Got Me Down – HumbleDollar

Got Me Down Richard Quinn  |  Jun 28, 2022, 2:37 am ET

THIS IS A NEW feeling for me. I’m constantly stressed about money. The thing is, there’s no valid reason for it. Nonetheless, I’ve taken to constantly checking all the details of our finances—investments, bank accounts and, most important, spending. All this from the guy who says a budget isn’t necessary.

While I still believe in my simple strategy—don’t worry how you spend, but never spend more than your after-tax income minus savings and never charge more on your credit cards than you can pay off each month—I couldn’t help checking exactly how we’re spending our money.

I found that all of our ongoing expenses—housing, utilities, taxes, insurance, even my wife’s salon visits—are easily covered. But I also found there’s a chunk of change going toward eating out. I’m thinking that’s indicative of the stress factor and that I’m trying to buy myself some relief. What’s going on?

Upon reflection, it seems everything that’s going on is what’s going on.

The stock market is nuts. Don’t tell me that, in the last two years, my average annual return was 16%. I’m looking at the $300,000 decline in our net worth since Feb. 1.

Next, I calculated that 2023’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will be at least 7.3%. But somehow, I don’t find that comforting, especially when I just spent $6 a gallon to fill up my car.

Participants in a recent survey said their first line of defense against inflation was to travel less and eat out less. I can understand why.

Adding to my stress: My car was damaged in a freak storm. A piece of roofing smashed both headlights and short-circuited the car’s computer. The dealer just called and said the repairs will cost at least $6,000, plus sales tax. Yeah, a big portion will be paid by insurance, I hope, but it still adds to my stress.

On top of that, I received a notice from Medicare that it denied two charges stemming from my recent surgery. The charges were $8,000 each. I have no intention of paying those surprise charges, but it’s still unsettling.

I can’t imagine how a person who doesn’t know much about health insurance would deal with such a notice.

If the current economy and stock market can stress me out, what’s it doing to the majority of Americans, who have far less money?

We’ve been through times like this before. But it’s little comfort to most Americans that this too shall pass, that sooner or later inflation will wane, and that the stock market will recover.

There are lessons to be learned—about portfolio diversification, being a long-term investor, having an emergency fund, watching discretionary spending. Perhaps we should even rethink the type of car we drive—and where we park it.

Source: Got Me Down – HumbleDollar


  1. So, are you buying the dip? We are downsizing and the equity from the present home is enough to pay off the new one. Do I pay off the new one (5% loan), or keep the loan and invest the proceeds (about $300k)?


    1. From my non expert opinion I would pay off the loan – always like debt free. But it depends too on your age, sources of retirement income, and, of course, the risk you can take if you are living off investments.


      1. Enough pension to live comfortably. Paying off the loan (plus lower utilities) will leave us enough to invest an additional $2k/month in “scary?” index funds.
        The winner (or loser) will be the kids and grandkids.


  2. Into each life a little rain must fall

    Sometimes even a Boy Scout isn’t or can’t be fully prepared.

    You and I are both old enough to remember the 70’s and early 80’s – crappy investment returns, double digit inflation, noteworthy unemployment, Iranamuck, Watergate, etc. Hopefully, tomorrow, the sun will come out, and it will again be “morning in America”, for you and for me, and for all of us.


  3. I too am stressed about the economy. It is the inflation creap that is getting to me. I am in danger of not eating but it is case of what would have cost us $50 two years ago is now costing $70. Every time we go to the grocery store we are getting less and paying more. Noticeably less. Any trip that takes 25 miles is how an extra $5 in gas. It is unsettling. We are watching our money very closely to make sure we don’t run out and over spend each month. But I been here before in high inflationary times. The difference is that I am not working and I can’t make extra money working OT.
    I think I worry more about my kids. I warned them that this day would come. They couldn’t fathom it. Luckily, they learn the lesson of carrying as little debt as possible while raising their kids. They will struggle but be ok.


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