Happy Blue Monday now go home and count your wealth

The last Monday of January, or at least the last the one before pay-day, has been officially designated (probably by a marketing industry keen to sell you things to cheer you up), Blue Monday.

We are all supposed to be shrouded in gloom because all the Christmas credit card bills have come piling in, you are filling out tax returns which will almost certainly cost you more, you’re broke, your New Year’s resolutions have gone out of the window, it’s dark and cold and the summer seems a long, long way away.

Eero Aarnio, aged 86 and Finland’s most legendary designer (1960s bubble chairs anyone?) was interviewed about it by The Daily Telegraph this week.

“Blue Monday?” He replied in genuine shock, “You mean in the United Kingdom you have a day every year set aside just for feeling miserable? That’s the weirdest thing I ever heard.” 

It is bizarre if you think about it, especially when the words come from a man whose compatriots until only a few years ago, killed themselves at a higher rate per capita than any other in the world. And they live in sub-zero cold and dark for months on end.

Finland is now, according to the UN-sponsored World Happiness Report (I kid you not – here it is if you don’t believe me, the happiest nation on earth. 

Why nominate a day when you’re miserable, even if you weren’t before-hand you probably are now, just out of empathy with you fellow citizens.  Only we Brits could think of such a thing.

Money can’t buy you happiness – this we know from generations of pop music and poetry.

Apparently though there is some scientific basis in this. A US psychology website outlines five ways in which you can be happy even though you may not be able to change your income.

It says, essentially:

  1. Don’t keep buying things, rather invest in experiences.
  2. Buying you dream home is different from living your dream life within it
  3. You may be so obsessed with making money, you don’t have time to spend it.
  4. Buy things to share.
  5. Instant gratification can end in instant unhappiness.

Personally, my view is this. 

January is crap, of course it is, but what is the point in moping about it?

Firstly, don’t make negative New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t vow to give things up. Instead resolve to take up new things – things which will give you and/or you family, pleasure. That way you are less likely to fail. 

Secondly, go home and examine your finances. It may not be as bad as you seem to think it is. Look at your savings, look forward to your plans for the rest of the year.

Most importantly, think about moving your cash savings to a better-performing account. Savers lose millions each year by leaving their cash in inactive or poor performing accounts.

You may not make much, but you’ll feel better and then, you never know, the sun may come out.

Written by Steve McDowell

The content of this blog is Steve McDowell’s personal opinion and comment, and views expressed here are his and unless specifically stated, are not those of Family Building Society. The content on this page is not intended to be advice in any circumstances.