There are a lot of concerns circulating about federal tax changes, global economic stability and the overall United States job market. Signs are mixed in terms of how these elements will shift over the next 12 months, and for those seeking financial investment advice now at the start of the year, making smart decisions with how to manage money may seem inherently difficult.

While it's true that monetary signals are mixed, giving some savvy investors pause in terms of trying risky strategies. Some industries or specific markets are stronger than ever. Finding which options offer the best benefits to individual portfolios will mean targeting what outcomes financial services are meant to achieve.

Technology bubble bursters
There's a lot of promise in the technology industry, with reliance on digital solutions increasing among companies of all kinds. Cloud computing, mobile applications and the growth of big data, alongside more federal mandates for healthcare and other organizations to move to electronic records solutions means that these elements are likely to grow in importance over the next year.

On the other hand, artificial inflation of this sector and a lack of educated job seekers could hinder performance in IT departments and undermine overall improvements. As US News pointed out, several major corporations have struggled to regain investor confidence during 2012, making them unsteady prospects for this year as well. Apple and Facebook, two of the biggest names in device deployment and social media innovation, have been in the doghouse in terms of public offerings and hardware resources, but the ongoing utility of these services is basically guaranteed. It may not be wise to make these investments the backbone of overall financial plans, but they are still worthwhile additions to aggressive portfolios, the source wrote.

Bonds and ETFs
The uncertainty of the fiscal cliff has made financial investment advice about public funds like bonds wane toward pessimism among private investors, but that need not be the case. The economy as a whole is still showing positive indicators, with the stock market rising sharply at the beginning of January and unemployment rates falling yet again, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Those more interested in private stock options should also be enlivened by these responses to fiscal cliff actions. MSN Money wrote that the best solution now is to take action quickly before the best options are bought up, even if economic concerns at the end of 2012 left portfolios in the red. In some cases, selling occurred in large waves due to fears about potential backlash from government policy changes at the start of 2013, but re-buying the same assets just to put stock holdings back where they were last month isn't a good solution. The source recommended using these new loose funds to assess the market now and take advantage of rising stars while there's investment capital available for that purpose.

Still, playing it safe will remain a solid option for many looking to put money to work this year. Seeking Alpha wrote that sticking with well-known brands and remaining conservative with money at the start will leave more wiggle room later on should stocks sour. Big companies like WalMart, Disney, Apple and Wendy's are known for being leaders in their individual market segments, so putting money on them may mean only minimal growth, but stability in an age of upheaval could be the basis for a more aggressive financial plan by the year's end.