May 18, 2024

Bucks: Just Ignore the Crisis du Jour

Carl Richards is a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah. His sketches are archived here on the Bucks blog and on his personal Web site,

Unless you were under a rock on Friday, you had to endure endless chatter about the impact of the looming government shutdown on our lives. By the time you woke up Saturday morning, it was over, after a suspense-filled, last-minute deal averted what had begun to seem like sure disaster thanks to all of the minute-by-minute updates.

At its height, the chatter verged on comical. Venture Beat warned that initial public offerings would be delayed. But the bright spot for the day was that the Cherry Blossom Parade would go on even if there was a shutdown.

I know that the impact to federal employees would have been no joke, so here’s my point:

1. The shutdown didn’t happen.

2. There was almost nothing any of us could have done on Friday afternoon to change the outcome.

3. There will be something new to worry about today. Or tomorrow for sure.

It’s amazing how often we fall into this trap of worrying about things that are simply not problems yet. Most of the problems we face are not even really problems at the time we’re tying ourselves up in knots. Often these “problems” serve only to call up regret about how we responded to a real problem in the past or worry about something that has a small chance of happening in the future. But none of these things are within our control. So why waste the time?

Because emotion plays such a huge role in our financial behavior, it’s critical that we not act on irrational fears about the crisis du jour. History has shown us that the best way to meet financial goals is to have a plan, get to work and avoid reacting to each and every one of the latest crises.

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