Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now This Is Scary

As someone who's afraid of heights, you'll never catch me skydiving. But I feel like I'm getting the equivalent virtual reality in the stock market free fall this past week. It's a gut-grabbing experience to see yourself falling financially, just hoping something will kick in and stop you before you hit rock bottom.

Why didn't somebody TELL me to get out of stocks before the market crashed. Oops. Turns out somebody did. It was me. In fact, right on my own blog way back in February. On my blog Ask The Life Coach, I gave my pearls of wisdom which included, "Get out of stocks now." Didn't even heed my own advice and now I'm paying the price. I need to listen to myself better.

Someone recently told me it takes 25 years for the market to come back from a crash. Well, that makes me 80 before my retirement portfolio is financially healthy again. Guess I can retire then. If you see a 79-year-old big guy greeting you at Wal-Mart's some time, be kind. Smile anyway.

The news is full of personal stories about people who have lost big money in their 401k. I personally know someone who has lost $140,000 since earlier this year. At least my mistrust of the stock market has led me to diversify so that I'm only about one third invested in Wall Street. Still, that's enough to make you cry. Well, me anyway.

A colleague at work, whose portfolio is about 90 percent invested in stocks, said that a year ago the market was at its peak about 7,000 points over what it is now.

"That's funny," I said.

"It's not funny," he deadpanned.

"Well . . . " I scrambled for a better word, "It's ironic."

"That's the word," he said.


Blogger Betty said...

About 18 months ago a co-worker asked me for investment advice. I told him to pull every penny out of stocks and throw it all into a money market fund. He's sitting pretty these days. Having dutifully followed my advice, he's been watching his money steadily rise, slowly but surely, without losing a dime.

But did I do what I told him to do? Of coooooooourse not!

But for me so far, denial works just fine. I refuse to look at my stocks. I'm sure I've lost a bundle, but I choose not to look into the details. At least I know better than to sell. I'll wait it out, assuming that good fortune will somehow prevail.

Oh, and my neighbor just mentioned the unfortunate occurence between the Wolverines and Toledo today. I thought of you with sadness.


5:37 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Holy Toledo, "ironic" describes lots of things these days!

6:22 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Lucky me. I got all my money in cash. (That's also where it was before the crash.)

6:34 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

oh Dave, I'm sorry. Seems we're all victims of the economy in one way or another. Like you told me though-with your outlook and attitude I'm sure you'll rebound very nicely-it might take you a while, but you will. Keeping my fingers crossed for all of us these days.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

We can't even look at our retirement funds....afraid we will have heart attacks! The husband is almost 77 and we don't have 25 years to wait for the market to recover. He knew he had to put our 401K's in bonds and such last year, so we are okay so far, but retirement living is going to be slim.
We were driving south yesterday while the Toledo/Michigan game was in progress...our daugter called us three times on our Ford SYNC phone. Her first date had been with Toledo's coach about 35 years ago and she graduated from U of T. By the last few minutes, she couldn't even breathe from excitement. So, I'm sorry for you, but happy for UT kids today and happy for "My Honey" and me... we are in Ft. Myers after 19 hours on the road and ready for six months of sunshine. We can't sell our home in Ohio or this place in Florida, so we will live here and avoid the heating bills.... think we'll live on peanutbutter! He's going over to WallyWorld and apply as a greeter...yeah, sure!

9:12 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

When the Dow sunk to 11,300 (down form its peak of 14,000) I bailed in a big way. I left a good amount in bond funds, so I still saw a loss, albeit much less than if I had it in equities.

I share your pain. The interesting part will be to see how long it takes to get ourselves back on track.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BETTY--I guess I'll have to figure out how to change my portfolio. Well, first I'll have to figure out how to view my portfolio on-line rather than to wait for the quarterly bad news.

BABETTE--We witnessed the crash of two venerable American institutions this week--Wall Street and the Wolverines.

HOSS--At least cash still has some value. But I'm thinking of converting my cash to gold. I'm looking ahead to the next crisis already.

CARINE--But my outlook is pessimistic. I'm thinking of moving into a cave somewhere while caves are still cheap.

KACEY--I hear some people are thinking of not retiring at all. I'm working on a best-seller to finance my retirement. And, yeah, U of M lost to Toledo. You're the third commenter already to mention it here.

Maybe Michigan State will get some revenge for our state when they take on the Buckeyes next week. Gawd, I don't believe I just said that.

FRED--I'm not sure I have that many options with my 401K. I think it's either stock or annuities and I don't really like either. I sure hope things rebound quickly. I do want to retire in this lifetime.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

I'm already retired and too damned old to be able to recover from this. I hope my kids are getting ready for me to move in.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Well, I opened last months report and noticed that we had lost 1/4th of our funds, that was a month ago. I am completely afraid of what it looks like right now. This is not good.

Maybe we could both work at WalMart!

2:33 PM  
Anonymous 364 - 174 said...

For the first paragraph I felt like I was reading Lou Dobbs blog.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All my investments are in Miller Lite empty cans. At least the aluminum will be worth something.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I don't even look at my 401K anymore. I heard an interesting thory the other day that this was a form of financial terrorism. With the way computers are today, it's a possibility.

3:44 PM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

The only thing scarier than the stock market is Toledo beating Michigan!

4:42 AM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:42 AM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

This is really hurting a lot of hard working people. Really tough.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--Of course your kids have to take in your canine family too. I have too much stuff to be able to move in with anybody.

LUCY--Well, the market bounced back some this week. Maybe it won't be so bad.

364--I like Lou Dobbs. One of my very favorite TV commentators.

ANONYMOUS--We have a lot of obscure beer bottles with no place to return them to for the deposits. They bring back good memories though.

NANKIN--Financial terrorism, eh. Haven't heard that one. I think we do need to redo banking and financial regulations. Maybe a commission like the 9/11 one we had would be a start.

MSU GAL--I've really been hearing a lot from my MSU cohorts lately. A lot.

CASSIE--I'm not confident the upcoming election is going to change much either.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Dave. I'm sorry this happened to you.

On another note... I believe my Horns will be playing your college soon. Good luck!


5:46 AM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Dave, when I began adopting these dogs, my SIL looked at my daughter and said, "well, I guess we just gained four dogs, too." LOL!

3:34 PM  
OpenID caroldee said...

My sympathies to you DAVE. really.. sometimes we don't know how brilliant we really are until something like this happens. Taking your own advice would have been wonderful and there probably will be no next time for you in the future, you will do it automatcially... follow your gut I always say!! take care.. : )

10:08 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

What were you saying Dave....? I am glad that we don't have a lot of money tied up in stocks but it would have helped our retirement some. I am worried about what will happen to my husbands pension from the police department.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home