It’s the end of the year, so best-of lists are everywhere. They’re ranking and rating everything, from movies to memes to red carpet looks. Some of us revel in the selections, what’s in and what’s out. For others, it’s all fluff, like a Magic 8-Ball’s preloaded picks.
How can we make good use of look-backs and predictions, and how do we know which ones to trust, especially when it comes to our pocketbooks?
Early in December, Spotify Wrapped almost crashed the internet, a flurry that seemed to kickstart the ranking season. A couple weeks later, a year-end favorite - nominations for the Golden Globes - landed with a wince: critics questioned its very existence following revelations of its lack of diversity.
On the money front, from the pros to the rest of us, there’s a lot of uncertainty – When will inflation ease up? How should we be budgeting? What will the markets do, and what are the smartest things to do with our money? With so much up in the air, predictions for 2022 carry extra weight.
What are the money pros thinking?
A recent Axios summary of major analysts (including JP Morgan, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and BlackRock) shows agreement on one thing: inflation will be a big driver in 2022.
The cramped supply chain will likely keep inflation high, and more spikes in the pandemic would likely do the same. The Wall Street Journal agrees, arguing the latest restrictions tied to Delta and Omicron are “threatening to prolong supply-chain disruptions and keep inflation elevated.”
A look-ahead list at The Economist piles on more, with predictions about China’s aggression, gender inequities in WFH shifts and climate catastrophes. Oh, boy.
But on the upside, good things are predicted for our paychecks. Compensation is expected to jump 5% to 10% in 2022, even higher for essential workers. More of us are directing our investments to “sustainable” funds, too, where impact on the environment is prioritized.
What are the rest of us thinking?
Our own expectations are a mixed bag – and maybe that’s no surprise. A Fidelity survey reports 72% of Americans are confident they'll be better off in 2022, despite widespread concern over inflation ahead.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a recent YouGov poll found more than half of us are finding it difficult to afford gas and food right now. That’s a troubling statistic… and yet all too familiar. Just as many Americans worry about losing their job too, according to the same poll.
So a lot of us have had a hard slog… with more slogging to come. But many of us are also optimistic, insisting on better days ahead. And sometimes that’s the smartest thing to do.
Looking forward, thinking about the year ahead, can be a healthy, productive thing, helping set our expectations and budgeting better for future needs. And when we look back and make lists of our personal bests – and worsts – we can learn from bad mistakes and forgive ourselves for the days we’ve overspent.
End-of-year planning and goal setting can make a big difference, helping us weather almost any financial storm.
Financial planning with Bright
How Bright can help
Bright is an easy to use app that delivers a financial plan that responds and evolves whenever things get tight. Bright can also kills your card debt fast and build more savings than most of us can on our own.
Bright’s MoneyScience™ AI learns your spending habits, analyzes your debt, and moves money for you, when it makes sense for you, even adapting as your finances shift. You can go at your own pace, set your own goals and control your Bright as much as you want. Or you can set it and forget it, and let Bright do the math, making smart decisions for you.
If you don’t have it yet, download the Bright app from the App Store or Google Play. Connect your checking account and your cards, set a few goals and let Bright get to work.