“No. It can’t be true. It’s not possible. I can’t believe it!”
“What’s wrong, Jack? For heaven’s sake, what is it?”
“It’s the stock market. It says here in the financial section that it’s dropped over 400 points. I can’t believe it. This is exactly why I didn’t want to invest all of our money in those funds. I knew something like this would happen, and it did.”
“Calm down, Jack. It can’t be that bad, you’re …”
“It can be and it is. I’m telling you, we’re in trouble. All our savings. Our retirement.”
Jack wouldn’t let it go. He ranted throughout dinner and late into the night. Shelly couldn’t get a word in edgewise, although she tried. All she could do was pray that her husband would see things more clearly in the morning.
The next day, however, Jack was still upset. “I just can’t think straight. I thought about this all night. Things keep going around in my head like a merry-go-round. I don’t know what’s going to happen to us.” He rubbed his hand over his bald head.
“You’re going to make yourself sick if you don’t stop fretting. Why don’t you call Brian? I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think.”
Jack relented and called their broker from the office later that day.
“The market is just adjusting itself after this last year’s rally. It’ll be up again soon. Be patient, Jack. I’ve told you before not to read the newspaper every day. The market is always going up and down. That’s the nature of the beast.”
“I know that, Brian. But we’re talking about my retirement here. I’ve only got a few more years to work and we’re counting on YOU to make us money, not lose it!”
“Okay, Jack. I hear you. But just relax and give it a chance to bounce back. It may take a month or so of volatility but it’ll smooth out sooner or later.”
Brian was right. The market continued to bounce back and forth over the next month, and Jack continued to worry. He couldn’t concentrate at work and couldn’t sleep at night. All he could think about was how helpless he felt.
Jack grabbed the last two antacid tablets from the bottle on his desk as his boss,
Mitch, walked in.
“Having trouble with your stomach?”
“I sure am. Doesn’t the NASDAQ slump bother YOU?”
“Well, I don’t figure I can do much about it, so I’m just riding the wave and waiting for things to settle. One thing I’ve learned is not to sweat the small stuff, or the big stuff, that’s out of my control.”
Jack couldn’t understand how Mitch could be so cavalier about his investments. When he got home that night, he slumped on the couch and closed his eyes. He was afraid to turn on the new for fear the Exchange had had another bad day. He hadn’t even read the business section of the paper that morning.
“You look terrible, honey.” Shelly gave him a kiss. “Is your stomach still bothering you?” He nodded.
“I think I should make you an appointment with Dr. Richards. Maybe what you need is some anti-anxiety medication or something.”
His impulse was to argue the point, but he was hurting too much to make the effort. “OK. Maybe that’s a good idea. I wish I were more like you and Mitch about money. I just don’t know how you can ignore the fact that we’ve lost thousands of dollars since February.”
“I understand, Jack, and I don’t know what to tell you. I just have faith that it’ll all work out in the end, and there‘s nothing I can do to change any of it anyway.”
She gave him a hug around the neck. “I’ll call the doctor in the morning. You try and relax while I finish dinner.” As she walked away, she said over her shoulder, “I sure hope you haven’t developed an ulcer.”
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