Most of us have heard by now that the national day was created in 2005 to sell summer holidays. And since then everyone else has bundled aboard: “Feeling blue? Buy some red socks.” “Down in the dumps? Have 50% off potato smiles. Problem solved.” Bleurgh!
Of course, Blue Monday isn’t all bad. It’s a great way to start conversations about depression and other mental health issues that are usually swept under the rug. And January being the month after December – the early-payday-for-Christmas-and-New-Year-oh-wait-I’m-skint month – it’s a good time to dust off the financial fitness plan too.
If you’ve done the financial fitness quiz and downloaded your tailored plan, you’ve taken the first steps to getting your money in order. That’s one thing to be pleased about already. Here are three more…
1. Brexit means Breakfast
Cause for gloominess: Brexit headlines are still boring us every day and giving the economy a heart attack, and last week’s vote means we’re no closer to a conclusion.
Silver lining: Theresa May’s defeat (202 ‘hell yeah's to 432 ‘hell no’s) was the biggest loss in British parliamentary history, so at least she’s achieved something. To be fair, the pound did begin to rise again as a result, which is handy if the Blue Monday marketing worked and you’re buying travel money. (I’m off to Thailand, myself.)
Plus, according to various industry bods, the rebounding pound and uniting detractors suggest we’re more likely to end up with a softer Brexit, or that even if we get a ‘no deal’ decision we’ll have more time to prepare for it. And whatever your views on Brexit, less volatility is probably a good thing for UK investments.
2. The only way is up?
Cause for gloominess: According to Bloomberg analysts, 89% of assets made a loss last year, which is more than any year since 1901.
Silver lining: Buy low, sell high. That’s the aim of this investing game, isn’t it? So maybe shares that have fallen are shares that could make you money IF they rise again.
Admittedly, this is what’s called ‘over-simplification’. But if you did your research into company X one week and decided you want it, and then the price fell the next week, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This could just be a short-term wobble. However, it could also be the start of a long-term nosedive. Nobody knows. And we’re not saying now’s the best time to buy – we’re just saying you shouldn’t automatically panic.
3. Now you’re interested
Cause for gloominess: Interest rates are so rubbish these days that far fewer of us opened Cash ISA accounts last year than the year before. 697,000 fewer of us!
Silver lining: Inflation fell from 2.3% in November to 2.1% in December – the lowest rate since January 2017. That means if you keep your savings in cash, your money might actually retain its value. (Shawbrook Bank have a 2.3% fixed cash ISA, and savings accounts from Secure Trust, Vanquis and My Community Bank could get you up to 2.69% – so what you gain from interest would be more than you lose to inflation.)
“It means that active savers can now fix their savings for the time period that suits them best – and still beat inflation,” celebrates Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
2019, we have high hopes for you. Don’t let us down!
For more ways to get financially fit this year, don’t forget to download your personalised 6-point plan.
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