My money is in flames

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I don’t know about you, but all these media reports about the current financial crisis just make me want to curl up in a ball and catch up on “America’s Next Top Model.” But no matter how loudly I hum the theme song to “Army Wives,” I can’t drown out the voice in my head asking: What the hell is going on with my money?

Today I took a deep breath, turned off the DVR and opened up my financial accounts online. It wasn’t pretty. My brokerage accounts are down at least 30% year to date. The timing isn’t good; the paid portion of my maternity leave is about to expire. What’s more, with my dad moving in with us temporarily as we transition him back to the U.S., we need to make some small home renovations to accommodate his geezerness. All this means we need cash—at a time when liquidating stocks and realizing those losses would be a stupid move.

We’re in better shape than a lot of American families. Our mortgage is safe; our savings, though diminished, are solid; we carry no credit card debt. But we’ve just grown our family, and judging by how much she nurses, this new baby could eat us out of house and home. My husband is a freelance classical musician, and I’m guessing the bankruptcy of big-money sponsors won’t help struggling orchestras. Plus have you checked out the cost of diapers lately?

How’s your money doing, and how’s it affecting your career?