Sure, 2009 has the potential to be one of the worst economic years in recent memory. But knowing that this is a possibility gives you the opportunity to anticipate some of the events you may face in the coming year.
Taking the time to understand what is likely to happen will go a long way to helping you avoid the money pitfalls that could trip you up if you don't consider and prepare for them. Here are some personal finance-related predictions to keep in mind when mapping out your 2009 financial goals.
You'll know someone who's suffering financially. The current economic strife is going to become something personal rather than a story about someone else on the news. Whether it is you personally, a family member or a friend, you are going to know someone (and likely a number of people) that are directly affected by the weak economy and who find themselves in a financial position they never imagined they would be in. You should not be surprised if at some point in 2009 you are asked by someone for financial help.
Your best option is to already have a plan specifically spelled out on what you are and aren't willing to do to help anyone who asks for financial support. Taking the time to put in place a strategy that you feel comfortable with will help ensure that you don't end up making a financial mistake when a friend or loved one approaches you with a request for money and a decision needs to made quickly. Having a well-defined money-lending policy will also help you avoid making decisions based on emotion in the heat of the moment, and that could save you financial trauma in the years ahead.
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.
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.
If you have been thinking about making a major purchase, this could be the perfect year to do so. If you have been planning a dream vacation, chances are that you can schedule it for a fraction of the price you would have had to pay in years past. If you have been planning a home remodeling, you should be able to find top-quality contractors charging much less than what they were during the housing bubble.
Understanding that you can negotiate the price of most products and services, often times by much more than you think, will allow you to get even better deals on the things that you need in 2009.