There are two types of people in the world, glass half-full people and glass half-empty people. I'm a glass half-full person. An optimist. Someone that feels that luck is on her side, and appreciates it. I know I may annoy the glass-half empty folks, but before you dismiss me as an over-the-top Pollyanna, consider the choice you are making. It is actually a choice.
- Bad News--Housing Market: My house is worth several thousand dollars less than what we purchased it for five years ago. It may drop even further. I'm an optimist though, I do think it will eventually turn around. I could let myself get caught up in worry and fear, or perhaps sell my home and wait out the decline in a rental. Instead, I choose to focus on the fact that I want to live in this house for a very long time, regardless of the value.
- Silver Lining: I can benefit from the decline in value right now, by saving several thousand dollars on my property tax bill this year. That's real money, not just paper money on a balance sheet, real dollars in my bank account.
- Bad News--Stock Market: The value of our retirement portfolio has dropped even more than our home has. We may be in for some further declines, but I'm optimistic that things will turn around, eventually. I could let myself get caught up in worry and fear, perhaps sell all of our holdings and wait it out in cash, gold, or food supplies and guns. Instead, I chose to focus on the long-term history of the American economy and stay diversified. I cannot control the direction of the stock market, so it doesn't do me any good to obsess about it.
- Silver Lining: As I mentioned in a previous post, our spending in retirement is under budget so far, and way under what we used to spend when I was working. As it happens, a dollar not spent is more valuable than a dollar earned. I might not be earning much (if anything) on my investments, but those lost dollars of income aren't worth as much as a dollar saved anyway. In my state, $100 of income only adds about $60 to your bank account after tax. But $100 not spent is still the whole $100 in my bank account.
Filling the Glass
There's plenty to worry about these days. But I am entirely unconvinced that obsessive worry does any good, for your health, for your economic security, or for your relationships.
Choosing a positive outlook and being grateful for the good things about your life won't hurt you, and may actually help.
My glass is filled with good health, the love of my family and friends, the beauty of a walk in my neighborhood, the joy of growing my own produce, the fun of a game of tennis with my husband at the local school, and the wealth of an amazing selection of books and DVD's at my local library.
I choose not to focus on what's not in that glass.