Around this time of year, it’s a good idea to stop and look back, taking stock of all the incredible and difficult things that happened over the last 365 days.
The Internet is full of “Top 2018” lists that span the best books, movies, music, celebrity moments etc. to allow you to reflect on the past year.
This week, I’m looking forward to the top trends and predictions for 2019, and how you can position yourself to make it your best year yet.
There’s no way to know for certain what will happen in the new year. As we know from previous experience, things can drastically change overnight. But there are a few trends we will probably see carrying over from 2018.
1) Embrace The Tech
I for one am very excited to see what technology advancements 2019 brings. For some, technology spells doom as robots threaten to replace workers and cut jobs. But for entrepreneurs, technology promises to address problems and make running a business easier than ever.
As an entrepreneur, using the wide array of tools out there to help you improve or create your business is one of the best ways to excel in 2019. Make it a part of your New Year’s resolutions to incorporate further learning and tech adoption into your financial plan.
2) President Trump’s Economic Outlook
2018 was a year for some major economic growth in the U.S., largely due to Trump’s tax cuts, consumer confidence, and companies re-investing in their business.
According to many economists, the economy is expected to slow down, and as financial conditions tighten, the impact of the tax cuts passed will fade.
Some economists are expecting more than a slowdown and are saying there’s a 50% chance of a recession by 2020.
Again, we can’t know for sure what will happen, and things are always liable to drastic change. That’s why maintaining a strong financial knowledge base will be the best way to navigate the coming year. Don’t wait around until the government implements new financial policies. Take charge of your financial plan now and position yourself for a great year.
3) Debt Will Increase To An All-time High
Debt has been on the rise for years. 2018 was a record high for consumer credit card debt, and I have a feeling the problem is only going to get worse.
According to nerdwallet.com, “Credit card balances carried from month to month continue to inch up, reaching $420.22 billion in late 2018, according to NerdWallet’s annual analysis of U.S. household debt. That’s an increase of about 5% over last year. And for Americans carrying that debt, the impact is significant.”
Today, it’s easier than ever to make money running your own business or investing in assets, but it’s also easier to get into debt. Still, bad debt is not inevitable. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get out and stay out of debt. Remember the two rules of staying out of bad debt: Don’t swipe the small stuff and credit keeps charging.
Go into 2019 with open eyes regarding your spending habits and debt. Are you carrying over debt from last year? What’s your plan to pay it off? Do you have a clean slate? What steps will you take to avoid bad debt? Ask yourself these questions and get your plan together early.
What does this mean for you?
Instead of wringing your hands in fear or sitting back comfortably because you think everything will go your way, take 2019 into your own hands. Start crafting a strong financial plan that can sustain you no matter what happens.
Start by identifying what you hope to achieve. I find the act of physically writing down my goals is the best way to make my dreams a reality. Putting my vision on paper gets it out in the open. Once it’s written down, I’m committed to it.
As we all know, it’s all too easy to fall off the wagon with our New Year’s resolutions. That’s why you have to set up goals that in turn set you up for success. Setting SMART goals with the new year approaching is more important than ever. Remember, SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
When your goal meets these five characteristics, it becomes much easier for you to stick to them. And remember, every goal should be working you towards a greater vision of where you want to be.
Another way to make sticking to your goals easier is by getting others involved. Whether it’s your spouse, your kids, your friends, or a mentor, you can find a partner to help keep you dedicated to your goals. We all know it’s easier to go to the gym when we have a friend going with us. The same holds true for true freedom in your finances.
With your goals in mind, you can start making a list of what you’ll need to attain them. Maybe you need increased understanding of real estate. Maybe you need to understand how to invest for cash flow. By knowing where you are, and where you want to go, it should quickly become apparent the things you must learn to get there. Increasing your financial education is the first step.
Why I’m optimistic for 2019…
This year for many people was full of ups and downs. The presence of disruptive technology led to extensive job cuts, not to mention a still recovering economy, political turmoil, higher interest rates, and more.
But despite a less-than-ideal landscape, the people coming out of 2018 on top are the ones who have a strong base of financial education.
It was confirmed this year that financial education is more important than ever. With every twist and turn, every “impossible” act, every astounding technology that revolutionized the market, only those with a deeper financial understanding, and the right mindset, came out ahead.
While the masses were panicking over every setback, those on the path to freedom kept their eyes on the long journey ahead, never wavering or allowing the day-to-day challenges to deter them.
Education breeds confidence. And in these ever-changing times, confidence is more important than ever.
Anything can happen in 2019. To the glass-half-empty folks out there, that might be a little scary. But to the rest of us, that’s great news. Anything can happen, like getting out of debt, starting your business, quitting your job as an employee and making the shift to business owner and investor, purchasing your first asset, and so much more. If you haven’t started the journey to complete independence, 2019 is your time. You just have to take it.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily