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55+ AND ALIVE: Jacksonville life in the Trump era

Davis College of Business Dean Dr. Don Capener

For many of us, we are wondering what 2017 will bring in terms of changes to life in Jacksonville and our pocketbook as older individuals. Here are several predictions for a happier new year for folks 55 and older:

Higher interest rates will bring more prosperity for savers.

Because most seniors are saving for retirement or on a fixed income, interest rates will affect your prosperity in 2017.

This is a “good news and bad news” prediction in that loans and credit cards will cost you slightly more in 2017, but for those willing to save, you will earn more interest income in 2017 and potentially even more in your equity investments.

Less regulation should benefit companies and their employees.

With Obamacare’s most expensive requirements predicted to be loosened up, increases in equity balances for your 401(k) or brokerage account are likely. The business you own, or that you work for, should also see its profit potential go up along with your stock portfolio as a result of less costly entitlements and benefits.

With loosening of financial compliance laws that the Obama Administration put in place to keep the average consumer “safe,” burdened banks, investment firms and other financial institutions or insurance companies won’t continue to incur millions in salary costs to perform all the compliance work that wasn’t productive. With Jacksonville the headquarters for Fidelity National, Black Knight, FIS and Main Street Financial, and a major regional hub for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments and Deutsche Bank, this should spur job and wage growth as the competition for talent increases.

Jacksonville’s economy will prosper with infrastructure projects and increased military spending.

Assuming JAXPORT trade volume, aerospace and military spending, financial services, tourism, multi-family and commercial construction all grow, and infrastructure projects such as new roads and bridges are started, our local economy should prosper.

This prosperous local economy will create more job opportunities for all of us and positively affect the value for those with real estate holdings. In addition, with President-elect Trump’s promise to “strengthen the U.S. military,” industries such as JAX aerospace (Cecil Field, GE, Embraer, Northrop Grumman, Flightstar) should also prosper. The deepening of the St. Johns River has a longer-term economic benefit, but trade volume into JAXPORT may suffer if trade tariffs are enacted as threatened by Trump during the campaign.

Tourism around Ponte Vedra Beach (The Players, etc.) and Amelia Island depends on increased regional prosperity, and events like the Florida-Georgia football game and the TaxSlayer Bowl bring tens of thousands of everyday folks to town, and upturns in the economy could mean more come, and even more stay over several nights and eat at our restaurants.

A boom in local business and infrastructure would mean more construction, creating a resultant boom for major Florida companies, such as RingPower, which lease CAT and other equipment to construction companies for roads and commercial construction.

More job opportunities will result from Jacksonville becoming a desirable regional headquarters.

As evidenced by the recent selection of the River City for one of Amazon’s largest regional hubs, our local economy is poised for even more part-time and full-time job growth in 2017.

The opportunity for older individuals who are educated and tech savvy is even rosier. Many should consider further education because these opportunities pay much better than other part-time positions.

With new construction and services more dependent on tech, companies will look for those who are technically savvy, globally conscious and prepared to lead. An increasingly diverse and complicated world means exposure to more sophisticated tools and training will pay off in higher wages and more job opportunities.

Dr. Don Capener, Dean of the Jacksonville University Davis College of Business, lives in Jacksonville with his wife, Annie, and their two youngest daughters. His 55+ And Alive is an occasional column in The Florida Times-Union’s PrimeTime section. He can be reached at dcapene@ju.edu.