As Americans, we all long for a solution to our nation’s economic problems. However most of us realize that there can be no solution to our financial troubles unless we fix our preconceptions about our finances in general.
I spoke to one local worker who isn’t very optimistic about the economy. In his view, it really hasn’t seen much growth this year.
“It probably got a little better last year, but it’s slowed down some,” he observed.
So I asked him if he thought the economy has shown any improvement this year?
“I don’t think so, no,” he replied.
According to the Economic Development and International Trade office of Miami- Dade County, international trade continues to play an important role in the economy of Miami-Dade County. South Florida’s total trade with the rest of the world has more than doubled during the course of the last decade, from $49.70 billion in 2002 to a historic record of $112.82 billion in 2011.
The Miami Customs District 52 also has maintained its standing as the 11th largest U.S. Customs District. In fact, it set a new national record for a trade surplus of $22.18 billion.
Tourism also is flourishing. The state of Florida saw 76.8 million visitors in 2004 — a record number — making it the top travel destination in the world. The tourism industry has an economic impact of $57 billion on Florida’s economy.
On the other hand, Florida ranks low in terms of the tax burden placed on residents. Based on income and property taxes, as well as other state and local tax collections, the Tax Foundation research organization ranks Florida among the lowest tax states. Florida ranked No. 45 among the 50 states in 2004, with only five states maintaining a lower tax burden.
Fortunately, South Florida’s Economy should continue to see solid gains in tourism, foreign trade and financial services, boosted by the continued slow recovery of our real estate and construction sectors.
The industry forecasts for South Florida’s individual counties are generally similar to the regional forecast, underlining professional and business services, educational and health services, construction, finance, leisure and hospitality as the primary job generators for the region.
Some predict higher than average job growth through 2015. Others say that we’ll see lower than average growth in jobs through 2015. Wholesale trade and agriculture are concentrated in South Florida, but are not expected to add significant national job numbers during the next 10 years.
FAST FINANCIAL DECISIONS TO MAKE RIGHT NOW
Now is the ideal time to make your personal financials for 2012. The decisions you make now can improve your overall financial status for the rest of the year. In fact, you may want to increase your income tax withholding right now while tax season is fresh in your mind. You may end up owing less next year and avoiding any possible penalties.
Also, see if you can afford to put more money into your savings or investment accounts, and try paying down any credit card debt as soon as possible. And if you are planning for a summer vacation, now is the time to start looking for the best deals.
It may be nine months away, but it also is a good time to consider a “Christmas Club Account” to start saving for all that end-ofthe- year spending. Also, whenever you can, you should consider using cash rather than charging up your credit cards. It is all possible, if you can start planning right now.