I Gotta Right to Sing The Blues

Screen shot of S&P 500 via Google 4/15/2020

Bylaw 1.7(a)(4-3) of this blog’s charter states… ‘A topical post relevant to retirement must be published at least three times a year.

Seriously?! You’re really going to take your readers THERE? You could also write about the virtues of removing impacted wisdom teeth; people are about as interested in that too right now.


That vexing alter ego of mine. She always knows how to rain on my thoughts.

Yeah, yeah, I know: “she.” You Italians, Irish, and Catholics out there will certainly understand: a Jewish mother doesn’t just die and move on to a heavenly afterlife; she continues to monitor an offspring’s every movement. In my particular case, Mom has been whispering borsht belt-style warnings to me nonstop for the last ten years.

All the same, she does have a point. Retirement finances aren’t exactly at the top of everyone’s list of things to ruminate on at the moment. With the stock market decline completely wiping that earlier smugness from our index fund-owning faces, some of you out there have wisely decided that it’s easier to put energies elsewhere. Such as focusing on health and welfare, perhaps?

But can one completely ignore the blood bath? Even those of us who normally aren’t major news consumers, are at least glued to coronavirus statistics in our local areas. And we should also acknowledge that keeping everything straight was challenging even prior to the onset of this pandemic, what with a president who sucks all the oxygen from our collective mindfulness.

Still, with all of us sitting for endless hours in our homes, I’m telling you right now that I can only count Gayle King’s matching eyewear so many times each morning before I go bonkers.

Gayle King: only her optician knows for sure
Source: KMOV.com

The experts tell us to ignore the stock market during corrections. Stick to your plan and make no changes. Or alternatively, if you can, add to what you already have by sending in additional funds and take advantage of the dips. I wholeheartedly agree, so I’m being pro-active and am researching elastic futures now. Pretty crafty of me, eh?

For those of you half-covering your eyes while reading this, fear not: I will not be forcing you to visit the soul-sucking details of my own financial situation here. We both know it’s likely to be a very similar dynamic to what’s happening in your own virtual piggy bank. If it’s true that misery loves company, its corollary here is that silence is a source of great strength. So no over-sharing today, I promise.

Unfortunately, Gorgeous and I haven’t been able to completely sit on the sidelines and ignore everything. Late last year, our previous financial advisor decided that his work with us was done. He gave us his recommendations and then promptly ghosted us. He abandoned ship; left us at the alter; gave us the ‘ol toodle-pip. It was completely unexpected, and it forced us to find a totally new one. This was way back when the word “corona” was merely another word for crown. You know, late January

We started up with our new advisor in early March, and only recently finished completed his recommended changes to each of our savings. That we were actually making these changes during the same period as the daily market plunges were happening, only added to the grim and gore. It was kind of like your junior high science teacher forcing you to dissect a frog. Except so much more fun.

Thankfully we’re back to ignoring everything again. Well, I am. Gorgeous is actually one of those people who is adding and buying on the dips. Nobody likes a showoff.

So stay strong out there, my friends. Money is obviously important, but our health and welfare takes precedence over everything, especially now. Keep wearing those masks, stay home still as much as you can, and save that extra carton of eggs for the person patiently standing six feet behind you.

Until next time…

33 thoughts on “I Gotta Right to Sing The Blues

  1. Yes, I hear ‘ya. Despite what it means I like your line: He abandoned ship; left us at the alter; gave us the ‘ol toodle-pip. This *correction* gibberish is difficult to accept when you’re at home, with time on your hands, able to look at your own personal numbers hourly. Our numbers suggest that Zen-Den will never retire, which I can guarantee you is not what we want to see. Yet here we are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya, Ally. After I retired, I was logging in everyday to look at the numbers. It wasn’t so much that it’s a bad idea to do so (it is), it’s that I was seriously afraid of looking like one of those guys in retirement. And I didn’t want that. So I’ve been really good about only looking once a week, usually on the weekend. Poor Zen-Den. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I stopped looking. Maybe twice a year I’ll check the statements but I started to get paperless statements because they were easier to ignore! Yep, health is more important. We meet with our adviser once a year. His goal is to keep us out of the trailer park. Every year he tells us we’re good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It seems your former advisor got out of the business in the nick of time (before the corona crash). Leaving you guys to fend for yourselves doesn’t seem very professional though. Good luck with your new guy. No matter who is advising you, your facial expressions alone are priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He must have a crystal ball, Joe! My suspicion is that he knew from the moment we started with him that he would only give us one report and that was it. But he led us to believe that we’d be connecting again this spring, which is why I contacted him. Yes, not very professional. I’m not worried about this new guy doing the same thing because he’s getting a monthly retainer from us. He’s stuck with us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes to everything you wrote, Marty! For years now, I have looked at my investments 1X/week (every Friday) and dutifully logged the numbers on a spreadsheet and even graphed them. As a result I got used to seeing occasional big dips. That helps me now but this is still the biggest dip since I started tracking. Ah well, what you gonna do? Nothing, that’s what!


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  5. I don’t look more than once a quarter, when I update my spreadsheet. I have to admit being pretty pleased with myself for maintaining a fairly steady balance (not that I had that much to do with it, I realize) despite no longer receiving a paycheck and regularly spending money on travel and life accessories. Now that things aren’t looking as rosey, I’ve decided to ignore it altogether and let my husband – who is more into it than I am – keep an eye on things. This too shall pass and me worrying won’t help. Btw, I love the curl in the middle of your forehead; very Elvis of you 🙂 .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, man. I never noticed the curl. If I had only curled my lip too, I’d have had something going for myself there. “… in the ghetto…

      I think not looking at the figures is really the way to go, Janis. As you point out, worrying won’t help at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That is one pained expression right there! And I hear you loud and clear – I have been watching the markets, though perhaps not as religiously. But then, I didn’t have an advisor bail on me right before this all hit us.

    My current advisor has been with me since for about 25 years. I’ve weathered several crashes, mostly by ignoring them. I don’t intend to make any changes.

    But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried that the governments will turn to our federal pension plans when they run out of bailout money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I take lots of comfort that he was only advising and never had control of the levers and buttons, Maggie! 🙂 Wow, 25 years, that’s great. I was running on my own hubris steam for most of my working years, thinking I had it all under control. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realized I needed a hand. I think the new guy we found is the charmer — we had a long introductory talk where I made sure he would stick around for a while!

      I worry also about all of it draining out to government authorities with their hands out (said the boy who moved to a no-income tax state). But that’s a worry for another day, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I check my accounts quarterly so I had to look recently. Plus we met with our financial advisor in early April so I couldn’t avoid it any longer. Like others, I keep a spreadsheet of the quarterly balances. It was depressing to see that we’ve lost everything we gained over the last two years. I tell myself it will recover and I hope that’s true. Since worrying does nothing to change it, I have not obsessed over any of it. But I can’t say it isn’t a little distressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely, Linda. Those 3:00am wake-ups I get somehow end up having to do with money more often than I’d like. But thankfully in the light of a new day, I always remember that I can wait all of this out. I suspect your plan is built on a similar premise. We’ll get through this!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not changing anything because I don’t have the money 😂 when you don’t have money you don’t have a choice and well no need to think about it. Keep safe Marty. Every time I listen to the news where you are I get worried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s sort of where I am too actually, Vy. Whatever I get each month for the most part goes right back into paying bills. Gorgeous actually gets to send in more to her savings, and I’m jealous as hell! lol

      Thanks for the concern. Except for visits to the grocery store once a week, we’ve not been going anywhere. What makes it challenging right now is the high number of impatient people who are “tired” of restrictions, and so they’re getting out there too early. It makes us only want to stay home more. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I saw the protests. Over here for most part has been okie. Our numbers are way down. Still locked down until May 11th. Here is hoping the government will relax it a bit after that date.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Retirement is one of those pipe dreams I used to have, but I now expect to work till I drop. My state retirement age got moved from 60 to 67 some years ago, oddly around the time that a relationship break-up totally messed up my financial planning.Friends look at me sadly and say “you should’ve married him” but, ever the dewy-eyed romantic, I was waiting to be asked (he was apparently waiting to be told). Still, it’s only money … and Himself is desperate to live in a converted Soviet-era army radio truck anyway, so we won’t need much 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laughing hard here about Himself’s low-cost, self-contained desires. 🙂

      Ah, yes, ex’s and retirement. In my case, I have the reverse issue: my first marriage was official, and now I’m paying dearly! My ex gets a specific amount from my pension, plus she gets alimony each month. It was what gave me pause about retiring as early as I did, but I decided we could still swing it in spite of those obligations and challenges. The alimony will end if she ever gets re-married. So if you know any man with money who also has a pulse… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Marty, to a large degree, hearing about a colleague who had a similar experience to yourself – and didn’t marry his new love because otherwise his ex-wife would have rights to her earnings too – is one of the many things that made me a bit anti-marriage. I’m also still a cock-eyed optimist at heart, determined to believe that people are generally decent to one another & there should be trust in those sort of relationships. 😉

        But yeah, if I meet a rich single man in the future, I’ll be sure to give him your number so you can introduce them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. You are right Marty. Retirement finances and that virtual piggy bank do occupy part of my brain.Thank goodness for all of the canned beans in the cupboard. I also agree how health and welfare takes precedence. I was wondering where you were going with the song, and then I went back to your title. Good one. Beautiful picture behind the grimace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sort of force myself to write these financial posts, Erica. I know their not everyone’s cup of tea to read (it’s a very dry topic), not to mention that for some people it’s also a vulnerable issue in their own lives to have to think about. But for me, though, it’s an important milepost. My retirement journey was enacted on a bit of a “wing and a prayer” with my decision to do it about five years early. I am lucky that it’s all worked so far, but I still like to chronicle the process now and then (“snooooooze!”).

      I’ll let Gorgeous know that you like her painting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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