Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
"How to recover from reality. Well, I don't think I've quite recovered, but this is what I did/have been doing:
I try to make a plan. When life gets out of control, I try to control what I can. I revisit my budget, try to pay off some debt, do something productive. Sometimes this means something very simple, like cleaning the house. I may not be able to control the economy and what it's doing to my life, but I can control my immediate environment.
I push myself on a workout. I'll try to run faster or longer. Today I road hills with a group and tried to work hard enough that no one passed me. It's exhausting and makes me think about other things. Like how much my quads hurt.
I road on the back of my husband's motorcycle with him running errands, put a big scarf on and pretended to be Amelia Earhart or Isadora Duncan or the Red Baron.
I took a nap, watched mindless TV and will probably go to the movies tonight.
And I took lots of Extra Strength Excedrin."
Well, that really sums it up and it makes a lot of sense that everyone could use a bit of in these tough times. Instead of dwelling on how bad things are or seem to be, why not make a plan and do something about it. You can't solve all your problems right away, but you can take little steps to improve the situation you find yourself in. 1. Keep saving and investing, the markets will eventually come back and you'll be buying low along the way. 2. Pay down debt, you'll get a real return on your money when you get rid of those costly and annoying finance charges. 3. Take care of yourself. Get involved in exercise and/or recreational activities with your family and friends. I can't wait to get back on my motorcycle. In fact, it's suppose to hit 60 degrees today, so I'm taking my bike to work! 4. Get some sleep. Go to bed earlier. 5. Relax. You need some downtime. Nothing wrong with watching a little TV or movies. 24 is back and American Idol is down to the final 36 (now 27) contestants. 6. If nothing else, take an aspirin, or perhaps enjoy an adult beverage! Thanks for the insight, Tammy!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
"The lovers' holiday traces its roots to raucous annual Roman festivals where men stripped naked, grabbed goat- or dog-skin whips, and spanked young maidens in hopes of increasing their fertility", said classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
"The annual pagan celebration, called Lupercalia, was held every year on February 15 and remained wildly popular well into the fifth century A.D.—at least 150 years after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire."
"The early church pegged the festival to the legend of St. Valentine. According to the story, in the third century A.D. Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster his army, forbade young men to marry. Valentine, it is said, flouted the ban, performing marriages in secret. For his defiance, Valentine was executed in A.D. 270—on February 14, the story goes. While it's not known whether the legend is true", Lenski said, "it may be a convenient explanation for a Christian version of what happened at Lupercalia."
So don't walk under any ladders today, and avoid black cats at all costs, but be sure you get that card, chocolate, and flowers for your lady...she'll be expecting it!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
"Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is scheduled to detail a financial system rescue plan on Tuesday in an 11 a.m. speech in Washington, D.C. Details are still not certain. But in a press conference Monday night, President Obama promised that Geithner would provide "very clear and specific plans" for loosening up credit markets. "That means having some transparency and oversight in the system," the President said. "It means that we correct some of the mistakes with TARP that were made earlier, the lack of consistency, the lack of clarity." The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was created last fall to shore up the deteriorating finances of the nation's banks."
Americans are getting antsy about these government "programs" that are intended to help the economy and help U.S. workers, but so far, have not shown much promise. I got a call yesterday from one of my clients, who was very angry that his portfolio is still going down 3 months after last years stock market collapse. The promises of the new administration may be genuine, but most people seem disappointed that there has not been a more noticeable improvement in the markets year to date. To be sure, most "investors" need to remind themselves about the time frame of their investments (future blog). The problem I have with TARP-2 is that there will probably be a TARP-3 and a TARP-4. While Americans desperately want to see this recession come to an end, they do not want to saddle their children and grandchildren with so much debt, that their futures will be as uncertain as the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby.
Well, time to check the stock market futures and see how they're handicapping today's press conference.
Friday, February 6, 2009
"We are heading into a depression!"
"This is the worst market since the 1930's!"
"My account is going to zero!"
"My 401k is now a 201k!"
"I will never invest in stocks again!"
"This is a terrible time to buy a house!"
"This is a terrible time to sell a house!"
"Winter will last 6 more weeks!"
"I will never be able to retire!"
Have you heard any or all of these? Now of course things are not good, but they are not as bad as the media and talking heads on TV make it out to be. There have been many bad markets and recessions before, and there will be many more to come. Newspapers are in the business to sell papers and they sell more papers on bad news than they do with good news. The editors twist the headlines to grab your attention and they will turn a positive into a negative. I once heard a speech from a senior market economist who gave a great example. He had a particular distain for the USA Today newspaper, and he said that if the USA Today had reporters alive 2000 years ago when Jesus walked on water, the headline the next day would have been: JESUS CAN'T SWIM! See, that's turning a positive into a negative. In the coming months we will hear about savvy investors who bought stock in October and November of 2008 and made millions, or of people who stuck to their retirement savings plans and decided to put MORE money into it to take advantage of the opportunity that the market has given us. You can (and should) think positive in all aspects of life. Today, is Feb. 6th and it is still winter, but I am riding to work on my motorcycle today! I am thinking positive. I smell a rally on Wall Street!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
So: $1.519 trillion divided by 156.3 million equals $9,718.49 per U.S. taxpayer.
Pretty sweet, right? Well, don't expect a check like that anytime soon. The reason why the government is sending bailout money to banks and other financial institutions and not to you, is because most people (not all) would save the money or use it to pay down debt. Saving and not spending does not stimulate the economy. But saving more and spending less is good right? Yes, for individuals and families, this is a wise move. And more people are doing just that in these tough economic times. But again, while it's good for your budget and future, it's not helpful to the local and national economy in the short run. This was proven last year when most Americans received checks in the mail for $600 per individual ($1200 per couple and $300 per child). Only 17% of the recipients actually spent the money on something. The rest put it in the bank or sent it to their credit card companies. A new proposal that is being weighed right now, is to give every taxpayer $500 in the form of a reduction in payroll taxes. This would get the money in your hands in smaller increments. Your weekly paycheck would increase by nearly $10. Doesn't sound like much right? Well, you're right, but the idea is that you will be much more inclined to spend the extra $10 than save it. Thus, your $500 will go into the economy instead of into your bank account. Well see if it actually happens that way. It sure would be nice to get that check for 10 large though!