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Protect Your Portfolio: Strategies for Managing Inflation Risk

May 12, 2023 | Editorial Team
Protect Your Portfolio: Strategies for Managing Inflation Risk

Are you concerned about the impact of inflation on your investments? If not, you should be. Here is how inflation risk can impact your investments and tips for safeguarding your wealth.

What is Inflation and Why is it Happening?

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising. It is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the prices of a basket of goods and services. Inflation can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Increase in the money supply
  • Increase in demand for goods and services
  • Decrease in supply of goods and services
  • Increase in production costs

It is happening now due to a combination of factors, including increased demand for goods and services as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and government stimulus programs that have injected trillions of dollars into the economy.

Risks Investors Should Know

Inflation can have a significant impact on investors, especially those with long-term investments. Some of the risks that investors should be aware of include:

Influence on Selected Classes

1. Stocks
It can impact stocks in a number of ways, including:

  • Reduced consumer spending: As prices rise, consumers have less money to spend on discretionary items, which can hurt companies' bottom lines.
  • Increased input costs: As the cost of raw materials and labor increases, companies may see their profit margins squeezed.
  • Changes in interest rates: As inflation rises, central banks may raise interest rates, which can make borrowing more expensive and slow economic growth.
  • Bonds: One important risk associated with investing in bonds is the potential for the bond's interest and principal payments to lose purchasing power over time, which can be caused by increases in the general level of prices for goods and services.

2. Real Estate
Real estate investments are often considered a strong hedge against the erosion of purchasing power caused by rising prices. However, the value of real estate may also increase due to higher demand and a corresponding increase in prices along with higher interest rates, making it more difficult for prospective buyers to obtain affordable financing for property purchases. This can result in a slowdown in the real estate market and potentially lower property values.

3. Commodities
Commodities, including precious metals, fossil fuels, and farm products, have historically proven to be a suitable investment option in times of escalating prices, as their values tend to grow with rising prices. The impact of inflation on commodity prices can also vary depending on the specific commodity and the market conditions at the time. For example, while oil prices often rise during times of high inflation, they may also fall if there is an oversupply of oil on the market.

How Inflation Affects Investment Returns

Inflation can have a significant impact on investment returns. Here are some ways that inflation can affect your investments:

  • Decreased purchasing power: Inflation erodes the purchasing power of your investment returns. As the cost of goods and services rises, the same amount of money will buy you less. For example, if the inflation rate is 3% per year, the value of $100 in today's dollars will only be worth $97 in one year.
  • Lower real returns:Inflation reduces the real, or inflation-adjusted, returns of investments. For example, if you earn a 5% return on an investment but inflation is 3%, your real return is only 2%. This means that even if your investments are generating positive returns, the purchasing power of those returns may still be decreasing due to inflation.
  • Increased interest rates:Inflation can lead to higher interest rates, which can reduce the value of bonds and other fixed income investments. This is because rising interest rates make new bonds more attractive to investors, causing the prices of existing bonds to fall. As bond prices fall, the yields (or interest rates) on those bonds rise, which reduces their value.

Example of Inflation Risk

Imagine that you invest $10,000 in a bond that pays a fixed interest rate of 2% per year. If inflation is 3% per year, the real return on your investment would be negative, as the purchasing power of your interest payments would decline by 1% per year.

How to Defend Against Inflation

As an investor, it's essential to be aware of the things that can have negative effects on your portfolio. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to defend against inflation risk. Here are some of the most effective strategies:

Defending Your Investments

Strategy 1: Invest in Inflation-Protected Securities
Inflation-protected securities, such as Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), are designed to protect investors from the negative effects of inflation. These securities provide a guaranteed real rate of return and are adjusted for inflation, so the interest payments and principal value of the bond increase with inflation.

Strategy 2: Diversify Your Portfolio
Diversification is a key strategy for managing risk in any investment portfolio, and it can also help protect against inflation risk. By investing in a variety of asset classes, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, investors can spread their risk and reduce their exposure to any one asset class.

Strategy 3: Consider Alternative Investments
Alternative investments, such as private equity, hedge funds, and real assets, can provide diversification benefits and help protect against inflation risk. These investments often have low correlation with traditional asset classes, which can help reduce portfolio volatility and improve risk-adjusted returns.

Strategy 4: Rebalance Your Portfolio
Rebalancing your portfolio regularly can help ensure that your investments are aligned with your long-term goals and risk tolerance. During periods of high inflation, investors may want to consider increasing their exposure to inflation-protected securities and commodities, while reducing their exposure to bonds and other fixed income investments.


Q: What is the difference between inflation risk and interest rate risk?
A: Inflation risk refers to the risk that inflation will erode the purchasing power of your investment returns, while interest rate risk refers to the risk that changes in interest rates will impact the value of your fixed income investments.

Q: How does inflation impact the stock market?
A: Inflation can impact the stock market in several ways, including reduced consumer spending, increased input costs, and changes in interest rates.

Q: Is real estate a good hedge against inflation?
A: Real estate can be an effective hedge against inflation, as the value of real estate tends to rise with inflation.


Inflation risk is a real concern for investors, especially those with long-term investments. By understanding its impact on different asset classes and implementing strategies to defend against inflation risk, investors can protect their portfolios and achieve their long-term investment goals. So, it is important for investors to keep an eye on inflation risk and make necessary adjustments to their investment portfolios accordingly.