Weekend Reading: What Investments Actually Beat Inflation Since 2020?

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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How did surging inflation really affect your investments? Beginning in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted interest rate cuts followed by increased money supply, which then led to skyrocketing inflation. Up until 2023, TIPS (Treasury Inflation-Protected Bonds), cash, stocks, real estate, traditional bonds and commodities all fared differently.


Here are the performance results:

📌 Cash: Offered a steady +6.33 percent return, but lost ground to inflation over the long term.

📌 Stocks: Despite volatility, stocks provided a significant real return of +49.32 percent.

📌 Real estate: When measured by a diversified index fund, real estate performed poorly due to the impact of COVID and interest rate hikes (+3.59 percent).

📌 TIPS: While TIPS returned +11.17 percent, the fixed nominal return was affected by rising interest rates.

📌 Bonds: With no inflation protection, bonds returned -5.27 percent.

📌 Commodities: Showed high returns (+42.36 percent), but with volatility and lack of income generation.

Your biggest lesson here should be the importance of investment diversification and having a personalized framework to follow, as both will help keep you on track in the midst of inflation and interest rate cycles.