10 reasons for pocketbook optimism after a financially shaky 2009

I lost my job of 16 years in 2009, and perhaps your luck was no better. I certainly wouldn't blame you if you looked at 2009 as one to forget where your wallet is concerned.

But as the "aughts" turn into whatever you wanna call a decade with years 10-19 in it, I found plenty of reasons to feel upbeat. To me, it's not so much a matter of putting a happy spin on a sad year, but looking at the facts, and choosing to build a case based on them -- one that affects the all-important bottom line.

Here's my list of 10 financial highlights worth celebrating with the end of the year, and the decade.

1) Health Care Reform: When it comes to this issue, I blame the Obama administration for only one thing: It failed to effectively communicate the evils in the private insurance system that most of us -- including every Senate Republican--somehow forgot during the Great Healthcare Debate. No matter: Real reform is on the way, and while far from perfect, it marks the first crucial step in terms of bringing the U.S. on par with the rest of the world, including our neighbors in Canada, in building a health care system that guarantees a fair shake for all of us. No matter how shaky the new system starts, it will mark an improvement over the insurance company mafia where everything short of death itself is treated as a pre-existing condition.