Staying Sane While Wall Street Crashes

By: David Leonhardt a.k.a. The Happy Guy

Everybody is riding the Wall Street Roller coaster. Even if you are not invested, the headlines scream out one word: PANIC!

It's hard not to join in the panicking. The Panic Crowd seems to be having all the fun these days. But they don't have all the happiness. You see, it's true what your mother told you: money doesn't buy happiness, at least not for most people. But the lack of money does buy pure misery.

Did you ever wonder why so many office towers have fusion-sealed, micron-proof windows to keep office workers safe from any semblance of fresh air? It has to do with the stock market. During The Great Depression, just too many brokers were jumping out of windows. This enraged a nation of vengeful investors, who demanded to kill their brokers personally. So henceforth all windows were sealed.

(The good news is that by the time the windows were sealed, The Great Depression had ended, so there have been very few reported cases of enraged investors killing their brokers.

However, there have been several incidents of "office air suffocation syndrome" -- but that's another issue for another column.)

Oh no! Not another Top Ten list!

Here are The Happy Guy's Top Ten Tips for Staying Sane While Wall Street Crashes Around You:

  1. Don't panic. Enough people are doing that already; you're needed elsewhere.

  2. Don't join the Panic Crowd. They are NOT having more fun, they just act that way to attract new members fold. Misery loves company.

  3. Take inventory. Do you have the basic necessities? If so, you are OK. When they come to take away your television remote control, then panic.

  4. Smile at your neighbor. A smile lifts everybody's spirits, but most of all your own.

  5. Remember the Great Depression. It sucked, but people survived. It's amazing how many non-essentials we take for granted. Rent a movie about the 1930s, sit back, and laugh about how much better our depression is going to be.

  6. Learn a new skill. In hard times, it pays to be very, very employable. And you may even be lucky enough to have two jobs. Oh, wait. That's our problem now.

  7. Start saving now. Then when the bottom falls out, at least you'll have something to live on for three-and-a-half weeks.

  8. Start spending now. It's folks like you, saving all your money instead of spending it, that are killing the economy.

  9. Stop listening to people telling you to save or to spend. In fact, stop listening to news about the markets. It's just too depressing.

  10. Ignore top ten lists. They are way too gimmicky and seldom give any truly useful information (except for this one, of course!)

There you have it. The Happy Guy's Top Ten Tips for Staying Sane While Wall Street Crashes Around You. All the advice your mother didn't tell you about financial markets, and more importantly, about keeping happy while others suffer. The bottom line is don't panic, don't invest all your emotions where your money is invested, and focus on what really matters.

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