Did you beat inflation in 2014?

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According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 2014 inflation was at 4.1%. Theoretically, something that cost 1 peso at the beginning of 2014 is now worth around 1 peso and 4 centavos.  If you are saving money with BDO, Chinabank, or BPI, you are currently just earning 0.25% interest per year on your savings and let's not forget that the interest earned is still being taxed at 20%. This means that the money you parked in a savings account actually depreciated, losing about 4% of its value just this year. Time deposits are just a bit better but nowhere close to being able to combat inflation.

Beating inflation is one of the reasons why people invest. Were it not for inflation, we'd all probably be content with just saving money. Because of inflation, savers become losers.

But what if you weren't able to beat inflation? Should you feel bad if your investments failed to beat inflation?  This depends on your investment goal. If you are investing in stocks, your goal is most probably not just to beat inflation but to earn astronomical returns from capital appreciation. Let's face it, you're probably not in the stock market with the expectation of just earning 5% per year, right? But don't forget that stocks have a long-term bias! So if you have begun investing in stocks this year and you didn't beat inflation, don't feel bad. 20 years from now, you'll probably be looking at an average return that has beaten inflation for the past 20 years (not to mention astronomical returns). Is this guaranteed? Of course not. Don't forget that the figures pooled funds, which claim to beat inflation present are historical figures and not future figures. It is also important to note that in most instances, figures that will be presented to you are annualized figures. This means that if you are told that a certain mutual fund gave an average return of 10% per year for the past 5 years, it doesn't mean that they earned 10% every calendar year for the past five years.

The best way to fight inflation and keep the value of your money from corroding is to invest in instruments that will give you a fixed rate of yearly return that is at least 4%. Off the top of my head, I can think of bonds (actual bonds and not pooled funds). I remember a few months ago getting an email from UCPB offering me JGS (JG Summit) bonds at more than 5% interest per year.

So did you beat inflation in 2014? My sincerest congratulations to you if you did!

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