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When it comes to money and marriage, young women are more likely to know about and manage a couple’s finances.

According to a new national survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information Web site, married women between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most likely among married people to play a significant role in managing the couple’s finances, and less likely to squabble with their spouses about money.

“We found that younger women, in many ways, are the most money-savvy among married couples,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “We sought to understand how couples manage their money, how much they fight about money, and how much they know about their financial situation. Younger women are the most likely – among men or women of all ages – to take on responsibility for understanding and managing the household finances, and do it without fighting about money issues.”

•  Younger women are more likely to manage the household finances by themselves, rather than letting their spouses handle it or managing the money together. Thirty-seven percent of young married women say they handle all the household finances, compared with only 30 percent of young married men.

•  Younger women are less likely to fight about money with their spouses. The survey found that while “Money” is the No. 1 issue most married couples fight about, younger women are more likely to fight about their partner’s bad habits than money. In fact, money is tied for third with issues involving relatives and in-laws, after bad habits and having or raising children.

•  Who knows the most about their spouse’s finances when they get married? Whether it’s income, debts, net worth, retirement savings or even credit score, most younger women knew the details about their spouse’s finances before they got married. By contrast, less than half of younger men say they knew their wife’s net worth, retirement savings or credit score before they got married.

“Money and marriage are inevitably intertwined,” said Rahlfs. “Property rights, joint responsibilities and obligations, and legal benefits are as much a part of marriage as vows and wedding rings. How much couples know about their finances and how they decide to manage their money are important issues as couples go through their married life together. Whether married or about to get married, couples should understand the legal and financial aspects of marriage.”

Free Internet resources, such as FindLaw.com (http://www.findlaw.com), can provide helpful information on topics such as marriage, adoption and divorce, including a fiancé(e) and newlywed financial checklist,  guide to adopting a child, and factors to consider in dividing property in a divorce.

The FindLaw.com survey was conducted using a demographically balanced telephone survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percent.

With the economy showing signs of recovery, industry research firm IBISWorld analyzed more than 700 industries to identify the winning sectors in the coming year.

Many of the biggest industry losers during the recession are expecting a massive rebound in revenue growth and are on their way up in 2010:

Finance
The financial system, which was brought to its knees over the past two years, is showing signs of life. The biggest winners in the upcoming year will be:

However, these industries have a long way to go before they return to pre-recession conditions.

Oil & Gas
Much like the finance sector, oil-related industries are expected to rebound strongly in 2010:

Demand for crude oil and gas will rise substantially in 2010.  With the recovery in the world economy and increasing revenue prospects for fuel distributors and retailers, operating conditions will be more favorable.

Automotive
Virtually the entire automotive supply chain in 2010 will be in far better shape than the disasters of the past two years:

In fact, these industries and New Car Dealers are the top three growth industries in terms of employment for 2010 – all of which will grow their employee size by more than 16 percent.

Telecommunications
The telecommunications sector has remained resilient in the face of the recession, and is set to thrive during the recovery:

This sector is poised to prosper from a recovery with the government’s allocation of $7.2 billion in stimulus funds. Throughout the recovery, M&A activity is expected to continue as telecoms attempt to position themselves to make the most of the converged communications world that will emerge over the next decade.

Retail
Following a dismal year of retail demand over 2008 and much of 2009, the coming year is set to be far more positive for retailers:

Although spending in 2010 will not mirror the highs experienced throughout the economic boom, it will be significantly better than that of the past two years. eCommerce-related businesses will outperform the broader retail market, while women’s and children’s clothing sales will also experience favorable gains. However, men’s clothing will take longer to recover.

Health
Operators that provide elective treatments had some trouble during the first half of 2009, as the labor market has deteriorated and consumer sentiments remained weak.  But, demand should intensify for these industries from mid-2010 onwards:

Other Winners
Other industries expected to experience solid growth during the recovery period include Donations, Grants and Endowments, Water Well Drilling, Mining Support, and Biotechnology.

As another decade comes to an end, industry research firm IBISWorld identified the top 10 best performing industries based on accumulative revenue growth from 2000-2009. 

Here’s the list of winning industries in the past decade and their corresponding growth figures for the 10-year period:

  1. Voice Over Internet Protocol Providers (VoIP) – *See Note
  2. Search Engines – 1655.9%
  3. eCommerce & Online Auctions – 468.9%
  4. Online Dating & Matchmaking – 248.8%
  5. Tank & Armored Vehicle Manufacturing – 244.7%
  6. Petrochemical Manufacturing – 221.2%
  7. Mining Support – 186.7%
  8. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers – 183.4%
  9. Biotechnology – 182.1%
  10. Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters – 146.5%

“VoIP has skyrocketed from non-existent to a massive application targeting telecom carrier’s voice revenues,” explained George Van Horn, senior analyst with IBISWorld.  “Continuing cost advantages for service providers, improving service quality and the expected emergence of mobile VoIP during the next 10 years pave the way for VoIP to be the primary beneficiary of the next leg in telecom’s service development cycle.”

IBISWorld also added that over a 10-year time frame, the industries that outperform or underperform their peers are those that either benefit from competitive strategic advantages or worse, suffering from significant disadvantages.  While the performance of the economic recovery will dominate near-term industry performance measures, innovative products, competitive costs and improving efficiency will continue to separate the winners from the losers in the upcoming decade (2009-2019). 

Note:  VoIP is a new industry that only began to earn revenue in 2002.  In the short period to 2009, revenue growth accumulated to an astronomical 179035.8%.

Can you believe it?!  It’s only $5 bucks!  It’s true: a full year of O, the Oprah Magazine is just $5.00.  Hurry and go to Amazon.com before December 19th to subscribe!

This would make a great gift.

Even Christmas tree sales are struggling this year, according to industry research firm IBISWorld.  Real and fake tree sales are expected to decline 2.5 and 5.1 percent, respectively, as fewer people have multiple trees in their home (i.e. dining room and living room) this holiday.

“People are looking at every which way to save a buck but also continue with the Christmas spirit,” says Toon van Beeck, a senior industry analyst for IBISWorld.  “That’s why we’re seeing an increase in do-it-yourself and used trees.”

One tree category expected to fare particularly well this season is used, fake trees.  IBISWorld expects these tree sales to grow 4.0 percent this holiday.

While gadgets and electronics continue to be hot items year-on-year, there will be fewer large purchases this holiday, such as TVs and computers.  This is partly due to the fact that retailers will look to reduce the number of deep discounts – which severely damaged margins this time last year – along with the fact that customers will move towards needs over wants.

“This season there won’t be a “wow” factor in terms of sales,” said Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld.  “Consumers have been so inundated with discounts for more than a year that it will be difficult for retailers to get shoppers excited about holiday promotions.”

However, one of the biggest gadget winners this holiday will be e-book readers, partly because the prices are being driven lower by competitors entering the market (e.g. iRex and Nook).  About 30 percent of all e-reader sales in 2009 are estimated to derive from the holiday period alone.

“Consumers will reduce spending on big ticket items,” said van Beeck.  “Instead, they’ll trade down towards trendy and cheaper gadgets like e-readers; iPod Nanos; Nintendo Wiis and other game consoles; Flip Video and small point-and-shoot digital cameras. This is where the real value will be for consumers this Christmas.”

For the second year running, this will be a make or break holiday for retailers, as many cannot survive another season of suppressed sales.  With total gift sales forecasted to decline 2.6 percent this Christmas season, “necessity gift” like clothing will be the only growth category, according to industry research IBISWorld.

“Clothing is the only gift category to see growth this year because it serves a dual purpose,” said Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld.  “Parents are using this Christmas season as an excuse to update their children’s wardrobes, still filling space under the tree and ultimately saving money in the long run.”

As the biggest retail category, clothing represents 18.6 percent of total Christmas gift sales in 2009, at $81.91 billion.  Discount and convenient retailers like Zappos and Kohl’s will continue to see strong sales volumes, as consumers move away from higher-end goods to more value-added purchases.

However, brand name products and celebrity labels are going to fare poorly this year, while basic clothing items are expected to perform well.  Overall, clothes are expected to rebound from their dismal performance a year ago – which was among the worst Christmas retailing seasons this century.


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