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Subject:  I Lost a Fortune Today, and I'm Proud of it! Date:  9/27/2002  10:44 PM
Author:  babyfrog Number:  35063 of 79817

I follow a very automated saving and investment strategy. Once a month, on payday, money gets automatically taken out of my paycheck to fund my 401(k) and an ESPP. Additionally, automatic transactions pop money out of my checking account to fund some DRiPs, my savings to go into my Roth IRA for next year, and a few cash accounts for emergencies and to fund some upcomming purchases. My budgeting, saving, and investing motto is "You don't miss what you never see."

I have a spending problem - cash burns a hole in my pocket. I cannot be trusted with my own money; I fully admit that (Other people's money, I'm great with, but my own, I spend like water). As a result, when I got serious about finances, I determined that the only way I was going to save any real money was to have it automatically removed from my paycheck and/or bank account on payday.

As a result of prioritizing my life, budgeting to live within my means, auto-investing on payday, and automatically adjusting to hide darn near everything from my last few raises, I've managed to build up a pretty nice sum in my retirement accounts, considering that I am 27 years old. I typically only check my investment balances once a month, on payday, to make sure that the automatic transactions all went off without a hitch and to update my records. Today was payday, so this evening, I made my routine check and update.

After I reconciled all the balances and numbers, I was in for quite a shock. The "Today's Change" column showed my investments losing more money today than I take home (after taxes, benefits costs, and other automated transactions are deducted) in two months! Two months!!! That is the largest one day total loss I ever remember seeing in that account. Needless to say, my initial reaction was one of shock, dismay, and dispair. I even had some preliminary thoughts of abandoning this strategy for one of "bury it in coffee cans in the ground".

After the initial shock wore off, however, reason (or was it 'rationalization'?) prevailed. I realized a few very important things - things that eventually, made me proud of the fact that my accounts lost the equivalent of two-months take ho