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Moving On: 2023 Outlook

Happy New Year everyone! 2022 has been a roller coaster ride to say the least! Interest rates bottomed below 3% before peaking to over 7%. Home prices fluctuated, gas prices thinned wallets, stocks plummeted to the lowest level since the 2008 housing crash, and inflation shocked families around the world. So, what can we expect for 2023?

Let's start with New Year's resolutions. These may be cliche, but it never hurts to establish self-improvement goals and ambitions, even if they only last for the first 30 days of the year. I predicate myself on having goals each year, but I don't bound them to New Year's Resolutions. That's because I'm a goal-oriented individual by nature, who has dozens of objectives throughout the year, so I don't treat the start of a new calendar year as a milestone. My main intention is for the following year to be bigger and better than the last. Likewise, I became an author in 2022, the biggest year of my life. Yet, I have plans for 2023 to be even loftier. For some, New Year's Resolutions may serve as added motivation which is beneficial. Thus, if you value New Year's Resolutions, I encourage you to set high, yet realistic and attainable goals, and strive to reach them.

2022 was a trying year for people around the globe. Inflation, the Russia/Ukraine war, the crypto crash, dozens of mass shootings, and more. Whether you believe it or not, we are certainly living in the last days, How can I make such a confident claim? Two words: the Bible. Some may not believe in, or even dismiss the Bible as authentic, but scholars have repeatedly confirmed its credibility. The primary evidence for the Bible's validity is that every one of its prophecies have come true throughout history, every single one: the Birth of Jesus, the great flood, the Israelite exodus from Egypt, and more. Accordingly, as technology continues to accelerate, knowledge increases, and events unfold, our eschatology understanding becomes clearer. Matthew 24: 6-13 paints the beginning of the end times eloquently, highlighting wars and rumors of wars (verse 6), famines and earthquakes (verse 7), false prophets (verse 11), and the increase of wickedness (verse 12). I'm aware of the counterargument that there have been countless wars throughout history, but we are living in a time where the frequency and severity are amplifying. Although earthquakes haven't been increasing in frequency, they have been happening in places where earthquakes hadn't taken place in centuries. Moreover, some of the deadliest earthquakes ever have occurred recently. The amount of false prophets is undeniable, as more and more people claiming to be prophets lead Christians astray with their false doctrines. Examples of this are how more preachers and pastors are aligning their doctrine with worldly principles such as consumption of alcohol, gay marriage, fornication, and many other topics, leading to the great apostasy.

The increase of wickedness is evident as well as love decreases and lawlessness abounds. Crime is on the rise in recent years, most notably murder. COVID only intensified the presence of crime as millions of Americans were locked down and the economy downturn forced companies to layoff a large number of citizens. Once rent forgiveness expired, many were still unemployed or unable to pay their housing expense, sending them to homelessness or crime in order to survive.

Interestingly, as violence intensifies, governments continue to tighten gun control, and citizens call for stricter gun laws anytime there is a mass shooting. My counterargument to this notion is that gun control primarily benefits criminals, who don't typically buy their guns legally, but rather through the black market or the manufacturing of what's known as "ghost guns," or firearms with no serial number at all. Accordingly, gun control essentially makes it more difficult for law abiding citizens to obtain firearms for self-defense and home protection. Those who are able to garner a firearm are now only able to purchase 10-round magazines in some states, as opposed to the 100-round drum barrels they can face with criminals. So, my suggestion is that you purchase a few firearms for you and your family if you haven't already, and exercise your Second Amendment Right because times are only getting worse.

I believe that things will continue to worsen in 2023 before they get better. But there are still countless opportunities and ways to defend oneself against inflation, a recession, and even potential housing and economic crashes. One of the first ways is to buy precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Precious metals are a great investment in general, but especially as hedge against market volatility. Over the last few centuries, they've been one of the most stable and consistently growing investments.

Home ownership and real estate investing are also valid shields, if executed right. Despite the popular idea that one should steer clear of real estate amid uncertainty with the housing market and rumors of a housing crash, opportunities are yet available. The 2008 housing crash resulted from subprime lending and homeowners being underwater with their mortgage, forcing them to foreclose. But if you are able to secure a solid property in a good market, primary residence or rental property, then chances are you will survive the storm. The key is conduct a profitable amount of research, and to walk into equity. For example, a home you're interested in is worth $300,000, but you're able to purchase it for $240,000 because the seller is motivated. Hence, you walk into $60,000 of equity. If the market were to crash after you purchased the home and your home was now worth $275,000, you'd still have $35,000 of equity because you purchased for a great price. At the beginning of 2022, this may not have been possible. But as interest rates climbed towards the end of 2022, home prices began to drop as buyers were turned away from the market and sellers saw their home sit on the market for longer shifting to a buyer's market. Real estate experts expect this trend to continue in 2023, depending on how the Federal Reserve handles interest rates going forward.

At the end of the day, all of these items are tangible and temporary. The absolute best advice I can give you for 2023 is get right with the Lord, and get right within. After we die, we are all going somewhere: heaven or hell. That's what really matters: our souls. We can't take money, cars, or other possessions with us, so our focus should be on our souls. Of course, we have to provide for our families and make a living while we're here on earth, plus we want to enjoy ourselves. But those things should be secondary to the security our afterlife, which will be spent in eternity. Heaven and earth are both very real, and there is no transitioning to the other location once one is given their final destination.

I pray that you all safely enjoy your New Year's, create and stick to obtainable resolutions, invest and prepare for whats to come, and ultimately, follow God. God bless.

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I love the part about this life and material things are all temporary our primary focus is preparing for heaven and helping others to prepare themselves as well! Great Job Jamal!

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