What to expect from your personal finances in 2018 – Orange County Register

BY SARAH SKIDMORE SELL, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

No one wants to be caught off-guard when it comes to their finances. So The Associated Press asked several experts to share their opinion on what will happen with some key issues in 2018 that will directly impact your personal financial well-being. Here’s a look at their forecasts:

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Q. What should I expect from gas prices?

A. Gas prices are still quite low, historically speaking, and were fairly steady in 2017. But 2018 may be a bit more rocky, according to Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service.

Kloza estimates the average price for regular gasoline will end 2017 around $2.39 a gallon. A typical family might consume 90 gallons of regular gas each month, so their cost in 2017 has been around $215 per month.

Overall, Kloza expects the average price nationwide to rise to around $2.45 for 2018. That’s still well below the more than $3 a gallon that Americans faced from 2011 to 2014. Like every year, prices will vary greatly by region and season.

A word of warning though — hurricanes or recessions could disrupt even the best estimates.

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Q. What will the job market look like in 2018?

A. The current strength in the job market should carry into 2018. This is particularly true if you are in a high-demand field like health care, technology or e-commerce, said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at jobsite Glassdoor.

“Today’s labor market is probably the tightest in a generation so that puts workers in a strong bargaining position with employers,” said Chamberlain.

Companies in high-demand fields should offer pay raises and other incentives to help attract and retain workers. Those not in high-demand fields may see some improvements in workplace conditions too.

Experts like Chamberlain are warning job-holders not to get lulled into complacency by the unusually long U.S. economic expansion. As economists say: times are good until they aren’t. Chamberlain said this is a…

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