Beat the heat (and inflation)

Jul 22, 2016 | Dian Chaaban


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As reported this morning, Canadian CPI rose 1.5% in June on a year over year basis, stronger than the 1.4% expected by economists and in line with the 1.5% recorded in. Inflation was driven by passenger vehicle prices, which rose 5.6% year over year and home prices, which rose 3.5%. The core inflation rate was 2.1%, consistent with May and slightly higher than economists’ expectations.

 

Environment Canada just announced that high temperatures are expected to reach the low thirties during the day with humidex values in the low forties. Click here for the full heat warning.

 

Heat illnesses and running out of money are two very real risks and to help you address both, today we’ll be reviewing how to beat the heat & how to beat inflation.

 

Warren Buffett, one of the greatest investors of all time, has two rules of investing:

1. Don’t lose money.
2. Don’t forget rule No. 1

 

Easy words of wisdom like these could make you assume that parking your savings in a bank account (or under the mattress) is safer than investing in the market — especially given the volatility we’ve had these past two years. But, if you think investing in the market is risky, the scary truth is that it’s risky for you not to invest - because of inflation.

 

Inflation is the ‘general increase in the prices of goods and services, and the fall in the purchasing power/value of your money over time’. It affects all of us and no one gets a free pass - even if you’ve been a disciplined saver or have adopted a high-income, low-expense lifestyle. Inflation creeps up slowly and is appropriately referred to as the silent killer of your finances. So while Canada’s average inflation rate in 2015 was 1.13% (click here for historical rates), remember that $1.00 in 1950 would buy the same amount as $9.89 today.

 

So how does one beat inflation? Have a properly diversified portfolio that includes exposure to equities, stay invested in the market through good times & bad, employ strategic income splitting strategies to make your household income & expenses efficient leading up to and during retirement, live and active & healthy lifestyle (keeping up with inflation also means keeping up with rising healthcare costs while living longer), and make sure to have a written financial plan in place to monitor where you are going and if you are on track.

 

So now that you’re on your way to beating inflation over the long-term, here are some tips to beating the heat RIGHT NOW as outlined in this handy article I came across:

 

  • Give your A/C some TLC. Clean or replace the filter in room and central air conditioners about once a month during the summer. If you have central air-conditioning, have the ducts checked for leaks, which can reduce a system's efficiency by as much as 15%.
  • Close the damper. While running any kind of air conditioner, shut your fireplace damper. An open one "pulls hot air into your house instead of sucking it out," says Tommy Spoto, a master chimney sweep at Chimney Chap, in Copiague, New York. "This is called flow reversal."
  • Fan strategically. If the day's heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night with your window; the trick is to face the blades outside to suck warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in. "Kind of surprising," says Bill Nye, the Science Guy, "having a fan blowing in is a good idea―but it's not as effective as one that's blowing out."
  • Turn on the vent in the bathroom. When taking a shower, be sure to use the vent fan: It helps sticky moisture escape.
  • Cool your car down quickly. This Japanese trick will get your oven-like car closer to bearable temperature. Roll down one window and open and close the opposite door a few times to cool that car down.
  • Shut the lights. Or change the bulbs: Long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs produce about 70% less heat than standard incandescents.
  • Spice it up. As people who live in scorching climates, such as those of Mexico and India, know well, eating hot stuff can cool you down. "Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that helps us to perspire more readily," says Rick Bayless, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Frontera Grill.
  • Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt. "It's all about thermal regulation," says John Lehnhardt, an elephant expert at Disney's Animal Kingdom.. "As the water evaporates, it cools you." While elephants wet their ears first by blasting water from their trunks, humans should begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.
  • Stay cool while you sleep. If you feel like an insomniac in summer, cool your head with a special pillow like the Chillow, sleep on top of a wet sheet (aka the “Egyptian method”), or try one of these other strategies in our cool sleeping guide.