Top 6 Business and Investing Predictions for 2012

Ok, so I know most websites and magazines normally release this information in December, but I’m a little late to the party. I would say that if I could bet on a football game after watching the first 6 minutes, I would definitely win a lot more, so listen up:

1. The Economy Will Continue to Get Better – Although many of us don’t feel like it, things have gotten A LOT better since it felt like the world was going to end in the fall of 2008. If you don’t remember, check out my Cornell classmate’s Andrew Sorkin’s book “Too Big to Fail” or cheat and watch the HBO movie. We were at a point where Americans were prepared to take their money out of their savings accounts and were questioning whether the FDIC only insuring up to $100,000 was enough. Since Obama took office there has been an increase in the Dow Jones Industrial average. It is up 4,771 points to last Friday’s close of 12,720 as his fourth year begins. I AM NOT saying that it is because of the president or our government per se, I’m just stating a fact and I think it will continue to trend upward this year.

2. Gold, Silver, and Stocks Will Be Bullish – I know that sophisticated investors will point out that there is usually an inverse relationship between commodities and stocks. I could easily see a lack of recovery belief pushing gold to reach a peak between $1800-2000 and silver around $70-80 an ounce. In the meantime, the market will be led by the Facebook IPO this year. I am a huge believer that the internet will thrust business growth like we have not seen since the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s. The same way that improved roads, canals and railways made it easier to link businesses and people, the internet has created a true global economy. The entire world will continue to get wired in which will spur economic growth.

3. Banks Will Continue to Be Reluctant to Lend to Small Businesses – With the Fed being forced to keep rates low, banks will be unable or unwilling to lend at lower rates. The good news for businesses is that I know a lot of people are sitting on a lot of cash these days, still nervous about investing it into anything. There will be a lot of money in the private sector to raise if entrepreneurs know the right people or if business/investors begin utilizing angel investing sites such as Gust. I like the idea that small business success can be shared between entrepreneurs and their investors.

4. E-tailers Will Continue to Chip Away at Traditional Businesses – In 2011 online businesses hammered into “brick and mortar” companies’ profits and this trend will definitely continue. One of my favorite parts of Aaron Sorkin’s movie The Social Network was:

‘Sean Parker: I brought down the record companies with Napster.

Eduardo Saverin: Uh, sorry. You didn’t bring down the record companies. They won.

Sean Parker: In court?

Eduardo Saverin: Yeah.

Sean Parker: Do you want to buy a Tower Records, Eduardo?’

The internet truly evens the playing field among businesses. It is true that a kid in his dorm room can take down some of the most powerful companies in the world and Napster proved it.

5. My Name is Bond – In 2012, interest rates look to stay low thus there will not be a ton of plays with them, EXCEPT ONE: Tax-Free Municipal Bonds. Generally when the media is scaring you away from something, it is time to get in. I believe with all of the scary headlines about California going Bankrupt and local municipalities drowning in debt that this is one asset class that is undervalued. I figure that by investing in them, you can expect to see a 5-6% return…tax free!

6. Mobile Continues to Blow Up -When I think about how quickly I see the computer/internet world changing, I can’t help but think of myself as a kid with a black and white TV along with a corded phone that had no call-waiting… and I’m not that old! Kids being born now may not even see a desktop computer in their life time. With the genius of Steve Jobs making a push on smart phones and tablets, marketing to these devices will be paramount in 2012.

Well that’s it ladies and gentlemen. I fully intend to remind you how brilliant I am at the end of the year, so make sure to take action on these tidbits that I fed you… did I really just say that?

For the past 13 years I have been an entrepreneur investing and being active in real estate projects, private businesses, consulting, and small-cap public companies. I have made a living by making investments in different areas that I have felt would yield me the best return on my investment as well as utilizing investors to have projects come to fruition. I often have friends of mine ask me for advice on buying their first home, where I think the next business opportunity will be, and even how to get started. I have written endless business plans and am what some would construe as a “deal junkie”. I love coming up with new ideas, putting a plan together and putting the pieces together to execute them. We are still in a recession and I felt that this would be an excellent time to give my two cents to whoever wants to listen. I have started a blog for business and investing called Money Catapult so Google it and check it out.

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