Using the stock market like a mood ring is dumb.

English: Phillippine stock market board

English: Phillippine stock market board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mood rings were all the rage in the decade before I was old enough to really appreciate fads. Future generations, after much research, determined they were nothing more than body temperature indicators and novelty items.  Imagine looking at your ring, seeing red, and thinking “Wow, I must be really angry.  I don’t feel angry… but wait, now I am really MAD!!”

I think the mood ring is a good analogy for the stock markets today.  Most of us know how we feel about the economy regardless if the market number is red or green.

If I don’t have a job, haven’t found work in a long time, downsized to the point of meager existence, the markets jumping up 200 points in one day doesn’t really have a direct effect on my life. I still have to pay my bills and hit the pavement the next morning, like millions of others.

If I have a small business, I know if I have more customers this month than last.  I can look at the average amount of money customers are spending on items or jobs, and determine if I am growing, shrinking, or remaining exactly the same.  If I am in a growth cycle, I will hire. If I am shrinking, I will fire.

If I am lucky, gainfully employed, and the markets will affect my portfolio, then I will rejoice. I can provide the basics for my family, keeping food on the table, and roof over their heads.  I may not be able to retire when I want, or provide the Disney Christmas experience, but I can provide.  A market drop may be a reminder to simplify, but it won’t destroy me.  I will work hard every day at my job to make my company better and be the best asset I can.

If I lose my job, I will face the harsh reality of being unemployed. But I still need to get up every morning with the optimism that today is the day I will find new work.  I may need to look for assistance, face under-employment, or adjust my life to make my family my priority.  I won’t need the market to tell me that I have fallen on rough times, the bank will do a good enough job at that.

The only barometer I need for my life is me.  If I lose everything tomorrow, I will still have my family, true friends, and my ability to work hard to make a future life for myself.

When I see the headline, “Stocks see worst day of the year after weak jobs report”, it should only be a reflection of life as I am living it, not something to set my mood.  Journalists shock you, make you want to read more, incite feeling to elicit the “click” on their headline.  My advice, don’t freak out until your life tells you to. And if your life tells you to freak out, try to make tomorrow a better day, despite what the markets do, because at the end of the day, it’s all you can do.  That, and vote.

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About Blurb My Enthusiasm
40-something-yrs-old and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. My resume reads like a food court menu: educator, dog walker, product manager, executive director, managing editor - and that's just the notable titles. I entertain all offers and consider myself up for the job until someone tells me I'm not. I've never been fired. What I lack in direction, I make up for in enthusiasm.

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