Precious metals

Consumer prices are rising at their fastest pace in 30 years in Canada. The market expects a steady stream of rate hikes to help stem the tide. But Rule doesn’t believe the rate of inflation will slow anytime soon.

“I think we'll continue to see prices going up for most of the remainder of the decade.”

To preserve your purchasing power, Rule points to gold and silver, which can’t be printed out of thin air like fiat money.

“I think that an investor who does not have some of his or her wealth in precious metals or precious metals equities [is] making an extraordinary mistake,” he cautions.

You can buy physical gold and silver at your local bullion shop. Or you can buy shares in companies that produce precious metals.

For investors who are getting started in the sector, Rule suggests looking at the big names first such as Barrick Gold (GOLD) and Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM).

“The first part of a gold bull market and the most predictable part of a gold bull market is enjoyed by the biggest and best companies in the space.”

He adds that when money from retail investors moves into the precious metals market, it doesn’t go to the small speculative names. “It goes into Barrick.”

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Global dominators

When building an inflation-proof portfolio, Rule also likes Warren Buffett’s idea of investing in price-makers: businesses that can easily increase the price of their products and services without jeopardizing demand.

“Buffett has been pointing out going all the way back to the 1970s that there are businesses that are so superb that they have pricing power,” Rule says.

He uses Apple as an example.

Early last year, Apple’s management revealed that the company’s active installed base of hardware had surpassed 1.65 billion devices, including over 1 billion iPhones. While competitors offer cheaper devices, many consumers don’t want to live outside the Apple ecosystem. That means as inflation spikes, Apple can pass higher costs to its global consumer base without worrying too much about a drop in sales volume.

But Rule doesn't advocate buying Apple.

Instead, he suggests a representative sample of what he calls “global dominators” through the exchange-traded fund ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL). NOBL holds S&P 500 companies that have paid increasing dividends for at least 25 consecutive years.

“[The fund] has shown itself over the very long term to be a very efficacious strategy for more than maintaining purchasing power, for adding to your wealth,” Rule says.

Since NOBL’s inception in October 2013, it has delivered annualized returns of over 13%.

Cash

At a time when high inflation is rapidly eroding purchasing power, it might not make sense to keep a bunch of cash on hand.

But that’s exactly what Rule recommends.

Sure, savings accounts pay next to nothing these days. However, Rule says that cash gives you the ability to take advantage of moments of illiquidity.

“I learned a lesson some years ago in 2008. When I ran into that crisis well-cashed up, the cash gave me both the courage and the tools to take advantage of that circumstance rather than being taken advantage of.”

With the global financial markets likely to remain volatile over the near- to medium-term, investors flush with cash won’t have a shortage of buying opportunities to capitalize on.

But if the stock markets are making you queasy these days, consider investing in fine art, which is known to have little correlation with stock prices. Once available only to the wealthy, blue-chip art is now available to everyday investors through a new fractional trading platform.

Fine art as an investment

Stocks can be volatile, cryptos make big swings to either side, and even gold is not immune to the market’s ups and downs.

That’s why if you are looking for the ultimate hedge, it could be worthwhile to check out a real, but overlooked asset: fine art.

Contemporary artwork has outperformed the S&P 500 by a commanding 174% over the past 25 years, according to the Citi Global Art Market chart.

And it’s becoming a popular way to diversify because it’s a real physical asset with little correlation to the stock market.

On a scale of -1 to +1, with 0 representing no link at all, Citi found the correlation between contemporary art and the S&P 500 was just 0.12 during the past 25 years.

Earlier this year, Bank of America investment chief Michael Harnett singled out artwork as a sharp way to outperform over the next decade — due largely to the asset’s track record as an inflation hedge.

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About the Author

Jing Pan

Jing Pan

Investment Reporter

Jing is an investment reporter for MoneyWise. Prior to joining the team, Jing was a research analyst and editor at one of the leading financial publishing companies in North America. Jing has covered numerous aspects of the financial markets, from blue chip dividend stocks to small cap tech stocks to precious metals and currency. An avid advocate of investing for passive income, he wrote a monthly dividend stock newsletter for the better half of the past decade. In his spare time, Jing plays basketball, the violin and the ukulele.

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