I am being a bit self indulgent with the title for this blog post, which most means something like ‘The Year That Was And The Year That Will Be’ in Latin.
[I assume I have mentioned at some point during the nigh on three and a half years life of this blog that I studied Latin for four years at the Centre for Adult Education in Flinders Lane in a vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to make up for the failings of my no-thrills state secondary schooling.]
At the start of this year, I made some vague predictions about what we would see in 2022. Two of my predictions – the outcomes of the Victorian State Election and The Australian Federal Election – were both dead on the money. But anyone could have predicted those.
The other three things I wrote about were Communist China, Irredentist Russia, and financial stuff in general. I expect that I was sufficiently vague in those that I did not get them wrong.
I must say though that I am an optimist. I was hoping that there would not be a war involving Russia, and despite that, we have got something very nasty going on in the Ukraine right now.
I am relieved that there is no war involving China. I was more worried about that, to be honest.
With money predictions, if I knew anything, I would know the six numbers to tonight’s $40 million Tattslotto draw, and then I would not have to care about any of that.
Looking at what to expect in 2023, I think I will limit myself to what might happen in the environment, China, Russia, and financial markets.
We will do nothing, or so little as to be grossly inadequate, to address environmental concerns in the coming year. I believe, despite my love for free market capitalism, that we need to give the planet the benefit of the doubt, so I am rather concerned about plastic waste, global warning, and pollution generally. I am also skeptical about herding the cats who comprise humanity in a direction where we will give up on our standards of living sufficiently to make a difference.
We will, however, talk about it a lot.
Looking at China next, I do not see an invasion of Taiwan happening. There are too many problems facing China domestically, such as the demographic time bomb, the ripple effect of its Covid policies across society and the economy, and the high likelihood that its military forces are simply not up to the task of taking on several cutting edge militaries at once.
Russia and the Ukraine war…. What can any of us say? It is sad and unnecessary, yet probably the result of policies during the Obama era to install a pro-Western Ukrainian leader which have piqued the existing paranoia of an extremely paranoid nation. You do not poke a bear with a long stick without getting it rather angry at the goat in the same cave.
I don’t think that the war is going to end until Putin either achieves his aims, dies a welcome death, or is overthrown (probably with a welcome death tossed in for good measure).
Financial markets next. I am very leery of pundits and experts telling us what is going to happen in the year to come. After all, I have inadvertently subscribed to a financial advisory newsletter which uses astrology as one of its tools for predicting the property market.
I have no idea about whether the markets will go up or down, although right now I have no spare money to invest anyway (saving for a trip to Italy), but I am inclined to just let my abundantly sized share portfolio of mostly ETFs and LICs sit for now and to harvest the dividend stream.
Interest rates going up is not a bad thing, and nor are house prices coming down – at some point there will be a happy medium where houses can become affordable for people in Gen Y and Z. My house is paid off, so I don’t really worry too much there.
And then there is Bitcoin. 18 months ago novice Gen Y investors were dipping their feet into cryptocurrency as their first ever investment outside a term deposit. How clever does that seem now? I see Bitcoin as a form of Magic Beans. It is not a Ponzi scheme, but it is very possible that some of those who sell you those Magic Beans, eg that crypto exchange which collapsed last month, are running such schemes.
Anyway, I am looking forward to many good things in the new year, not least taking a very large amount of long service leave prior to retiring young. Now I will leave you, gentle reader, and go and check whether the cheap bottles of Rose and Sauvignon Blanc in the freezer are cold yet.