Raise your price!
Don’t be the last one to raise your price. If you see prices rising, then promptly raise the price you charge for your work. Inflation hurts more if you wait to change your prices. If the value of the currency falls ten percent and Starbucks raises their prices about ten percent, then you would be about 10 percent poorer due to inflation, in terms of your coffee purchases. However, if you promptly raise your prices 10 percent, than inflation would not lower the value of your income.
If you are employed, this means you must request a salary adjustment based on the cost of living or technically the declining value of the currency. I’m not calling it a salary increase, because technically it’s not an increase since you can’t purchase more things at the higher salary, just the same amount as before. You could tell your employer that Starbucks and possibly other companies have raised their prices, and unless it’s due to a coffee shortage, it’s likely due to the falling value of the currency.
If you see that a big company such as Starbucks raises its prices, then this could be the cue for you to raise your price. Or you could wait for two big companies to raise their prices, such as Starbucks and Subway. These price changes are often reported by news media, but if you are a regular Starbucks customer, you will see the price increase.
It’s not easy to get a salary change, but this is really the best action to take to protect the value of your income. Inflation has ripped people off for likely thousands of years. All because people don’t want to accept that fact that the currency is losing value and employers don’t want to admit that the salaries lose value as the currency loses value. In an inflationary situation, where prices are quickly rising throughout the year, employers actually profit from the static salaries paid to their employees. It’s time for employees to smarten up and tell companies that they know what is going on.
See the section below on investing and saving for tactics to protect the wealth you already have.
A political problem requires a political solution. Convince your elected officials in your country or region to support legislation allowing monetary choice. Support and donate to politicians anywhere who sponsor these changes. Here are a few actions that must be taken:
- Repeal capital gains tax completely or at least on gold and silver. This is by far the most important change.
- Repeal the state and local sales tax completely or at least on gold and silver.
- Remove legal tender laws that require someone to accept central bank currencies, such as the euro.
- Allow taxes to be paid with gold, silver, and other items. The government would use an intermediary that would convert various monies into the money preferred by the government.
- Allow the marketplace, not central bank officials, to set interest rates. Interest rates are a fancy name for the fee to rent money. Allowing one group of people set the rental price of money concentrates too much power and distorts the market.
Learn more on our legislation page.
Investing and Saving
For investing and saving, recognize there key points. Focus on making money in your occupation, not your investments. You know the most about your line of work. This means storing your wealth is more amount maintaining the value of your wealth rather than increasing it.
Second, all markets are rigged or may be rigged. Central banks can manipulate the stock market because they control the interest rate and the amount of money in circulation. People can use this inside information to sell high at the peak of a boom, then buy low at the bottom of a bust.
The final point to keep in mind is that you cannot “exit the market.” If you sell all your stocks and shares of mutual funds, and put your money in a saving account, now you are invested in the local currency which can lose value as well and you may have increased your risk because you own only one type of asset instead of a mutual fund with shares or many companies. The only way to truly exit the market is to give away all your wealth, which you don’t want to do, but helps illustrate my point.
Because of these two factors, consider the “permanent portfolio” approach that places your wealth equally in four areas: gold, growth stocks, bonds, and cash. If a central bank is increasing or decreasing the interest rate or increasing or decreasing the stock of money, one or more quadrants will do well. If one sector, such as gold, becomes valued at 35 percent or more of your assets, then you would sell that sector and buy from the other three asset classes not doing as well, to bring your holdings back to 25 percent in each of the four sectors. This is known as re-balancing and is as essential money management approach.
To do the Permanent Portfolio approach, you could find a stock market mutual fund and a bond fund, purchase gold coins, and hold cash. Or you could buy the Permanent Portfolio fund and let them divide up your wealth into the sectors and rebalance. Learn more about this approach in Harry Browne’s book, Fail-Safe Investing: Lifelong Financial Security in 30 Minutes.
High inflation? Avoid the currency daily
To avoid rampant inflation in your home country, act like a tourist by avoiding the local currency. When Zimbabwe had hyperinflation, tourists and expatriates didn’t mind because they didn’t own or hold Zimbabwe dollars. The average tourist kept their wealth in another currency and each week or day converted some of their wealth into the local, depreciating currency. You can mimic the actions of a tourist with a few key steps.
Move some or all of your savings out of the local currency. If you are holding government currency, such as the U.S. dollar or the euro, than you can get robbed via inflation. The banks simply can create new dollars to take value from your dollars. To avoid this, convert your dollars to into precious metals, collectibles, stocks, mutual funds, or many other options. Then, once or twice a month convert some of your wealth back into the local currency. Note that many governments apply a higher tax to precious metals and collectibles. You do not need to buy stocks in another country or one “denominated” in another currency to avoid inflation. You only need to not hold your country’s currency. A small step would be to hold currency of another country that is not inflating their currency at all or as much. See our choices page.
When faced with hyperinflation, where the value of the currency falls each day or each hour, then the above option might still leave you too exposed. Two weeks of spending money in a hyper-inflated currency could be worthless in a few days. You could instead pay for everything with a credit card and pay your monthly credit card bill with a currency from another country. Note you will pay fees to convert from one currency to another. Also, using your credit card is technically a loan and as stated below, any loan from a bank creates new money and this takes value from all existing money.
Borrow from people, not banks
If you must borrow money, use a peer-to-peer network, such as Prosper.com, or from a friend. Money from a network is not new money so it won’t devalue other money. Loans from banks are new money that will devalue money. Banks can’t steal value without the help of a borrower.
Pay off all your loans from banks. When you pay back your loans, the banks “destroy” the money. The value of the money returns to the other money in circulation.
Tie your salary to a real product
You are likely paid with a currency that is losing value each year. If that currency declines five percent during a year, then your salary declined five percent. Unless you negotiate a five percent raise, you will earn less the next year. The solution is to base your contract on something that is not declining in value at all or as much, such as another currency, a commodity, or a basket of commodities that holds value. This is called indexing and is common with cross-border employment that involves two national currencies.
You would still be paid in dollars, but the dollar amount would vary, while the value would remain the same.
- If you negotiate a $1,000 monthly salary, calculate the worth in your preferred money commodity. If you think wheat is not losing value (because people still like bread), then calculate the value of $1,000 in wheat. Let’s say one dollar buys one bushel of wheat. Then your contract would be for 1,000 bushels of wheat, though you’d still be paid in dollars.
- When it’s time to get paid each month, you and your employer would calculate the cost of 1,000 bushels in dollars. If one dollar buys only 0.5 bushels of wheat, then $1,000 is worth 500 bushels of wheat. Since your salary is 1,000 bushels of wheat, your payment would be $2,000, the amount required to purchase 1,000 bushels of wheat. Your salary is the same in terms of what you can actually buy. Only the dollar amount changed. You are no richer and the company is not poorer. You didn’t get a higher salary in terms of wealth. Through indexing, you only maintained the value of your salary. If you didn’t do this, then the company would be richer and you would be poorer. By the end of the year, $1,000 might only buy 750 bushels of wheat. Your company would need to increase its prices to reflect the lowered value dollar. Your company could index contracts to wheat as well so customers on annual contracts are charged based on value not based on the depreciating currency. See our choices page.
Calculate value using a product, such as gallons of gas
You have complete monetary choice when calculating the value of items. When you travel to another country, you would, in your mind, convert prices into your home country’s currency so you could understand the cost. Similarly, you can convert prices in your home country into prices measured in real products.
Profits and prices measured in dollars can be misleading. A person might buy a home for $100,000 and sell it for $200,000 — double the dollar price — but lose wealth because all prices rose three times. The house needed to sell for $300,000 to have retained the original value.
Avoid this confusion by measuring the value of products, your salary, or a home in another real product to see the “real price” or to understand something’s true worth. For example, assume you live in an area with high inflation and you get a new job with a salary 25 percent higher than your current job. You go from earning $20,000 in 2011 to earning $25,000 in 2012, or $5,000 more. However, if the prices for everything rose 25 percent, than you are no better off.
To better measure value, you could measure your salary in a real product, such as pounds of wheat. You could calculate that in 2011 a pound of wheat cost $1, meaning $20,000 is worth 20,000 pounds of wheat. In 2012, the price of wheat rises to $1.25, meaning your salary is still worth 20,000 pounds of wheat. You are not making more wealth in terms of wheat.
You could apply this calculation to the price of gas, bus fares, airline tickets, housing prices, etc.
Salaries: Allow employees to tie or index their pay to the cost of a basket of items. We can help create the basket and explain to employees the pros and cons of this pay arrangement.
Product & Service Pricing: Avoid signing a long-term contract in money that’s losing value. Tie the cost of your products and services to basket of precious and base metals. This can be done with leases as well.
Multiple Currencies: Allow citizens to use any product as money. Remove or change sales taxes and capital gains taxes so people are not taxed more when using a product for indirect exchange or a store of value, compared with using fiat tokens. Then watch as millions of market transactions reveal what people prefer in your area to use as media of exchange.
Valuation: Allow customers to value their government currencies in other products. It’s common to let people value stocks in government money such as the dollar. A person with 10 shares of stock might see those 10 shares are worth 100 dollars. Make the reverse possible. Let people value a dollar account in gold, silver, a basket of commodities, or even movie tickets. When your customers see the declining value of government money, they will be more likely to exchange the government money for gold, silver, ETFs, stocks, etc.