Everyone around the world breathed a sigh of relief when the year 2020 gave way to 2021.
And now, halfway through February, there’s another change in the air; we’re entering a new year in the lunar calendar.
On Friday 12 February, we say goodbye to the year of the rat, and hello to the year of the ox.
What the Year of the Ox signifies
The ox is known for being hardworking, and symbolises diligence, honesty, earnestness, altruism, and never needing to be the centre of attention or seeking praise for their hard work.
Where the year of the rat – the first of 12 animals in the zodiac calendar – symbolised change and quick-wittedness, the year of the methodical ox will be one of endurance.
All these traits put together spells a good year for wealth creation, says MyState Bank general manager of digital and marketing, Heather McGovern.
“According to Chinese folklore, the one characteristic that runs dominant through the years of the ox is wealth,” McGovern told Yahoo Finance.
Those who are born in the year of the ox – 2021, as well as 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961 – are also held in esteem, because of the role the ox plays in agriculture, she added.
Some famous people born in ox years include Barack Obama, Meryl Streep, Chrissy Teigen and Kylie Jenner.
According to professional astrologist Jaime Wright, the most important trait you’ll need this year will be discipline. “Overall, this is a year for recovering, making long-term investments (might be time to finally get into Bitcoin) or building a family.”
The year of the ox should also mean that the economy will pick up in the second half of this year, said Hong Kong-based feng shui master Thierry Chow.
"The ox, in Chinese culture, is a hardworking zodiac sign. It usually signifies movements so, hopefully, the world will be less static than last year and get moving again in the second half of the year,” Chow told CNN.
What it means for your career
You might think that the year of the ox means that it’s a lucky year for oxen – that is, those born in the year of the ox – but actually, it’s the zodiac sign’s most unlucky year in Chinese astrology. This year spells turbulence for oxen.
“So there will be more changes and instability in general,” Chow added.
This year will be all quality over quantity, and if you work hard, you’ll be alright.
“You may also be rewarded this year for projects that have been brewing for under the surface for a long time and are now ready to shine,” said Wright.
In fact, this year is particularly lucky for those born in the year of the rat, snake, horse, and rooster.
What to do with your money
A focus on accumulating wealth this year will be key, says McGovern, and getting a tight hold of your finances will be important.
“To prepare for the year ahead, oxen’s may consider establishing a stronger budget management system to prepare for rainy days,” she said.
“Use 2021 as a year to kickstart your savings, and maximise your current situation so that you can build your nest egg for retirement, of which the ox is said to be comfortable in.”
According to Smart Women Society founder Téa Angelos, a common budgeting mistake is that people think it needs to be difficult or uncomfortable.
“That’s where people get really scared off or turned off by budgeting, because they think they need to cut out anything they may enjoy or anything that’s fun,” she told Yahoo Finance.
But your budget should also allow for social events and other enjoyable activities, she said.
Money-making opportunities this year will require effort, determination and perseverance, said non-aligned financial advisor James Gerrard.
“Is this cryptocurrency trading? The property market? Shares? Who knows – it will reveal itself to you during the year of the Ox,” he told Yahoo Finance.
Echoing McGovern, he highlighted the importance of budgeting – especially for potential tough times – and cautioned against overspending on discretionary and luxury items.
“Focus more on financial discipline and good budgeting habits,” he said.
“So the year of the Ox could be very lucrative for those who grab the investment opportunities and make a conscious effort to boost savings.
Investing is a crucial building block to growing wealth. For those who don’t know where to get started, ETFs – or exchange-traded funds – are considered one of the mot beginner-friendly ways to invest.
Read next: Experts’ 9 top tips for starting to invest
But you can build wealth through your career, too, if you think about your job in the right way.