Six predictions for consumers in 2012

It’s been nice, 2011, but as we move into the new year, many consumers are no doubt wondering what 2012 has in store for them, particularly when it comes to their wallets. Is a double-dip recession in the cards? Will it be easier to get a mortgage? Is a checking account switch in order? What will interest rates be like in the new year? Here are my Top 6 predictions for consumers in 2012:

1. More jobs, higher credit scores in new year

Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File
An employer speaks to people seeking for jobs at a job fair in San Francisco last month. Barring the unforeseen, the new year should bring a slow improvement in employment.

Unemployment is down, and barring a huge blowup in Europe’s or China’s economies, it should continue trending down in 2012. This means that more people will be able to meet their monthly financial obligations, making the new year less stressful than 2011. Fewer late or missed payments also equates to positive information being relayed to consumers’ credit reports on a more consistent basis, which will eventually result in higher credit scores. As your credit score not only determines loan eligibility and rates, but also your ability to lease a car, get a nicer apartment, qualify for an unsecured credit card, lower your car insurance premiums, etc., higher scores will make the new year a little easier for many consumers.

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