2022 has arrived, and my, didn’t it come quickly?
There’s something in the air at the moment. Be it the chaos and concern articulated by the media, or the chopping and changing of pace from the government.
Or maybe the millions of individual, professional or family decisions made up and down the country that sets off enormous chain reactions, a sort of Covid butterfly effect.
We’re living in a time where ‘stable’ just isn’t the adjective you’d use any more.
Last month I reported in this column that, to my sorrow, my trip to see family in Cape Town had been cancelled thanks to Omicron, red lists, etc. But here we are a month later and for all intents and purposes, my trip is back on. I had the, perhaps extraordinary, presence of mind not to cancel our bookings, as things seem to change so damn fast these days.
And low and behold the government reversed the reversal of a previous decision! Confused? Me too!
As I write this time, the whiff of fresh Covid-lockdown-esque restrictions looms, and my trip could yet be confounded.
All of this is to say, times move fast these days. One longs for the halcyon days of Brexit treaty negotiations. Now there was an era where nothing happened, or at least the same thing happened every day repeatedly. The same arguments, the same issues.
Today as Rishi Sunak says, we are interpreting information “hour by hour”, reacting and replying, and it is relentless.
December, as I largely predicted, became a month of cancellations. Sure, inflation happened on time, and the Bank of England announced its latest rate decision right on cue (let’s ignore the big surprise they had inside it for a moment).
But Christmas parties were kiboshed. Last dinners and drinks with mates went out the window, and now we’re all hunkering down for the long winter ahead, legal restrictions or not.
So, what’s coming up in January to keep us company on that journey?
On 1 January, loyalty penalty remedies for home and motor insurance come into effect, as do inheritance tax reporting changes.
On 7 January is High Pay Day – the day in the calendar year by which, supposedly, an average FTSE 100 chief executive earns the equivalent of what an average worker does in a year.
10 January is Divorce Day, the day of the year married couples are most likely to file for a divorce.
The latest US inflation figures are released on 12 January, while the UK’s come out later in the month on 19 January. Both are set to make for notable reading.
The day before the UK numbers is Blue Monday – supposedly the most depressing day of the year. One often sees some snarky responses to this day. Apparently, it was an invention by a marketing bod at Sky Travel in the 90s to flog holidays.
Be that as it may, now more than ever it feels like a relevant time to take the opportunity to discuss mental health and wellbeing, especially if we’re back in lockdown.
Finally, on 26 January the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) publishes its latest interest rate decision. There’s no announcement from the Bank of England in this regard in January, but the latter’s decision to hike early might colour the former’s thinking.
Here’s wishing you a peaceful and prosperous new year from all of us here at MRM, CCM and Mouthy Money.