Historically (say over the last 70 years), have interest rates (available to retail customers) beat inflation in the US?


1 Answer 1


As others have stated, there is no one "interest rate". There are so many assumptions that would go into the selection of an appropriate rate of return available to retail customers over such a long period of time that drawing any real conclusions from the answer to this question would be unreasonable.

But as very simple thought experiment...

If you put $100 in one pot and indexed that return to CPI, and $100 in another pot and index that return to the annualized yield on a 3M Treasury Bill (3M not ideal but its the most complete data set I have), you would end up with a net gain of ~6.2%, Treasuries over inflation...

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    So since 1952 (70 years ago) for 48 years "interest" beat "inflation", but has lost over the past 22 years.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 19:28
  • I agree...if you shorten the horizon and start the compounding in 2001, you are basically flat for the past 20 years against 3M UST yield. Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 20:15

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