Where has all our money gone? We earned it! We saved it! We spent it?

Jim Sandrick


A landmine’s nature as a weapon is especially harmful to civilian populations because it's indiscriminate, inhumane and plentiful. 

There are financial landmines, as well. Things seem to be going well with our retirement or college funds, then wham! The Bull gets wacked by the Bear. All that growth we counted on dropped about 50 percent from 2000 to 2002.

When asked, too many people say that they were up 50 percent and back to where they were. No! Down from $100,000 by 50 percent, then up 50 percent only equals $75,000. They didn’t think about the lost opportunity costs; all because of some bursting of a dot-com bubble loss an average of 49 percent.

By 2007 we were back up on top of the charts ... OK , not really. But we were back, baby! Then October 2007 to March 2009, some “long-feared bursting of the housing bubble became a reality beginning in 2007. What did they do to us now? The rising mortgage delinquency rate quickly spilled over into the credit market.

By 2008, Wall Street giants like Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. were toppling, and the financial crisis erupted into a full-fledged panic. By February the market had fallen to its lowest levels since 1997. A double wham! From Oct. 9, 2007, to March 5, 2009, we lost more, 56.4 percent. So, in about half the time we lose about 56 percent.

Investors who moved away from market risk to fixed rate investments need to check out the history of inflation.

In the last paragraph of last month’s column I suggested stepping back to rethink want vs. need. We need a car. But, instead of buying what we need, we buy that one. The one we want. We just lost thousands when we drove it off the lot. Car payments, taxes and insurance are higher. But, friends were really impressed.

According to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some seniors are carrying more debt into retirement after years of helping children and grandchildren. Some seniors turned to credit cards after facing an unexpected financial shock like large medical bills. Contact a credible credit counselor today if you need help.

Out of 25 million places to Google, this was the first one I read. Jan 23 — Turns out, old student loan debt can eat up your Social Security payments. If you default on federal student loans, the government can do whatever it wants. If parents or grandparents cosigned for a student loan, guess what?

This is what we did and it works. We sold that wonderful 4,000-square-foot home we raised our kids in. We now live in a 1,600-square-foot home. 

There are more ways to make cuts, but more on that next time when we talk about empowering rather than enabling. That’s a tough nut to crack, but critical for your future.

Jim Sandrick is a certified senior adviser. Opinions are solely the writer’s. He can be reached at jim@sandrickfinancial.com.