Craig Johnson, Clark.com
With 2017 just about in our rear view, it’s a good time to remember that pretty much nothing stays static over an extended period. Prices are no exception. That’s why it’s important that we adjust our expectations (and our budget) for 2018.
Unless you always buy in bulk and have loaded up gobs and gobs of stuff in your pantry, you likely will fork over a bit more money year for the same stuff in the coming year — and you might as well get a head’s up.
10 things that are probably going up in price in 2018
Just when you thought snail mail couldn’t get any more frustrating, the price of a mailing letters and packages will increase in early 2018. The U.S. Postal Service proposed new postage rates to be implemented on Sunday, January 21, 2018, and they were approved recently by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).
Most stamps will see a one-cent increase, including the Forever stamp, which will go from 49 to 50 cents. Postcard stamps will go from 34 to 35 cents and the same for metered letters (46 to 47 cents). To learn more about the pricing, see the USPS website.
The price of prescription medications is expected to climb as the pharmaceutical industry continues to push expensive specialty drugs, according to Vizient Inc.’s July 2017 Drug Price Forecast. This overall increase in 2018 is predicted even though the cost of generic brands is expected to continue to drop, according to the report.
“The topic of the high cost of medications continues to draw bipartisan scrutiny within the U.S. Congress,” the study’s authors said. “Several pending pieces of legislation introduced in 2017 attempt to remove barriers to generic and biosimilar development as well as expedite approval of competition when limited numbers of manufacturers exist for critical medications. This focus on drug costs has prompted several suppliers to pledge that they will limit price increases to certain thresholds or even externally defined indices.”
Apple’s iPhone X hit the market in late 2017 with a price tag of $999, an almost $250 increase over the previous model. Then Google unveiled the Pixel 2 XL with a 128GB version going for $949. We’re guessing that high-end smartphones will continue to rise in price as companies dream up new functionalities and even more creative ways to sell you on them. The average U.S. price for a smartphone rose 4% to over $400 in the third quarter of 2017, according to Recode.com, signaling consumers’ willingness to pay for premium phones. As manufacturers roll out more features, those prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon.
It’s no secret that home prices are climbing to levels not seen since before the Great Recession in 2018. While the market back then had evolved into a bazaar of home-flipping ventures and sub-prime mortages, the landscape today is a lot sturdier as homeowners are no longer using their residences as appreciating credit cards. Home prices are expected to rise in 2018, but not at the clip they did in 2017, according to Marketwatch.com. Spurred by more single-family home construction, expect prices to climb around 4% next year, compared to around 6% this year.
President Trump boasted on Twitter just this week that “Based on the fact that the very unfair and unpopular Individual Mandate has been terminated as part of our Tax Cut Bill … the Democrats & Republicans will eventually come together and develop a great new HealthCare plan!” While that may or may not happen, health care costs are expected to rise in 2018, as you probably already know from the plans you saw during this year’s open enrollment period. One of the reasons insurance premiums will increase is a previously postponed Obamacare tax on health plans that is scheduled to take effect. So far, lawmakers have signaled that they will not act to repeal it.
Some of the world’s most prolific wine-producing countries, such as France, Italy and Spain, were hit hard in 2017 with extreme weather. Combine that with the wildfire damage done to California’s wine valleys and slow seasons in other places around the word and the grape harvests for 2018 is expected to be the worst in decades. For the vino lovers around the world, that means prices have nowhere to go but up, according to experts.
“We still foresee a dramatic decline in wine availability going into 2018,” Stephen Rannekleiv, a global beverages strategist at Rabobank, told CNN Money. “We expect the decline [in consumption] to be felt most tangibly in the lower-priced tiers.”
Whether you travel by train, plane or automobile, brace yourself for higher prices, experts say. The “2018 Global Travel Forecast,” released this past summer at GBTA Convention 2017 indicates that global airfares are expected to climb 3.5% in 2018 while hotel prices are poised to hike be 3.7% and ground transportation (either via bus, taxi or train) is expected to rise only 0.6%.
“Geopolitical risks, uncertainties in emerging markets and ever-changing political environments in Europe and the United States mean today’s travel professionals have more than ever to take into account when building their travel programs,” Jeanne Liu, GBTA Foundation vice president of research said.
If the Equifax data breach taught us anything, it’s that we’re clearly in the age of increased cyber threats. That means our personal information is at risk like never before. In a new report titled “Paradigm Shifts: Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2018,” Trend Micro predicts that digital extortion is poised to become a global threat as the world’s banking systems become more interconnected. That means that cyber protection spending, already at unprecedented levels, is expected to skyrocket to $96 billion in 2018, according to research firm Gartner. It’s likely this spending will be passed on to consumers.
The price tag on higher education will continue its upward trend in 2018, thanks to a litany of factors, including deep budget cuts on the state level and the costs of employee health care and benefits. Tuitions for in-state students at public four-year colleges rose on average by $300 and $800 at private colleges for the 2017-2018 school year, according to CNN. The increases come even as many states and municipalities look to make tuition free for some residents.
And one positive note…
Social Security payouts
One positive development for older Americans is that in 2018, monthly Social Security benefits will increase by 2%, the government announced in October. “The increase, which is a cost-of-living adjustment, adds about $27 more a month or $329 a year for the average retired worker,” according to Newsweek.