Continued irrationality from the Congress as well as the financial sector may gradually destroy the country. I don’t know. Today, however, on the heels of the Sequester going into effect the Dow reached an all time high. Equities have risen now past where they were when the financial disaster hit us in 2007. As a result many retirement portfolios which were cut in half at that time or shortly after the have now been rebuilt. Your retirement account is now rebuilt. Don’t let it ride. Get out of the market. Consider yourself lucky.
If you are at or near retirement or you expected to retire in 2008, and you’ve waited, hopeful that your cut-in-half retirement reserves could be rebuilt, you have no excuse. It’s time to liquidate and get out. Do what the markets believe the average investor never does. Sell high! If you’re already retired, and you have let some of those diminished retirement reserves rebuild as equities from 2008-9 lows, then it’s also time to get out of the market and into bonds or something very safe that is unlikely to tank in the years to come. But consider a hedge. Cut expenses. Learn to do some things for yourself. Learn to grow some of your own food. Convert most of that stupid lawn into vegetables and fruits. Pay off remaining debts if you can and enjoy life.
Of course, you may not be near retirement. You may not even have a job, at least not a good paying one. Do the best you can. If you are hit in some way by the sequester, fight back. Your hours may be cut or you may lose your job. Find something else to do and cut expenses, or do something for others who will pay you. Assess your skills and make them pay. If things are really hard, find others in a similar position. Combine resources and skills. Learn from each other. Work for each other and with each other. If you have little or no land where you can grow some of your own food, find some that others have abandoned and plant something that does not require constant care. Learn how to help the land repair itself. Let your crops grow in among the weeds so that their yields do not attract attention. Sometimes a farmer will let you have a small area which for some reason is hard to use or which may have been over-planted and does not yield good crops. Do some reading. Learn how to bring spent land back to life and use the land to help feed your family.
These are potentially hard times and if the Congress continues to try to pay down the debt times may get harder still. We don’t know how long the downturn will last. But it’s possible that in the years to come when we have worked our way out of what comes next that you will look back on these days with the fond memories they may generate if you look upon them as a challenge. You may be pressed severely to get adequate shelter and food. You may work very hard and have very little to show for it, but even if you only have is your resourcefulness, it should see you through.