December 2017 – Hey gang!  Amazingly, we’re in the last weeks of 2017 – and what a year it’s been!  It’s this time of year I love to reflect on the last year of news headlines.  In my case, not surprisingly, it’s the financial headlines that always catch my eye.  Imagine if we knew back in January all of the financial headlines to come – what would we do in response?  Where would we put our money?  Well, we don’t have a ‘way back’ machine (don’t I wish), but we can use year’s financial info to create a slam dunk strategy for 2018.  Read on for some of the best financial news of 2017, and how you can translate it into greater wealth and financial security for the year to come.

1. The Stock Market.  Don’t let it intimidate you, it’s just a market.  This market however, with a couple of easy, effortless moves, can mean the difference between a very comfortable retirement, and not so much.  For households like mine, invested thru a modest 401K or other retirement plan, I’m hearing from several households that saw yearly returns of say, “X” amount of dollars from 2008-2016.  From January 2017 thru November 2017, they made six times that amount, all in the same investments.
Lesson learned – If you’re not already in, get into the stock market with a plan that suits your level of risk (low, medium high, ultra-high), max it out every chance you get, and stick with it.  The tax savings are fantastic, and these huge gains in the stock market are filled with middle-class Americans just like you and me, taking full control of their financial future.  Be the master of your financial fate.  It’s fabulous.

2.  Real Estate.  Lordy, where to begin.  A healthy real estate market is judged by having (roughly) a six month inventory of homes on the market.  Anything more than six months would indicate that we have a glut of homes on the market, and not enough buyers, driving prices down.  A few years back, our area had over 12 months of real estate inventory available on the books.   Not good.  As of December 2017, there is now roughly a four month inventory in our area – and in some townships as little as 2 months inventory.  Much better.  The result?  As consumer confidence skyrockets and people feel more secure in their existing (or new) jobs, they’re taking the leap into buying their first home, or moving up to a new house, etc.  If you’re thinking about buying, selling, renting or rehabbing, now’s the time to think seriously about jumping in with both feet.  The market is great, and prices are on the rise.

Whatever your personal goals are for 2018, chances are excellent they’ll be more attainable with a healthy financial portfolio.   Put the tried and true financial lessons of 2017 to work for you, to turn 2018 into your best financial year ever – Frugal On, everybody!

Kristen Hagopian is a Syndicated Radio Talk Show Host & Columnist.
The “Kristen Hagopian Show” airs on 82 Stations Coast to Coast via the BizTalk Radio Network.
She co-hosts WCHE 1520’s Morning Show in Philadelphia, as well as “Dad and Daughter Talk Real Estate” with Keller Williams Realtor John Herreid Wednesdays at 5:00P (www.johnherreid.com).
You can find her online at
www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com