Slip Slidin’ Away

82EDCFFA-7070-4E09-8F87-3F6A84EEDF48I’m retired. My retirement money, aka my “nest egg,” is invested in several Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) plans. And my IRA and 401(k) funds are invested in the stock market. So I have to admit that when I look at the chart shown above and see my retirement savings slip slidin’ away, I am, well, concerned.

The Dow industrials tumbled 1,190.95 points today, or 4.4%, to 25,766.64. This brings the Dow’s slide this week to more than 3,200 points. So far this month, the market has slid 13% from a February all-time high of 29,568.

I am not a financial guru, and I am not sure what exactly a 3,200 point drop in the Dow industrials means. But I do know that since the beginning of this month, my “portfolio” is down about 7%. And when it comes to my retirement nest egg, “down” is not a word I want to hear.

Why is this happening? Why is the stock market plunging at a record pace? Well, this latest slide began on Friday, after news that the coronavirus was beginning to spread outside of China. By Wednesday, the disease had spread to Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, the United States, and numerous other countries.

Then late on Wednesday, Trump held a news conference and failed to reassure investors that his administration was taking steps to contain the virus.

And today’s drop, the largest single day drop ever in the Dow, is probably a testament to the confidence the markets and the public have in Trump’s new coronavirus czar.

Great Minds Think Alike

95B134E4-C385-4CCB-A520-5D551205FDFFIt took ten months, but sooner or later it was bound to happen. Three of the four daily one-word prompts I follow — my Fandango’s One-Word Challenge, the Your Daily Word Prompt, and the Ragtag Daily Prompt — chose the word  “fool” in recognition that today is April Fool’s Day. The one outlier was the Word of the Day Challenge, where the word is “down.”

Hey, I’m no fool, so I’m down with that.

IRS Hacked?

Just a few hours before today’s 2018 tax filing deadline, the IRS.gov e-filing system went offline.

Interestingly, the message below is what shows up when you go to the IRS website to try to file and make payments.

img_1233-3.jpgNotice that it’s identified as a “planned outage” that runs through December 31, 9999. Obviously that’s a typo. If you read the body of the message, it says the planned outage will run through September 22, 2016. Which is much better. That means that the outage is scheduled to end approximately 19 month’s before it started. Problem solved, right?

The IRS did not have an immediate explanation for the failure. However, IRS Acting Commissioner David Kautter testified during a House Oversight Hearing today that a number of systems are down at the moment and that they are working to resolve the issue.

I blame Russian hackers. I just wish they would have given me some advanced notice. I filed my taxes on Friday and my electronic payments have already been processed.

Thanks a lot, Vladimir.