Smart Money Podcast: Combating Inflation, and Saving for Retirement Amid Climate Change

Things may seem grim, but you can still take steps to set yourself up for long-term financial success.
Sara Rathner
Liz Weston, CFP®
Sean Pyles
By Sean Pyles,  Liz Weston, CFP® and  Sara Rathner 
Edited by Sheri Gordon

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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion on how to cope with continuing inflation, including cutting food costs, timing big purchases and boosting interest on your savings.

Then we pivot to this week’s money question from Kelly, who emailed us: "Hello. My name is Kelly and I have a question about saving for retirement. I'm a recent graduate from university and I'm entering the workforce now. I'm excited to start working and gaining more independence, but I wonder if it's worth it to save for retirement considering the reality of climate change. The effects are already here. They're no longer 10 years away. Examples include the California wildfires or the Texas snowstorm that wiped out their electric grid. I realize there are steps we can take to mitigate the effects, but there's very little being done to stop the problem as a whole. Saving for retirement feels like a futile effort when the planet I grew up with will not exist by the time I reach retirement age, 40 years into the future. A beefy emergency fund makes sense, but I cannot imagine my generation living to enjoy retirement. I am 21 for reference.”

One more note: We are diving into student loan debt for a new podcast series, and we want to hear from you.

If you have student debt, tell us, in a minute or less, what it would mean for your life if your loans were forgiven. Or if you’ve already had your debt forgiven through existing programs, let us know what that did for you.

You can leave a voicemail on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373 or email a recorded voice memo to [email protected].

Check out this episode on either of these platforms:

Our take

Inflation is up, and there’s no sign it’s going to cool anytime soon. At the grocery store, consider using substitutions for brand name items, cooking with less meat and planning so that you don’t throw away food. You may also be able to negotiate lower prices on some subscriptions or annual fees — it can’t hurt to try. In many cases, you may save in the long run by going ahead and buying what you need now rather than waiting and risking a price increase. A notable exception, though, is likely to be cars. Finally, now might be a good time to consider Series I savings bonds, which currently pay an interest rate of 7.12%, but also have some restrictions you’ll want to be aware of.

Climate change, spiraling inflation and political instability can make saving for the future feel futile. Chances are, though, you’ll be glad that you did. You can help counter feelings of hopelessness by exercising the control you do have. That can include saving up a large emergency fund, as well as having a plan for what you’ll do in an emergency and the supplies you’ll need to get through it.

Longer term, it’s still smart to save for retirement. Statistically speaking, most of us will reach retirement age. It can help to use an app to see what you might look like as an older adult and to think of the person you are likely to be then. Your priorities, needs and preferences will almost certainly change over time, and savings can help you accommodate that. You can use a retirement calculator to come up with a savings goal.

Finally, as much as you can, keep this moment in perspective. Things have looked bleak before and have turned around. One possible way to feel more hopeful is to take small, concrete actions to help fight the scenarios you fear. A counselor could help you develop strategies for managing anxiety around these issues.

Our tips

Become resilient. Build up your savings to buffer financial misfortunes and maybe keep some water, nonperishable food and cash on hand just in case.

Do the math. Investing for retirement is likely your best bet. Stay ahead of inflation and build wealth over time.

Put this moment in context. Things may seem grim, but you can still take steps to set yourself up for long-term financial success.

More about saving for retirement on NerdWallet:

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected]. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Episode transcript

Liz Weston: Welcome to the NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your personal finance questions and help you feel a little smarter about what you do with your money. I'm Liz Weston.

Sean Pyles: And I'm Sean Pyles.

Let the nerds answer your money questions. You can call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD. Or email us at [email protected]. To get new episodes delivered to your devices every Monday, be sure to subscribe. And if you like what you hear, leave us a review and tell a friend.

Liz: This episode, Sean and I answer a listener's question about whether you should save for retirement amid the climate crisis. I'm going to just leave it there, and you guys can listen to the rest of the episode to find out what we have to say. But first in our This Week in Your Money segment, Sean and I are talking about steps you can take to protect your finances from inflation.

Sean: I feel like over the past week, this has become something that feels so much closer to home than it did even three weeks ago, because gas prices have skyrocketed. Over the past week alone in my neighborhood, gas prices have shot up 40 cents per gallon, which is very tough to swallow. And in January, the annual inflation rate was 7.5%. That's the highest rate in 40 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And unfortunately it seems like inflation is going to be sticking around for a while. So Liz and I wanted to give you, our beloved listeners, some tips for protecting your purchasing power amid the rising costs that are all around us. Also, shout out to NerdWallet writer Hal Bundrick, who wrote the article that inspired this segment.

Liz, let's dive into what consumers can do. Where do you think they should start?

Liz: Well, I loved Hal's suggestion about looking at your budget and trimming discretionary spending — things like travel and entertainment — by 5%. That doesn't quite accommodate all of inflation, but your personal inflation rate is going to be different from the official rate anyway.

Sean: Right, but if you can trim 5% of your discretionary spending that will offset some of what we're seeing elsewhere. For example, my big discretionary spending thing is going out to eat, especially getting appetizers when going out. My partner and I always love to share a good app. I'm thinking that might be on the chopping block just so I can save a little bit of money. That's going to be, what, $12 from each meal I have at a restaurant that I'm saving. That adds up over time, especially because we eat out about once a week or so. I think small things like that will actually end up making the impact overall.

Liz: Something else Hal recommended that I have a little bit more problem with is not to put off major purchases. The thought behind it is whatever you're buying is going to be more expensive down the road. So buy it now, rather than waiting and paying more money. The problem with that is there are things that are affected by supply chain disruptions that are probably going to ease off, like buying a car for example. We just talked about this with our auto Nerd Phil Reed. By next summer, a lot of these supply chain issues should have worked themselves out. So if you can put off a car purchase, it might be a good idea. But in general, that's good advice. When prices are going up, go ahead and get the thing that you need rather than wait and pay more for it.

Sean: I think this could maybe apply a little bit more to things like an appliance or furniture for your house. I was just talking with my mom. She sent me a text the other day that said, "Why is all of the office furniture sold out right now?" And I was like, "I don't know. Supply chain issues?" But even on top of things being sold out, they're getting more expensive. So if you are going to get a new desk, or maybe that sofa you've been working from for the past two years is getting a little bit worn out, you might want to go ahead and get it sooner than later.

Liz: Yeah. Talk to your grandma about what was called generic food choices back in the ’80s. OK, the last time we had really crazy inflation was the ’70s and early ’80s. There were these products that were basically just cans with a white label and black print that said, "Peaches" or said “Soup.” It was super, super simple. The point being store brands, the stuff that doesn't have a big advertising budget, is going to be more affordable, and you just need to look for ways to substitute. That's the word of the day with inflation; look for ways to substitute the products. So that's going to be generic brands, generic prescriptions. Maybe look into using coupons again, loyalty programs. Anything you can do to save a bit here and there is going to help.

Sean: I have to say I'm such a sucker for brand loyalty. I was at the grocery store the other day and I was looking for my San Marzano tomatoes because I was going to make a quick marinara sauce at home for dinner that night, and they didn't have that brand. They had the generic brand that said, "Similar to San Marzano." I looked at it very skeptically and was like, "Well, it's $2 less, and also my go-tos aren't even here, so I guess I'll get it." And guess what? They tasted just like San Marzano tomatoes. It was totally fine. So between that and everything getting more expensive, things not even being available, I'm trying to ease myself into shaking off my brand loyalty and just getting what's generic and available.

Liz: And you know what? A lot of the products that are generic, the store brands, are being made and packaged at exactly the same factories that create the name brand stuff. I learned this in high school when we actually did a field trip to a very famous cheese making plant near you, and they were doing exactly that. It was the cheese with the brand name wrapper we would all recognize, and then there was the generic and they literally were making it with the same ingredients at the same place.

Sean: Yeah. The same goes for wine as well. My older sister's fiance works for a big-name wine company that I will not mention. He works in this gigantic factory that makes all the wine. You can go to the grocery store and point out five different bottles of wine that have varying prices that are all the same wine. So just because you're paying a little more, doesn't mean it's any better.

Another thing I wanted to talk about was how you can change the way you shop beyond coupons and generic brands. One thing that my partner Garrett and I are doing, which is greatly reducing the amount that we're spending on groceries, is that we've cut the amount of meat that we cook with. This is pretty handy for us because meat is getting so expensive. Our go-to cuts have just become beyond what we would want to spend for it. Also, minimizing the consumption is just good for the planet.

Liz: Yeah, we're doing the same thing. We were shooting for being about 70% vegan back before the pandemic, and then that just scrambled everything, but now we're kind of getting back on that track because I've noticed there's not the kind of deals that we used to get on things like meat and poultry and fish. So maybe just roll with it and go with plant-based.

Sean: Yeah. Similarly, going to wholesale places is really handy for us. There's a grocery store nearby that is a restaurant wholesale grocery store. We don't have a restaurant, but they let us shop there. I guess it's for anyone. You can get a gigantic vat of soy sauce for pennies on the dollar compared to what you pay for a bottle in the store and you'll have it for the rest of your life. Let me tell you, it's pretty handy.

Liz: The other thing I've done is started to look at all our subscriptions. We spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month in subscriptions, including for stuff that we could negotiate. I just noticed that one of our bills has popped up from $10 a month to 50. It's like, "OK, I'm calling that company right now, threatening to quit because I know from past experience, they will chop that bill down."

Sean: Yeah, of course. Well, they want to keep you as a customer. Negotiating your bills is a go-to. You can call your cell phone company, call your cable provider and say, "Hey, I would sure like to stick with you guys, but I'm getting a better offer from this competitor of yours. What can you do?" Chances are they'll try to make some sort of deal with you.

Liz: You can put certain subscriptions on pause. If you have a video streaming service you're not watching that much, put it on pause for a while and you can reactivate it when you're ready.

Sean: Another tip that Hal mentions in this article is that you should try to eliminate fees that you pay for credit cards or bank accounts, like annual fees, service fees and late fees. A number of banks are already working to waive such fees. Sometimes it will take a simple phone call for you to ask if they can not have an overdraft fee and they'll potentially do it. So it's worth trying.

Liz: Yeah, and a number of our fellow Nerds have mentioned that they've gotten some pretty good retention bonuses. They've called up about an annual fee and said, "Hey, I'm thinking about closing this card," and they wound up getting more points or a lower fee or something to get them to stay.

Sean: Well, speaking of retention fees, it's also a good time to ask for a raise from your employer so that you'll stick around at this current job. Take advantage of this great resignation moment. Make the case for a salary increase based on the value that you bring to the company. When you have this conversation with your employer, focus on the results that you bring to them as a business. It's important to think about this because not getting a pay increase right now can amount to getting a pay cut given the rate of inflation currently.

Liz: Yeah, exactly. As we've said many times before, if you're not happy in the job that you've got and you're not happy with your pay, now is a good time to start looking around.

Sean: Yep. All right. There's also this inflation matching savings account that Hal recommends. The account is called an I bond. They were created specifically to protect consumer savings from inflation. Liz, I know that you have firsthand experience with these. You want to give us the rundown of how they work?

Liz: Yeah. This is a type of savings bond that earns interest based on both a fixed rate and an inflation rate. Since there wasn't much inflation until recently, they weren't really a great deal and nobody was paying a lot of attention to them. Now everybody is focusing on them because I think the rate when I bought in was about 7.5%. It's fairly rare that you get a decent return on an investment that is guaranteed by the U.S. government. So yeah, that's why we took a leap and decided to buy these for the first time.

This can be a good option if you can leave the money alone for a while. You need to leave it in the account for at least a year. If you pull it out before five years, you're going to lose the last three months worth of interest. Another hitch is that you need to buy them directly from the U.S. government. You buy them online. So you have to set up a TreasuryDirect account, buy it that way, and you're limited to $10,000 per person per year. Although you can get another 5,000 if you use your tax refund to buy them.

Sean: OK. One thing I'm thinking about is how I can make potentially some big changes to the way I manage my finances to help manage current costs, especially around gas. In particular, I know I've talked about this for a while with you, Liz, but I do think I'm on the precipice of exchanging my gas car for an electric car, because the one vehicle I'm currently using takes premium and premium is around $5.50 where I am right now. And that hurts every time I have to fill it up, which is pretty often because it doesn't get great gas mileage. All these things are compounding and I'm just at that breaking point where I need to make a change. I don't want to keep paying for gas. Might as well go electric because it's the way of the future anyway.

Liz: Yeah. We wound up buying solar panels for our house a few years ago, and the thought was in retirement, we want to be as independent as possible from the fluctuations of various costs. So we made that investment upfront and it's pretty substantial, but you do get tax breaks just as you will with your electric car to help ameliorate the cost. Again, I think it's worth it for the long term.

Sean: OK. Well, I think that about covers inflation for now. We have one more note before we get into this episode's money question segment. We are diving into student loan debt for a new podcast series, and we want to hear from you, our listeners.

Liz: If you have student loan debt, tell us in 1 minute or less what it would mean for your life if your loans were forgiven, erased, taken care of. Or if you already had your debt forgiven through existing programs, let us know what that did for your life.

Sean: You can leave us a voicemail on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373, or email a recorded voice memo to [email protected].

Now let's get on to this episode's money question segment.

Liz: Oh yes, let's do. This episode's money question comes from a listener's email. Here it is.

"Hello. My name is Kelly and I have a question about saving for retirement. I'm a recent graduate from university and I'm entering the workforce now. I'm excited to start working and gaining more independence, but I wonder if it's worth it to save for retirement considering the reality of climate change. The effects are already here. They're no longer 10 years away. Examples include the California wildfires or the Texas snowstorm that wiped out their electric grid. I realize there are steps we can take to mitigate the effects, but there's very little being done to stop the problem as a whole. Saving for retirement feels like a futile effort when the planet I grew up with will not exist by the time I reach retirement age, 40 years into the future. A beefy emergency fund makes sense, but I cannot imagine my generation living to enjoy retirement. I am 21 for reference. Thank you, Kelly."

Sean: To help us answer Kelly's question, on this episode of the podcast we are joined by our occasional co-host, Sara Rathner. Welcome back to the podcast, Sara.

Sara Rathner: Thank you for having me for this bleak yet important question.

Sean: Yeah. I got to say, I really empathize with Kelly's sentiments and I know many in my generation who feel similarly. Some see our democratic institutions under attack, the massive toll of the pandemic, climate change at our doorstep knocking louder and louder every day, and a doomer mindset can really take hold. But when it comes to both climate change and saving for retirement, we can't afford to be nihilistic or fatalistic. The costs of attitudes like that are too great for your personal finances and for the health of the world, in my opinion.

Liz: And we don't have to go back very far to see that people have survived some very difficult periods. Even in the last hundred years, if you look at the devastation and dislocations of the Great Depression, Nazi Germany’s takeover of Europe, the threat of nuclear annihilation during the Bay of Pigs, and the assassinations and social unrest of the ’60s, just to name a few.

Sara: Every generation has had its own moment of, "oh no."

Sean: Or many.

Sara: Yeah. I'm an elder millennial myself. I was 17 on 9/11. I remember thinking that I was not going to have a normal adult life the way that I expected.

Sean: That's true for practically every person of every generation. It's never going to be the same. There's always going to be some sort of deep and scary uncertainty that looms in the background or the forefront of your life.

I think we should talk about how to manage uncertainty. What are your guys' thoughts on that?

Sara: Kelly mentioned an emergency fund, always a great place to start. Little crises are always going to pop up in your life that are easily solved with money. Car trouble, home repair problem, an unexpected medical bill because you have to go to urgent care: These things happen all the time. Having savings, even just a couple hundred bucks in a separate savings account could be so helpful because when you have to put those costs on a credit card, you can get yourself into a lot of debt pretty quickly if you aren't able to afford your bill once it's due. But if you have the savings set aside, you can put that money toward your credit card bill and you're good to go.

Sean: Another way to counter uncertainty is to just be adequately insured. I'm betting that our listener is probably going to be renting an apartment for the next little while, and renter's insurance is a great thing to have just to protect your belongings.

Liz: I find a really good thing to deal with my anxiety about the future is simply planning for it. Having the emergency fund is great, but also I like to have a store of food — nonperishable food — and water in the house. I like to have systems set up so I know where to go in an emergency if I can't go back to my house. It seems like doomer stuff in a way, but as we've seen with the pandemic, weird stuff happens. You never know. And doing a little bit of planning upfront can really help with that feeling like I'm going to be caught unawares and I won't be able to cope with whatever happens.

Sean: You can never plan for everything that would happen, but it can be good to communicate with your friends and your neighbors where, OK, if the power goes out, who can we rely on to maybe charge our phones? Do you have a battery that we can use? Similarly, having cash on hand can be really helpful because like the snowstorm in Texas, the power was out, you couldn't go to an ATM, you couldn't use a digital payment system in some cases. So cash can be very crucial in a situation like that for getting things like food and water.

Sara: Keep your car's gas tank topped up too. Especially if a storm is coming where you live, because again, in a power outage, you can't pump gas. That's when you get those long lines at gas stations in the days before a storm.

Sean: That's one thing where my partner always laughs at me because I treat my half-full line of my gas tank as my empty line, and I always fill it up when I hit that. Meanwhile, he is riding on E half the time and I am so anxious when I'm in his vehicle because I just don't get how you can do that. In a pinch, you will be so glad to have that gas.

Sara: I kind of do the top-up thing too. If you happen to be out and about, and you see a gas station where the price is good, especially now, take advantage.

Sean: Especially now-a-days. It's important.

Sara: Put a gallon or two in your car.

Liz: Obviously these preparations are all for the emergencies that come up — that will come up — or for problems that we can anticipate. Most of us are going to get to retirement age and most of us are going to need money. It's really, really common for younger people not to be able to imagine themselves as being older. There are all kinds of apps and sites you can go to that age your face, and I highly recommend going and doing that because it's really kind of shocking. It's going to happen to most of us. The fact that we're going to get to that age and going to need some money, it could be the impetus you need to start saving for retirement if you haven't already.

Sara: Also, rethink what retirement looks like. I think we have in our head that retiring is: You hit 65, somebody hands you a gold watch. I don't know, [it] just gets handed to you out of nowhere. A wizard appears in your room the night before your last day of work on the job and you get this gold watch and a cake and a bunch of people clap for you in a conference room somewhere, and then you go play golf until you die. Really retirement can manifest itself in so many different ways. People are retiring younger than their mid-60s. People are working longer. Sometimes you stop working or keep working by choice. Sometimes you do it because you have no choice. You might stop working earlier than expected because of an illness or an injury. You might have to keep working because you need the money to support yourself later and later in life.

Start thinking about, honestly, what retirement might look like for you. As you get older, that's going to change; the longer you work and the longer you have other things going on in your life. Give yourself room to dream a little bit and figure out, well, what does retirement look like for me, because that gives you an idea of what exactly you're saving for. Do you want to buy an RV and drive around, or do you want to relocate to a different country or be the neighborhood grandma running a day care out of your house? I don't know. Whatever feels like a meaningful retirement to you, you want to think about what that could be.

Sean: And you'll want to have the money for that time in your life.

Liz: Saving for retirement really gives your future self some options, and that's really important. We think that we're going to be the same in the future as we are today. That's called the end of history illusion. We've talked about it before, but really you're going to change a lot. Every 10 years you're going to look back and go, "Wow, I can't believe I was that person. I am so different now." So what you care about, what you want, that's going to change over time. Putting aside some money is going to give you more options down the road so that you can do what you want to do. If you don't save, you're going to be caught over a barrel. It's going to be really tough. So just give your future self a little consideration and start saving for retirement.

Sean: I think it can be really helpful for people to pay attention to and appreciate the progress that's being made on various fronts, because it is so easy to fall for all of the bad headlines, and then you just end up in a pit of despair and feel like nothing is ever going to be good again. That's just not the truth. Things are just going to be different from how they are now and how they were in the past.

Sara: One thing Kelly brought up in their email, this line stuck out to me, "Very little being done to stop the problem as a whole." The thing is there is actually a lot being done across the world when it comes to things like climate change. It's just sometimes those efforts are invisible. I would encourage Kelly and anybody, honestly, who's feeling like they need a pick-me-up: Look into organizations that are doing work that is effective and exciting to them, and find ways to either volunteer with those causes or donate to them. It's a way to bring back that feeling of control because you're using your money to support a cause that's important to you, and you're supporting an organization that's been effective in working toward that cause.

Sean: You can go to the adage of think globally, act locally. What can you do to do things like reduce emissions, but also how can you clean up your local park or your community to make a more visible impact on your day-to-day life?

Liz: We should bring up depression because this kind of feeling like there's no hope and feeling like nothing's ever going to get better, that can be a sign of serious clinical depression. So if this is something that you're dealing with, if you're feeling like nothing is fun, that you can't get excited about anything anymore, there's lots of other symptoms of depression, you definitely want to see your doctor to check out to see if that's an issue for you. Read up a little bit about the symptoms of depression. There's always the suicide hotline. Ending your life is a very permanent response to what could be a temporary problem. So we don't want people to think that's the only way out.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Again, 1-800-273-8255.

Sean: One thing our listener is also wondering about, just to abruptly switch subjects here, is the worthiness of retirement accounts versus savings accounts and purposes of each of those. From a really tactical standpoint, I think we should discuss that a little bit. Our listener wants and sees the value of a beefy emergency fund, which I think is great. We tend to think of money in a savings account for shorter-term needs — money that you'll need to access within the next five years or so; and retirement accounts are better for longer-term savings. It's an account or multiple accounts that you deposit money into to just let it grow, let compound interest do its thing. It's pretty much the only way you can stay ahead of inflation. So that's really important to keep in mind as well.

Liz: Yeah, because if you're just earning whatever interest is being paid on a savings account, you are falling behind. That's true regardless of what the inflation rate is, but especially so now. So you need the compounded returns that are available with investing in stocks, particularly if you want to outdo inflation and have some money for retirement.

Sean: That also goes to the approach of being more pragmatic versus more fatalistic. Do what you can to set yourself up for success because yes, there's always going to be another curveball or multiple curveballs coming around that will upend who knows what's going on in your life, but you want to make sure that you're in a good place to handle it.

Sara: Create a list of things you want to take care of, and whenever you're feeling really productive, do one of those things. Whether it's check in on your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy, make sure your coverage is adequate, or buy bottled water the next time you go to the grocery store to store in your pantry. So when you have those days where you're just watching the news and it's bad headline after bad headline and you feel like nothing I can do makes a difference, well, you already have a pantry full of canned foods. So you already did something, and if a storm hits tomorrow, you're going to be really glad all those beans are there.

Sean: Go down to your bunker and count the cans and feel happy.

Sara: Might have been a thing I did in the early days of the pandemic was look in my freezer and be like, "So how much frozen broccoli do I have? Is it enough frozen broccoli?” I still have some of that frozen broccoli. It's 2 years old.

Sean: One thing I've been thinking about as well are particular threats environmentally to where I live. My house is three blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, and I recently heard about something called the moon wobble. Have you guys heard about the moon wobble?

Liz: Oh dear.

Sara: It sounds like a dance.

Sean: No, but I feel like it probably will be a TikTok dance by the time it's actually an issue we have to deal with. According to a report last year from NASA, the moon wobble, which is a funky term for oscillations in the moon's orbit, will lead to increased coastal flooding. The wobble has been around for a long time, but the issue is that now we have higher sea levels because of climate change. So we will see the tides being a little bit more erratic and there will be more flooding. And so I'm trying to figure out what that means for me and my house that is potentially precariously close to these increased tides.

Just some fun things. That's what I like to do when I'm feeling really doomy. It's like, "All right, how is the moon's oscillation going to affect my house?" I don't have an answer.

Sara: I don't think this is a good thought pattern for you.

Sean: Honestly, it feels kind of empowering in a weird way.

All right, Sara, do you have any final thoughts for Kelly or anyone else that's kind of having a hard existential moment around what to do with their future and finances?

Sara: Planning for the future when it comes to your money and life stuff in general is always scary because you just can't predict it. We're surrounded by news and the ability to get news all the time. I have a journalism degree and even I think that's not healthy. It's not healthy to be surrounded by news all the time. The future can be really scary and really uncertain. Really the best way to prepare as best you can is to take steps to ensure as much security as you can have financially. Having money is going to help you be able to live the life you want in our dystopian horror-scape of the future. I'm kidding. In our wonderful, exciting future filled with flying cars and I don't know, animatronic dogs or whatever we'll have in 2045.

Sean: All right. Well, Sara, thank you so much for talking with us.

Sara: Thank you.

Sean: Now let's get on to our takeaway tips. I'll start us off.

First up, become resilient. Build up your savings to buffer financial misfortunes and maybe keep some water, nonperishable food and cash on hand just in case.

Liz: Next, do the math. Investing for retirement is likely your best bet. Stay ahead of inflation and build wealth over time.

Sean: Lastly, put this moment in context. Things may seem grim, but you can still take steps to set yourself up for long-term financial success.

That is all we have for this episode. Do you have a money question of your own? Turn to the Nerds and call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD. You can also email us at [email protected] and visit for more info on this episode. And remember to subscribe, rate and review us wherever you're getting this podcast.

Liz: Here's our brief disclaimer, thoughtfully crafted by NerdWallet's legal team.

Your questions are answered by knowledgeable and talented finance writers, but we are not financial or investment advisors. This Nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances.

Sean: With that said, until next time, turn to the Nerds.