DECEMBER 19, 2013 TIPS & ADVICE, Zillow blog
Just like in food, fashion or fitness, financial trends come and go, too. As the new year approaches, here’s a look at what will be “in” and what will be “out” for 2014.
IN: Mobile payments
The global payments industry is evolving further with each passing day, and mobile is the reason. Worldwide mobile payment transactions, expected to total $235.4 billion this year (up 44 percent from 2012), are projected to jump to $325 billion in 2014, according to tracking firm Gartner. And we’re not just using our phones as virtual wallets to buy lattes at Starbucks (At the forefront of this trend, the coffee giant says that about 11 percent of payments are now made using its app, downloaded on mobile devices.) or to hitch rides via Uber. As we become more connected than ever, we’re also quickly adopting person-to-person payment services such as Popmoney to send, receive or request money from anyone we know or owe — from friends and family members to baby sitters and landlords.
IN: Small mortgage lenders
OUT: Big banks
As big banks continue to retrench from the mortgage business, smaller players, which now hold a whopping 60 percent market share of the U.S. origination market, will continue to pick up larger chunks of business. This shift in mortgage lending will result in growing competition among small companies, regional banks and larger mortgage players. As a result, it could mean better customer service, flexibility and a speedier process when it comes to closing loans. You can get quotes from local lenders on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace where consumers receive on average more than 30 customized loan quotes per loan request. You should also do your research by reading rating and reviews of local mortgage professionals to assure you’re working with someone who can best meet your needs.
OUT: Full-time employment
An astounding one-third of Americans are freelancers, contractors and consultants right now. And as employers continue to look for ways to save money/avoid paying benefits, this trend of hiring specialized experts — often recruited, filtered and screened via social networks — is here to stay. In fact, according to some estimates, the number of part-time workers, steadily rising since 2009, could even exceed the number of full-time employees in just five years.
Due to the lack of a secure pension or forced early retirement, a growing number of older Americans — many of whom are more interested in guarantees and financial peace of mind than accumulating as much wealth as possible, according to AIG’s Retirement Re-Set Study — are now holding down part-time jobs. In fact, according to a recent study by the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center, the proportion of partially retired workers has risen from virtually zero to 15 percent for 60- to 62-year-olds, and is over 20 percent for 65- to 67-year-olds, up from 5 percent to 10 percent in 1960.
IN: ‘Living in place’
OUT: ‘Aging in place’
Make no bones about it: Baby boomers continue to redefine what it means to be “old.” And one thing is certain: They don’t want to sit back on their rocking chairs, look at all their possessions and simply let time pass them by! Rather, they want to stay active, take in some culture and arts, seek out new health and wellness activities, spend time with family and friends, and ultimately enjoy life on theirterms. And while we saw a lot of remodeling activity with boomers last year and into 2013, the momentum is expected to continue into 2014 and beyond, particularly because the oldest baby boomers are more inclined than ever, according to one recent MetLife survey, to keep living where they are rather than move as part of retirement.
Fortunately, numerous home upgrades can aid with living in place, making the experience all the more comfortable — from curbless showers to higher toilets and other enhancements and safety products that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. For inspiration, go to Zillow Digs.