"Have you Seen the Market Today?"
... That's how my co-worker started a pretty simple conversion about a week ago. She knew I was a personal finance blogger (I didn't tell her which one), so it was a completely reasonable question. Yet, I froze like a deer in headlights.
I remember thinking, "I should have seen the market today." I should have seen it yesterday and the day before. I should have at least seen it in the last week, right? Well, I hadn't. So I went back a month... Nope, nada, no clue how the market had been doing in that time.
My next thought, "I'm the worst personal finance blogger in the world." (Readers are frantically nodding their heads right now). "I should just hang up my keyboard and retire."
Before I go with that drastic action, I figure it's worth asking myself why I haven't been following the market. I came up with a two reasons why:
- I've reached a point with my financial situation where the market doesn't effect me much. If the market goes up or down 1,000 or 2,000 points today it doesn't really impact my lifestyle much. I'm fairly comfortable with my contracting gig, and the websites that I have on the side are not directly tied to the market. I don't know how to express that liberating that can be after being a software engineer in 2001 when jobs were few and I had no other income as a safety net.
- I've lost faith in the market. When I look at the market today, I see it almost exactly where it was 10 years ago. Sure there have been ups and downs in that time, but for the most part it is a lot of running in place. I know I'm in for the long haul, but it seems more and more that I can't rely on the stock market to double my money every 7-10 years. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won't. As Angel said to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "I'll start working on a second front. Make sure I don't have to use it."
In the end, my response to my co-worker was, "I hope the market went down. I want it to go real low so I can buy in for a recovery." Hey, what else would you expect me to say? I'm only 34 and not likely to be using that money for some time.
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