While we are not seeing too much inflation now, the specter of inflation could be looming over us again at some point, and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are good investment tools to protect oneself.
With the consumer price index dropping 0.4% in the past 12 months as of March, deflation is the concern du jour, but the copious amount of government borrowings could start shaving away at your savings in the near future, remarks John Waggoner for USA Today.
But don’t worry. There are some asset classes that still rise in value during times of inflation. Waggoner suggests looking into inflation-beating investments that include Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), gold, commodities, real estate and money market funds.
TIPS. TIPS are essentially long-term government IOUs. They provide a fixed rate of interest until maturity, but the government will adjust the principal of TIPS up or down according to inflation on a monthly bases.
- iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (TIP): up 2.1% year-to-date
Gold. Gold is shiny to look at, has many uses across the spectrum, and more importantly, it always holds some value. The precious metal has been increasing in value in the last five years and is typically seen to move opposite the value of the U.S. dollar (although there have been exceptions to this rule).
- SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): up 2.9% year-to-date
Commodities. When there is inflation, everything rises in price. A good way to capitalize on the rising prices of basic materials is through ETFs. But it should be noted that some commodity funds do have large weightings in energy.
- PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking (DBC): down 7.5% year-to-date
Real Estate. During stable markets, home prices tend to follow the consumer price index. If you locked in low mortgage rates in inflationary times then you may be paying less in real terms. A way to invest in real estate funds is through real estate investment trusts (REITs).
- First Trust S&P REIT Index Fund (FRI): down 15.9% year-to-date
Money Market Funds. Money funds usually keeps up with inflation, but they don’t guarantee a set yield. You only get what the short-term market provides.
Max Chen contributed to this article.