The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Big Crunch

Hey, I am losing money, how about you? Mad at Wall Street? Angry at rich corporate execs? Furious at the Bush administration? How about incensed at Congress? You should be. On the other hand, you (and I) are pretty much powerless to do anything about it. No matter who we elect, the economy is going to be rocky for some time. I don't have a lot of my assets in what are laughingly called securities. I did have but I lost about a 3rd of my old 401K back in 2000 when the tech bubble popped. Easy come, easy go. I still had more than 40% above my total investment of cash into it. I just failed to time my exit from a couple of funds. The stock market is all about timing, so is life.

Timing is everything in life. And it is the one thing you have almost no control over because it is timing of the unknown; the future. Sometimes, we just get lucky. Sometimes not so lucky. Ever come upon a traffic accident that happened just a few minutes before you arrived? That was lucky. Just think back to the things that held you up before, or during, your trip to that point. Some you had control over, others you didn't. Sharon Stone (among many) might call that karma. Others might refer to it as fate, or the Will of God. I just call it "life as we know it." I take an extra couple of sips of coffee and I miss getting crushed by a semi running a red light. Or maybe I get crushed by that semi. Who can say?

I stopped worrying about such things a long time ago. I have basically floated along in life, not doing a lot of planning, and managed to get by. I once tried planning but found I couldn't controll all the variables that pop up or even anticipate enough of them to insure my plans (or their backups) would work out. That doesn't mean I don't plan out little things, it's just the big things I don't worry about, like that semi I mentioned. I plod along, putting away what I can, hoping I won't need it for a long time. A few years ago, after losing that chunk, I quietly moved all my stocks and mutual funds over into what was a guaranteed interest investment. It paid a bit more than any CD available but not a whole lot. Of course, a financial adviser told me I wasn't being smart. That 401K is back up and safe even after the last few days. I wonder what he's saying now? I am still dabbling in the market but carefully, very carefully. There are some bargains out there, some solid companies that will weather this storm that are cheap. It just might be 5 years before they pay off. I can wait.

But I feel for the people who are approaching retirement in the next few years, and the ones who bought a house a couple of years ago and had to take on a big mortgage, and the ones who are in a shaky industry (which may be quite a number of them theses days). These folks are going to see some hard times. The strong ones will make it through; the ones with a skill or trade, the ones who set aside cash for a rainy day, the ones in good health, and especially the ones who can adapt.

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