I know that no one has a crystal ball that predicts the future. It is at best a guess and at worst voodoo when you try to make predictions on the future of things like the stock market, economic forecasts, and other money-related areas, but it’s all just so damned tempting to try to project on some of the “what-if” scenarios and give it a try. At least in my world it is.
With that in mind, here are six 2020 and beyond predictions that I think are trending and very possible and could really happen in the coming decade.
6 Money & Lifestyle Predictions for the 2020s
1. The stock market will decline in 2020, but of course rebound again…someday
Yes, right now the market is breaking all kinds of records and everything on its surface seems very rosy. But, I think this year will be different. With the impending election brewing and the fallout from an impeachment trial of the president, not much positive will be coming out of Washington that can motivate economically. In addition to the negative stock market implications of all of that, we could eventually see higher taxes and tougher business regulations reestablished that could result from a Democratic election victory in November of 2020 and that will insure the market is very guarded for a while.
We also can’t ignore the blatant fact that the global economy has been slowing for over a year and the “trade war” doesn’t seem to yet have any really clear end in sight. All that spells to me is to be conservative in any investment strategies you may have for 2020! After that, look up…again, someday.
2. Interest rates will continue to fall in 2020
The latest projections from the Federal Reserve show no further cuts to the federal funds rate in 2020. Although predictions were calling for a recession just a few months ago, I don’t think now that will occur. But the Fed will end up cutting interest rates considerably in response to a weaker-than-expected economy.
Bond yields, mortgage rates, and pretty much every other consumer earning rate will get significantly lower in 2020 than they are now, but I still don’t believe that President Trump’s demands for negative interest rates (like some of our European allies have instituted) will ever be the policy here in the in the U.S.
3. The best career paths will be in sustainable energy and healthcare
Sustainable energy jobs
Despite our feeble efforts to combat climate change so far, we will actually do something to stop its potential catastrophic impact as well as create huge job growth that will explode over the next decade as we wake up finally and change course. So, if you are looking to get in on real opportunity, consider a career path in 2020 now in solar energy or wind energy.
Solar power will continue to be a major part of humanity’s transition toward a clean-energy future. Because the cost of solar energy keeps dropping, solar energy technicians are enjoying stable employment in a growing industry that is making a real, positive difference. In the U.S., multiple thousands of solar power technician jobs will become available over the period from 2020 to 2030, so now is a great time to get inside and get educated on this career path. Median yearly pay for this occupation was $42,680 in 2018 but is expected to boom over the next 5-10 years as the demand grows.
Wind energy technicians will become more important with more clean energy demand as well. Reducing carbon and methane emissions means transitioning away from fossil fuel sources like oil, coal, and natural gas. That means wind energy will be a huge part of the coming future. It’s already an industry that’s growing and it will likely grow a lot more over the next decades, meaning that skilled technicians will be needed to help with the installation, maintenance, and repair of giant wind turbines. Perhaps 50,000 thousands jobs will be created for wind energy technicians. The median salary in this field was $54,370 in 2018. And again, this salary will skyrocket in the 2020s.
How about nurse practitioners, registered nurses (RN), and physical therapists? Because of an aging and longer-living population, the healthcare system will continue to have trouble keeping up with the growing influx of patients. Many regions will experience severe shortages of health care personnel, so they’ll need more non-physician health professionals with the ability to diagnose and treat patients in various acute and chronic conditions. Registered nurses who get the right kind of advanced education at the graduate level can become nurse practitioners and help fill that void. In 2018, median yearly pay for nurse practitioners was $107,030. And between 2020 and 2030, they could benefit from over 150,000 new job openings.
Even more amazing, more than two million new jobs are expected to become available for RNs between 2020 and 2030. In all likelihood, RNs will continue to be in high demand for decades to come, even if their roles change a little because of technological advances and medical breakthroughs. The median salary for RNs was $71,730 in 2018.
Physical therapist growth has been stimulated by the explosion of senior communities and the need for physical therapy professionals is growing now. Many seniors end up requiring some form of physical rehabilitation, pain management, mobility assistance, or therapeutic treatment as they age. From 2020 to 2030, about 200,000 new jobs may become available for physical therapists. An additional 150,000 jobs could open up for physical therapist assistants. In 2018, the median salary for physical therapists was $87,930.
4. Technology continues to explode in 2020
This one is really a no-brainer and doesn’t require me to project very much. It seems like every day there are new breakthroughs in tech. AI is here already and growing as fast as anyone can imagine, and thus will change everything in the decades to come. Computers, robots, and mobile devices are our new best friends these days.
I am not exactly sure what the new breakthroughs will be, but hold on to your hat, because they are bound to make 2020 and beyond really different and exciting. Just ask Siri, Alexa, and their new friends.
5. Augmented reality (AR) will improve your shopping experience
This one really does hit me personally since I spent decades in what is going to be soon called “ancient retailing”!
Many shoppers have had bad fitting room experiences, but those days could soon be over. Within the next five years, it will likely become easier and quicker as more mainstream retailers begin to try on clothes “virtually” with augmented reality (AR).
About one-third of shoppers already use AR in stores now, and experts predict the market will grow to be worth $130 billion in 2020. Some stores have already adopted smart mirrors that allow customers to test different outfits without having to change their clothes (such as designer Rebecca Minkoff stores which include touchscreen mirrors in interactive dressing rooms).
The technology is even being expanded to work at home, which opens the door for online shoppers. Amazon recently filed a patent for an AR mirror that customers can use to test their clothes on in exotic locations, all from the comfort of their own home. This technology capitalizes on comfort and convenience, which are of course priorities for the modern shopper.
6. The backlash against social media in 2020
The furor and backlash against the Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr culture will grow in the 2020s. YouTube and online streaming platforms such as Netflix will remain popular, yes, but newer social media will make older social media apps such as Snapchat and Instagram seem dated and cheesy, just as happened to MySpace in the 2000s. Remember them?
But social media isn’t going to disappear. In fact, almost half of the world’s population has at least one social media account, according to reports from We Are Social and Hootsuite. But, the “new social media” doesn’t aim to target everybody anymore. Instead, the future is becoming more niche, as more networks arise to unite people who share a common interest by age or any specific common area so it becomes more targeted and fragmented in 2020 and beyond.
I am looking forward to “70s chat”, which I’m guessing isn’t too far down the road.
While my attempt at predictions is here basically for entertainment and amusement, some of these predictions are based on real truths. Climate change is real and jobs and careers will continue to grow as they will in the healthcare field. If you can, get into these for all the right reasons and of course the opportunity, too.
Are you prepared for 2020? What are your thoughts on money, jobs, family, and career in the 2020s and beyond? Have you given it any thought at all and if so, what are you doing to make the next decade your best ever? Do you have any predictions of your own?