So what are your new plans for 2013? New strategies? New disciplines? Do you have any thoughts about how the markets might pan out this year? Have you even given them a thought? Does it matter?

You are probably lazing on the beach whilst I swan around Europe. Beautiful Europe with its short days, gloomy skies, cold and wet. The resemblance to their economies is too poignant.

I pray each day Europe can rise again, but I cannot see that happening...I wish it though. All around me I see debt; unsustainable government spending and investment bubbles. The biggest bubble of all is Europe’s leadership. They live in a bubble - a Peter Pan world. Not only are leaders not prepared to make the really tough decisions but they do not have the fortitude to tell their citizens how it really is.

Governments talk of public sector spending freezes, but this is barely nibbling around the edges of the problem. What they need is major change to underlying cost structures and economic systems. The official catch cry is "not me". Cuts and changes are "not for me", but the reality is, that there are too many hands in the till. Yet…sacrifice is “not for me”.

It reminds me of a story – sad, but true:

"Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, And Nobody

This is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done"

This will not work for Europe. Excesses will transfer pain to the next generation. Somebody must pay. Somebody must sort it out now.

So as I face the short dark days in Europe, how does the world look viewed from down under? How does the world seem to you as you bask in the sun on the beach, on the golden sand, comatose under the clear blue, sun-drenched skies?

Perhaps it’s too early to interrupt your dreamy thoughts. The rest of the world has kicked into third gear and you are barely in first gear. Rest, for a big year lies ahead.

I will give you one more week - well maybe stretch it to two - and then you must switch into investment mode. In the two weeks past you have missed little action and certainly you would not be a buyer, and though there may not be much for you to do once you get into investment mode, at least make a start.

Some questions to consider are:

  • What rough view do I have of the year ahead?
  • Where am I in the life cycle - starting work or retiring?
  • So how should I balance my investments?
  • Should I reassess the cash:equities:property mix?
  • What is my risk profile, and do I need to review it?
  • How do I see my life:risk profile over the next ten years?
  • What if the worst happened - do I have some sort of safety net?

There are never clear answers to these questions, but it is useful to consider some scenarios and to diarise your thoughts and ideas . Nothing weird about that. It can be a great reference base several months ahead.

Over the next couple of weeks I will review the global "macro" elements that might shape 2013.

But I sincerely hope it is a good year for you.

Enjoy the ride

Tom Scollon