2013 Economic Forecast: “Modest growth”

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – The who's who of the Columbus business community met Wednesday morning for the annual Financial Forecast Breakfast at the Cunningham Center at Columbus State University. Leaders say it is important to take a look at what 2013 could bring and how that is going to affect your family.

“I think the year will be a lot like 2012 from an economic point of view in the sense that we will have modest, slow economic growth,” Dr. Dorsey Farr says.

Farr is a nationally known investment strategist and portfolio manager. He says while some economic issues have been resolved, there are still uncertainties that will carry through at least the first half of this year.

“Because the themes that caused the weak growth in the past are still with us. Like the housing deleveraging and the Federal Government's debt burden that we will begin to have to deal with,” Farr says.

But local businessman John Shinkle says you shouldn't let things like upheaval the Middle East and the debt ceiling keep you from making financial decisions.

“You need to put that aside and know that the long-term fundamentals will be sound and we are still the best country to invest in,” Shinkle says.

Locally, Shinkle says he is less optimistic about the economy due to what he calls the “BRAC hangover.”

“We had all this anticipation of economic activity with BRAC and now it's done and now they're discussing possibly taking people out,” Shinkle says.

Add in the uncertain impact of the recent $487 billion cut to the Department of Defense, that could mean scary times ahead for Columbus.

So what should you do?

“My advice would be to pay off debt and make sure you have some risk-free capital set aside for an emergency,” Shinkle says.

Panel members each picked a stock they believe will be successful this year, so if you debating where to invest, here are their choices: Banco Popular, Apple, Khols, Caterpillar and Bank Mutual Corporation.


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