Get Your Finances in check for 2022

As 2022 approaches, we look forward to having a better global situation, and look back and realise that we made it through another year despite all its up and downs. It was a whole year living through a pandemic, however, with caution and constant checks we made it through.

To get ready for 2022, we compiled a list of financial checks one should perform during the end of the year to start the new one in check.

If these are done properly, we can start a successful year with a healthy financial plan.

  1. Take a moment to calculate your net worth. It’s no biggie, you can do this on a simple spreadsheet, or even on the back of left-over wrapping paper. Check your assets, things like your house, cars, your retirement savings, current cash flow and then deduct any debt, including your home loan, motor loans or any other personal loans, if any. That’s how you can see your net worth. Following this, you can get a clear view of what your situation is like at the end of the year. You might also be in for some surprises after a strong year for growth assets, with booming real estate and your investment portfolio excelling. 
  2. Once you calculated your net worth, think ahead, and list down your goals. Sit back and think about those objectives that you want to achieve in 2022. First and foremost, see what your priorities are and act on them. 
  3. Before you step ahead, look back and have a look at your spending habits in the past year. How did you manage your hard-earned money in 2021? How much are you saving from your income? Have a look at your financial commitments, the monthly and annual ones. Do they make sense when compared to your earnings? Check out your savings and see if you can make better use of them. Look into your spending habits and see if you can cut down on some. It can start from reducing the amount of eating out, excessive partying or an expensive bad habit that is costing you not just your money, but also your health. 
  4. Also, have a look at your income needs and any other financial requirements. Are you satisfied with the number of withdrawals you carried out during 2021? Have you been comfortable doing these? Or were you anxious? Think ahead and see if you will have any lumpsums that you will need in coming years. 
  5. Any goals in 2022? Have a think about your goals for the upcoming year. What are your new financial priorities as we enter 2022? 
  6. Debt is the biggest headache for some. Scrutinise your debt commitments and see if you can create any advanced repayment schedules or if there are any loans that you can get rid of. 
  7. And for those investing, what is your risk tolerance now that we are approaching the end of the year? Did 2021 make your more concerned or less nervous about markets? See if you want to remove some risks or if you feel like you should take more risks. Our team at MeDirect can offer you personalized and professional advice on all the goals that you want to achieve. 
  8. Were you in a hurry when you were insuring your assets? Did you just do it with the first insurance company that replied to your email? Have a look at your insurances and see if you should go for a different provider to save on more money annually. 
  9. Let’s be honest! Taxes are quite a nightmare, aren’t they? But they are surely here to stay. Did you plan for them? Do you have any upcoming taxes that you’d like to provision for? 
  10. Finally, have a look at your financial emotions during the past year. Did you feel comfortable and progressive? Or were you worrisome and anxious about your financial future? Do you want to educate yourself more when it comes to financial education? At MeDirect we can offer you ample advice for those insecure weeks or months ahead.


Our team at MeDirect Bank wishes you a great start to the new year, wishing you a healthy year both physically and financially and do not hesitate to contact us for more financial tips.



MeDirect Disclaimers:

MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc, company registration number C34125, is licensed to undertake the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371) and investment services under the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370). MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority as a Credit Institution under the Banking Act 1994.

Way Forward: Testing Negative while Staying Positive

The pandemic brought about huge changes to our lifestyle, to our plans and to our financial health. Everyone had to adapt to new changes, some more than others.

But Covid-19 didn’t bring about just negatives, we had our take on baking, we spent more time with family and it also made us slow down on our daily errands and meetings. Most of us must have also tried banana bread for the first time and home-made bread too, we also had a good laugh watching or creating TikTok videos with our family members or pets.

The restrictions also prevented us from excess spending and we were more cautious to where our money is going. However, it now seems like we all adjusted to the new normality and are now back to spending, mainly in the run up for the Festive Season.

You must have created some healthy habits through a pandemic year and it will be difficult to maintain them if life is somehow going ‘back to normal.’ The environment we are in has a huge impact on the lifestyle that we live and the habits that we have. Restrictions during the peak of the pandemic helped those individuals who wanted to save. They stopped all social events and cancelled all travel plans for us. However, this is clearly coming to an end as our social media feeds are once again full of friends and family members traveling and doing their utmost to make up for what they missed during 2020 and 2021. For those who would like to continue saving, it is time to prepare yourself to live a once again normal life, while staying loyal to your financial decisions.

Start off by identifying the good behaviours you’d like to keep from the past year. How did you save? By putting away a lump sum as soon as you got your salary or did you cook at home more often?

Some of us used this period to save up more for big purchases that they were always hesitant to save up for. Jot down your good habits and see what you’d like to stick with in 2022. Writing things down can help you take these habits more seriously and you can also keep them somewhere where you can easily see them and serve as a reminder of your new, healthy behaviours.

Prepare for more social events, for more eating out and for more gatherings. Socialising may start to become more common, along with the expenses that come with it. To prepare for this new spending, keep your goals in mind and try to come up with a strategy on how to achieve this goals. Maybe by inviting people over at home instead of going out, or meeting for a coffee and dessert rather than a dinner and wine.

Have you ever played the waiting game? It works! Before taking any decisions on buying something, have a think about it and wait for at least a couple of days to make sure that you’re making the right purchase and taking the right decision. This can prevent you from making spontaneous unneeded purchases that you might regret later.

Deep down, we all want the ‘normal life’ back as soon as possible. Having said that, there should be some habits that we developed that we would want to keep. It is essential to see what has changed for the better in the past months and incorporate these in our daily lives before we forge ahead. Here’s to a new year of testing negative, while staying positive!



MeDirect Disclaimers:

MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc, is licensed to undertake the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371) and investment services under the Investment Services Act (Cap. 370). 

Notes from the Trading Desk – Franklin Templeton

Franklin Templeton’s Notes from the Trading Desk offers a weekly overview of what our professional traders and analysts are watching in the markets. The European desk is manned by eight professionals based in Edinburgh, Scotland, with an average of 15 years of experience whose job it is to monitor the markets around the world. Their views are theirs alone and are not intended to be construed as investment advice.

The Digest

Last week, equity markets shrugged off concerns over the new Omicron COVID-19 variant and saw a sharp rebound. Tuesday’s strong gains felt more to do with positioning rather than fundamentals, but markets held on to gains and ended the week comfortably in positive territory. The MSCI World Index was up 3.3%, the S&P 500 Index was up 3.8%, the Eurostoxx 600 Index was up 2.8% and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 1.3%.

Equity Markets See Solid Rebound

Equity markets recovered their poise last week, bouncing back from the US Thanksgiving holiday selloff on news of the new Omicron variant. In Europe, it was the best week in nine weeks as markets reclaimed losses. In the United States, the S&P 500 Index saw it best weekly performance since February and made fresh all-time highs once again.

What were the key drivers for the recovery?

Omicron: Early last week, Dr Fauci, director of the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suggested early signs are showing fewer severe Omicron cases compared to other variants. These comments seemed to provide a catalyst for a turnaround in sentiment that had become extremely cautious. The CNN Fear & Greed Index had fallen into “Extreme Fear” territory, and we have often seen a sharp recovery when investor sentiment reaches such extremes; it is currently in the “Fear” zone.

Many say it is too soon to fully understand the new variant, but it is seen as far more transmissible than prior variants. For example, the Financial Times highlighted that in South Africa, the seven-day average of new daily cases has increased about 40-fold to 13,000 a day. We are seeing new safety measures announced in the United Kingdom, with UK authorities bringing back mask-wearing mandates and urging the public to sign up for vaccine booster jabs.

For now at least, it appears markets have shrugged of the concerns over the heightened transmissibility, with the view vaccine programmes and other preventative measures will hopefully soften the impact. We would caution that as market volumes decline into the holiday season, greater volatility on any significant new Omicron developments is likely.

Tuesday saw an aggressive squeeze higher in the market without much of a catalyst. It felt like the bounce we saw early in the week caused a “pain trade” for those that had cut market exposure in recent weeks and needed to then chase markets higher. It could be that positioning was extremely bearish coming into last week and was overdone and ripe for a rebound.

The move higher was also likely exaggerated as markets passed through key technical levels, that when reached, would trigger further position covering. The European futures traded through both their 100-day moving average and 50-day moving average.

Finally, as we approach year-end, investors may feel pressure to protect performance.

Aside from the above, policy easing headlines from China also helped settle nerves last week. On the commodity front, West Texas Intermediate crude oil and iron ore rallied after China announced a cut in the reserve requirement ratio, and Saudi Arabia raised prices.

Furthermore, in the United States, corporate buybacks ramped up last week, lending support to indices.

Central Bank Meetings in Focus  

Central bank policy takes centre stage as over 20 central banks have interest-rate decisions this week. Focus is primarily on the Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting on Wednesday, and the Bank of England (BoE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) meetings Thursday.

Fed: With US inflation running at levels last seen in 1982, pressure is mounting on the Fed to take action. Inflation is becoming an increasingly political issue, with US President Joe Biden’s administration cautious around the impact inflation is having in terms of approval ratings. In that context, the Fed meeting (Tues/Wed) will be the main talking point mid-week. The market is expecting the Fed will accelerate the pace of asset purchasing tapering, most likely from US$15 billion to US$30 billion a month. This would see the Fed’s quantitative easing programme end in March vs. June on current plan, opening up the path for earlier interest rate hikes.

In response, markets have ratcheted up their expectations of rate hikes from the Fed next year (especially after Friday’s elevated inflation print), and at time of writing, federal funds futures are fully pricing in an initial hike by the June 2022 meeting, with a 79% chance of one by the meeting in May.4 That’s a notable step-up from what was being priced after their last meeting in early November, when an initial hike wasn’t fully priced until September 2022.

BOE: Sterling dipped to a new 2021 low against the US dollar last week as expectations that the central bank will raise interest rates waned because of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new “Plan B” restrictions to slow the spread of the emergent Omicron variant. Given these concerns, together with some negative brokerage commentary on the UK’s prospects, the probability of an interest-rate increase this week dropped below 20%.

ECB: Less excitement is expected from Thursday’s ECB meeting. Ahead of ECB meeting, on Friday Bloomberg put out its customary (Friday-before) survey of economists. Even more respondents expect the current Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) to end in March 2022. No change is forecast (still) in median rates through 2023, but the view of some respondents seems to expect a rate hike as soon as September 2022.

The Week in Review


European markets bounced back sharply last week, with the major regional indices higher and other indicators demonstrating nerves were calmed—the European market volatility fell sharply and credit spreads tightened, too.

Looking to sector performance, travel & leisure was the strongest sector after being battered in the prior week. It is worth noting the sector is still down 15% over the last month. The autos also saw solid gains. While still positive, real estate, insurers and banks (fading chances of UK December rate hike) were less robust.

Market volumes were poor into the end of last week, with volumes down 15% vs the year-to-date average, but almost 50% below the volumes we saw on the initial variant-driven selloff. This trend is likely to continue into year end, and as mentioned earlier, we could see heightened volatility.

In Germany, Olaf Scholz was officially sworn in as chancellor and the reign of the conservative CDU came to an end. This had no impact on the markets last week, but it will be important to monitor for policy divergence going forward.

United States

A resurgent performance for markets after a tough period around Thanksgiving saw the S&P 500 Index back making fresh all-time highs. Information technology and energy led the charge. All sectors were in the green but consumer discretionary and utilities lagged.

Friday’s consumer price index (CPI) print was the most anticipated macro event of last week ahead of the upcoming Fed meeting. The data was in line with market expectations, with year-over-year CPI at 6.8%, the fastest pace 1982.

The Fed has been in a blackout period ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, so no commentary about the inflation reading from policymakers there.

Asia and Pacific

Asian equity markets enjoyed a small bounce last week. There was very little performance divergence between the key country-specific indices in a region which can be very mixed week-to-week. The spread of the Omicron variant received some investor focus at the start of last week, with certain Asian economies particularly vulnerable to the imposition of strict social restrictions. All sectors in Asia finished higher on the week, with the exception of health care.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a rate cut on Monday of 50 basis points,5 unleashing CNY1.2 trillion (US$188 billion) of liquidity. The Chinese central bank also lowered the relending rate for the agriculture sector and small businesses by 0.25%. Premier Li noted that China still has a variety of monetary policy tools at its disposal. Later in the week, the PBOC raised the foreign exchange required reserve ratio for the second time this year, viewed as an attempt to rein in the yuan’s appreciation vs. the US dollar, currently at a 3.5-year high. Yet, some analysts are sceptical the move will trigger a reversal in the yuan’s appreciation given inflows from exports are driving China’s significant trade surplus.

Chinese property developers remain a key focus for markets. The week started with Sunshine 100 defaulting on US$179 million debt payment that was due on Sunday. There were also concerns after Kaisa missed repayment on a US$400 million note which was due on Tuesday. Evergrande also continued to make headlines after it failed to make repayments before the end of a 30-day grace period. Rating agency Fitch cut Evergrande and Kaisa to “restricted default”. Interestingly, the market seemed relatively unfazed by the headlines last week, with real estate stocks outperforming in the region. The market seems hopeful that China will avoid wider contagion as junk bonds held on to recent gains.

Week Ahead

As discussed, key events this week will be the central bank meetings, including the Fed, ECB, BoE and Bank of Japan. We would also expect the markets still to be at the mercy of COVID-19 headlines. Market volumes will likely continue to drift lower, although Friday’s options expiries offer one last liquidity opportunity.

Tuesday 14 December     

  • UK Claimant Count & ILO Unemployment Rate
  • Eurozone Industrial Production
  • US Core Producer Price Index (PPI)
  • Japan Industrial Production

Wednesday 15 December

  • UK CPI & RPI
  • France CPI
  • Spain CPI
  • Italy CPI
  • US Retail sales & Import prices
  • US Federal Open Market committee meeting
  • China Retail Sales and Industrial Production

Thursday 16 December       

  • France Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)
  • Germany Manufacturing PMI
  • Italy Trade Balance EU
  • UK PMI Manufacturing
  • Eurozone Trade Balance
  • UK Bank of England policy meeting and interest-rate annoucement
  • ECB policy meeting and interest-rate announcement
  • US Jobless claims
  • US Industrial production

Friday 17 December       

  • Germany PPI
  • Eurozone CPI & Construction Output
  • US State employment
  • BOJ policy meeting and interest-rate announcement

Franklin Templeton Key risks & Disclaimers:

What Are the Risks?

All investments involve risks, including the possible loss of principal. The value of investments can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the full amount invested.  Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. Thus, as prices of bonds in an investment portfolio adjust to a rise in interest rates, the value of the portfolio may decline. Investments in foreign securities involve special risks including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments. Investments in developing markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors, in addition to those associated with their relatively small size and lesser liquidity.

Any companies and/or case studies referenced herein are used solely for illustrative purposes; any investment may or may not be currently held by any portfolio advised by Franklin Templeton. The information provided is not a recommendation or individual investment advice for any particular security, strategy, or investment product and is not an indication of the trading intent of any Franklin Templeton managed portfolio.

Past performance is not an indicator or guarantee of future performance. There is no assurance that any estimate, forecast or projection will be realised.

This article reflects the analysis and opinions of Franklin Templeton’s European Trading Desk as of 13th December 2021, and may vary from the analysis and opinions of other investment teams, platforms, portfolio managers or strategies at Franklin Templeton. Because market and economic conditions are often subject to rapid change, the analysis and opinions provided may change without notice. An assessment of a particular country, market, region, security, investment or strategy is not intended as an investment recommendation, nor does it constitute investment advice. Statements of fact are from sources considered reliable, but no representation or warranty is made as to their completeness or accuracy. This article does not provide a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region, market, industry or security. Nothing in this document may be relied upon as investment advice or an investment recommendation. The companies named herein are used solely for illustrative purposes; any investment may or may not be currently held by any portfolio advised by Franklin Templeton. Data from third-party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and Franklin Templeton (“FT”) has not independently verified, validated or audited such data. FT accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from use of this information and reliance upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user. Products, services and information may not be available in all jurisdictions and are offered by FT affiliates and/or their distributors as local laws and regulations permit. Please consult your own professional adviser for further information on availability of products and services in your jurisdiction. 

Issued by Franklin Templeton Investment Management Limited (FTIML) Registered office: Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London EC4N 6HL. FTIML is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

MeDirect Disclaimers:

This information has been accurately reproduced, as received from Franklin Templeton Investment Management Limited (FTIML). No information has been omitted which would render the reproduced information inaccurate or misleading. This information is being distributed by MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc to its customers. The information contained in this document is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice nor does it commit MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc to any obligation whatsoever. The information available in this document is not intended to be a suggestion, recommendation or solicitation to buy, hold or sell, any securities and is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness.

The financial instruments discussed in the document may not be suitable for all investors and investors must make their own informed decisions and seek their own advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in financial instruments or implementing strategies discussed herein.

If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest. The value of your investment may go down as well as up. A commission or sales fee may be charged at the time of the initial purchase for an investment. Any income you get from this investment may go down as well as up. This product may be affected by changes in currency exchange rate movements thereby affecting your investment return therefrom. The performance figures quoted refer to the past and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance or a reliable guide to future performance. Any decision to invest in a mutual fund should always be based upon the details contained in the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Document (KIID), which may be obtained from MeDirect Bank (Malta) plc.


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