After several years of sluggish economic growth, it would be nice to believe that 2014 will offer a bounty of financial opportunities and a clean start. Saying goodbye to bad economic times doesn't happen overnight, but there may be reasons for renewed hope on the horizon. Some of the personal finance trends of 2014 may not thrill you, while others may offer a bright spot. But either way, by having this information, you'll be able to plan for what's ahead. Here's what two financial experts say you should expect to see this year.
1. Rising mortgage rates
It's not the end of the world, but the historically low mortgage rates of the past few years have vanished, says Michael Eisenberg, a personal financial specialist (PFS) for Eisenberg Financial Advisors in Los Angeles. Yet current mortgage rates are still very low when compared to virtually any other era's rates. More homes will be purchased this year if the job market improves, says Eisenberg. Redfin, an online real estate brokerage, predicts prices will also rise between 3 percent and 5 percent this year. Rising rates and less of a refinance business will have lenders competing for buyers, which means they may loosen their mortgage loan requirements too.
2. Parents shying away from student loans
The debt students and parents incur for a four-year college education has risen steadily in recent years. Payments now stretch out for years, sometimes long after the graduate has chosen a different career than the one they studied for in college. "More and more parents are deciding that going into debt in order to attend a high-priced school no longer makes sense," says Eisenberg. As a result, some students may instead attend less-expensive junior and community colleges for at least for the first two years of their higher education. Financial aid isn't necessarily the answer to getting an education, says Eisenberg.
3. More banks engaging in social media
"Most major credit card companies already have their own Facebook page," says Beverly Harzog, author of "Confessions of a Credit Junkie." "And that's beneficial for the consumer."