Thursday, October 9, 2008

New financial strategy - cross my fingers and ignore the ulcer

All right, all right, I'm back. I promise I'm back to posting every day again.

I finally had the last push today to get back on the horse and start writing again. After all, I can't stare at the news in abject horror and digust - with spurts of elation - all day...

No really, I wasn't just doing that. Though when the financial guy responded to an anchor's concern about the DOW plummeting with, "Well, the real financial experts aren't scared about the DOW. (here I start to feel reassured) They're looking at credit lines for a real indication, (I can breathe again) and you know, they're REALLY scared about that! (and I black out.)"

Okay, my real financial problem is that I looked at my 401(k). I didn't even care about that until earlier this year when a financial guy met with us. Then I realized I had a little bit of money in there, and that if I wanted to stop working while I still had, you know, vision and the ability to walk, I would have to invest at least 10% of my income while I still could. So I did.

My punishment for this came a mere six months later. When, supremely ironically, 10% of everything in there was stripped away in less than a week. Granted, I only had a few years worth in there, compared to some people with decades, but still. They told me not to look, but I did. I regret it.

I then vowed not to look at the thing until I was at least 40. When I used to be REALLY poor (okay, yeah, that was about two seconds ago) I would hide an extra $20 from myself in a book or something, when I had the rare surplus. Then I would find it months later, and had a bonus $20 (because I was almost certainly even more broke than before.)

This was my new financial strategy. Hide it in the account, lose my password, and not look at it for a few decades. Then, when I'm in my middle-ages (that sounds a bit historical...) I can discover it again, be surprised at all the money that's racked up (because of those fabulous eight years of an Obama administration, of course) and plan the rest of my life accordingly. All the financial genuises on TV say that people my age shouldn't even be worried about it, right? I mean, our jobs may be the first to go, but, should we ever get them back, our 401(k)s would be the first to recover...

So that strategy lasted less than a week. I peeked again, and soon thereafter developed an ulcer.

Now, my new strategy is taking the sage advice of Sen. Obama and just simply "not panicking." My oh-so-newly acquired savings is being threatened, but instead of pulling everything out and making my mattress my new retirement account, I'm crossing my fingers and hoping Bush can't actually make us even worse off in the few months he has left. I mean, really, what else can he screw up?

No, don't answer that. I feel my ulcer coming back.


Cindy said...

This is why I'm not looking. I don't want to know, since I already know I'm screwed - the market tanked, so there went my 401(k) (NOT LOOKING! LA LA LA!) and if I ever actually get my butt into a classroom, I won't get to collect any of the Social Security I've paid (which is good, since Johnny Mac wants to take it away from me anyway.)

I'm left hoping there will still be gourmet cat food available when I'm old or that we'll have somehow transformed back into a society that cares about the least among us.

You know, I actually meant for this to be an upbeat note. Maybe sending an irate letter to Uncle Ted will make me feel better.

Unknown said...

I picked a great time to start an IRA. I signed up with TIAA-CREF cause I just got a raise, and my first $15 went in last payday. Got my statement yesterday, and my little tiny investment has ALREADY shrunk by twenty three cents!!!


Writing Raven said...

I must confess, I've had the hand on the trigger a few times. Not that I could actually take my money out of the 401(k) without more penalties than what I'm losing, but shrinking it down to putting nothing in it, putting it in the safest possible plans (i.e. the stock equivalent of burying it under my mattress) and sending my statements to all the lawmakers.

But my fear of working until I drop dead at my job because I'm 134 and still need 50 hours a week to maintain my shack-like apartment is not stayed by any kind of real hope, trust in lawmakers or even numerous good luck charms. It is my even bigger fear of being the straw that broke the camels back. That tenth grade lesson in what started the depression - like my piddly little stocks being taken out are going to be the ones that the stock market just couldn't handle. Then everything goes back to black and white, and I have to move to the dust bowl (and I don't even know where that is,) all because the market couldn't handle me panicking too.

Just know I'm doing you a big favor, America...