Friday, March 29, 2013
TING AND I, Retirement Inflation Hedges
Ten years of retirement and part-time management of Tina’s care have gone by pleasantly. I’ve enjoyed writing this book, and it has been a distraction from minor problems. I have come to grips with the fact that I will never read all the things I want to read. There is no end to it. Time to make official my switch from passive to active: I’ve just changed my “business card” by adding “Freelance writer” below “Physicist, retired,” and on the back of the card I've put information about this book and our website.
In the past few years, TV and radio commercials have been touting the purchase of gold as a hedge against the possibility of severe inflation in the near future. Makes sense, so far as it goes. In the recent past, the price of gold has risen precipitously, suggesting that the perceived value of the dollar has been falling and the perceived value of an asset that should not lose its intrinsic worth has been rising. Of course, the demand for gold could be a fad, a bubble. We’ve been there before, with housing and—before that—with the "dot com" boom and bust, along with Enron. Not quite as bad as the Dutch tulip craze centuries ago, but bad.
Real estate, like gold, is likely to rise as the value of the dollar declines, though many other factors are involved. We have a home we own without a mortgage. If I were really convinced rampant inflation was imminent, I would take out a mortgage at current low rates, figuring to pay it off in the future with devalued dollars. Hating to be in debt, I haven’t chosen this course, even though it would be a hedge against inflation risk.
As investments, bonds are likely to lose value if inflation accelerates. The behavior of stocks is less predictable under these conditions.
It occurred to me that returning to work part-time, thus staying employable, is another way to hedge against future inflation. Wages tend to go up as the value of the dollar declines. I am looking for ways to work at home, probably as a technical writer, possibly as a copy writer, possibly doing light statistical analysis.
NOTE ADDED 29 MARCH 2013:
I gave away hundreds of copies of Ting and I, sold less than a hundred so far. Have co-authored two more books and edited another and have several writing partner clients currently active. Established another site/business, http://writeyourbookwithme.com.