Please advise

I'm not very interested in the ins and outs of the economy.  I vaguely understand the basics of this whole disaster, but let's review.  I promise it won't be tedious all the way through.  Skip ahead if you bore easily.

Mortgages were a good money maker, so banks sold tons of them, and when they ran out of people who qualified for loans, they just let everyone have one so they had more to sell.  Which sounds odd -- if you're in the business of wanting to get paid back, why loan to people who aren't likely to do so?  For example, I'm unlikely to loan money to that guy loafing on my couch.  But mortgages were sold and resold and bundled in groups, and it got hard to tell exactly what you were buying.  One guy loafing on the couch was mixed in with four working guys, but they got increasingly diluted by couch guys as time went on.

Remember when they used to sell mystery boxes at thruway rest areas? You could get a girl box or a boy box, and the contents weren't revealed until you paid, but you were pretty sure it was going to be amazing-- I always assumed it would contain a pony, or at least a saddle.  And every single time, it turned out to have a comb and a small mirror in it.  It's like that, but instead of being labeled boy boxes and girl boxes, the mortgage-backed securities were rated AAA, or AA, etc.  (Not to stray from the topic, but what was in the boy box?)

Anyway, one out of five mortgages were pretty sketchy.  Sketchy meaning people without jobs were able to purchase half a million dollar homes.  When people couldn't make their payments, because duh, they didn't have the income, the whole thing started to collapse, causing a bunch of banks to fail, and more people lost their jobs, so even more people couldn't pay on their loans.  Think snowball rolling downhill, or, if you want to get really depressed, glaciers melting.  I know, this is old news.

But here we still are, apparently in a double-dip recession (does that sound edible to anyone else?)   The fed is keeping interest rates low so that people will be lured back to the market again, but everyone's too chicken because Greece is about to fail, we owe tons of money to China, one out of ten people who want work can't get a job, and that 12 year old girl suffered brain damage from the HPV vaccine.  Oh wait, that didn't really happen.  But the rest, yes, so the mattress seems better than the market.  But the only way out of this mess is for people to invest in the market.

Which brings me to the point.  I mostly sat out the 90's, when people made and lost serious money in the market, because I was busy with babies and had no money and so on.  I sat out the 2000's, because I was a single mother working part time and trying to be in too many places at the same time and buy braces for the teeth of the children and so on.  Now that it's the 2010's, and the market looks like a done deal and all the smart people are getting out of it, I think maybe I should get in.  Is the stock market today the victory garden of the 1940's? 

Let's go back to my chore list for a second, which, I'm sad to say, I haven't made much progress on.  The pest people came out and treated for ants, but they weren't sure if I even have ants.  The gutter people have said they can't put gutters on my particular roof.  The insurance company doesn't seem to be home when I call about getting the damage to my car fixed.  And so on.  We could sum it up as lots of effort, zero progress.  But I did get an estimate for the car repair, and the shop said it will be somewhere around $2,600 plus a rental car for 10 days.

I started thinking, as the Dow was in a big free fall this week, that it might be good to just take the cash from the insurance company, and throw it in the market, and write about that.  I did what I always do when I want encouragement to do something kind of risky and stupid that I'm not particularly qualified for:  texted B.

"Thinking of investing.  Comments?"


I have no idea what an ETF is, so I googled it, and learned that it's the next toxic scandal.  So I thought I should ask you guys.  Please use the poll to the right (top of page), or comment.  You might need a little more information, though, so here it is.  The car is a formerly very cute Scion xA, 2005.  I plan to drive it as long as I can.  The injury is unsightly, but doesn't affect the functioning at all.


  1. How funny.....I would have bet at least $10 that I would be the only one posting about the Stock Market today, and here you are. One just never knows, does one?

    You might want to read my blog. I have just decided to take advantage of the low stock prices. I can't resist a bargain (?) I have never tried ETF's.

    I dare not give any advice, but you are not alone. Good luck.
    "It's Always Something"


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