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January 13, 2009


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I am fairly young (mid-20's) and have not had long to save in my 401k. That said the decrease in my balance far outpaced my contributions, and the 30% or more decrease in the value of my home has dropped my net worth into negative territory.

I have done most things "by the book" and still find myself underwater. I just did not have long enough to save before the downturn. Oh well, I guess I have a much longer time horizon for things to recover, and I am investing my dollars at a much lower starting point.

Even then, it is going to take me years to make up for the loss of home value.

2008 was a so-so year for me in absolute returns but spectacular in terms of comparative returns. For the year, my investments were up about 5%. Which is okay, but fantastic compared to a 38% loss in the market. 2008 was the year I discovered technical analysis as a tool to being a successful active investor in the stock market, and also the year in which I discovered there is money to be made in shorting the market. Although the amounts I invested through these tools were very small (whereas upwards of 90% of my savings were in cash almost the entire year), I am hopeful that technical analysis is a skill I will continue to learn and develop in order to be a disciplined and ultimately profitable investor.

I did a quick calculation, so not entirely correct, but I figure that I am down about 14.8%. Not bad considering the benchmarks.

I feel your pain, FMF, we lost $6,7000 from our $290,000 401b portfolio. And that was with a moderately stock-heavy portfolio. I'm still throwing money at it but it feels like it's just going down the drain. Sigh!

Down about 19%, pretty close to FMF with probably a little bit less cash saved (we started saving big time in cash in Dec 2007 for a new car and a kid)

Year on year, my net worth is up by 1.1% for 2008. This is due to 56% weighting in real estate (and my living in Rochester, NY, which has not really been hit by the RE downturn). I also have a 60% saving rate which offset my equities drawdown of roughly 29%.

My net worth went up this year by a whopping 1%.

I took a huge hit in my retirement investments but I was able to offset a huge chunk of it by having a fantastic year salary-wise and continuing to invest large sums periodically throughout the year. Surprisingly, my saving grace was the equity in the value of my home (which, although debatable, I do include in my net worth). The suburb I live in has become increasingly popular in the down market and values skyrocketed last year -- enough for NPR to mention the town in a real estate report a few months ago.

Our net worth is down 16% for 2008. We are only 10 years from retirement (*ahem* WERE 10 years from retirement!), so this feels like a significant hit. I just keep refiguring what needs to happen in the next 10 years in order to reach our goal. Right now, we are committed to saving/investing 50% of our income and planning on the stock market being flat. Some days, I think I may be being overly kind to the stock market, though..... :)

I just calculated our net worth and we were down 24%.It was a double whammy - housing market and stock hit. As others have said it is a good time to buy some cheap stock!

I have a portfolio of index funds and a smattering of individual stocks. I paid off my mortgage in June of 2008(home/mortgage valued at 800k) and started investing after that period. So I started putting money right before the market peaked along with purchasing shares of financial companies(real winners like Citigroup!). Not including my paid-off house, my net liquid worth is down 65%. I have no debt otherwise and live well below my means. My time horizon is 25-30 years before I need the money invested. It hurts when I look at my statements. No more stockpicking for me. I will average heavily into this crap-pile of a market.

I have actually seen a forty percent increase in my family's net worth. Now mind you we are in our mid twenties so the actual numbers are not staggering. However, our net worth finally reached the six figures this year. Which made me happy to see progress.The key factors in our increase are

1) housing prices were I am from are pretty stable
2) My wife and I have eliminated all debt this year(outside of mortgage and student loans)
3) We doubled are mortgage payments
4) We have been aggresively saving for our new house
5) We never stopped investing throught the year

I love this blog and have been reading for awhile. It is nice to see a forum where you can have people give their honest fiscal situation.It's nice to see how others are doing and that I am not alone when it comes to saving and investing.Most people I know think those are four letter words.Anyway,Good luck everyone and lets hope 2009 is a good year for the bottom line.

My net worth actually went up about 35% in spite of stock losses and property price reductions... I had a good year in 2008. Sadly it won't be repeated in 2009 from the looks of things.

Keep hunkering down and saving. Hope the gov't won't try to steal it beyond the usual means (taxation and ultimately inflation)


Sadly, my net worth took a 14.7% hit overall last year. The only thing that saved me from a disaster was that I recently moved a 401K rollover from the market into CDs. Why? Because of a fear of the market. I was hoping to be in a position to retire in five years and have been trying to pay off my mortgage by 2012 so I can "exhale." Now, I am more concerned about holding on to my job. So I have placed myself on spending lockdown. I eat all meals from food that I prepare at home. I am indulging in no activities that cost money. I am putting about 34% of my net income into savings so I will have at least a one year reserve in case of umemployment. Once I get that accomplished, I will concentrate on paying off my mortgage. You may think I am foolish, but at my age, 55 and single, I am afraid of the market and am going to stay away from it.

^^^Carol, I don't think you're foolish. You've been around for sometime now (55 years), so you should have a great idea of what works best for You. All the best.

My net worth is up probably 100% this year. I have been out of college less than 2 years. I moved on to a jobsite in May of 08 that pays nearly twice what I was making before. I have been saving about 55% of my gross income since my raise.

". For 2008, my net worth declined 15.74%" ... "... a 15% loss in 2008..."

The net worth decline is not the same as loss, since you contributed the new money in 2008. Plus your home is included in your net worth. So you cannot compare 15.74% net worth decline to 38% stock market decline. 38% stock market decline is actual loss; whereas your net worth in 2009 is equal to your net worth in 2008 minus loss plus new contributions. It'll be interesting to see the actual loss on your investable assets.

My net worth is down around 8.5% approximately but the actual "return on investment" on my money - both the money I had last year and on new contributions - is around 22%. The difference between these two numbers is due to a) stable home value b) additional savings and investments. This is approximation based on quick calculation.

A few factors:
1. I max out 401K and my company adds 10% of my salary (6% match + 4% compensation for frozen pension plan). I also save over half of my paycheck.

2. At the end of 2008, I had over 40% of my assets outside of stock market - this includes stable value fund in 401K, cash/CDs and bonds.

3. My home value is pretty stable, and my home is paid off. NY real estate hasn't been affected as much by the crisis as the rest of the US, although this is probably only a matter of time given all layoffs in NYC. We are in the commuting distance...

Incedentally, comparing net worth losses across posters isn't that meaningful: the more money you have the more likely your losses are much higher than what you can possibly save in a year.

I'm keeping my eyes closed till 2010.

2009 will be worse. 15% down will be ahead of the broader market. Cash is king.

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