What the Post-Election Month Means for the U.S. Economy and Consumers

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Freedom Financial Network notes 4 economic trends for consumers working to get out of debt

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Time will tell what the repercussions of the recent elections are to the economy. Many changes won’t be felt until 2017, but we anticipate a few trends that people should pay attention to.

Presidential election years often have significant impact on consumers’ finances, and 2016 is no exception, says Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network (FFN).

“Time will tell what the repercussions of the recent elections are to the economy. Many changes won’t be felt until 2017,” Gallegos says. “Meanwhile, we do anticipate a few trends that people should pay attention to – especially people who are struggling to get out of debt.”

Freedom Financial Network notes that the next few months could bring these changes:

1. Increased holiday spending. Many individuals may have noticed holiday decorations springing up in stores long before Halloween this year. Some analysts attribute this so-called “Christmas creep” to tensions over the election. People who are eager to escape election hype are thinking about the holidays even earlier, which might lead them to spend more on gifts, entertainment and themselves. The National Retail Federation estimates that holiday spending will increase by 3.6 percent this year, to nearly $656 billion. “It’s all the more important for consumers to resist going into debt for the holidays,” Gallegos notes. “People should create a budget now – and stick to it – to avoid overspending.”

2. Higher interest rates. The possibility exists that the Federal Reserve will raise its key interest rate after the election. The rate has barely increased in the past decade. If the rate goes up, people will see higher credit card and loan interest rates, including mortgage rates. However, a higher rate would have a silver lining for consumers, too: Savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit might again deliver measurable interest, which rewards people for investing. “Anticipating a possible interest rate hike is a good incentive for people to pay off debt and develop a savings mindset,” Gallegos says.

3. More jobs available, at least temporarily. Experts predict that seasonal holiday jobs will employ about 739,000 workers in the last few months of this year. This provides opportunity for some of the 5 percent of unemployed workers, as well as others who are underemployed or who are classified as “discouraged” job-seekers. It also provides the chance for people who are struggling with debt to earn some extra income to repay those bills.

4. Cautious overall spending. Beyond the upbeat holiday forecast, overall consumer spending has been half-hearted during 2016. Experts do not foresee that changing in January. This has resulted in the Federal Reserve downgrading economic growth forecasts for the end of 2016. Many people – and businesses – feel tepid about the economy. “We hope that the sense of hesitancy will evaporate now that the election is over, but this caution provides one explanation for why the economy isn’t growing as fast as some might expect,” Gallegos says.

Freedom Financial Network (http://www.freedomfinancialnetwork.com)
Freedom Financial Network, LLC (FFN), provides comprehensive consumer credit advocacy services. Through the FFN family of companies – Freedom Debt Relief, ConsolidationPlus, FreedomPlus and Bills.com – FFN works as an independent advocate to provide comprehensive financial solutions, including debt consolidation and debt negotiation (settlement) services for consumers struggling with debt. The company, which has resolved more than $5 billion in debt and assisted more than 300,000 clients since 2002, is an accredited member of the American Fair Credit Council, and a platinum member of the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.

Based in San Mateo, California, FFN also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona. The company, with 1,200 employees, was voted one of the best places to work in the San Francisco Bay area in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and in the Phoenix area in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. FFN’s founders are recipients of the Northern California Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

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Aimee Bennett

Kevin Gallegos
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