My 401(k) balance has been temporarily affected. I'm a long time from retirement (30 years), so I think it might just be able to rebound by then. :) Still, it's not fun looking at the balance. But this hasn't caused me to alter my retirement contributions. If anything, it's made me want to contribute more, because I think stocks are on sale at these prices. In addition to my 401(k), I'm going to try to fully fund our 2008 IRAs before the rebound. Overall, I think timing the market is a fool's game, but these are strange times where price declines don't seem to be rational. I may be wrong, but I doubt it.
My wife's school expenses were also affected. She attends a masters program at a state university that is normally fully funded by federal grants. This current fall semester the grants were not approved. I suspect (but don't really know) that this was caused by the crisis. We ended up having to pay more than $3,000 after initially thinking it would be free. The remainder of her program will likely go unfunded as well, so that stinks. We're simply planning to put back more short-term cash savings. With more savings required comes a little bit more living below our means. This equals less dining out, smaller Christmas gifts (for each other), and no big vacation plans this winter.
Send in your thoughts—either a brief description or essay up to 600 words—to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and location.