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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

The new year is upon us, and with it are 12 months of new opportunities. Knowing that it is customary for Floridians to set new goals and make new resolutions at the beginning of a year, I hope that you will include plans for ensuring your financial well-being among them.Your Money Matters

Setting specific, measurable goals like paying down debt or saving monthly for retirement or college expenses is a smart way to achieve financial success. With a plan and a little effort, saving, banking and budgeting is easier than you might think.

Before you begin saving, it is important to be aware of your spending habits, so keep track of everything you spend for a week. You might be surprised at what you’re buying and what you can do without. Making purchases with cash is an easy way to help you stick to a budget and avoid impulse purchases. Simply decide ahead of time how much you want to spend and set aside that amount in cash before you go shopping.

Decide specifically what you would like to save for (e.g., college, new car, vacation) and set a timeline for when you would like to reach your goal. Also, a good idea is to create a payment schedule and be vigilant about treating your savings contributions just like any other must-pay expense, such as rent or groceries.

Lastly, the new year is a great time to evaluate your banking institutions. Check to see if your bank is properly meeting your financial needs.

To learn more about how to save and spend with an eye on the future, visit my Your Money Matters website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/SavingAndSpending/default.aspx.

Happy New Year,

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Sun-Sentinel: South Florida banks expect to grow in 2014

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida still ranked fourth in state population

Forbes: The 4 Major Challenges The U.S. Economy Faces In 2014

Sun-Sentinel: Paying down debt an attainable goal in improving economy

Washington Post: What small business owners want from Washington in 2014

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s population growing; now totals 19.6 million
According to the latest Census estimates, Florida’s population has grown rapidly over the past year, reaching 19.6 million in 2013. Currently, Florida’s population is only 100,000 people shy of surpassing New York to become the third largest state in the nation. Florida’s population has grown 1.2 percent over the year, compared to 0.7 percent growth nationwide, and a robust 4 percent since 2010, which is nearly double the national average.

Source: U.S. Census

Florida’s economy projected to grow 2.4 percent over the next 6 months
Florida is projected to continue its robust economic growth going into the New Year. The state’s latest leading index estimates that Florida’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow 2.4 percent over the next 6 months while the national economy is projected to grow more slowly at 1.5 percent.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Small businesses increase borrowing in November in sign of continued economic growth
U.S. small businesses increased their borrowing in November, suggesting continued economic growth in the months ahead, even as the Federal Reserve begins to reduce its massive monetary stimulus. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the volume of financing to small companies, rose 1 percent in November. Historically, the Index has correlated to U.S. economic growth one or two quarters in the future. Small companies typically take out loans to buy new tools, factories, and equipment, so increased borrowing can also be an early signal of increased hiring in the near future.

Source: Paynet Small Business Lending Index

Florida's Bottom Line on Innovative Florida - Aerospace and AviationInside the latest issue of Florida's Bottom Line, you’ll find expert commentary on Florida’s efforts to create and lead the next generation of innovation in the aerospace and aviation industry. It will be the continued commitment and creativity of Floridians who will make our state a global leader for innovation and economic prosperity in the 21st century. Florida's Bottom Line should help equip you with the resources to be a part of this mission.