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Personal finance: 2012 and economic trends

18 July 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on SDNN

We are entering a period of enormous transition — financially, politically, spiritually. Everyday, we see evidence that old-school business and government are collapsing. And we see signs of a new era.

According to many experts, this new era begins in the year 2012. It is a year that astronomers and mystics have spoken of for decades. It is also a time that financial experts say we will begin a new economic cycle.

“New Economy of Consciousness”

Patricia Aburdeen, author of Megatrends 2010 calls this the “New Economy of Consciousness.” According to her, this new era is based on the values of responsibility, transparency, sustainability and spirituality.

It is a fundamental shift in values, as we move from the industrial age to the information age, from command-and-control economies to networked economies, from leadership of the ego to leadership of service, and from reliance on the intellect to reliance on intuition.

As we enter this new era, we each have a choice as to how to live. Your current financial portfolio may be in shambles, but you will have new ways to build wealth in years to come.

Mystics

The ancient Mayans, Hopi Native Americans, Christians and astrologers all speak of 2012 as a year of great transformation.

The Mayan calendar was based on precise mathematical and astronomical formulas. Their “Long Count” calendar tracks the cycles of time, with each cycle lasting 5,126 years. According to their calendar, the current cycle ends on December 12, 2012.

The Hopi Native Americans predicted a time when humanity would have to choose between living in harmony with the earth, which will bring peace to the planet, or pursuing technological conquest, which would end in complete destruction of the planet.

Christians also speak of the end of times. Those who follow the Bible Code, where the Bible is deciphered for predictions, also believe the time of great destruction and reckoning will take place in 2012.

Astrologers speak of a shift – from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. The shift occurs every 2,000 years, and in this cycle, Aquarius moves into full ascension on the December 21, 2011. Pisces was a time of the individual, but Aquarius is a time of the group.

Financial systems

In the financial markets, 2012 is also emerging as a turning point. As we all know, the current banking system and credit markets are already collapsing. Many economists, real estate experts and financial visionaries said the markets will not recover until the real estate market recovers.

Historically, the housing markets have always led the rest of the economy in and out of recession. According to the data, a new wave of exotic mortgages adjusted in January this year. Many of these houses will only start to show up as foreclosures in 2010 and 2011. Therefore, many experts predict the economy will not start to move out of recession until 2012.

Harry Dent, an economist and author of “The Great Depression Ahead,” foresaw the market boom in the ’90s and the bust in the early 2000s. He believes there will be another rally in summer 2009, followed by a long period of Depression. Who knows if what he says is true or not. But like many wealth experts, he advises people to liquidate as much as possible – even now, because they say, the markets will deteriorate even further.

Robert Campbell, author of Timing the Real Estate Market also said to hold cash. This is because there will be huge buying opportunities at the bottom of the market in late 2011 and early 2012. Many wealth experts say that this will be when the greatest transfer of wealth in human history will take place.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” predicts the U.S. economy will be drained of cash reserves as Baby Boomers retire from 2007 to 2012.

The collapse of the old financial systems are forcing us to create new ones. We are seeing new trends starting to emerge. Wall Street’s mantra “Greed is Good” is transforming into “Green is Good.”

New trends

The New Economy of Consciousness is emerging in the business trends of:

• Corporate responsibility
• Transparent accounting
• Flat organizations
• Sustainable industries
• And community-based businesses

In this era, the industries that are rising include:

• socially responsible investing
• green technology
• renewable energy
• Internet businesses,
• organic food, and
• holistic lifestyles, to name a few.

Businesses based on these values will become dominant in the New Economy of Consciousness. One example is Patagonia, a clothing company that contributes a portion of its profits to environmental causes. In December 2008 and January 2009, when other retailers were closing their stores, Patagonia’s sales actually soared.

What to invest in

So what do you do in the meantime? Here are four things you can do, based on what the experts said:

• Turn to cash
• Harness the Internet
• Invest in your health
• Prepare your mind.

Since the banking systems are falling apart, turning to the most basic of currencies makes sense. Experts such as Dent say hold cash.

For those who don’t have cash, alternative trading systems, such as barter, peer-to-peer lending and microlending,will also become prevalent.

In the Aquarian age, the group is more important than the individual. The Internet and social networking is the perfect vehicle for this. So make sure you and your business have an effective Web site. Sell your products and services online. Get on social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

During this time, one of the best things you can invest in is your health, said Campbell. Social security will be gone, as medical and health care costs skyrocket. Make sure you take care of your body, he said.

Finally, prepare your mind. Because of all the changes, you need to have flexibility in thinking. You also want to stay grounded.

Many people will go through enormous emotional and psychic pain during this time, as they cling to old beliefs and structures. You want to stay calm. Meditation, prayer and spending time in nature are ways to do this. When making business decisions, rely on your intuition more than on information.

Whether or not you believe in the magnitude of 2012, we can all agree there are enormous changes ahead. This means great crisis or opportunity.

The good news is that we each get to choose.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang.

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