Financial Crisis

With the economy going to shit, this really was a fine time to get out of school and start trying to establish a life – especially in southern california!  No one could really foresee how bad things were going to get I guess, but it sucks trying to be financially responsible with the way everything is right now.

I sent an email to the consumerist this morning – after WaMu’s collapse last night I thought this was pretty funny:

After getting to work this morning, I headed out to a local taco shop to grab a breakfast burrito with some buddies.  On the way back we passed the Washington Mutual on the corner of India and Ash in downtown San Diego.  There were two San Diego National Bank employees standing out front of WaMu handing out fliers urging WaMu customers to switch to their bank!

I thought this was a pretty bold marketing move – they didn’t waste a second!

Anyway, with all the banks collapsing, its funny to see how quick the surviving ones are to make sure you know just how financially secure they are, and that your money is totally safe.  Amidst all that crap, my dad sent me this article today, and it was actually pretty reassuring:

Keeping perspective in anxious times

Chris Jones
Christopher Jones,
Chief Investment Officer, Financial
Engines
Last week, my 401(k) account dropped. In fact, my 401(k) account has dropped in value quite a few times in 2008, leaving me with a balance that’s less than it was at the beginning of the year. I’m not alone. The headlines are filled with plunging stock markets, the failure of Lehman Brothers, dramatic mergers of companies like Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, teetering banks, a federal takeover of AIG, and a monumental proposed bailout plan that could put hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars at risk. With news like this, who wouldn’t be concerned? However, it’s important to keep a little perspective.

Though last week got off to a bad start, a funny thing happened on Thursday. The stock market went up more than 4%—the biggest daily gain in six years (Source: S&P). Friday followed with another sizable gain. Had I panicked and retreated to less risky investments on Wednesday, I would have missed big gains that nearly erased the damage from the early part of the week.

In times like these, it can be difficult to maintain a long-term investment strategy. The urge to just “do something” can be overwhelming. However, making big changes in your investment portfolio under times of emotional stress is usually a bad idea. A diversified investment portfolio, held for the long-term, is still the best way to accumulate wealth.

Financial Engines can help you keep your portfolio appropriately allocated and diversified in these difficult markets. No investment adviser can prevent market losses, but we can help you to avoid exposure to the worst possible damage.

Of course, we understand that many of you are nervous. Nevertheless, here are a couple of things that should not be worrying you:

  • The collapse of a single company will not impact the returns of a diversified fund by very much. Most funds invest no more than one or two percent in a single company, and often much less. Our diversified approach to selecting investments means the failure of a single company will not put your portfolio at risk.
  • Your retirement investments belong to you and are not mixed with the corporate assets of your employer or recordkeeper. In the unlikely event of such a corporate failure, your retirement assets will be protected.

Remember that trying to time the market is a difficult and treacherous game. In the long run, a disciplined and diversified strategy will give you the best chance of success.

Log in to the Personal Online Advisor service today to see an updated retirement forecast and personalized recommendations to help you remain properly diversified and on track. In these anxious times, we appreciate the trust that you have placed in Financial Engines and look forward to helping you reach retirement success.

Christopher Jones
Chief Investment Officer
Financial Engines

Looks Like I’m in for Surgery – Torn Rotator Cuff

I have been having a lot of trouble with my left shoulder lately.  I dislocated it in high school, and it has been wierd ever since, discloating when surfing, and since I’ve been wakeboarding hard core over the past year, it has been dislocated quite a bit.  At first it was pretty easy to pop it back in when it would dislocate, but lately it has been popping out and I can’t get it back in.  Even worse – it has started to come out in my sleep.  I’ll be sleeping with my arm stretched out, and in my sleep I will roll over on it and pop it out of the socket.  This has happened twice in the past couple weeks, and when its out, I can not get it back in.

The other day I woke up at 4:30 am and Danielle had rolled over on it and it dislocated.  I was up for the next 45 minutes, and could not get it back in.  She literally got up and got her laptop and was looking up how to put it back in the joint.  Finally I was able to pop it in by rolling over on it, but for the rest of the day, my entire arm was completely numb with a dull aching pain inside it.

Also, a couple weeks ago it came out in my sleep again, and I could not get it back in (this was around 3am), so I fell asleep with it out, and woke back up again around 5am with it still out, and then just forced it back in.

So anyway, it has slowly been getting worse, and now that the summer is about over and the good wakeboarding weather is fading, I figured its time to get it checked out.  I went to the doctor on friday, and had it checked, and found out exactly what I was dreading – I have torn the ligaments in my arm.  The Dr. said That I have just made it worse by continuing to ride and pop it out more and more, and that since its happened too many times, but arm is getting used to it being dislocated, and the muscles spasm when its out, and its going to get harder and harder to put back in.

Anyway…long story made slightly less long – I have to get X-rays/MRI tomorrow, then I have a referral to an orthopedic surgeon sometime next week.  We’ll have to discuss the best route (he pretty much said theres not really any other choice but surgery) and then get it scheduled.

Found some interesting info on the surgery here:

  • http://www.shoulderpainsolutions.com/commonproblems/tornrotatorcuff.asp
  • http://orthopedics.about.com/cs/rotatorcuff/a/rotatorcuff.htm

Wish me luck!