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Personal Finance Predictions for 2009

Credit will shrink. With banks and other lenders in financial trouble, they are looking to reduce their risk wherever they can. One area they will target in 2009 is with their exposure to credit cards.

Not only will it be more difficult to get credit, you can expect the limits on your current credit cards to be reduced as well. Such a reduction in credit limits can trigger a drop in your credit score if you carry a balance. When your available credit drops, your credit can suddenly look ominous.

For those who carry a balance on their credit cards and have been switching balances to get lower rates in the past, you may find this tactic much more difficult to maintain in the year ahead, especially if you do not have top-tier credit.

If you have relied on easy credit in years past, 2009 is likely the year when this changes and you are no longer able to get credit simply by asking. Understanding that credit will be much more difficult to secure can help you develop a budget strategy that assumes that credit will no longer be as easy to get as it has been.

Business perks will disappear. The economy is entering the new year in a recession, and businesses are already taking steps to reduce their costs wherever they can.

These cost-cutting measures will extend into 2009, and many of the benefits that you have enjoyed from your employer in the past may not be there come next December. Some can have a significant effect on your personal finances such as the elimination of the matching contribution for 401(k) contributions, a trend already beginning to take place.
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