One can't surf the internet, turn on the television or radio, or even chat with a friend, neighbor, or co-woker without hearing about the current financial crisis. People are confused, worried, panicked. House values are falling, banks are failing, the government is bailing out companies left and right it seems, consumer confidence is down, the job market is getting tougher... the list goes on, and on, and on.
On the day of the 500 point drop in the Dow recently I remember talking to a colleage -- we both agreed that we have a ways to go before retirement, that we were investing in the long-term, and that any single-day gyration wasn't going to, in and of itself, derail our financial plans for the future. I have to admit, though, that the conversation took place with a bit of nervous uncertainty in the air -- as though we were attempting to reassure ourselves that this too would pass. It will, right? Right?
Some couple of hours later I was getting into my car to head home from work when something struck me.
I was thinking about a family we are acquainted with (let's call them the Smiths) and thought, "I bet they could care less that the Dow dropped 500 points today."
You see, Mrs. Smith, a young woman in her early thirties with a husband, and two children (a preschooler and a toddler), has recently been diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Their lives have been completely turned upside-down as their days have been filled with CT scans, blood tests, MRIs, radiation therapy appointments, making plans for surgery, and trying to arrange that their children are cared for during this upheaval.
Suddenly the Dow dropping like a rock, banks and other financial institutions failing, and the whole huge crisis didn't seem to loom so large anymore. I realized that worrying about these things is, in fact, a luxury. It means that I don't have anything bigger to be worrying about.
What the Smiths are facing, that's a crisis.
Worried about the financial mess? I only wish it were a luxury that everyone had the profound fortune to indulge in.
Russell (a.k.a. TMFEldrehad)