Go back to blog homepage

Does the Current Inflation Rate Affect Your Fixed Deposit Investment?

Fixed deposits have long been a popular investment choice in Nigeria, offering a safe haven for those seeking steady returns with minimal risk. However, with the nation's inflation rate soaring to an alarming 29.9% as of February 2024, a burning question arises: Does the current inflation substantially diminish the real value of your fixed deposit investment?

Inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level of goods and services, effectively reducing the purchasing power of your money over time. As prices rise, the same amount of cash buys fewer goods and services. This begs the question: Can your fixed deposit returns keep pace with this erosion of purchasing power?

How Inflation Impacts Fixed Deposit Returns

To grasp the true impact of inflation on your fixed deposit earnings, it's essential to understand the concept of the "real interest rate." The real interest rate is calculated by subtracting the inflation rate from the nominal interest rate (the advertised rate on your fixed deposit).

For example, if your fixed deposit offers a nominal interest rate of 10% but the inflation rate is a staggering 29.9%, your real return would be a negative 19.9%. In other words, despite earning a double-digit nominal return, the value of your investment is actually decreasing due to the soaring cost of living.

Even positive nominal returns can lose significant purchasing power over time due to sustained high inflation. This underscores the importance of considering the real interest rate when evaluating the long-term performance of your fixed deposit investment.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Impacts

The erosive effect of inflation on fixed deposit returns is compounded over longer investment tenures. If you have a fixed deposit with a multi-year term, the real value of your investment could be substantially diminished by the time you receive your principal and interest.

Shorter-term fixed deposits may fare slightly better, as the impact of inflation is less severe over a shorter time frame. However, even these investments are not immune to the potential loss of value resulting from high inflation rates.

Protecting Your Investment Against Inflation

While fixed deposits offer safety and guaranteed returns, their inability to outpace inflation can be a cause for concern. To protect your investments from the ravages of inflation, you may want to consider alternative options with the potential for inflation-beating returns. Here are some possibilities to explore:

1. Treasury Bills

Treasury bills, also known as risk-free government securities, often offer higher yields than traditional fixed deposits. These short-term investment instruments are backed by the full faith and credit of the Nigerian government, making them a relatively low-risk option.

The current yields on Nigerian Treasury bills range from around 7% for 91-day bills to over 10% for 364-day bills. These rates have the potential to outperform inflation, depending on the prevailing economic conditions.

2. Stocks

Investing in well-performing companies with pricing power can generate returns that outpace inflation over the long term. Companies with strong brand recognition and the ability to pass on cost increases to consumers are often better positioned to maintain their profit margins in inflationary environments.

While the stock market can be volatile in the short term, historical data suggests that equity investments have consistently outperformed inflation over extended periods. Diversifying your stock portfolio across various sectors and industries can help mitigate risk while capitalizing on growth opportunities.

3. Real Estate

Property values tend to appreciate alongside inflationary pressures, preserving your investment's purchasing power. As inflation drives up the cost of construction materials and labor, the value of existing real estate assets typically increases correspondingly.

Investing in income-generating properties, such as rental apartments or commercial buildings, can provide a dual benefit: not only do the property values appreciate, but rental income can also be adjusted upwards to keep pace with inflation.

4. Commodities

Certain commodities, such as precious metals (gold, silver) and energy resources (oil, natural gas), have historically served as effective inflation hedges. As the prices of consumer goods and services rise, the demand for these commodities often increases, driving up their value.

Investing in commodity-based exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds can provide exposure to this asset class without the logistical challenges of directly holding physical commodities.

5. Diversification

Diversifying your portfolio across various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities, can help mitigate the risk of inflation. By allocating your investments across different sectors and industries, you can reduce your overall exposure to any single asset class's performance.

It's important to note that higher-yielding options, such as stocks and commodities, may come with higher levels of risk. Therefore, it's crucial to align your investment strategy with your individual risk tolerance and financial goals. Consulting with a professional financial advisor can help you develop a tailored portfolio that balances growth potential with risk management.

Additionally, it's worth considering indexing a portion of your portfolio to inflation-linked instruments, such as Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) or inflation-indexed bonds. These investment vehicles are designed to adjust their principal and interest payments based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), providing a direct hedge against inflation.

By diversifying your investments and exploring alternative options with the potential for inflation-beating returns, you can better position your portfolio to preserve and grow your wealth, even in the face of rising inflationary pressures.

Key Considerations Before Adjusting Investments

Before making any significant changes to your investment portfolio, it's essential to carefully consider your personal financial objectives and risk tolerance. While fixed deposits may not provide inflation-beating returns, they still offer safety and guaranteed returns, which can be valuable depending on your investment horizon and risk appetite.

It's also advisable to seek professional financial advice from a qualified advisor. They can help you develop a tailored investment strategy that balances your desire for growth with your need for capital preservation, taking into account the prevailing economic conditions and your unique circumstances.


In the face of Nigeria's current high inflation rate, it's clear that traditional fixed deposit investments may struggle to preserve the real value of your savings over time. Understanding the impact of inflation on your fixed deposit returns is crucial for making informed financial decisions that align with your long-term goals.

While fixed deposits still offer safety and guaranteed returns, exploring alternative investment options or seeking professional guidance may be prudent if you're aiming to outpace inflation and grow your wealth effectively. By staying informed and proactively managing your investments, you can navigate the challenges posed by inflationary pressures and position your finances for long-term success.

Subscribe To Read Full Post