Investment strategy is vital factor in inflation
Although there may be some time before inflation is felt at a personal and business level, higher prices are here to stay, and according to financial experts, analyzing investing strategies, keeping cash available and reducing unnecessary costs to operations might be key ways to come afloat during these times.
“History teaches us that when inflation peaks, stocks usually turn positive,” said Julian A. Gualtieri, financial advisor of Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management. “The world is changing at a rapid pace, and there are new opportunities every day to expand and grow business and personal wealth, despite of the current environment.”
The peak of inflation has not arrived yet, he added, but the way it will eventually affect residents is by raising the cost of living.
Inflation will also make it more complicated for business owners because the supplies and services they need to run a business are becoming more costly. “So, there will be a need for business owners to adjust prices, because running the business is more expensive,” he said. “However, this sequence of events demoralizes consumer sentiment.”
According to a poll by Business.org of 700 starting small-business owners, 50% underestimated how much they would have to spend in their first year of business to make money. Storefront business owners, said the report, spent around $100,000, averaging a revenue of $105,000 in their first year.
These business owners, the article said, spent 30% of their investment on inventory, 21% on equipment, 15% on location, 12% on taxes, 7% on utilities and 6% on payroll.
Minimizing expenses, organizing and analyzing balance sheets more frequently, and identifying the most important factors of their businesses are ways in which businesses owners could mitigate inflation difficulties, Mr. Gualtieri said. Additionally, “working closely with a financial advisor, an accountant, or a CPA to analyze variable rate loans, personal investments, and business liquidity management/investing strategies” could help mitigate its effects.
The biggest cost of managing a business for clients, he added, comes down to payroll costs, which usually amount to 70% of the business spending.
“You may want to evaluate timing, business expenses, liquidity, and your outlook for the business,” he said. “I don’t think any market environment, despite catastrophic times, such as the 2008 recession, should stop you from engaging in new business ventures and achieving your dreams.”
Lauren Anastasio, director of financial advice and certified financial planner at Stash, said that although the expectation is that inflation may taper off, prices are not going to revert to what they were.
“It just means that prices will continue to climb at a much slower rate than they have recently,” she said. “So, we need to get comfortable with adjusting to this new reality. I think that we always have to be mindful about what’s in our control and what’s outside of our control.”
It is important to still hold on to cash, she said. “Cash is going to continue to be unbelievably vital, especially to business owners to be adaptable and agile to make quick business decision.”
Additionally, finding creative solutions with lenders is a way to control expenses and cash flow, she said. “Look into areas where you may be able to negotiate a contract that you haven’t revisited for some time, or if maybe you can create your own service agreement.”
One of the top priorities for consumers, Ms. Anastasio said, should be eliminating higher interest rate debt. Interest has been historically low for several years, and “even though we may have been comfortable carrying balances and credit cards, for example, or taking out loans because money was cheap, with interest rates rising, now is a time that we really want to eliminate debts on things with a variable interest rate, such as a home equity line of credit (HELOC), to both reduce the cost of our borrowing but also free up cash flow and eliminate those payments.”
Another helpful practice, she continued, is going through credit card bills or checking accounts statement every couple of months to analyze expenses and try to identify unnecessary ones that could be eliminated. “It is a time for us to look a little bit deeper on spending to try and rein things in.”
“Every person should have a tailor-made financial plan that could be prepared by a financial advisor,” Mr. Gualtieri said. “This would include budgets and expenses analysis, an outlook based on the expected economic environment, asset allocation analysis based on the current real estate and financial market, retirement or lifestyle goals, and investment strategy to mitigate inflation and achieve your goals, both long and short term.”
Life and family expenses, such as a mortgage or children’s tuition, should be organized in a structured budget to keep the same level of quality of life, Mr. Gualtieri added.