- Taking Advantage of Subsidies
- The Importance of Adding New Income Streams
- Income-Producing Assets
- Hedges, Cost-Controls & Other Strategies
If you have not yet read Part 1: The Burrito Index: Consumer Prices Have Soared 160% Since 2001, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.
In Part 1, we compared official rates of inflation with hard data from the real world, and found that it’s not just the cost of burritos that has soared over 100% while inflation has supposedly been trundling along at 1% or 2% per year. The real killer is the soaring cost of big-ticket essentials such as rent, higher education and healthcare.
So what can we do about it? There are only a few strategies that can make a real difference: either qualify for subsidies (i.e. lower household income), own assets and income streams that keep up with real-world inflation, or radically reduce the cost structure of big-ticket household expenses.
Qualify for Subsidies
Though it runs counter to our philosophy of self-reliance, we have to address incentives offered by the system we inhabit. One powerful set of incentives is entitlement subsidies for lower income households: rent subsidies (Section 8), healthcare subsidies (Medicaid and ACA/Obamacare), college tuition waivers, food subsidies (food stamps), free school lunches, and so on.
These programs were designed to aid households that cannot earn more income, but for households on the borderline between paying full freight (no subsidies) and receiving some subsidies, it makes sense to work less, earn less and qualify for substantial subsidies.
I am not recommending gaming the system, I am simply noting that subsidies exist and those who earn just above qualifying incomes are in effect punished for earning a bit too much.
In many cases, we assume subsidies are reserved for “poor people” and we don’t qualify. For entitlements such as food stamps (SNAP), this is generally the case. But other programs offer some subsidies to households with incomes that are substantial…