On Wednesday, I wrote about the top stories for consumers for 2014 – auto recalls, retail data breaches, and the income gap among them.
I think things will be about the same for consumers in 2015. The economy will continue to improve slowly, a few more people will get jobs or move to better jobs and the minimum wage will go up in a few places.
On consumer protection, the small Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will continue to take action on the big job of curbing corporate excesses, but conservatives will keep chipping away at consumer regulations. Think the recent “fund-the-government-or-shut-it-down” budget provision that removed the prohibition against bailing out big banks and other financial institutions.
I think auto recalls will continue to make news in 2015, but perhaps not in the record numbers seen in 2014.
Food prices will go up, in some cases sharply.
The Affordable Care Act will continue to gain new enrollees, improving the health of consumers and saving lives.
Wars around the world will continue, some escalating, keeping needed financial resources from being spent here at home.
So my advice to consumers? Make a budget, set up an Emergency Fund, pay off your credit card debts, and increase your savings for retirement.
That’s pretty standard financial advice for consumers. However, I think it’s especially worthwhile in 2015, when things will be slightly better for some consumers who might have the tendency to get into more debt.
It will be important to have a solid financial position. Years coming up might not be as favorable as 2015.