Wednesday, October 15, 2008

20 Days 2 Go...

I read a discussion of this chart and thought it was a good way to 'snapshot' how we got where we are now -- "we" the people (our government and others we trusted not withstanding).

Personally, the chart fits my life's circumstances in a couple of ways, so I had to copy it. That light blue line is the housing price index. It starts around 1987, which was the year we married. Hubs already owned our house he'd bought in 1976, but in 1998 we bought the house we live in now. See on the chart how the blue line is flat until around 1998, then it starts to climb? That's so true. I remember, because we had been waiting for the market to pick up. We bought at the front of the climb, so our home value enjoyed the full ride. (In our area it was a respectable climb and consequently the present values haven't really decreased...yet and hopefully never.) Our stock holdings mirror very roughly the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the red line, except our stock values didn't begin falling until May of this year.

I am thankful there is a 180-degree difference as far as our personal savings rate compared to the green dots. Ours would be sort of a flat line at 10% beginning in 1987 until around 1998, when we sold our first house and managed to save some of that profit and add to it over the last decade. Our bubbles would be in a straight line going diagonally up after 1998. I know we would feel much less secure than we already do right now had we not consistently put off short term pleasures and trivial spending as much as we did. We still managed to spend, I'm sure, more than we have needed to, but at least we saved, too.

The chart bubbles are probably the saddest part of that graph to me. But really, when you look at the 20-25 trend, the housing and stocks look a little more reassuring. But that's also because we have been in those markets for about that long.

Listen, I'm groping for any good thing I can find as mental outlook goes, because we've "temporarily lost" (as Hubs puts it) almost a quarter of a million dollars in Hub's 401K with 9 years to go to full retirement. Yup, about 30% of the whole thing. It can literally give me nausea and diarrhea to think about it too long. 7000+ shares of ExxonMobil. Hubs and most of the other old-timers he works with are bound and determined to hang tough, though. No one is moving one share. They are all convinced it'll be back up, if not in short order, then in the near midterm. No one can persuade them otherwise, and based on my 30 years of calculating retirement distributions of area Exxon retirees, history tells them to do just that. I, however, being the worrier I am, fear this is one time that will defy history.

Consequently, my nerves have really been taking a hit, too. Now that I've written about it, I am just going to try to forget about it. We've no need now to sell and pull out so it can all just sit there. I've researched where our cash sits, and those places are sound. And we have no need at present to borrow a dollar. Now, just to be able to get away from all of the panic and second-guessing on television and online.... LOL

As for tonight's debate, I slept through it, on purpose since I've really not been feeling well at all. I'll be honest. McCain is beginning to irritate me. Obama still irritates me as well, but not quite as much as before. Perhaps because I come at this from the direction of left-center as opposed to being a right wing conservative Christian or long time GOP, I'm past irritated at all of the little hissy fits and nag fests that the Right has been making every time McCain proposes something new or does something they don't like. To me it appears they are all ticked that he didn't run it by them first, and it also looks like to me to they expect that as a condition of solidifying around him. And this frankly makes me snicker snarkily, because it's greatly their own fault IMO he's not kicking ass and taking names in this election by this time (or at least ahead enough to absorb the hit on the economy and still be neck and neck). His party has not helped him in this nomination until the very end of it. It frankly seems a bit amazing that he's been able to hang in there and remain relevant despite everyone but the American People frantic to write him off at every turn. It's a big story of grit and determination and heroism that's not getting told at all. At least it is to me.

This has all been brewing inside me since my return from Ike, and I do not know where it's going to lead me. I still have no desire to vote for Obama, and I still feel that having a president right now who, even if he does nothing else other than veto bills with pork, might at least force Congress to quit adding them to legislation that they need to pass. And that is one thing right. Right now our government's corrupt, our economy is corrupt, our financial markets are corrupt, our vote is corrupt. Seems like we need a reformer much more than a Santa, but a month from now I might be making a list myself, who knows... Stay tuned, as I will continue to write about this. I am honest, if nothing else. :-)))

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