1. Wage-earners received a 2% raise for the year. Payroll tax deductions were cut from 6.2 to 4.2 percent. So far, this has been extended until February of 2012.
2. The standard mileage rate changed mid-year. Business miles were worth 51 cents before June 30th and 55.5 cents after July 1. Medical and moving expenses were 19 cents before June 30th and 23.5 cents after July 1.
3. The price of gold increased dramatically, and peaked at more than $1900 an ounce in September.
4. Car and mortgage financing rates of less than 4 percent were record-breaking lows.
5. Interest on savings, CD’s, money market accounts, and other short term investment vehicles dropped to all-time lows of less than 1%. There was little difference between keeping money in the bank or a mattress this year.
6. S & P downgraded U.S. debt from AAA to AA+. Investor panic sent the stock market on a roller coaster ride.
7. College prices for four-year universities increased an average of 4.4 percent.
8. Netflix increased prices up to 60% and lost about that much in subscribers and stock price.
9. Bank of America unveiled a plan to charge $5 a month for debit cards. They quickly reversed this plan after the public outcry and the comparison to Netflix.
10. Steve Jobs’ untimely death shook up the finance and technology industry. The best post noted about this said, “ISad”.
TO BE DETERMINED
11. Occupy Wall Street, a people powered movement, began in September in Manhattan’s financial district for the purpose of fighting back against major banks and multi-national corporations, as well as Wall Street for being an accessory.
2012 will be a better year! Hopefully there will be way more good than bad, but it will be difficult to erase the ugly during an election year.