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It’s all in how you look at the economy and tackle the things you CAN control

If you’re like many people who have ridden the economic roller coaster with a white-knuckled grip, we imagine you’re probably glad to say goodbye to last year and look forward to a new year full of promise.

The good news is – this new year presents all kinds of exciting possibilities to those willing to look on the bright side. We’ve been searching for signs of life in the business world and in personal finances, and we’ve uncovered several reasons to celebrate the arrival of a new year.

To offer you an option from the doom and gloom media focus these days… here are five great reasons to believe this coming year will be a positive year; maybe even your best year yet.

  1. Several business categories and occupations are booming: Business consulting, health care and technology top the list. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Projections: 2008-2018 Summary, “Three of the 10 industries projected to have the most employment growth are in professional and business services: consulting; computer systems design and employment services. Four of the top 10 gainers are in health care and social assistance industries.” The Department’s 30 fastest-growing occupations include a wide range of services in business, technology and health care. This gives you a hint into career AND business paths worth considering. Congratulations if you’re in one of these categories or you’re about to jump in.
  2. The Internet is hopping! Many people have found ways to grow their businesses online. According to Internet Retailer’s online magazine, “In its recently released ForecastView reports, Forrester projects that online retail sales in the U.S. will increase 11.98% this year compared with 2010, to $197.3 billion from $176.2 billion. The annual rate of increase will decline slightly each of the next several years, with online retail sales in 2015 rising 7.81% over 2014, to $278.9 billion from $258.7 billion, Forrester projects. That represents a 9.62% compound annual growth rate for the U.S. over the five-year forecast period.” This might be a good time to evaluate how well your website is performing. Honeck-O’Toole client Pam Foster, owner of ContentClear Marketing, may be able to help you boost traffic to your site and turn more visitors into buyers.
  3. Real estate opportunities can be found. There are real estate bargains out there now because the market may be at or near its lowest point, and some folks left their homes to start over. You may find a good deal in “short sales” or quick-sale properties because as the market picks up, real estate values are likely to do so as well. In addition, interest rates are as low as they’ve been in decades, so it’s a good time to consider refinancing for a lower interest rate on your mortgage. Yes, it may be tougher to qualify for a loan depending on your situation, but banks are beginning to lend again. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke refinanced his own home mortgage for “thirty years at a fixed rate just over 5%.” You never know unless you try.
  4. Experiences are always affordable… and sometimes more valuable than things. As many of us have been forced to cut back on shopping and vacations this past year, perhaps we’ve been given a chance to focus on the important things in life: family, friends, enjoying “experiences” as opposed to “things” and discovering hidden gems in our own back yard. Maine is a fantastic place for “staycations!” Pat Eltman, a Honeck O’Toole client, is in charge of the Maine Office of Tourism, which offers a diverse and enriching number of activities and events that are low cost or even FREE. For example, Peter Callnan mentioned that First Friday ART Walks in Portland are free.

It helps to have a positive outlook about your finances if you know where you stand and plan to take action towards your money goals; the things you CAN control.

Our financial articles are presented by Honeck O’Toole, Maine-based certified public accountants. If you ever have questions about your financial future, please email us or call 207-774-0882.