It’s a new year, the perfect time to evaluate your finances and determine whether you are on the right path to financial solvency. While there are personal things that you should do, such as creating a budget and sticking to it, there are also some economic trends you should be aware of that may help you make decisions for the coming year.
The skilled and seasoned Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to even the most well-intentioned people. We believe that it pays to be knowledgeable about trends in order to make decisions that can help you build for the future and prevent sinking into debt. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation and determine which debt-relief solutions will work best for you.
Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation. In the meanwhile, here is a look at some key trends for 2018 that may directly impact your personal financial well-being:
The current job market is generally strong, with 1.9 million new jobs added in the past 11 months, and this trend should continue into 2018. The market is particularly good in fields like health care, technology, e-commerce, and also in labor-intensive jobs. While automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are expected to change the workforce, especially in areas such as finance and human resources, jobs that still depend on people, such as waiters and construction workers, will hold steady or grow.
Unemployment in the U.S. is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, and the economy is still growing, so unemployment should continue to be low. However, should the economy slow, or if a significant number of workers who have not been seeking work decide to do so, unemployment could start growing again.
Wages and Salaries
The low rate of unemployment and the tight labor market puts workers in a favorable position for salary increases, especially for high-demand fields such as technology. However, since economies do not expand indefinitely, if you are fortunate enough to be ahead of the game financially, it would be wise to prepare for a possible downturn by increasing your savings for emergencies and a rainy day.
Gas prices have remained relatively low in 2017, but are expected to rise a bit in 2018, although prices will vary according to region of the country and season of the year. Still, they should remain well below the more than $3 a gallon that we experienced in the period from 2011 to 2014.
The revised tax code that recently passed will affect you directly, but how much depends on your income and situation, as the wealthiest individuals will benefit the most. Some people will see changes in the amount withheld from their paychecks, probably beginning as early as February. But many changes, such as the limitations on deductions for real estate tax, won’t be seen until taxes are filed in 2019.
Right now there is a low inventory of homes for sale and prices are still going up. However, there are factors at play that should slow the demand for housing, and that would lead to a corresponding slowdown in rising of prices. One factor is a lower demand in areas prone to natural disasters, such as California, which has been hit with drought, wildfires and floods, or in hurricane-vulnerable coastal areas. Another factor is the change in the tax code that limits deductions for home interest and property taxes, which will directly affect expensive and high-tax areas in the Northeast and the West. In other areas, such as the Midwest and South, where mortgages and real estate taxes are too low to itemize, the housing industry should benefit from the increase in the standard deduction.
Even though inflation is still low, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a rise in the consumer price index of 2% over the past 12 months, interest rates are expected to go up in 2018. That is good news for savers, who have gotten very little interest for years. The Federal Reserve likes to be proactive, and since inflation tends to rise when unemployment is low, economists expect the Fed to raise rates at least twice this year. This should bring the key short-term Federal funds rate to close to 2%, and CD rates should go up accordingly. However, interest rates will also be higher, so those who carry debt will also have to pay more for home-equity loans, credit cards, and adjustable-rate mortgages.
Rising short-term rates could also temper stock market gains. With interest rates low, investors have been pouring money into dividend-paying stocks, but these stocks are less attractive when rates are rising and bonds start to offer higher yields than stocks. Some economists feel that global stocks will be stronger than U.S. stocks this year, as economies abroad have been accelerating faster than ours in 2017.
Contact us for Help and Guidance
The experienced Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know that making sound financial decisions can be difficult, and too many people wind up overwhelmed by debt despite their best efforts to work hard and stay out of financial trouble.
We recognize that everyone’s individual situation is different, so we offer a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. During your consultation, we will evaluate your entire financial situation and make sure you are aware of all your options. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and help you find the best and most affordable path to a brighter financial future.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so take control of your financial future and learn more about how our firm can be of assistance today. Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what financial solutions will work best for you.