What the meltdown means to me, a married Midwestern parent


The short answer to the question, should I worry about the market meltdown?

Yes. And, duh.

The long answer: In many ways, I'm lucky. Having been mired in debt since graduating from college in 1992 and embarking on the rewarding (but not necessarily lucrative) profession of writing, I haven't had much to lose in the 401K and investments department. And even if I did have a hefty 401K and numerous investments, I'm 38 years old. I think it's safe to say that any Generation X'er or young Baby Boomer shouldn't worry too much about how their savings has been affected. I know that in my case, even if I wanted to retire at age 65--and being a writer, I'm kind of hoping to be at my computer until I keel over at the age of 106-- that's 27 years away. In some ways, that's a lifetime, although, in other ways, it's just around the corner. My point is, the stock market is going to have a lot more ups and downs and bubbles and bursts in the next 27 years.

So in the long-term, do I think someone my age should worry? No.

But in the short term, I'm glad I'm content with the house I bought in 2000, shortly before getting married and about 18 months before becoming a father, because we're not going to be moving any time soon, if, um, ever. I don't have enough saved for a downpayment on a new mortgage, and my credit history isn't going to inspire any mortgage bankers to fight over me. Meanwhile, with my old Saturn having finally keeled over a few weeks ago, I need a new car and already understand that if I'm going buy one, I'm going to either have to save up the purchase price--or accept the fact that the interest rate offered by many lenders is going to be on par with what you'd expect from a loan shark.

Yeah, in the short term, I'm concerned. Maybe even worried.