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Who Just Can't Look?
Old 10-12-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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Who Just Can't Look?

It's juvenile I know, but I know a lot of people who claim they are not opening up their online 401k, brokerage or other accounts. They know their net worth has taken a huge hit, but they just don't want to see it and know exactly what the carnage is in $. Before you think I'm all high and mighty (on this at least), I haven't looked since 9/30 - I always review my holdings at the end of each quarter (at a minimum).

My HR Manager had to go on our 401k providers site to answer a question for an employee, and her account balance popped up. She did not want to know, and her heart sunk when she saw her balance, it was sad - but hopefully we will all be rewarded in time...
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:48 AM   #2
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I never look at it during a market correction....but then again, I am still working and have more savings years ahead of me...
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:54 AM   #3
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i looked just for an instant like i do at car crashes. i keep moving with one eye scanning traffic. i don't rubber neck. i take a quick snap shot, not a video. i make myself aware but i take care that it does not indelibly imprint upon my mind.
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:56 AM   #4
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Well, let us assume you are down minimum about 25%. I not only look, I'm reading and studying this like crazy. It gives me a feeling of control as this entire situation is so out of control for me. But I do understand why saner people than I am don't want to look at all....you're probably better off (and lacking in the heart palpitations I am having the last couple days).
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Old 10-12-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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I *like* looking at my portfolio. I want to know, and absorb the shock, and contemplate the wisest course of action (which is often just doing nothing). When I forget to look, I kick and berate myself for not looking and rush to vanguard.com .

It's sort of like getting free admission to a disaster/horror film like "The Towering Inferno", "Titanic", or "Jaws".
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:01 PM   #6
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Not looking when your account is down is kind of like ignoring health symptoms.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:37 PM   #7
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I haven't looked since Monday. Just can't bring myself to see what I already know.
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Old 10-12-2008, 12:51 PM   #8
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I *like* looking at my portfolio. I want to know, and absorb the shock, and contemplate the wisest course of action (which is often just doing nothing). When I forget to look, I kick and berate myself for not looking and rush to vanguard.com .

It's sort of like getting free admission to a disaster/horror film like "The Towering Inferno", "Titanic", or "Jaws".
I feel the same way, as I posted in another thread, and feel a little guilty at my fascination with this train wreck of which I am one of the box cars.

But I've been through more than a few train wrecks in my life and I know how to manage my own crises and survive. I'm glad that I have not been living above my means and have lots of wiggle room. I, too, want to know where I stand, so that I can take appropriate action, or do nothing.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:04 PM   #9
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I look at first I rant & rave and then I figure out what the lower figure will really mean and any actions I need to take .
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:22 PM   #10
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Have not looked for several weeks. I know it will be bad. I had sold off about 10% a little a while back but don't intend to sell any more at this late stage. I should have followed my tinfoil hat instincts to the fullest; it was a battle between them and the Firecalc/Bernstein AA "I will survive" philosophy.. Well, I'm sure we'll "survive".. just not sure I'm gonna be liking it much in the meantime.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:32 PM   #11
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My sister has been buying Starbucks stock - and nothing but - for years. She looked brilliant - multiple splits and bunches of profit. Tried to suggest that she diversify several months ago, but my stock picking is comparatively recent and not wildly profitable. She didn't wanna look, but did last Friday. Not a happy girl.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:35 PM   #12
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My sister has been buying Starbucks stock - and nothing but - for years. She looked brilliant - multiple splits and bunches of profit. Tried to suggest that she diversify several months ago, but my stock picking is comparatively recent and not wildly profitable. She didn't wanna look, but did last Friday. Not a happy girl.
Too much stock in one company is generally not a good idea -- especially the type of company that's likely to take a huge hit when consumers pull back on their discretionary spending.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:39 PM   #13
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Good description.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
i looked just for an instant like i do at car crashes. i keep moving with one eye scanning traffic. i don't rubber neck. i take a quick snap shot, not a video. i make myself aware but i take care that it does not indelibly imprint upon my mind.
That's more or less my approach.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:43 PM   #14
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I looked just to see if things were so out of whack that we needed to rebalance. To be honest, I'm not fazed. I realize that the last week hurt people and I can empathize with that, but still... I was more amazed by the fact that I had enough invested to be down by $60k. That's more than I made for the years of '92-'99 combined.
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Old 10-12-2008, 01:48 PM   #15
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Out of morbid curiosity I keep a line on my spreadsheet for "low point for 2008." I originally put it in after the big dip early in the year. It used to be refreshing to look at that number after a brief dip - it was always lower than the current dip. But for quite some time now every time I run the sheet I have to put that day's figure in as the "lowest."
But so far so good. When we talked years ago about our stomach for risk DW and I agreed that we could sail smoothly through a 50% drop. If we hit 60% or 75% I don't know -- at least it will be too late to panic and pull everything out.
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Old 10-12-2008, 02:02 PM   #16
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Instead of "talk like a pirate day", I do the "look like a pirate day". I put a patch over one eye and squint with the other one. Arrrrrr.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:09 PM   #17
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To me, it was too late to pull out by summer, but that's just me.
Calmloki, you might give your sis a head's up that Starbucks is going into the crapper, to put it delicately. $3 coffee just won't cut it in this economy I think.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:11 PM   #18
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$3 coffee just won't cut it in this economy I think.
Especially with McDonald's offering their alternatives now.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:23 PM   #19
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I was more amazed by the fact that I had enough invested to be down by $60k.
Me too! We're down 65K last I looked, and on the one hand, I was impressed we have that much to lose.

I wasn't going to look, since my previous policy was to look only every 6 months. But then someone here pointed out that if you never look when it's down, you don't really know how bad it gets. We're still accumulating so it's a lot less scary than it probably would be if we're retired. So now that I know, when we see big drops in the future I'll know it's not the first time and we still made it ok.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:02 PM   #20
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I'm looking, because I worry more about what I don't know. Also, the bottom will be my new baseline.
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