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Old 11-19-2006, 09:56 AM   #1
 
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 10:22 AM   #2
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
It was written by a financial planner that manages a lot of clients and their money.
Deadline journalism.

You'd think that the author would have seen this one coming-- he didn't live through it, so he has no credibility to explain why fear of the Depression is no longer relevant. It's laughable to attempt to equate "fear of a teenage boy calling a girl on the phone" with "fear of not being able to feed my family and freezing to death". (Geez, at least the author could've watched "Cinderella Man".) I think Depression-influenced behavior is a fine way of coping with what must have been horrific trauma of poorly-understood causes suffered by those who had to go through it no matter how well they perceived its causes. IMO this article's messenger has shot himself by failing to validate the very real pain & suffering and the lifelong behavioral changes it causes.

What I object to is having the Depression-era generation assume that their standards have to apply to my generation... or their grandchildren's. These survivors are ignoring all the social & regulatory mechanisms that have replaced what they went through. They're failing to see that it's a much different environment than they grew up in. But the author doesn't help these people grow & evolve by calling their fears "irrelevant". And he certainly doesn't help himself by acknowledging that a "perfect storm" could wipe away much of his vaunted faith in today's technology and modern money management.

I'm not advocating fallout shelters, MREs, bullion, & shotgun shells. But you can't get people to improve their planning (or their outlook) by casting aspersions on their fears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
So are you afraid of your money, that causes 'stupid' decisions?
I don't value my self-worth by my portfolio balance any more than others value themselves by their nice cars or their fine homes. And I'm not "afraid" that I'll never have as much money as the Watanabes or the Ka'anapus.

What I fear-- admittedly irrationally-- is not having enough money to get through some future calamity. In women this is known as the "bag lady with cats" syndrome, and in guys I guess it's known as the "failure to plan for every possible contingency" syndrome.

So in these syndromes, a dollar spent today might have its future value framed in terms of "Will I need this dollar for long-term care?" or "What if my teenager someday can't take care of her own family and I end up being a second-generation parent?" To someone retiring without a defined-benefits pension and/or healthcare that fear might be "What if health insurance goes up 15%/year forever" or "What if inflation runs 6%/year for the next two decades?" or "How in the world can I send my kid to a college as good as the one I went to?"

There's nothing wrong in dealing with your fears by putting up thousands of posts on a discussion board analyzing financial planning, examining contingencies & disasters, and educating each other. It's certainly better than dealing with it by constantly discussing it with your spouse, or by admonishing others to "get out there and live!"
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Fear is part of human nature. We are constantly in fear of losing something, such as money, power, fame, youth, job, and status. The more we have, the more we worry about losing.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

My DW/me had just met with our retirement financial adviser (about 3 months ago). Up till that day, I knew that we were FI (we're still employed), but it took the FA to tell her "you can retire, now".

After the meeting, we happened to come across a GM "display center" at a local mall. Of course, GM had "their best" on display, including a 2006 Corvette Z. My wife turned to me at that minute and said "this is the car you always wanted - I now understand that you (we) can afford it. Are you finally going to get it?"

I simply answered that yes, I know that I can "afford" it. Yes, it is something that I always wanted. But the fact of the matter is "would it make me happy?"

The answer is no. "Things" don't make you happy (e.g. "possessions"). I'm happy because of my DW. I'm happy that my son is doing well and on his own (even though he is disabled). I'm happy because I can give a home to my "rescue dogs" (see my profile link) and be able to afford all those things.

No, money is just a tool. I'm not afraid of it. Life is more than money....

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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 10:56 AM   #5
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

I agree that fear is at our core - it is part of our ability to survive. I remember an interview of Katie Couric by Baba Wawa(Barbara Walters). Katie said she still has fears of becoming a bag lady - even tho she has tens of millions in the "bank".
From fear....comes well laid plans.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 11:30 AM   #6
 
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donzo
From fear....comes well laid plans.
Well from FDR - someone who knows a bit about the Great Depression.


So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 11:59 AM   #7
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

I don't know about having a fear of money, but you have to admit that money has pictures of major ugly doods all over it. That could be pretty scary.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Rather than pre-judge everything at face-value, I believe in taking opinions as equal in value until I find something useful in them. I found some good things in the article:

"Life almost always returns to equilibrium. "
What I feared most last week has faded in importance. This week I may be equally fearful of something else. I think the quote states why that has been true.


" Even though many of us never experienced this difficult time, we have experienced derivatives of it by being raised in homes where our parents or grandparents survived it. "
My grandmother lived throught the GD & WW1 & 2, and she always told me to save money for a time when I would need it more. Because of that, I saved and now I have ER which I am enjoying.


"Action and appreciation are what will help you overcome your money anxiety."
FDR (and politics in general) should be ample evidence of the equilibrium theory! The voters pushed out the Democrats in the 1946 midterm elections.

"The best antidote for fear is appreciation."
A close friend of mine likes to say that he cannot be hateful and grateful at the same time. I like the simple logic in that.







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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 12:12 PM   #9
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Fear causes us to make extensive plans based on bad things we fear from the past. Things that happen in the future might be quite different. We really don't know what is going to happen and we can't plan for every contingency. So, fear is pointless. Measured prudence, on the other hand, is a useful thing.

Like a lot of people who were dirt-poor during the depression, my dad developed some habits that reflected his fear of becoming hungry and cold again. He was miserly and suspicious, and he hoarded food. In his old age, he was afraid of losing his money or of having it "stolen" from him by bankers and brokers, so he cashed in his modest investments and put them in his money market account where he could "see" it. This led to him having a huge tax bill in the year he cashed out his investments, which led to paranoia about the government stealing his money and so on. It was not a happy way to live.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 12:44 PM   #10
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Well from FDR - someone who knows a bit about the Great Depression.


So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
Remember, that this was largely whistling in the dark. The truth seems to be that were it not for Pearl Harbor and the subsequent ramp up for WW2, we might not have crawled out of the depression until some other exogenous or geo-political events forced change. Go back and read fiction from that period, and read concurrent essays- many respected people felt that totalitarianism was the only way out; that the fatal flaw of democratic capitalism had been laid bare. Large groups of the country-- trade unionists, intellectuals, artists-- had moved quite far to the left.

Often there is an apparent inevitability when looking back on events that is very misleading. They could have turned out quite differently. And then those outcomes would appear to have been inevitable to contemporaries.

Ha
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 01:18 PM   #11
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

C-T:

I wasn't very impressed with the author of that article. He clumped together at least two forms of 'fear' that I see and called it one, plus drew some potentially dangerous conclusions in the process.

I see child-like fear as different from adult-like fear. The author talked about his fear of calling a girl some thirty years ago and then projected this into financial matters.

Adult fear should be based on an understanding of facts and the possible consequences of those facts. And some of those adult-like fears can be back tested. We knew Hitler was a bad guy in the mid-1930s. We may not have been frighten enough at that time. It could have been a time where/when we could have done something about a legitimate fear existing in Germany. We didn't and the fears of some early prognosticators turned into reality WWII.

My point? There are some who have 'seemingly' legitimate fears about things such as SS and the national debt. Sometimes they offer evidence which may or may not support that conclusion. We should be willing, early and often, to examine those expressed fears for their logic and consequences and then determine if some modification in behavior, gov't or personal, will have good or bad consequences. Adult fears should be put into the mind for better understanding and a search for solutions. Child-like fears end up with conclusions such as 'Don't worry, be happy' or 'Oh my Gawd, time to run and hide under the bed.'

The author simplified fear that shouldn't have been simplified--to my mind.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 03:12 PM   #12
 
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Remember, that this was largely whistling in the dark. The truth seems to be that were it not for Pearl Harbor and the subsequent ramp up for WW2, we might not have crawled out of the depression until some other exogenous or geo-political events forced change.
Ha
You may be talking about the stock market and boom growth. The people that elected FDR 4 times, were probably more concerned about just having a job. The stability of the banking system was also completed well before WW2.

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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-19-2006, 06:07 PM   #13
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
So are you afraid of your money...?
Part of my thinking regarding ER is that it would have been a real tragedy to get there, and then become preoccupied with fear about money. I just refuse to go down that road, and having worked in a mental health related field, I believe that we can control our fears.

My interest in examining the minutiae of investments and tinkering with the portfolio has reduced dramatically since retiring. There may be some burn-out involved, but there may also be an element of self-protection at play. But the bottom line is that while there is no real security, I'm far more secure now than I have ever been in my life. The time for worrying was then - not now.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-20-2006, 09:16 AM   #14
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Well, there seems to be a lot of cocky-locky, the sky is falling posts on this forum. I don't believe it.

That being said, I have posted ad nauseum that I was poor growing up. It is very hard to get over that. I even had a friend give me the aphorism "once poor, always poor, no matter how much you have." It's a state of mind, and C-T's balancing advice, though constructive, is difficult to follow. It probably is awful to reach my mother's age, 86, and have half a million buck in Vanguard. What would you do with it?

My great consolation is, with my loot spread out among index funds, bonds, reit funds, cash, plus civilian and government pensions, if I go down, everybody else is going, too. So, then we have to fall back on our weapons and hoarding skills. I can do that.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-20-2006, 09:34 AM   #15
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

There sure are a lot of platitudes jammed into one editorial. Its hard to really find much actionable advice there - at one point we are even told "Generally speaking, listen and trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, either get a second opinion or don't do it."

But the theme seems to be about fear? If my instinct tells me to be fearfull, I should act accordingly?
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-20-2006, 02:59 PM   #16
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

I consider the issue to be anxiety about something we have not yet experienced. I remember that anxiety the first time I placed a buy order with my discount brokerage. I was alone. Before I had always had the broker telling me why I should do it.

Now I would have the same anxiety with puts and calls only because I have never used them. All other transactions are routine. How big a buffer do I need? Well I always open margin accounts, even for 91 year old MIL because it provides flexibility and buffer. And she insists that I keep $6000 in her checking account. I explained that I can transfer money into it from anywhere in the world on 5 minutes notice. But it's her money so I just keep the (zero interest paying) balance at that level.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-20-2006, 03:04 PM   #17
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan
Now I would have the same anxiety with puts and calls only because I have never used them.
As long as you only sell covered calls or buy puts/calls, it is pretty much impossible to blow yourself up.
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-21-2006, 12:14 PM   #18
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Well, there seems to be a lot of cocky-locky, the sky is falling posts on this forum. I don't believe it.
I'd worry a lot more if we didn't see so many "wall of worry" posts...
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-21-2006, 10:31 PM   #19
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OkieTexan


"The best antidote for fear is appreciation."
A close friend of mine likes to say that he cannot be hateful and grateful at the same time. I like the simple logic in that.

Okie, your interpretation of the quote is right on. But when I first read it, I had a second, more mundane thought: "the best antidote for financial fear is appreciation -- of the portfolio!"

Markets have been great for 4 years now, but we all know that won't go on forever. If you want to see a lot of fear postings here, try tuning in when things next get to the point they were in summer and fall of 2002. Living off a SWR during times like that is humbling and can be psychologically challenging-- I think we all smelled a little of that wolf at the door then.







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Re: Are you afraid of Money?
Old 11-22-2006, 07:56 AM   #20
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Re: Are you afraid of Money?

ESRBob,

Thats why I like having enough in cd's/treasuries to get me to ss age without having to touch equities in a down market. Having said that, a correction like 2002 will still be uncomfortable to watch when/if it takes place.
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