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Boston Globe Magazine: “Way Too Invested”

By agonizing over every tilt and tumble of the bear market, I overlooked my best holdings.

Some excerpts:

   As someone who has an unfortunate tendency to turn to comfort foods in times of stress, it would be in keeping with my character to add in pounds what our stock portfolio has been losing in value. Given that we are now several months into the financial meltdown, you would think it would be time for me to start looking into adding concrete reinforcement to the floors of my home and researching where to procure a cattle hoist to affix above the bed.
But I made a promise to my husband that I would try to weather this economic storm without gaining weight. This means, for the time being, at least, steering clear of my “go to” comfort foods of three-cheese macaroni and sweet potato fries.

* * *

    We have been married long enough to have experienced times when we had frighteningly little money, then almost enough money, and, more recently, a comfortable amount of it. And I must admit, the last few years had been giddy. I would spin figures in my head as I idled in traffic, adding numbers from various investment accounts to arrive at a sum that, thanks to a surging stock market, seemed to grow at the rate of a young child with an unlimited milk supply, It was exhilarating, and certainly a nice way to spend the time waiting for a red light to change.

* * *

    The next time the Dow takes a tumble, I vow to tally assets not so vulnerable to the vagaries of this economy. Frankly, any system that is up and day and down the next, with past performance no indicator of future success, sounds to me more like a typical marriage than a highly evolved global financial network on which to pin my hopes. No, from here on out I will rely on a new type of reckoning: Good health? Check. Loving family? Check. Great friends? Check. I never was much good at math, so I’m hoping this new system of accounting will work for me. And if it doesn’t? Well, I know where I can find a heaping plate of sweet potato fries.