How To Build Wealth Without Sacrificing Much During High Inflation

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For many people in today’s economic climate, just getting by is good enough. More than half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck given the record-high inflation rates, making it easy to put long-term goals such as wealth-building on the back burner.

As we know by now, the longer we put off building our wealth, the harder it will be to do so later on. The good news is even with the high cost of living right now, there are still ways we can continue preparing our future financial selves without changing much of what we may already be doing.

Here are four tips for building wealth without changing much during periods of high inflation.

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Move your emergency fund, or savings, into a high-yield account

LendingClub High-Yield Savings

LendingClub Bank, NA, Member FDIC

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

    No minimum balance requirement after $100.00 to open the account

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

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  • Offer checking account?

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  • Strong APY
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  • $100 minimum opening deposit required, although there is no minimum balance after that
  • No physical branch locations

Don’t hold onto more cash than you need to

Continue to invest, especially in a retirement plan

The scenario: You’re already contributing a portion of your paycheck to the market.

According to a 2022 Gallup survey, over half (58%) of Americans are reportedly invested in the stock market, whether it’s through an individual stock, a mutual fund or a 401(k) retirement account.

If this is you, continuing to do so is a smart move. Despite how the market may be moving today, investing is generally advised to help beat inflation — that’s because the long-term returns will generally outpace it. Historically, the S&P 500 has shown an average annualized return of roughly 10%, although past performance is no guarantee of future results.

“The magic of compound interest and consistent savings habits are key to building wealth over time through all types of market conditions and economic environments,” Sara Kalsman, a certified financial planner at Betterment, an investing robo-advisor, tells Select.

Continuing to invest in a retirement plan is especially important because accounts such as a traditional IRA or Roth IRA offer tax advantages that ultimately reduce your tax burden, ensuring you’re paying less on your investment earnings.

If you don’t have a retirement account open yet, a Roth IRA is a good place to start since it can help offset inflation’s impact when you withdraw. With Roth IRAs, you’ll pay taxes upfront by contributing after-tax dollars and later in retirement, your withdrawals are tax-free (as long as your account has been open for at least five years). You can open a Roth IRA at any of the big-name brokerages, such as Charles Schwab or Fidelity.

If you’re already contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), keep it going so that, if offered, you’ll score an employer match and have even more of a nest egg growing in the market.

Charles Schwab

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for active investing through Schwab One® Brokerage Account. Automated investing through Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® requires a $5,000 minimum deposit

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Schwab One® Brokerage Account has no account fees, $0 commission fees for stock and ETF trades, $0 transaction fees for over 4,000 mutual funds and a $0.65 fee per options contract

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

    Robo-advisor: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ IRA: Charles Schwab Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Inherited and Custodial IRAs; plus, a Personal Choice Retirement Account® (PCRA) Brokerage and trading: Schwab One® Brokerage Account, Brokerage Account + Specialized Platforms and Support for Trading, Schwab Global Account™ and Schwab Organization Account

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs and ETFs

  • Educational resources

    Extensive retirement planning tools

Be mindful of taking on any additional debt


  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, jumbo loans, HELOCs

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Minimum down payment

Bottom line

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


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