Should I Invest in “Forever” Stamps?

Absolutely Not!

Since 1971, postal rates have increased more slowly than the actual inflation rate, as measured by the U.S. Consumer Price Index. So, despite the numerous rate hikes over the last 36 years, stamps have actually been getting cheaper. The 20-cent stamp from 1981, for instance, would be equivalent to 45 cents in today’s dollars—which makes today’s rate 10 percent cheaper than it was 26 years ago. Should this historical pattern hold, you’d be paying more for today’s forever stamps than you would for any stamp in the future, no matter how high the rate goes.

(via Kottke)


  1. I wish I had a couple of weeks ago, unaware the rate was going to change. Had to buy a bunch of 2cent stamps, and rather than haul down to the PO to do it, I spent $1 for the delivery fee to do it online.

  2. …Nope, postage stamp prices greatly exceeded inflation.

    A 1952 stamp cost ‘3-cents’ … and should only cost ’23-cents’ today (not 41-cents).

    Cherry-picking the year “1971” as the base year for inflation comparison is bogus and intentionally deceptive. Stamps & stamp-prices have been around for over 200 years — why narrow the field to 1971 ?

    Besides, modern technology and transportation ‘should’ have sharply decreased the price of delivering letters — Fedex & United Parcel Service are way better managed & efficient than the calcified USPS government bureaucracy.

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