FALLING STOCKS AND FAMILY BONDS

When the Dow Jones average plummeted on Monday, I felt panicky(like everyone else.)  In truth, the downslide was not even in the top twenty of daily market plunges percentage wise.  But the numbers were frightening.

My father, a prominent stockbroker, used to reassure me about market fluctuations and I felt safe while he was alive.  But he died in 2005, and now that he is gone, I have to be my  own self calmer.

Not alone in this endeavor, I have some financial people who I can talk to about what is going on and they never seem to get rattled.  During the crash of 2008, I called them asking advice on how to proceed as the downturn was historic.  Their advice, “turn off the television.”  So, I did and left the portfolio alone.  In retrospect, a good move.

But the hysteria from the media is contagious, and I hesitate looking at the daily rises and falls of the market out of fear.  My family has been generous and I feel responsible for maintaining the money to leave to my daughter.  I am solely the custodian of the funds, I feel, not the owner.

My grandfather was also a stockbroker in Baltimore, after selling liquor from a wagon in St. Joseph, Missouri.  Because of these family ties, I assume I should know what to do about economic problems, but I don’t.  Usually, I follow the advice to buy good stocks and hold them.  When I don’t know what to do, I do nothing.

I like to buy into companies I am familiar with-Coca-Cola(love to drink it,) Reebok(the only shoe I could wear when I busted the nerves in my feet from running,)  and QVC(I knew there were other lazy shoppers like me.)  I skipped the tech enthusiasm of the 1970s.

My dad told me that bulls and bears make money on Wall Street, but not hogs.  So, I am not interested in the latest hot tip, nor in getting the perfect return on my money.

I just hope the volatility settles down in the right direction, and that I have the patience to remain calm when it does not.

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