Thursday, September 18, 2008

Panic Attacks and Media Shenanigans

So far, I've done alright in the grown-up department. I've done the job thing, the married thing, the mortgage thing. But I tell you what, I hate paying bills. Hate. I hate it so much that I've been known to, well, not do it, Office Space style. I just 'forget'. Luckily, the hubster is more grown-up than myself and picks up the slack. It's a trade off: he hates doing dishes so guess what that means...

It's a little strange that I have such an aversion--both mental and intellectual aversions--to all things financial. I'm not kidding: finance related data approaches the folds of my brain and quickly flees. Yes, scientific information apparently does the same. Somewhere, I am missing a chromosome because both--count them, BOTH--of my parents are in finance! Mom--accountant. Dad--Financial Planner. How they stay sane I do not know.

So growing up with a stock broker/CFP father renders a young lady a little immune to the shrieks of the media every time the market takes a little dip. But I have to admit, when I learned that Merrill Lynch, the very firm with which my father is employed, was to be sold, and that banks and firms were literally dropping like flies, I grew a little concerned. And then when and Wall Street Journal started using words like 'crisis' and 'depression' and 'meltdown', it was clearly time to put a phone call in to Dad.

As is to be expected, dear old Dad was relatively unconcerned. No Kate, people aren't going to be wheeling their cash around in shopping carts. No, I'm not going to lose my job. Mostly, he reminded me, yet again, that it's less about how many points are lost and more about a percentage loss. "Five hundred points in a day means nothing. Twenty five percent in a day, that's something," says Dad, financier extraordinaire.

It was a little Twilight Zone-ish because he said that the market's probably declining because everyone wants to sell just in case Obama gets elected and doubles the capital gains tax, as he's promised. (Dad is still without power/TV/internet courtesy of Hurricane Ike). I turn on 'Mad Money' or some other bogus show and BAM! That's exactly what they said. Voodoo Dad.

Of course he gave me all the other hem-haw about having a 'diversified portfolio,' whatever that means... But he also said that Merrill Lynch's merge with B of A is actually a good thing? Wha? It's highly possible that he's taken the whole 'bull' market Merrill theme a little too far.

Long story short, I'm pretty much done with the media's toying with our emotions. It just makes people act crazy--like tell all their friends to sell all their stocks and then say, "See! I KNEW it was going down!" The drama, really. No wonder this country has high blood pressure.

Is anyone else done with this media foofaraw? Ugh, this is a 'Just Say "NO!" to Media' situation. (Graph courtesy of

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