Six Tips for Staying Sane in this Economy

I entered what I call “bad news fatigue” a few weeks ago. That means I no longer slap my forehead quite as hard when I see news of more financial idiocy. I just shake my head when I hear news of government screw-ups or rate cuts. If you haven’t yet reached the point where you no longer care about the latest financial news, your 401K balance, or the attempts of our government to fix it, here are some tips to help you get there.

Be Glad You Didn’t Invest with Madoff

If you lost money in the market, you may make it back if the company survives the recession. If you’d invested with Madoff, the money would be gone forever. Fortunately, most readers of this blog haven’t invested with him. If that’s not silver lining enough for you, be glad you’re not the SEC investigator who epically failed to spot this problem at any point during the past ten years. He’s so fired.

Just Stop Looking at the Stock Market

What’s the point, really? It’s up one day, down the next. There’s no rhyme or reason. Just leave your investment strategies in-tact and don’t look at the market unless you need a tax loss. There’s nothing you can do to change the situation anyway.

Remember that at Least Gas is Cheap

I paid $1.75 a gallon this morning. It cost me less than $16 to fill up my car. Just two months ago I was paying around $35 to fill up. That’s quite a savings! I’m not convinced we’ll get back to the $1 gas we enjoyed in 1999, but $1.75 is much cheaper than the nearly $5 I was paying before.

Think “Hey, It’s Just Money”

$700 billion is so large a number that I can’t even wrap my head around it. And they say the total recovery plan is closer to $1 trillion. I can’t even comprehend that figure. But apparently the Fed can, and knows just where to find the money – they’ll print it. I mean, it’s only money, which is really just a piece of paper that signifies some artificial value based on gross domestic product as compared to the gross domestic product of other countries. Does that make your head spin a little? Go with that feeling.

Turn to the Food Network

I was in a bank the other day and noticed that the TVs were showing the Food Network. There is never any bad financial news on the Food Network – unless you attempt to total up the cost of Sandra Lee’s alcohol. Don’t like food? Try the golf channel. No bad news there, either. As long as you never change the channel and don’t turn on the radio, you won’t hear bad news so you can pretend the world is sunny again.

Spin Around in Circles

Remember when you were a kid and you’d spin around so fast you’d feel sick to your stomach? You probably already feel sick to your stomach from all the bad financial news. Why not give yourself a more fun reason to feel sick? Put your arms out and spin. At least the nausea will distract you from the financial reports. Or it will put you in the same place as our government – which seems to be spinning in circles and accomplishing nothing.

None of these will actually fix the situation. We lay people can’t really do anything except go on with our lives. If you let yourself worry constantly, you’ll just get an ulcer. Instead, welcome the “bad news fatigue” into your life so you can turn your focus to more important things, like decorating the tree and determining the exact quantity of brandy you need to add to your egg nog.

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