No matter what happened in the previous year, most of us step into the New Year with optimism that it will be bigger, better and more prosperous than the last one. And whether you adopted a resolution on January 1 or not, it is never too late to do something positive.
In the quest to adopt a resolution, reflection on the previous year is advised. Evaluate what was positive about the year and what was negative. Think about what you had too much of and what you had too little of last year.
If the resolution is about self-improvement, analyze what could be done to improve you. If it is community oriented, find what you can do for others.
Although economic forecasts can change due to unforeseen circumstances, the outlook for 2014 is generally positive, with a return to solid growth and the possibility of even stronger economic performance, depending on several key factors that should become clearer over the next few months.
GDP, unemployment, and inflation
As of late December 2013, year-over-year growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) was expected to range from 1.7 percent to 2.3 percent, higher than was expected earlier in the year but lower than the 2.8 percent rate in 2012. The economy is projected to bounce back in 2014, with growth of around 2.7 percent to 3.2 percent, near the 50-year average of 3.06 percent.
The year 2013 has come and gone. Are we better or worse than we were in 2012?
Regardless of where we are now, we can aim to be better in 2014. Most of us strive to be healthy, wealthy and wise. Others strive to be advocates for change and the betterment of the community at large.
So, before we move forward, let's review a few of the significant moments of 2013 and how they may impact the world as we know it.
Professional Coaching and Leadership Development is a movement going on in corporate America and with highly motivated individuals. While the practice is not new, it is new to many.
RIX International has been dedicated to providing this service for many years. With many successes under its belt, RIX International delivers coaching and development to entrepreneurs and corporations. Gwendolyn Tucker has joined her husband in maintaining the firm's tradition of excellence.
Carlee McCullough: First, tell us a little bit about your background.
Gwendolyn Tucker: I was born and grew up in Northwest Florida near Pensacola. I am an accountant by education. Prior to joining my husband in the company he founded, I held successive roles in Fortune 500 companies in the paper industry for more than 20 years in accounting, internal audit, service excellence, information technology, change management and human resources. I received my designation as a certified public accountant (CPA) in the state of Ohio in 1992.
"People of color face particularly severe challenges in preparing for retirement," according to a new report titled, "Race and Retirement Insecurity in the United States," by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS).
Although every demographic group faces significant risks, says the analysis, "Americans of color are significantly less likely than whites to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), which substantially drives down the level of retirement savings."
In a live webinar last week, NIRS Research Manager Nari Rhee said that unless the United States addresses the paucity of retirement resources, "I think we're in real trouble."
Since the 1960s, household-income growth for African Americans has outpaced that of whites. Median adjusted household income for African Americans is now 59.2 percent that of whites, up slightly from 55.3 percent in 1967 (though in dollar terms the gap has widened).
But those gains haven't led to any narrowing of the wealth gap between the races. In fact, after adjusting for inflation, the median net worth for African-American households in 2011 ($6,446) was lower than it was in 1984 ($7,150), while white households' net worth was almost 11 percent higher. High-earning married African-American households have, on average, less wealth than low-earning married white households.
Exactly why income gains haven't translated into wealth gains for African Americans is something of a puzzle. Researchers have identified several possible factors – less intergenerational inheritance, higher unemployment and lower incomes, differing rates and patterns of homeownership, marriage and college education – without reaching any consensus on their relative importance. There is little understanding of why the black-white wealth gap exists, despite an almost embarrassing number of potential explanations."
Are you considering making the transition from the role of employee to small business owner in this evolving economy? Start by strategizing and prioritizing your financial planning responsibilities.
With the collective guidance of a qualified tax adviser and Certified Financial PlannerTM professional from the Financial Planning Association, you can assemble a well-organized system of tracking what you spend to produce income. In addition, you can sensibly save money by learning more about eligible tax deductions you should take for your self-employed business.
Apply the following pointers and perspectives to efficiently develop and manage your new business: