Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace column.
While 2017 was a rousing year of prosperity (for the economy, the markets, property values), we must turn our attention to 2018. It is a time for reflection, and for anticipation.
So here are ten resolutions for the new year that could rouse things up even more.
1– Complete the widening of Highway A1A in Yulee. This project has had more delays than the Atlanta airport. The completion date has been pushed out several years, but businesses along this vital corridor are feeling the sting of the congestion.
2– Resolve the waterfront plans for downtown Fernandina Beach. This has gone on long enough. The waterfront is a jewel of an asset and should become a polished operation.
3– Encourage economic development, here and elsewhere. An area can be either growing or dying. We obviously are blessed with the former. Less regulation and lower taxes feed economic growth – and you don’t have to be an Nobel Prize-winning economist to see this. The ultimate result of this is more jobs.
4– Cherish our tourism industry. Tourism is one of the cleanest industries, and we do it very, very well. We are endowed with so many amenities (fabulous restaurants, lavish hotels, fun events) because of the influx of outsiders here. We had some 700,000 tourists this year, who come here and spend their money.
5– Elect frugal public officials. This applies locally, state wide and nationally. Public spending does not drive the economy (except when it goes toward infrastructure). Spending must come from the private sector.
6– Be mindful of living expenses for residents (and businesses). Amelia Island is quickly becoming a retirement community. And many retirees feel the pinch from rising electric rates and fees and taxes. People and businesses can vote with their feet, and move away just as easily as they’ve moved here.
7– Protect our beaches. This also goes for our marshes and rivers. These are fragile, yet vital, parts of the environmental infrastructure. We must restore the beaches after storms, even when no one wants to pay for it.
8– Fix busy roads like Chester Road. If you haven’t done so recently, take a drive down Chester Road. Maybe the moon has a rougher surface, but not by much. Again, no one wants to pay for new or improved roads, but these are integral to our infrastructure/economy.
9– Unite our country. We should be united regardless of race or socio-economic levels or religion. We are not, but we need to be.
10– Enjoy this period of prosperity. We have so much to be grateful for today. And gratitude is always the best attitude.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor and a chartered retirement planning counselor for a major U.S. firm who lives on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His business columns also appear in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia. He has published a book of his favorite columns from the last 20 years, “All About Money.” The book is available in local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]
FREE 4-Week Investing Class
A popular investing class will be coming to Amelia Island this spring. The four-week class, “Investing in Today’s Financial Markets,” will be offered at the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce office on Tuesday evenings in February. It is the same continuing education class that has been taught by financial advisor Steve Nicklas at the Florida State College campus in Yulee since 2001. The class will cover all aspects of the financial markets including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs, annuities, insurance and financial/retirement planning. Sessions will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27 at the Chamber office (located in the Gateway to Amelia complex). The class and materials are complimentary. For more information or to register, please call Stacy Smith at 904-380-2300.