Understanding Stagflation and What It Means for Your Finances

Joshua Dobi |

Stagflation is a term that has resurfaced in discussions about the U.S. economy. This concept is not new for those who remember the economic climate of the 1970s. But what exactly is stagflation? According to its definition, stagflation refers to sluggish economic growth coupled with a high inflation and unemployment rate.


For a little historical perspective, in the 1970s, the U.S. economy experienced persistent and unusually high inflation alongside a recession marked by declining growth, high oil prices, and significant unemployment. During this period, inflation became self-perpetuating as consumers bought more goods in anticipation of rising prices, which in turn drove prices even higher. This created an upward spiral of inflation and demand.


Given the chatter about this topic, here are a few questions we are answering with frequency at North Main Financial Group.


Why is stagflation a big deal?

Stagflation poses a significant challenge because it combines the worst aspects of economic performance: high inflation and sluggish growth. When prices rise persistently, the cost of living increases, making everyday goods and services more expensive. When this occurs alongside slow economic growth, it indicates a weaker economy that struggles to counteract inflation. Additionally, this scenario often leads to higher unemployment rates, exacerbating economic difficulties.


Are we currently experiencing stagflation, or is it just a risk?

Stagflation is always a potential risk. However, as of the writing of this blog, we do not see a high probability of entering a stagflationary period. While inflation and interest rates are rising, unemployment has not followed suit. All these factors – inflation, interest rates, and unemployment – play critical roles in determining the presence of stagflation.


If inflation continues to impact businesses significantly, leading to slower hiring rates, stagflation could become more likely. During this heightened inflation period, monitoring these economic indicators closely is crucial.


What does stagflation mean for me?

The impact of stagflation varies depending on individual financial situations. While it is essential to be aware of stagflation, it is equally important not to make hasty financial decisions based on current economic noise.  We are not experiencing stagflation at the moment. If it does occur, it will mean higher prices and a slower economy for everyone. However, there can also be opportunities to adjust and strengthen your financial portfolio during such times.


Stay informed and cautious, but don’t make any abrupt changes based on the current economic chatter. Stay proactive about your financial health and keep an eye on how economic trends develop.


If you have questions about stagflation and how it might affect your financial plans, call us at (704) 987-1425 or visit us virtually at www.northmainfinancial.com. If you wish to schedule an introductory meeting, we would be happy to meet with you at no cost or obligation to you. We’re here to help!


These Blogs are provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. Any opinions or forecasts contained herein reflect the subjective judgments and assumptions of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Osaic Wealth.