Monday, October 27, 2008

What I'm NOT Doing

I am doing so many things right now that I feel just turned upside down. I'll right myself in a bit, I know that for sure, but here are two things I have decided to do to help do this:

I will not watch ANY American Evening News show for the next two weeks.

I will not obsessively log into my Roth IRA account to check it's "status".

As far as I can tell, the news all about the doom and gloom on Wall Street, the doom and gloom in the economy, the doom and gloom in the world and the upcoming US election process. Thanks to the Internet, I can pick and choose the information I want to keep up with. I like being informed, I don't like being inundated with nothing but bad news. It's bad enough my boss is obsessing about the Dow Jones Industrial Average (currently it is up 177, good considering the European and Tokyo markets had a hit today). I don't need to have it thrown at me every time I turn on the radio or TV.

It's times like this I wish I had cable so I could just tune out to HGTV or some other cable channel.

Yes, I am concerned about the economy, my full time job depends on a healthy market and my part time job in real estate depends on a healthy market. But what I am trying to avoid is this overwhelming feeling that my world is coming to an end because of this economy. I know I probably should not have dipped into my Efund as much as I did the past few months (damm those hobby expenses I tagged emergencies :) ), but I don't want to continually kick myself for those past decisions and fear what may happen to my future because I spent $200 on hobby expenses. I did it, I've moved on.

What has this got to do with personal finance? It's about taking a deep breath, looking at the spending plan, and not freaking out. It's about calmly planning a head. It's about skipping a movie night in favor of a rewatching an old DVD night. It's about making do with the food in the pantry (which is more than adequate) instead of stopping at the grocery store to "make a meal". It's about dusting off those old sewing skills and fixing buttons and holes in pants pockets. It's about not having a panic attack and taking it one day and dollar at a time.


veronica said...

Hear, hear! I've sworn off checking my retirement account as well. And while I can't completely avoid the news (part of my job requires that I know some of what's going on or at least check various facts), I have changed my Web start-up page from the Washington Post. I don't need to see the headlines first thing in the morning. I've also been avoiding the political shows as well. Talk about information overload!

I'm glad I'm not the only one. :-)

Amber C said...

I agree. Fortunately, I haven't felt the actual doom and gloom. But I also HAVE NOT logged into any of our retirement accounts. I just don't need to know. I don't need that money for many years and when I put it there I knew there would be ups and downs.

Dawn said...

Nice post! I am with you. Sometimes I just have to turn off the news - like you, I want to be informed, but not overwhelmed. I'm trying to focus on my personal money goals and feel satisfaction in that, and keep myself from feeling like the rest of the world is caving in.

Aya @ Thrive said...

Good call, the news does freak us out or bog us down. I like your last bit and you're absolutely right. Taking it a little at a time is what makes a really big difference in the long run even if the results aren't obvious in the short.

Today's Budget said...

Good for you. I'm not looking at my 401k statement until Feb 14. Maybe I'll find some love in it then!

Shiva said...

I am just about to go bankrupt in the Uk and I have been watching your blog and reading through the comments.

Since my wife died 2 years ago it has been a remorseless process to this point. In the intervening period, I have become very spiritual and used time recently to reflect upon and determine why this is happening to me.

Firstly, when I was young at the age of 7 or 8, I had a recurring nightmare. The nightmare was set in a house and there was something terrible waiting for me upstairs.

50 years on I own the house of my nightmare: the house that my wife died in upstairs and which has become my nemesis through a poor investment at a time when property values in the UK have collapsed.

Now that I am spiritual, I have changed my perspective. There is nothing I can do to avoid the bankruptcy as with the property collapse in the UK my net deficiency is now $200,000 and rising (I was $10,000 up a year ago). Time to reclaim my life and let the debts go, learn the lesson and restructure my life in a very different way.

Luckily, I have moved to India. I earn very little money doing the project that I support here but I have a nice roof over my head and I get one free meal a day. For the first time in 20 years, I have actually saved some money - a very strange but satisfying feeling.

In just over a weeks time, I will return to the UK and file. All my life I have had this morbid fear of being one step away from being a bag lady. Its happening but not in the way I ever imagined.

My heart goes out to the thousands, probably millions, of people who are subjected to the 'terror of the doormat' every day. It is an extremely unpleasant way to live your life and at least there is only me to worry about.

To place matters in a greater perspective, I can walk less than a mile from my apartment and see people who truly have nothing. I mean nothing - no access to clean water, no toilet facilities, a simple hut thrown up alongside the main road.

When I am low and feeling sorry for myself, I just need to remind myself what 'having nothing' really means.

What I can also say is that I always get a wave and a smile when I walk past. Humbling.

I admire you for your strength and persistence and I will take those messages with me as I cross the rubicon to a different life of cash and no credit, of saving and then paying, of spending according to need and not what I desire.

Lastly, we come in with nothing and we go out with nothing. The lessons that we learn through life teach us many things about ourselves and our attitude towards others. Some of us have money problems, others medical traumas but I bet if you look back to who you were when all this started, you would notice a big difference to you as a person.

Now that is real investment in the inner you, your eternal self and that investment is one that is for eternity.

Good luck and keep blogging.