is the pandemic that has affected him. In Singapore, articles of inflation can be seen here, here and here. It is scary if previously you have been living paycheck to paycheck and with increased prices, it means you will not be able to get the same amount as you previously did. Even just adding a drink to a meal could be a concern as everything has increased and not just certain products. I would say we are all affected but at varying degrees depending on our lifestyle and commitments.

How to cope with it

There have been many opinions and articles released on how to cope with inflation, most of the articles are pretty funny as pointed out in Mr Brown’s and SideHustleRich’s tweets. I think generally the advice to cope with inflation is to drumroll “downgrade your lifestyle for cheaper options” and it’s really frustrating because you worked hard to earn the money but have to settle for less due to the increasing prices, I would say it is pretty depressing. Especially so for the younger generations who have maybe hobbies or interests that require some expenditure. I mean I cannot imagine cutting off money for a hobby that helps me release stress or helps me cope with what’s happening in the world.

Of course, another way is to increase your income or do side gigs to earn more. Yea, I think it really depends on the industry you are in and I know upskilling or going into more lucrative industries like tech can help but that really depends on the individual.

Is investing your money the way to beat inflation? Nope, there are other ways

I would say saving money is really not enough for our generation unless you are earning an annual income of 6 digits which I think a proportion of people are able to earn that. If you are not earning 6 digits per year besides saving, I think thinking about how to make your money work for you is equally important.

Read more: Why is it so difficult talking about money? | Why talking about it can be positive

Investing comes with certain risks and your capital is not guaranteed unless you sign for endowment/savings plans which I am not sure if it does beat inflation in the long run as we are still unsure of how the future will be. If you find yourself not feeling safe about investing, put aside funds in safer investment vehicles + emergency funds and with the extra, you can try out investing. This is not financial advice and it is opinions on how I would allocate my funds if I were a low-risk investor.

There are definitely individuals who swear off investing then I think there are definitely other ways besides investing to beat inflation. You can monetise your hobby or any skills you have. This option is very much possible now due to the huge internet accessibility. You can also take up a side job like tutoring or doing grab to enhance your income. Lastly, you can also up-skill/re-skill and improve yourself to maximise your skills in your main job to enhance your main income.

Ending it off with this, I used to hear my mum talk about how bak chor mee was 50 cents and thought, “How is it possible that it was so cheap?” But in the future, I might be telling my kids how bak chor mee used to be $3 when one bowl would cost $10 and beyond. Scary to even think of it but it’s a possibility as we are already seeing noodles being sold at double digits in a hawker centre.

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