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Friday Financial Five – November 23rd, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

 

We’ve had years of negativity surrounding the economy in terms of high unemployment and stagnant wages. But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, let’s accentuate the positive by looking at some factors to be thankful for.

Positive outlook for the housing market

Most areas in Rhode Island saw increases in the number of sales in the third quarter. Mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures have followed the decreasing national trend, and homeowners are seeing some positive equity again. Housing is perhaps the most important factor in the economic turnaround.

The cyclical nature of economies

It’s tough to have financial perspective that doesn’t assume the way things are presently will last forever. It’s important to remember that what goes down must come up (just as it’s very easy to remember that what went up can come down!) As a silver lining, hopefully the economic downturn taught consumers a lesson about assuming more debt than is reasonable.

The mortgage interest deduction

Congress is talking about ways to raise revenues and the mortgage interest deduction is one of the things being discussed, either being capped or eliminated altogether. As homeowners, let’s lead the charge in notifying Congress that this is one tax perk we’re thankful for that should not be touched.

Interest rates are still extremely low

We still have thirty year home interest rates around 3.50% and fifteen year interest rates at 2.75%, which is truly a gift. Look ahead to the year 2042, and just imagine if you’ve kept your current thirty year rate. You’ll pull your mortgage statement out like pictures of your grandkids to show everybody.

The United States is strategically placed to be an economic giant

The resourcefulness of our citizens is an asset but the very nature of our geography lends itself to economic success. Many countries continue to depend on our exports, and the U.S. economy is still roughly three times greater than China’s. Yes, there are issues that need to be addressed, some extremely urgently, but there is still much to be thankful for here in the U.S.A.

Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in Providence, RI and can be reached at dforbes@forbesplanning.com
 

 

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