Friday, January 7, 2011

9 Reasons Why 2011 Will Cost YOU more

Health Care
"EBRI says that there's really no way to avoid saving for added health care costs, given the economic terrain now and in the future 'because employers are continuing to scale back retiree health benefits." They also estimated that both men and women would need a nest egg anywhere between $111,000 to $406,000 to cover their future health care expenses. 

Three economists, one psychic and a Coke Bottle app can't be wrong: Deflation's going to have a huge impact on consumer spending and saving next year.

"Retailers will remain reluctant to raise prices," says Mark Lieberman, a private economic consultant and former senior economist for Fox Business Network. Consumers will also likely be reluctant to invest in long-term commitments like mortgages or personal loans.

Consumer Price Index
Jeanine Skowronski reported back in November, "falling prices can actually hurt an already shaky economy by actually discouraging spending as consumers wait for prices to fall even lower." That's a recipe for a toxic cocktail of massive layoffs, company cutbacks and a possible double-dip recession.

Mortgage Rates
If interest rates shoot up the way economists and market experts expect them to, mortgage shoppers won't be pleased. As Jeff Brown wrote earlier this month, the current "rates are still so low there's a better chance they'll go up than down," and "while [home shoppers] might get a cheaper mortgage today than in six or eight months, the housing market is still pretty risky. Prices are continuing to fall … so a home bought today could be worth less later."

Bank of America  dropped its free checking this year and thanks to financial reform, more big banks could follow suit. To avoid the extra charges but still receive solid service, follow Brian O'Connell's tips to survive the demise of free checking.

Home Prices
No one was surprised by October 2010's news that home prices had weakened, but fears of a double-dip recession remain palpable. Experts predict another drop in U.S. home prices, while some are speculating that the market won't regain its footing until 2014.

Auto Loans
Lenders might be loosening their tight grip on cash for auto loans, but that doesn't mean those loans will cost any less in 2011. Interest rates are set to rise and with that comes larger fees down the line. Now might be the time to consider refinancing if you already have a loan.

Gas Prices
The high cost of gas didn't deter Americans from their annual holiday shopping spree, but next year it might. As reported on our sister site,, "Over the course of the calendar year the price has increased a relatively modest 13%; however, some analysts are concerned that prices have jumped almost 30% since September which could fuel inflation and impede further global economic growth." [See 'The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money']

The airlines will hate us for this, but it's true. Until a sweeping package of consumer rights is passed, there's just no getting around the stupid baggage, peanut, leg room, headphone, blanket, carry-on and coach fees they love to charge.

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