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American consumers are already suffering sticker shock from prices on grocery store shelves and at the gas pump.

Now, data for October shows inflation was even higher last month than some experts had projected. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices over time, climbed 6.2% from one year ago, the highest since 1990.

Much of that gain was due to rising food and energy prices. Yet core inflation, which excludes those drivers, shot up 4.6% in the fastest climb since 1991.

There may not be an immediate easy fix to higher prices and supply chain issues that are making it more difficult to find certain items.

“I have a tremendous amount of confidence in American ingenuity and business to solve these problems eventually, so I think this will abate,” said Carl Zuckerberg, principal and chief investment strategist at RZH Advisors, an independent wealth management firm that was number 46 on CNBC’s Financial Advisor 100 list for 2021.

“But it has a potential to still be fairly painful for a while, mostly because a number of the issues revolve around overseas manufacturing,” he said.

Experts say there are steps people can take to try to stay ahead of risings costs.

Stay invested in equities

The primary way to offset inflation is to own equities, according to Mark Hebner, president and founder of Index Fund Advisors, a fee only advisory and wealth management firm that was number 72 on this year’s FA 100 list.

The reason for that is that stocks have a strong track record. Over more than 90 years, equities have had returns in excess of inflation, he said.

The key to success is to design an all-weather portfolio for all market conditions and then to rebalance when necessary, Hebner said. In other words, scary headlines about rising costs and supply chain woes should not throw you off course and prompt you to make reactionary trades.

What’s more, it’s important to remember that that outlook is not all doom and gloom.

Current estimates, including from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, point to a 3% inflation rate over the next five years. That is around the inflation rate we have experienced over the last 94 years, he said.

“I think that the fears about inflation are often exaggerated,” Hebner said.

Adjust your income expectations

Negotiate your debts

A home, available for sale, is shown on August 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

A great way to combat rising prices is to fix your costs, Zuckerberg said.

To that end, Zuckerberg’s team at RZH Advisors has urged clients to refinance their mortgages at 15- and 30-year fixed rates.

“Having a fixed cost mortgage with a fixed interest rate means that cost in your life, which is normally one of the larger costs in someone’s budget, is not going to go up with inflation,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, it’s important to refinance or pay off other debts you may have.

When buying new items, pay attention to deals that offer 0% interest for extended periods like 39 months for items like mattresses or home exercise equipment.

“If you think inflation is going to be high, that means every day one dollar is worth less,” Zuckerberg said.

“If you can pay with future discounted dollars, that’s a home run in an inflationary environment,” he said.

Rethink your gas consumption

Bundle your purchases



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