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Preparing for Inflation: 3 Smart Money Moves to Make Now

The upcoming inflation report could have an impact on where interest rates are headed next.

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The U.S. inflation report is scheduled to be released this week, and depending on what it shows, the new inflation data could have a big impact on the economy. After all, inflation plays a significant role in the decisions that the Federal Reserve makes regarding interest rates — which are currently paused at a 23-year high.

When prices grow too quickly, the Fed will typically increase its federal funds rate to discourage spending — a move that typically drives up the cost of borrowing and returns on savings. When prices aren’t growing as fast as they should, the Fed generally reduces interest rates, which drives down the cost of borrowing and returns on savings.

In turn, the upcoming inflation report could set the stage for changes to monetary policy that could have an impact on your financial well-being. But what should savers do, in particular, to prepare for the upcoming inflation report?

Compare today’s leading high-yield savings accounts now.

3 moves savers should make ahead of the upcoming inflation report

Here’s what savers should do to prepare for the upcoming inflation report:

Open a CD and lock in today’s rate

The Fed paused rate hikes late last year and rates remain paused today. However, most experts expect the Fed to start dropping rates mid-year.

Should the new inflation data show a downward trend, financial institutions could start reducing their certificate of deposit (CD) rates in anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s next moves. So, locking in today’s high CD returns may prove advantageous, as you’ll continue to earn that same rate for the full CD term, no matter what happens with the wider rate environment during that time.

But there is one caveat to consider. When you open a CD, you typically agree to leave your money in the account until it matures. In turn, you may have to pay an early withdrawal penalty to access your funds before the CD term is over. So, it’s important to ensure that you can leave your money untouched in the account to avoid those penalties.

Still, an early withdrawal penalty can be an advantage in some cases. For example, agreeing to keep your money in the account for its entire term can help you achieve your savings goals.

Lock in today’s high returns with a CD now.

Open a high-yield savings account

Keeping all of your savings in a CD may not be the best approach. After all, you should maintain an emergency fund that you can tap into if you fall on hard times, and CD access is limited. High-yield savings accounts, on the other hand, offer access to your funds and high interest rates on your money.

Traditional savings accounts currently have average returns of 0.46%, but high-yield savings accounts currently offer rates that are much higher on average. That’s important because your money needs to keep pace with or surpass the inflation rate (currently 3.1%) or it loses buying power.

As such, it makes sense to tap into today’s high savings rates to earn a meaningful return as long as you can. Just note, though, that the rates on high-yield savings accounts are variable, meaning that they can change over time due to shifts in the wider rate environment. But even if rates trend down in the future, by opening a high-yield savings account now, you will start earning a meaningful return on your high-yield savings account right away.

Add gold to your portfolio

The inflation rate has been cooling and many experts expect it to continue to drop over time. But, if those expectations are incorrect and inflation comes in hotter than expected on the upcoming report, gold could be a valuable asset to own.

And that’s due, in large part, to gold’s unique inflation-hedging qualities and other unique benefits. For example, the value of the dollar can decline during periods of high inflation, so investors tend to turn to assets that can act as a safe haven for their money — which gold can do. As such, when inflation rates are high, the demand for gold typically ticks up — sending its price up as well.

Open a high-yield savings account now to maximize returns on your savings.

The bottom line

With new inflation data expected to be released this week, there are a few moves you can make beforehand to help maximize and protect your savings. For starters, it may benefit you to open a CD and lock in a high rate or maximize your returns with a high-yield savings account for your emergency savings. And, it may be wise to invest some of your savings in gold to take advantage of any potential gains — just in case inflation comes in higher than expected again.

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Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

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