‘It’s the shocking moments that force us out of our comfort zone,’ said Tanja Hester, Inflation is causing many Americans to worry – rising commodity and gas prices mean paying too little for a few things and possibly preventing future savings. But it can also be an opportunity to rethink everyday use and perhaps benefit the environment.
There is a link between consumer spending and climate change. Much of what Americans buy should be done with a strong emphasis on resources, energy, and fuel. This record inflation, currently standing at more than 8%, may be the time to review daily spending and change behavior to benefit the global consumer budget, says Tanja Hester, author of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar. You Spend, You Lead and Save As the Power of Change.”
In his book, Hester, a contributor to MarketWatch, illustrates the link between cost and global issues with the big picture, including climate change, inequality, and capitalism. Hester also retired early, leaving staff at the age of 38 after changing his hobby lifestyle to savings. His first book, “Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way,” explores financial independence and early retirement.
“For people under the age of 60 right now and I hope they have many more years left in the world, we have to think about the world we want to withdraw from,” Hester said.
Hester spoke to MarketWatch about the relationship between consumer spending and inflation and how people can change their behavior to save money and help the planet at the same time. This interview is designed to clarify the length.
Note: Gas is rising, but that is how inflation is affecting older Americans
MarketWatch: Americans are concerned about inflation and what it could mean for their daily expenses. What is causing this problem, and in what ways can you contribute to their income?
Tanja Hester: People think about the lack of supply and how that affects prices or availability. At the beginning of this epidemic, we have seen people packing toilet paper or other people trying to buy it and find empty shelves, so that you can call that shocking case, and that has driven a small part of this. But much of the inflation is driven by two factors – one, to put it bluntly, corporate greed. We see companies raising prices just because they can, not because their prices have gone up. We know that the agribusiness corporations that regulate the supply of meat in bulk increase prices even though they are either the most significant supplier or overstaffed. Only 8% of inflation shows that workers are earning high. So there is one side of business profit, and the other side is over-consuming by consumers. Unlike other times when we had difficulties, many people still have enough money to spend now. Until a few weeks ago, we had a strong stock market, so those profits funded people’s ability to use, and employees got a raise or changed jobs and got extra pay. That ended this year, but until this year, government programs put a lot of money into people’s pockets to help them spend. So people can use it, which means they can drive higher and higher demand for goods, and prices go up. It is a vicious cycle at this time.