It seems one would have to go to a desert island to altogether avoid the stories circulating the financial news media. While I have intentionally tried to tune some of it out, I have noticed a few things.
- Our stock price has been sliced in half, despite being in one of the industries that should be considered the most shielded from current events. I think this is yet another case-in-point to indicate the stock market is driven more by irrational mood swings (fears at times, exuberance at others) than by efficiency. I consider myself a long-term investor, so I have vowed not to look at my next 401k statement and hope once the panic has settled, people will realize the fundamentals are strong.
- The government is trying to spend money in hopes it will help. Someone forwarded me an article that looks at the $700 Billion stimulus package as a "cost per homes passed" (which I think is a particularly useful way of thinking of it). If you look at it this way, according to Light Reading, the government is planning to invest $6,250 per Home Passed -- enough to bring fiber optic broadband to every home ($600/HHP) plus solar power to 50% of U.S. homes. Any way you slice it, that's a lot of money (and it better not end-up in the pockets of banking executives collecting "performance bonuses")
- Gas prices are down. Lowered expectations on economic growth have lowered upwards price pressures on oil. Something good had to come out of all of this.
- Life goes on. Still eating 3 times a day. Still driving for 25 minutes to get to and from work. Still happy to get home at night and see the wife and kids.
At the end of the day, these are all things I cannot control. Whether I worry and fret about housing prices or enjoy and am grateful for the good things I have. Whether I stress or relax. Whether I glue myself to the TV and watch the blow-by-blow action or tune it out and spend time with my kids. I cannot change the economy or make it better. I can only live my life, do the right things, contribute my grain of sand and hope that in the long-run things will work themselves out.
And so it is with this attitude I go to my first meeting of the day without grabbing my first donut of the morning (Shaun Andrews hired TimeWise --he is off today-- and they are a little late). I expect any minute now there will be 60 beautifully laid-out treats at my desk. Give them a few more minutes and then come on down and do those things you can control. Grab a donut, and don't worry that there will only be 59 donuts (or less) left by the time you get here.