I’m there too. My 401K is down almost $1000 since the end of last month; my Roth is down $1500 from the beginning of the year. I usually try to ignore the news, because as the balances drop & the talking heads screech I want to move all my money into my mattress. (If I started doing that a year ago, I’d be ahead right now.) No matter how reasonable I try to be, I’m freaking out.
It doesn’t help that Chad insists I tell him what to do with his money, and he now is yelling at me about the market’s performance. Because I totally have control over this.
I considered reducing my contributions to my 401K. I know you’re not supposed to do it. I’ve been trying to find a reason to do it (I could save it for the wedding!), and the only thing that is keeping me from changing it right now is that I wouldn’t get that much extra cash by scaling things back. A 5% decrease in contributions will be less than $100/paycheck. Wow, I’m sure that extra $700 will cover a lot toward the wedding!
When things get tough, I turn to Excel. Spreadsheets soothe me. I made a pie chart to track my spending, similar to StackingPennies’ “Where is My Money Going?” post from a few months ago.
I really want to get the savings up to 50%. The charity spending should go up, as should gift spending. I’m going to change my federal tax allowances so that I have less withheld from my paychecks. I checked the IRS calculator, which said I should set it at 6, but I still like to get a refund, so I’ll probably just bump it up to 2 or 3 allowances for now. Otherwise, I guess I’m pretty pleased.
So what are you guys doing? Silently freaking out but taking no action? Taking everything out of the stock market and putting it into your mattress? Plugging up your ears and singing “LALALA” to block out everything?