Friday, January 02, 2009

Onwards to the future!

"And remember my friends, future events such as these will affect you...in the future!" - The Amazing Criswell.

There isn't much we can say yet about 2009. The year is too new, and the memory of last year's financial calamities are still fresh in our minds.

Will the new year bring forth an extension of the trends that unfolded during 2008? How will the current US recession affect the struggling middle class and the younger generations who have never really experienced "hard times" on a national scale? Will global stock markets surprise everyone and rally?

These are just some of the questions floating around in my mind (and in the minds of many others, I'm sure).

Yet at the same time, I wonder if we can really begin to answer any of these questions with any level of certainty. I also wonder: "does it really matter"? Which is a strange thing to think about, especially if you're like me and you happen to write a blog about current and future financial trends!

Still, I'm confronted by the fact that we in the blogosphere are already poring over last year's (worst) financial preditictions, and in many cases, having a cynical laugh over them.

Kind of reminds you of the folly of prediction and forecasting. As my blogging friend Kent, The Financial Philosopher, likes to remind us: "The worst prediction is any prediction made in the first place".



And yet the prediction-making ritual remains with us. For as Criswell eloquently points out in the clip above, "we are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives."

I believe that there is value in forecasting, just as there is great value to be found in a careful review of the past. However, as with the study of history, you may need to be careful about vetting your sources. When following a favorite analyst or commentator, try to remind yourself (or keep a record) of their hits and misses. It tends to keep both parties honest!

Back to the subject of 2009. No matter what the year holds in store for us, I resolve to keep an eye on the positive outcomes that we, as individuals, may bring about for ourselves and the people around us.

I hope, as readers and active commenters of this blog, you'll do your best to keep me honest and focused on these tasks.