So since I've had some time to mull it over and internalize my little fender bender I'll start off by complaining about my rental car.
I'm driving an 2008 Nissan Sentra. It's...alright. It's not as underpowered as my mom's '03 Corolla, but it's sort of plastic and cheap looking/feeling. Not like my Mazda3 is lavish by any means, but even though it's plastic and cloth it still appears modern. This doesn't appear all that visually stimulating and it's really loud (engine noise-wise) in comparison to my 3. I'm only just starting to get used to it but it handles a lot differently and I miss my own car even if does eat more gas. I'll say the seats are pretty comfy, but the material seems like it's a magnet for stains. I'm driving the bottom rung of Sentra that doesn't have a clicky thing to unlock your doors and no electronic means to adjust your mirrors. No big deal as a commuter car but I do very much miss my remote starter. Once you have one you can't look back...you become spoiled by running into a warm vehicle. I'm also confused by the cupholder, which apparently can't hold just one cup because it slides all over the place. It works better if you have 3 bottles of something in there, then there's no room for liquids to rattle around and spill. I've already spilled my coffee a bunch of times because he was sitting in there all by himself without any bottle buddies.
I'm really exhausted, but work's been a lot better. I've been able to work through all my plans even though the market has still been volitile I think people are now getting used to it and realize that while it might be down 200 points one day it'll be up again within a few days. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but rich guys like Warren Buffet made their money buying into things on the cheap when stocks were low and undesireable and waited it out until the market got better and realized a significant gain on the initial investment. If you're a skiddish investor then don't buy into something risky...period. I think what happens is that people get greedy and they see that their pal bought into Fund X and was bragging about how he made a ton of money and then they decide they want to get in on the action. The difference here however is the market timing. If you're buying when everyone else has realized something is hot, it's going price is going to be a lot higher and you're not guaranteed to see the same return your friend did.
If it were that easy to get rich, everyone would be rich. I'm not saying that investing is bad, quite the opposite in fact but I think your average Joe doesn't know what he's doing and jumps into something for all the wrong reasons and then ends up lamenting his decision. Be smart and educate yourself about what your money is going into; don't assume it's good just because other people said it was.
I'm reminded of a Simpsons episode where Bart Simpson for whatever reason found himself in a position where he received a lot of stock options into a company. I believe he had an idea for a comic strip and a company bought him out and paid him purely in stock. While it was going strong they literally handed people stock like napkins. I think they had them printed on their toilet paper. Later on the company goes under, totally bankrupt and he goes back to them asking about his money because he's got like 3,000 shares of this thing. Unfortunately 3,000 shares of something that's worth nothing is nothing.
It just goes to show that you can learn anything from the Simpsons.