Wall Street traders cheered this week’s fractional slowing of consumer price increases. You can read that again: […]

Wall Street traders cheered this week’s fractional slowing of consumer price increases. You can read that again: A slowing of the increase. Fractional. Prices are increasing, but not as quickly. Barely.

Even if inflation slows down, consumer prices could still rise rapidly due to factors that are not controlled by government.

Higher prices because of crime and storms

Utility rates will be one of them, particularly for residents in states that have been affected by natural disasters. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, consumers now bear a greater share of the cost to repay loans to repair energy infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

Higher utility bills could result in debt repayment that can last for many years.

Big box retailers warn that shoplifting is on the rise and could lead to rising prices for consumers. While some retailers might be looking for price increases, the National Retail Federation reports that there was an average 26.5% increase of organized retail crime incidents among retailers in 2021. According to the NRF, “Inventory shrinkage” is a problem that affects the industry in excess of $100 billion.

CNBC’s Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO, stated that the problem is so severe that prices will rise and that some stores might have to close due to the crime. Target’s latest earnings call revealed that there was a 50% increase of shoplifting over the past year. Target also stated that organized retail theft had caused a $400million loss to its gross profit. Shoplifting has also been reported at Apple and Home Depot (where two thieves attempted to steal daylight merchandise).

Keep in mind that even though inflation falls below the Fed’s target at 2%, overall prices will continue to rise. Economists debate zero inflation as a monetary policy goal.

A personal budget is the best financial defense against rising costs, regardless of their cause. You can adjust and monitor your spending accordingly.

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Increase your savings in 2023

This is a relatively painless way to increase your long-term savings. If your employer has a 401(k), increase your salary deferral. It is “mostly painless,” because the money comes out before your paycheck.

Your employer might match your contribution. If so, you can bump up your deferral to receive the maximum amount that your employer will pay.

Even if your employer matches are not sufficient, increasing your contribution can work in your favor. You can choose to have your contribution automatically increased by a fixed amount each year. This is a great way to automate your savings increases.

Some considerations before you start building your long-term savings:

  • Pay off high-interest credit card debt first.

  • Don’t forget to check your account.

  • If your life is getting closer to work , and you have all the bases covered, then consider adding cash to your taxable accounts for additional savings or investments.

Consider setting up recurring contributions for any of these tasks prior to the end of each year, so they can be implemented automatically.

Ticketmaster troubles

Ticketmaster might need to rebrand itself as Ticketmaybe.

The Ticketmaster site crashed due to “unprecedented demand” after last month’s Taylor Swift concert presale failure. Another glitch was blamed for selling “unprecedented” numbers of fake tickets to Bad Bunny’s Mexico City show.

According to The Washington Post, Ricardo Sheffield is the head of Mexico’s consumer protection office. He claims that the tickets were not fake and that Ticketmaster had oversold the venue.

One lawsuit has already been filed in Swift slip. Another is expected to be filed in Bunny bungle. Mexico has imposed a fine against Ticketmaster and a U.S. Senate Antitrust Committee will hold a hearing about the lack of competition within the event ticketing market.

In 2010, Ticketmaster merged with then-competitor Live Nation.