We have a golden opportunity to practice what we have been preaching: “don’t worry about losing thousands of dollars in a second, this is totally normal, markets go up and down (you just don’t remember young one), don’t make stupid moves out of fear, keep your eyes on the long term horizon, this too shall pass, you still have time, this time is no different”, etc. etc…
Rationally, I get it. Emotionally, a little anxiety started creeping in. Not to worry though as I am determined to not let feelings win this round! Take that heart, said the brain!
Dealing With Sneaky Feelings
I am trying to focus on things I can control and creating positive distractions for myself. For example, I am still going strong with my two personal challenges of the month: vegetarian diet and no technology Sundays (affectionately dubbed Tech-No Sundays by my sweet son). In addition, I am still enjoying the “no (stuff) purchase challenge” for a year with no issues.
I am feeling pretty good about these challenges, and hope to continue with some of the habits learned so far as they do make a difference (though in full honestly mode, while still limiting meat substantially, I will probably still have the very occasional Chicken Burrito Bowl from my beloved Chipotle upon finishing this challenge…. sigh, I miss you!).
In addition, we are tracking against expenses, despite a few unplanned medical bills (the scariest part of the expense side of the house, if you ask me!). Oh and I am kicking butt at work (according to my very unbiased opinion) – go me!
With that said, on the assets sides things are a little less rosy. For a brief second, we saw our liquid assets hit $650k this month, only to be back down to $620k a few weeks later even after adding a few thousand dollars in contributions during that time. Ouch. I had forgotten what that felt like!
After some reflection, my husband and I agreed that we are comfortable(ish) leaving our already invested money where it is and we will, but not necessarily adding ALL our new money into the market right now. With that, we compromised and will do the following:
We will continue to add pre-tax 401k and HSA funds in the market but use post tax extra funds to up our emergency cash stash (to 3-4 months vs 2) and increase our mortgage payments significantly. As a reminder, we are hoping to add in about $140k per year in new inflows, of which about $80k is post-tax.
Is this the best financial decision? I don’t know, but it does not seem the worse decision either, especially as it brings some peace of mind. At least we did not decide to go spend it because well, YOLO! (midlife crisis under control folks….for now).
We will revisit as circumstances change of course, but, if this is the path we take the rest of the year, we will likely not meet our EOY asset goals, however, we would crush our debt repayment goal. We are ok with that. Now, should the market take a steep dive soon, we will get back in the market full swing and revert to min mortgage payments until we get cold feet again.
Now tell me, how are you coping with this natural but by now not so familiar volatility? Are you ready to stay the course? Let’s do this!