One of the most dangerous lies in all of finance and economics is the implied myth that inflation somehow “destroys” wealth. It doesn’t. Inflation doesn’t hurt everyone equally — inflation helps some and hurts others.
Inflation is actually one of the biggest reasons large corporations are so powerful in society. The government and big banks use inflation to force people to spend their money and go into as much debt as they can afford.
But how does it all work? Before we answer that, let’s first look at a parable. Some things are best learned in a story format, and inflation is one of those.
The Saver and the Slave: An Inflation Story
There were once two men who were neighbors. Their names were “Jack” and “John”.
Jack was a saver. He spent his entire life saving every penny he could get his hands on. He saved money with coupons, saved money by buying stuff only in off-seasons, saved money by spending as little as he could, etc. He was a saver. By the time he was 45, he had saved exactly $100,000.
John was a spender. He spent every dime he ever earned. Back in his 20s, he even took out a $100,000 loan, and bought two houses with it. He never used coupons, never looked at prices before buying anything, and wore nicer clothes.
During this time, inflation started to hit in. Inflation was fairly high. By the time Jack and John were 45, inflation destroyed 90% of the value of the US dollar.
For Jack, this was disastrous. He spent his whole life saving $100,000, and suddenly it was worth only 10% of what it should have been worth. This means that rather than having 100k it was as though he only had 10k. Not enough to even buy a house.
For John, this was perfect. He spent his whole life spending his money, so he didn’t see his money lose value. He took out a 100k loan, but his loan was only like he had a 10k loan now — and he still has two houses. John ended up selling one house, paying off the loan, and walking away with a free house, and 90k.
Inflation Destroys Debt and Dollars
Inflation doesn’t destroy wealth — inflation destroys dollars. This means if you’re in debt, inflation makes your debt less and less. If inflation is 10%, it’s like your debt is getting 10% smaller every year. If you’re a saver, inflation makes your savings 10% smaller every year.
Every year people in debt see their net worth increase because of inflation.
Every year people who are savers see their net worth decrease because of inflation.
Inflation doesn’t hurt everyone equally — it just hurts people with cash, and forces them to spend their money and get into debt. Inflation essentially forces people to become slaves to banks and to not have money.
In an inflationary society, people who are willing to go into debt to buy houses, businesses and such are at a huge, huge advantage over people who just save their money. Savers are penalized. Spenders are rewarded.
What This Really Means
Because inflation makes debt more attractive, an economy with inflation will see a much higher level of debt than societies with less inflation. This leads to the economy becoming much less secure, and sets us up for financial catastrophe.
Inflation is one of the reasons so many people purchase houses and property even before they have the money — inflation makes cash less profitable or secure.
There’s a reason the government and large banks support creating inflation. It pushes individuals into debt. It makes consumers slaves to creditors. It transfers wealth from savers to people in debt. It stops frugal people from being able to make ends meet unless they have large incomes.
This all means several things:
a) Investing makes more sense. Savings accounts don’t pay interest that’s higher than inflation. This means that most people will use the stock market to build up wealth over time — they have to take part in the financial system. Plenty will get fleeced in the system. Big financial institutions make more money this way.
b) Debt makes more sense. This should be obvious. You’re using inflation to essentially get free money. Most debt comes from banks, meaning you’ll be a voluntary debt slave to a bank because it’s profitable to become one. You’re shackled to the system.
c) An independent retirement is difficult. Being able to save your own money for retirement is much, much more difficult with inflation. If it wasn’t for inflation, social security would be much less likely to exist. This means inflation makes the people more dependent on the government. The establishment loves this.
If you save $1,000,000 for retirement over the course of 50 years, and inflation is 4.07%… you actually only save $136,000 in today’s money, which probably won’t be enough to own a nice house.
Does this mean you shouldn’t save? Does this mean you should go into debt? Not quite. I’ll be writing what you should do in the future… hint: gold is a great inflation hedge.
Right now, inflation is skyrocketing. Gold is exploding. Silver is exploding. The dollar is dying. This is all happening in a way that is destroying savers, rewarding debt, and creating an economy that is based on debt and insecurity.
Shaun Connell is the the founder and editor of Stand Strong Research. He’s an entrepreneur and investor living in rural America. He’s also a firm believer in income investing, inflation hedging, and debt-free living.