NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Wouldn't it be nice if a crystal ball could tell us when the unemployment rate will drop and whether the stock market will sink or soar in 2014? While no one can say for certain how the future of the economy will fare, you can still venture to guess based on trends and a bit of intuition.

With that in mind, we asked several money experts to share their financial predictions for the coming year. Here are their thoughts on what will happen in a variety of areas, from jobs to real estate to investing. Only time will tell if their predictions turn out to be on target or totally off the mark.


"The job market will improve for skilled labor and unemployment will drop below 6.25%, while young adult unemployment will remain high."
– Christopher K. Winn, certified financial planner and president of Interactive Wealth Advisors .

"As job requirements become more technologically advanced and new skills are required, continuing education in areas that can't easily be self-taught will get more attention in 2014. These are often IT-driven fields involving cutting-edge technologies that are so new or emerging that no one in a company has really learned or utilized them yet, so there is nobody to pass along the knowledge to even learn on the job. Cloud infrastructure and security are growing needs in high-tech, and mobile technologies and social sharing are big for the marketing industries."
– Allison O'Kelly, CEO of Mom Corps

Real Estate

"A new spate of foreclosures will take hold among those who have purchased homes in the last five years, as some of these people cannot make ends meet. And thanks to the advent of electronic mortgage tracking firms, mortgage banks will be able to foreclose properties without taking hits on their books."
– Ian Aronovich, co-founder and president of

"I believe that we will see a stronger rebound in the U.S. real estate sector in particular. As the economy continues improve, the combination of people holding more cash and interest rates being historically low will be an incentive for people to continue to buy homes and get out of their rental apartment as they now can qualify for a home mortgage again."
– Michael J. Hardy, certified financial planner and partner of Mollot & Hardy, Inc.

Interest Rates

"Interest rates will start to climb aggressively in the second half of 2014, killing the mortgage market and pinching consumers once again when the prime rate goes back to its historically normal levels." – Bradley W. Smith, founder/co-CEO of Rescue One Financial .

"Interest rates on federal Stafford and PLUS loans will increase significantly. When interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford loans were scheduled to increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1, 2013, Congress passed legislation to peg the interest rates on all new federal education loans to the 10-year Treasury note yield, based on the last auction rate in May of each year. This led to the current fixed rates . These interest rates were based on a 10-year Treasury rate of 1.81%. Treasury rates are now 2.93% and will probably increase further by May. The only question is how high they will go. I would not be surprised if the interest rates on federal Stafford loans for graduate students and federal PLUS loans will exceed the fixed rates that were in effect prior to July 1, 2013, making it clear that the interest rate change was an increase masquerading as a decrease."