2022 is turning out to be the year of deja vu! And not in a good way. So far, some of the most awful bits of our recent past have resurfaced in a big way.
War in Europe
The war in Ukraine is a primary example. Before its outbreak, many believed that economic might was a more powerful lure than military might. But with the Russian army advancing across international borders and the resulting mass migration of innocent Ukrainians, that proved to be an illusion. However, the belief that the Ukrainian army and State would collapse also proved to be wrong. Thankfully.
Polio or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis (can’t move parts of the body). It was extremely common across Europe and the US before the development of a vaccine in the 1950’s. However, since then, it was largely categorized to have been wiped out. That was until this year.
Already, the US State of New York polio cases have been detected from wastewater samples as early as April of this year. Authorities there are racing to ensure they contain the outbreak, which has taken many health experts by surprise.
Until just a few months ago, many professional economists were discounting the return of rampant inflation. However, as every parent, homeowner and commuter has found out, inflation is again rampant. Today, it is rivalling inflation rates not seen since the 1970’s, a time of enormous global turmoil.
Across the UK, inflation is in the double digits, the highest of all developed economies. Its uncontrolled rise there is likely to have far-reaching consequences for monetary policy and perhaps even the independence of the Bank of England. There may also be significant political implications too! In recent weeks, rising social unease has resulted in a multiplying series of mass transit strikes that appear to be spreading.
What you can do
When it comes to inflation, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. For example, ensuring you control waste in food and fuel will mitigate some of the financial cost of inflation. Plus, if you are looking to protect the long term value of money, invest! But ensure you fully diversify to limit the risk of equity market volatility. And don’t forget to claim back tax relief that you may be owed. Revenue estimates that over €300 Million goes unclaimed every year in Ireland.
From a financial wellbeing perspective, change is ever-present. So, it is important to plan ahead to build the right level of financial resilience. This includes building an emergency fund, having sufficient protection and also, planning for long-term needs.
Finally, although they are rarely included in any of the main financial planning education courses, I would add that taking an active interest in physical and mental wellbeing are key ingredients to a long and healthy life. Yes, money is important but so too is quality of life. Taking steps to reduce blood sugars and blood pressure through good diet and regular exercise can play a really positive role for each and every one of us.
Frank Conway is a Qualified Financial Adviser and Founder of MoneyWhizz