When you take stock of what you earned in 2014, here's some news that might please you: your wage might climb in 2015 after stagnating for so long because of the improving economy.
And if you're bringing in more money, what could that get you? A new home? Closer to retirement?
Take Two's roundtable of economy experts have some advice for you on the smart money moves to make for 2015.
Falling gas prices made some people feel optimistic, says financial planner Delia Fernandez.
"They can all tell me how much they've been saving on gasoline," she says, "However, they're still facing a lack of wage increases over the last 25 years."
"The good news is that you're going to start to see wage increases," says economist Chris Thornberg. "This is the year a vast majority of economists think that wages will start to rise."
The question is whether people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck will use that extra cushion to save instead of increasing what they spend.
"We're hoping that they can find some slack in their budget to avoid debt and get a little bit ahead," says Fernandez.
However, what that money can get you in Southern California is a dilemma says housing expert Raphael Bostic.
"We don't have enough units, here. It's on the order of tens of thousands of units," said Bostic.
Without the supply to meet the high demand, home prices will continue to climb.
"We're not building at the scale to make a dent on this," he says, "and each city [in LA County] is doing their best to minimize the amount of housing that goes in their place."
Thornberg adds that it's a vicious circle.
"Because of the lack of supply, a lot of those wage increases will just end up bringing up the cost of renting apartments. And a lot of these workers are going to end up where they were in the first place," Thornberg says.
Hear more of the interview by clicking the player on the left.
- Raphael Bostic is a professor of public policy at USC and former assistant secretary at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Delia Fernandez is a certified financial planner and president of Fernandez Financial Advisory in Los Alamitos.
- Chris Thornberg is a principal at Beacon Economics.