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UIndy finance professor discusses economic impact of Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Posted at 10:01 AM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 10:01:08-05

INDIANAPOLIS — From the gas tank to the grocery store, Americans are noticing an increase in the cost of fuel and other items.

Dr. Matthew Will, associate professor of finance at the University of Indianapolis, says oil prices have gone up dramatically in the last year.

He expects gas prices to hover around $4 a gallon but then there will be a gradual decline over the next few months.

"We've become very used to telecommuting, working from home, Zoom meetings ... it's really possible for people to reduce the amount of driving that they do," Will said. "I think employers will be accommodating, especially if they see oil prices continue to be up."

WRTV spoke to Dr. Will to get his perspective and advice on other topics related to the economy, retirement accounts, consumer products and finances.

Gas tax moratorium proposal

This week, two Democratic members of the Indiana General Assembly called on the state to put a moratorium on the gas sales and gas excise taxes through July.

"It would be a great idea for the state to reduce any taxes, because of course that's a burden that's placed on citizens ... I think it's a smart thing to do, but it's really not going to have a big impact because still way over half of the cost of a gallon of gasoline is in the actual crude oil," Will said.

401k and retirement plans

"When it comes to investing and 401k plans, people need to do me a favor and not look at them," Will said. "Just keep investing, put the money in ... don't pull money out, don't try to time the market; it's not possible."

Will says the market goes up and down, and while things are going down right now, investments should be made for the long term.

Grocery and electronic prices

Dr. Will says Ukraine is globally one of the top producers of corn, wheat and other products that go into food. He says that will impact Americans at the grocery store.

Russia is a top producer of fertilizer as well as cobalt, nickel and palladium, which go into batteries and other electronics.

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"There's a lot of things connected to the Russian economy that we use that will cause harm as this extends further into the future," Will said. "the impact of those precious commodities that come out of Russia that we use in our economy simply is going to make a bad situation worse."

Will says if you're thinking about buying an electronic, he would buy it now because he expects availability to decline.

"The reality is that very soon, you won't be able to buy it at all ... these products just can't be made without the materials that are needed to put into them. The backlog, which already existed, is now going to get even worse," he said.