Retirement Answer Man

Inflation is quite the buzzword lately. Every news network reports that inflation is on the rise which is apparent at the grocery store, the car dealerships, and even in the housing market. If you are planning on retiring soon, worries about inflation could keep you up at night. This is why over the next 4 weeks, we are going to study how to manage inflation in retirement. 

Today you’ll learn what inflation is and how it is measured. In week two of this series, we’ll discuss how inflation affects retirement, the following episode will study how to manage inflation from a strategic level, and our last episode on this topic will explore the investment vehicles that are available to help protect our portfolios against inflation. 

What is inflation?

Everywhere you look you can see that inflation is on the rise which is why we are studying this topic in depth. Before we can learn how to battle it, we must first understand what it is.

Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a particular currency over time. This means that over time, your dollar will buy less of a particular good or service. 

We often reflect on the good ole days when a gallon of gas was less than a dollar, but we can see how inflation occurs across the board. Today a gallon of milk costs $3.59, but in 1995 it cost $2.50. A dozen eggs are $2.80 today, whereas, in 1990, that same dozen was only $1. This is inflation.

The way we see inflation from a retirement perspective is that the purchasing power of your dollar buys less over time. 

A look at average historical inflation rates

Since the 1920s, the average rate of inflation has been 2.88%. However, this does not mean that each year the inflation rate has been the same inflation fluctuates from year to year. The highest inflation rate was in the 80s and was 15.61%. 

In the past 20 years, the inflation rate has been lower than that 100-year average at 2.06%. Over the past 10 years, we really haven’t worried about inflation and we have had the added benefit of enjoying excellent return rates from the market, so if you retired in 2011, there hasn’t been much to worry about. But this isn’t always the case. 

In the 1970s, inflation was at 7% per year which was coupled with a rough decade in investment returns, this perfect storm could cripple retirements. Inflation risk can be compared to sequence of return risk as you enter into retirement. 

How inflation affects retirement planning

When you are planning your retirement you want to understand how much things cost so that you can predict how much money you will need each year. If you spend $9000 per month now, in 20 years you’ll need much more to have that same purchasing power. 

No one can predict what will happen in the future, but if you study the past and take measures to protect your portfolio, you can hedge against this ever-present risk. Learn how inflation is measured why that is important to plan your retirement on this episode of Retirement Answer Man.



  • [5:00] What is inflation?
  • [12:10] How inflation affects retirement planning
  • [13:46] What causes inflation?
  • [19:00] How do we measure inflation?


  • [26:30] Is it better to do a Roth conversion or take advantage of a 0% capital gains tax rate?
  • [34:55] The difference between Roth conversions and Roth contributions
  • [39:59] How to adjust the Social Security calculator for early retirement
  • [46:45] Is inflation risk higher when one retires early?


  • [56:55] Think about your optimization to see if you have enough slack in your system

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Taxes in Retirement Facebook group with Andy Panko

Tenon Financial Group

LTCI Partners

Watch the Retirement Plan Live replay here!

BOOK - Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

Direct download: RAM420.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:17am CDT