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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - YOUR MONEY MATTERS: Planning to beat inflation

YOUR MONEY MATTERS: Planning to beat inflation

Analysis

By Trevor Keidan
PHNOM PENH - Cambodia's rising economy

with double-digit economic growth could lull us into thinking we are

insulated from the 'real world' outside. After all, in the 'real world'

there is talk of recession brought on by the now infamous 'credit

crunch'.

In the UK and Europe, analysts, pundits and experts appear to have come

to terms with a recession while in the United States commentators are

still undecided. While some experts think the US economy is slowing,

others think it's growing (albeit marginally) or - at the very least -

it is at a standstill. But while the recession debate rages on, one

thing is for sure: 'Inflation is increasingly a problem' - and that's

according to the IMF.

The World Bank states that "inflation is mounting in both advanced and

emerging economies, despite the global slowdown". The IMF adds that "in

many countries, the driving force behind higher inflation is higher

food and fuel prices". And this is certainly the case in Cambodia,

where the price of a litre of fuel has risen from US$0.92 at the

beginning of the year to $1.34 in August. The price of rice has also

increased considerably.

So, it appears that inflation - which is defined as "a continuing rise

in the general price level usually attributed to an increase in the

volume of money and credit relative to available goods and services" -

is inevitable in our current national and global economic climate. And

if inflation really is here to stay, then what can we do?

Tips to stay ahead

To begin with it is important to realise that as inflation rises the

value of our dollar (or riel) reduces. We simply cannot obtain as much

as we could before for our dollar (or riel). This also applies to our

savings. To "hedge" against inflation eroding any money we have saved

away - whether its for children's school fees, a "rainy day"

(emergency) or our retirement - there are a number of actions we can

take.  For example:
Tip #1 - Monitor Investments. We must make sure we monitor our

investments to check that the return (interest) we are receiving is

higher than the rate of inflation, which is de-valuing our dollar (or

riel). For example, if the rate of return on a fixed-deposit savings

account is six percent and inflation is at three percent, then we can

be assured we are 'beating' inflation because we are receiving a higher

rate of return than the rate of inflation.

Based upon past experience, it appears gold could be a good investment now.

Tip #2 - Invest in gold. Traditionally gold has been seen as a

"hedge" against crises, and it has become a very popular "safe" bet

against uncertainty. Although there is no crystal ball or surefire way

of knowing that gold will continue to go up in price, based upon past

experience it would appear that gold could be a good investment now.

Gold was trading at about $800 last week while this time last year it

was around the $600 mark. And if we want to invest in gold, there are a

number of options: buying coins, investing in exchange traded funds,

buying mining and other gold-associated stocks, investing in mutual

funds and even buying jewellery.

Companies and funds
Tip #3 - Invest in stocks.  Investing in the stock markets is an

excellent way to beat inflation. When we buy stocks we are actually

buying into a share of a company's profit, losses and assets. If we

choose stocks (or shares) in the right company and the company's

profits grow, then the value of our stock should also grow, allowing us

to beat inflation. There are a number of ways we can invest in stocks.

An excellent way to enter the markets is by investing a set amount each

month. However, there are many factors influencing a company's stock

(or share) price, so it is advised that investors obtain the advice of

a professional financial adviser or stockbroker.
Tip #4 - Invest in equity funds. An equity fund is a fund that

invests in stocks and shares. There are many such funds to choose from.

For example, if we wanted to achieve capital gains, then we could

invest in a Growth Fund. If we wanted to achieve an income, then we

could invest in an Income Fund. Similarly, if we wanted something more

aggressive, we could invest in a Hedge Fund, or if we wanted something

a little more hassle-free, we could invest in an actively managed fund.

In short, there are numerous funds to choose from and which fund we

choose largely depends on our attitude to risk. With the right choice,

investing in a fund is an excellent way to make money grow and will

enable us to beat inflation.

As with all investments, it is important to consult with a professional

to ensure the investment matches our specific needs and objectives for

the future and any risks are clearly understood.

Trevor Keidan is managing director of

Infinity Financial Solutions. Infinity Financial Solutions provides

impartial,  tailor-made  personal financial advice to clients in

Cambodia and Southeast Asia. Should you wish to contact Trevor, please

send an email to tkeidan@infinsolutions.com .  Trevor welcomes comments

and/or questions about his articles or any other financial matters.

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