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St. Louis, MO, United States
What the name sez, Christian, conservative, 2nd amendment supporter. Physician, wife, daughter and loving mother.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gloomy Days

Ever have one of those days when you wanted to curl up in a ball and retire from the human race??? Well, this week had several of them. Watching Wall Street move like a car on the Screaming Eagle made me alternately want to cheer and vomit. Then at the end of the week, came the incredible salvage of "everything imaginable" and I am not sure that I can wrap my head around the implications of it.

A year ago I had someone go over my financial plan for my retirement and they said that they would not change anything, that I had charted a fiscally sound plan for my future and to keep up the good work. I have no credit card debt and had chuckled at the nest egg and "my number" ads on TV as I thought that I was among them with a retirement plan at work and a couple of other side investment accounts that I opened when there was a bit of spare change lying around. I had always pretty much known that I could not rely on Social Security for my retirement (most probably because it would not be there for me) and I felt so proud (and even patriotic, Joe Biden) that I was doing what I needed to do to provide for myself for the future so that I would not be a societal burden.

Now I am not so sure and am wondering what effect this week on Wall Street will do to my "best laid plans". I am now thinking that it would have been better if I had stuffed my mattress with the investment contributions that I made and bought gold bars.

I found this quote earlier this week when I was trying to put what was happening before my eyes into some perspective. "The gloom hanging over Main Street America stems largely from rising price levels, high interest rates, failure of new plant and equipment expenditures to stimulate a new wave of production, failure of housing construction to pick up and the failure of Congress and the President to make much headway on development of an energy policy tax revision program, private capital program, international economic plan and on the establishment of an inflation reduction effort.........Given the unbalanced conditions of international relations and vital resource use patterns however, the possibility of a serious recession in the United States...cannot be entirely discounted........Nevertheless such things as OPEC decrees on the price of oil because of its uneven distribution in the world and the use patterns of industrialized nations will cause the rate of inflation to rise...A determined effort to cut the federal budget deficit will fall short of significant favorable price consequences. Thus price rises will be steadily reinforced during the year ahead." Does this sound familiar?? Well, this is a quote from an article in the Columbia Missourian by Robert Paterson, Professor of economics and public administration in the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri. The date of the article.....January 7, 1979.

In 1979 I did not know/realize that things were so bad. I did not have the 24-hour media telling me at every turn that the sky was falling. I had not yet had my first child. I did not yet have a 401k because I was still finishing my education. I had student loans to pay and was already in my second new home. My bills were paid and I was able to save a bit each month, so how was I to know that the sky was falling? Is this just more of the same today only with a constant barrage of nay sayers beating it into my head 24-7? Or have we really fallen over the cliff this time and it is no longer "crying wolf"?

On one hand I want to remain optimistic and weather the rough times as I have done several times in the past, but on the other hand, as I get older and know that my retirement SHOULD be getting closer, I feel that I will no longer be prepared or that all my hard work and preparations will disappear overnight. I have listened to the different talking heads this week and I know several things for sure:
1. There is no agreement about what should be done.
2. There is no guarantee that this will work out.
3. I am on the hook for the liability of the past week's activities in some way or another, though I don't exactly know or understand what form this liability will take.
4. This has been a long time coming and my government has sold me out.
5. I am ready to clean out the money lenders from the temple and I DO NOT want to replace them with more entitlements, hand outs, bail outs and nationalization schemes to put a hand in my back pocket and give away what I have earned fair and square!

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