Retirees worry more than most of us about inflation—even though there hasn’t been much to worry about for several decades.
This year is different. The economic fits and starts of recovery from the pandemic have produced some hot inflation numbers. Many experts regard the trend as temporary, but for now, we’re dealing with an unfamiliar landscape.
Retirees are especially sensitive to inflation because income from portfolios has no inherent inflation adjustment—unlike wage income, which tends to be adjusted to reflect the cost of living over time. And retirees usually are not adding to their accounts, so that makes portfolio returns especially important. On the other hand, retirees benefit from owning one of the only inflation-hedged assets available to us: Social Security benefits.
I’ve written several pieces on retirement and inflation in the past few weeks:
- Coping with the rising cost of Medicare – this column for The New York Times is partly related to inflation, but it really delves into the cost pressures impacting health care for seniors, and Medicare in particular.
- The 2022 outlook: in this Morningstar column I explore the interaction of the Social Security, Medicare premiums and investment choices (subscription required).
- How financial planners can help clients cope with inflation
- The Social Security COLA: for Reuters, I examined the 2022 COLA and how it compares with overall costs experienced by seniors.