Nightmare on Wall Street: Will the Blood Bath Continue?


Nightmare on the Wall (Street)

Courtesy of jflaxman

The headline for today’s (Saturday, Oct 18, 2014) post I ripped off from a major financial media outlet. I’m so ashamed.

It was the actual headline from a piece they put up this past week to describe the market action on Wall Street. They should be even more ashamed.

Yikes! Nightmares and Blood Baths. Oh, my.

So what actually happened? Well, let’s see.

The market, as measured by the S&P 500, stood at ~1908 at the opening bell on Monday October 13th. This was already down ~100 points, or 5% from it’s all time high of ~2008 a couple of weeks back.

By Wednesday it had dropped to ~1823, triggering the “Blood Bath” headline and many more like it. That was another 4.5% drop, bringing the total loss from that all-time high to ~9.2%. Not quite the 10% that defines a market “correction” — a common and healthy event.

Also not quite enough to make it worth my trouble to rebalance my allocation and pick up some now cheaper shares. Even if I had been quick enough to do so.

And quick you’d have needed to be. Thursday and Friday brought the S&P back up to ~1887, trimming the loss from the all-time high to a meager 6%. Oh, well. Maybe next week.

So what to make of such a headline?

Well, perhaps the author has never actually seen a financial nightmare or blood bath and so mistook this week’s little blip for one. Or maybe the dramatic Halloween themed phrasing was simply too sweet to resist. Or maybe it is no more than the media’s relentless need for attention; a scary new costume to wear for the day.

But if the financial media is in such a tizzy over this not quite correction, imagine the panic if we get a real one. Or a Bear (-20%). Or an actual market crash of 40%+. With “nightmare” and “blood bath” already used up, it’s gonna be tough to write headlines for those.

Of course it is all too silly. Sensible people know we’ll all be dead of Ebola before the month’s end.

Meanwhile, here at we had an actual nightmare. After getting steadily more and more glitchy over the last several weeks, the blog crashed and burned. I won’t bore you with details, but the issues were major and tough to resolve.

Fortunately, I had gotten an excellent response to my Help Wanted post. As it happens, I was in conversation with my new personal hero, Lucas, when the blog fully ground to a halt. He jumped in and after two days of almost non-stop effort the site is back and the issues mostly resolved.

My apologies if you tried to log on this week and found it either completely down or painfully slow. It should be all better now with just a couple of formatting issues yet to be repaired.

If you tried to leave a comment this week, please check to see if it made it through. One of the issues was the blog got slammed with a huge volume of spam. We were dumping it overboard by the bucket full and buried in the tens of thousands might have been yours. Please post it again.

Also, if you’ve posted a question bear with me. Not having access to the blog for the better part of the week, and all the time this has taken, has me behind. But I’ll get there.

The really cool thing to come out of this has been the chance to connect with some great people, like Lucas, who so value what happens here they stepped up to volunteer their help and ideas. More than I can possibly use.

My thanks to those of you who have already helped and to those still standing by, ready and able. It has been an honor to connect with each of you and a relief to know you have my back.

In addition to the technical support needed to solve these immediate issues, I now have access to still more cool ideas and the talent to implement them.

One change you’ll already notice is the ads that had been in the right hand column are gone. The banner ad at the top and the square ad imbedded in some posts, like this one, are from Google Adsense. I have no control over what companies and products appear. But if you choose to click on them and poke around on their sites, this blog earns a few bucks to keep the lights on.

The other source of light-keeping-on revenue around here are the affiliate partners. These are companies and products I do choose. You can tell which ones, because I write a full post about them describing why I endorse them. But this is tough. There is very little out there I think enough of to recommend to you.

So far, I’ve only found three: Betterment, Talent Stacker, and my most recent Empower. If you click on the links in those posts, and then chose to buy from or do business with those companies, the blog earns a commission.

I’m excited that I have finally found a fourth and hope to have a post up about them shortly. You won’t believe what the product is, but I’m already very happily using it myself.

Oh, and if you are wondering why I don’t have an affiliate relationship with Vanguard, it is simply because they don’t have them. Maybe someday…

In addition to the changes with the ads, shortly you’ll be seeing some new features in that column. There might even be a new theme and design in the works. Plus I’ve got a folder full of post ideas waiting for me to make the time. So stick around and keep a sharp eye.


While Wall Street is having self-induced nightmares and the blog has gone thru some real ones, Mrs. jlcollinsnh and I have been out and about enjoying the New Hampshire Fall.


I hope the world and life is as beautiful where you are!

Update –Monday October 20: The market closed today at 1904, down 4 points from where it stood at the beginning of last week — the week of nightmares and bloodbaths. That’s down .002%. You can’t make this stuff up.

Update 2 — Revenue spike: Since putting up this post I’ve noticed a spike in ad revenue. This is odd because, as I mentioned above, the Skyscraper ad that used to appear in the sidebar has been eliminated. I did this for a cleaner look and I fully expected, and was prepared to accept, a drop in revenue as a result. The only conclusion is that some of you have chosen to support the blog by clicking into the remaining ads. To those who have, I thank you!

Update –Friday October 31: Today the market closed at a record 2018, just 12 trading days since dropping to the low of 1823 that triggered the Bloodbath headline. Happy Halloween!

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Jon S. says

    Like my Great Uncle J.L. Collins always tells me…market fluctuations are normal and are to be ignored. No diving out the basement window here. Now not being able to access this sight a couple of days ago…that was frightening! 🙂 Thanks for the heads up on ways to “keep the lights on around here”. I will peruse the “sponsors” ( both soild products ) and look forward to hearing about the 3rd ( my $ is on Dapper Dan’s hair pomade or a quality beer product 🙂 ) Fall is my favorite time of year…looks great out your way. As always…thanks for all you do. All the best…Jon S.

      • Dividend Growth Inve says

        I ignore fluctuations. I only view declines as an opportunity to buy value at a discount.

        Of course, the positive of dividends are that they are always positive, and have a high probability of increasing over time. Hence, a diversified dividend growth investor does not need to worry about having to sell during a market correction.

        I am sorry to hear you had blog problems. One of the reasons I am reluctant to switch to wordpress or another template is because I am terrified I would hit something, and end up breaking something to the point I would just abandon the site. Probably that’s irrational, but I want to live my life with one less problem on my mind.

        • jlcollinsnh says

          Not irrational in my experience. 🙂

          One change or update inevitably leads to failures elsewhere.

          I’m very glad I stumbled into WordPress from the start. I keep hearing now it is the best platform, but if I was on another I’m not sure I could face changing.

  2. Carlos says

    The market decline hasn’t phased me this time despite being (potentially) months away from RE. In sharp contrast to 2008 (granted the market fear is MUCH less) I’m hoping for some moderation or slight declines so I can buy some more while I”m overweight in cash.

    My liquid NW is 5.6 times today what it was at the end of 2008. After the crash of ’08 and fear of losing my job I built up my F*ck You money!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hola Carlos!

      Of course back in 2008 the decline was far more than this recent not-quite-a-correction. 🙂

      Are you still in Mexico?

      • Carlos says

        Still in Mexico (well not at this very moment). My time there ends very soon, perhaps in March. I’ll be commuting more frequently as I reintegrate myself back into the US.

        On the work-front I may actually have to whip out my F*ck You Money and walk away early next year as it seems I don’t see eye-to-eye with the bosses back in HQ. Could be an interesting chapter opening but all is very uncertain at this point. I’ll send you an email 🙂

  3. Mr. Frugalwoods says

    The past couple of years market returns have been EPIC. Probably too epic. It’ll be good for the economy if things slow down for a while. A 10%-20% correction would be a good start.

    Though with oil getting to be so cheap, consumers are going to have extra money in their pockets going into the holiday season. Might not get too much of a correction if that goes well. Add into that equation the false hysteria about Ebola which will certainly subside in the coming months… and I see decent times ahead.

    Of course, my investments are automated so whether I see sunny skies or the apocalypse… my investing strategies are the same. Which is either insanity or true contentment 🙂 I choose to relax and have another cup of coffee.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Sounds like sanity AND contentment to me, Mr. F.

      Oh, and Jake the Wonder Dog asked me to sent his regards to Frugal Hound!

  4. Draggon says

    “With “nightmare” and “blood bath” already used up, it’s gonna be tough to write headlines for those.”

    Well, they still have “Stockocalypse” in reserve… 🙂

    Glad you found Lucas with your Help Wanted post and that he proved himself worthy under fire – wtg, Lucas!!

    Btw, beautiful pictures – did you take those yourself in NH?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Actually, those were the first pictures Mrs. jlcollinsnh has taken with her Moto G Republic phone.

      I had to show her how, and neither of us have any skill in photography. We just point, shoot and hope. Other than when we are pointed at our feet by mistake, the shots have turned out great!

  5. ChrisEE says


    Glad to see you’re back up and running!

    As for keeping the lights on, when is the book coming out? You can put us down for a copy. I’m happy to make my contribution to keep this blog, which has done so much for increasing our investing knowledge and perspective, going. It’s the least I could do to pay it forward to help others have access to this information that has been so helpful to my wife and I.


    BTW…Great pic. We were just through NH to climb Mt. Washington in late September. Beautiful little part of the world, especially at that time of the year.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Chris…

      We were targeting November, but that’s looking iffy. But I have a great editor who is keeping me, mostly, on track.

      Mt. W is very cool. How did you get to the top: Hike, drive or cog railroad? We took the Cog. A unique experience!

  6. ChrisEE says

    This was my second time on MW. First time was in winter ice climbing up the ravines and hiking back down. This time we did a combo hike/rock climb up utilizing the Huntington Ravine trail and a technical rock route up a ridge. We’re trying to get to the highpoint of all 50 states (lifetime goal) with our daughter so my parents drove her to the top to meet us on the summit. Driving down the toll road was definitely by far the scariest way to get up or down that mountain in my book!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Wow, Chris…

      Sounds like a great adventure!

      I’ve never driven it, but I did drive up Mt. Evans in CO many years ago. Scared me to death.

      As I recall, in those days it wasn’t entirely paved, very narrow and with steep drops off and no guard rails. About half way up I turned to my girlfriend and said “I can’t do this, we’re turning around.”

      She said, “Great idea!”

      But I didn’t. I couldn’t find a place wide enough to turn around.

      We rolled into the parking lot where the engine promptly died, starved of air.

      The restaurant was still open at the time (I think it has burned down since) so we went in and ate. When my pulse was back to normal, I adjusted the carburetor, got the car started and we drove back down.

      It was gorgeous!

  7. Thegoblinchief says

    I didn’t even know about the market dip until some people posted about it on the MMM forums.

    Low information diet works for me 🙂

    I update my net worth quarterly, but only because I blog about my journey. If I was private, I’d track it once a year at most. I might toy with DGI or real estate later in the journey, but currently my asset pool is 100% passive index. There’s no need to get oneself in a lather.

    Wake me if there’s a bear sighted so I can get excited for the sale!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      That’s the wisest course of all. 🙂

      I still suffer from my stock picking/tracking addiction, and in watching the market daily I’m like the alcoholic who goes to the bar but doesn’t drink. Probably not a good idea.

      I justify this behavior by telling myself I do it for the blog. 😉

  8. Steve says

    I thought my image was awesome for my financial porn post – this one is just sooooo good combined with the headline!

    Looks like everything is trending back to normal so I feel pity for the fools who panicked over the past week. In any case, none of it matters as long as one’s investment time horizon starts reaching forever.

  9. jian says

    Mr. Collins,

    Glad to hear you’re getting technical help. I wouldn’t know what to do, if this blog stopped functioning!

    About your lament on Vanguard – “if you are wondering why I don’t have an affiliate relationship with Vanguard, it is simply because they don’t have them. Maybe someday…”, I actually think it’s better that way and hope it remains that way. OK, maybe not better financially for the blog; but certainly better for your credibility precisely because there’s absolutely no conflict of interests there! Thanks again for keeping up this excellent blog.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Jian…


      In fact, when I was at FinCon, Vanguard had a booth and I chatted a bit with their rep there. Seems they are considering an affiliate program.

      As I said to her:
      “If you are asking my advice it would be don’t do it. Not having an affiliate program is in keeping with the low-cost, unbiased ethic that is Vanguard. That said, if the day comes that you do, I’ll be first in line!” 🙂

  10. Mitch says


    Glad to hear you have good people helping you as you carry on the torch of financial education!!

    Thanks for the Republic link – perfect timing as our 2-yr Verizon contract is finally finished at the end of October here and I need to get set up on RW this week! Friends and colleagues I’ve spoken with are intrigued with RW and I’ll direct interested parties to this pages link.

    Cheers and glad all is well!

    Mitch in Minneapolis

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Mitch!

      Good luck with RW. I appreciate you going to them thru my link and asking your friends to as well!

  11. Even Steven says

    Glad to see you back in the game after the short hiatus. It’s Halloween, I love a great headline like that, haha. I look forward to seeing whats in line for the affiliate link.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks ES…

      It was only possible thanks to some great help!

      Rest easy on the affiliate link. (that’s a hint) 🙂

  12. Jeremy says

    I saw a great headline from Fox News the other day.

    “Depending on who you are, sinking stocks, oil prices and loan rates may help or hurt”

    For the first time, they might be right 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I remember before the collapse of housing prices all the hand-wringing was about how terrible it was that houses were unaffordable.


      The overnight become far more affordable and all the hand-wringing is about how home-owners lost money.

      😉 🙂

  13. Big Guy Money says

    Hey Jim,

    What’s crazy to me, and what you pointed out, is how quickly these “dips” turn around. I’ve only had one bi-weekly investment chunk buy low, and we’re already devouring the ground that we lost. It needs to stay down LOL!

    I’m glad you got things figured out. It’s never fun when something goes wrong, especially something that you put so much time and hard work into.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Right you are. And the S&P is up another ~2%, 37 points today. Where’s a nice solid correction when you need one? 🙂

      Of course, it could just as easily gone the other way and continued down. It might tomorrow. Point is, no one knows. 😉

      Predictions of bloodbaths or rainbows are all just so much smoke.

  14. jlcollinsnh says

    Hi all…

    Just wanted to share with you something odd.

    Since putting up this post I’ve noticed a spike in ad revenue. This is odd because, as I mentioned in the post, the Skyscraper ad that used to appear in the sidebar has been eliminated.

    I did this for a cleaner look and I fully expected, and was prepared to accept, a drop in revenue as a result. The only conclusion is that some of you have chosen to support the blog by clicking into the remaining ads.

    To those who have, I thank you!

  15. Kalen says


    First time commenter, year long reader here. This was the first major market dip I have experienced since finding your blog and I’m happy to say I found the whole week pretty comical. So THANK YOU for teaching me and giving me the confidence to endure this tiny dip. One down, many more to come! The only unfortunate thing is that I normally update my net-worth around the 15th, so I was painfully aware of how much my portfolio had decreased.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome Kalen…

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and I’m glad you had this little dust-up to introduce you a lifetime of market gyrations. 😉

  16. jkenny says

    I like the new cleaner look, though I can’t figure out where to click for Betterment or Republic Wireless short of using the link within this article to your prior articles on these services. Perhaps a “Recommended” tab at the top (?). Even prettier than the new clean look is the New Hampshire Fall foliage! It’s pretty out here in California in the Fall, but not New Hampshire pretty. One of these years I’m taking a Fall walking vacation to the New England area…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks JK…

      I debated about the Betterment and Republic ads and pulled them because I was afraid they made the site look too commercial. But it some ways I kinda liked the way they looked and broke up the lists in that sidebar.

      We have a whole new theme coming, which will continue the clean look, and will again review ads at that time and possibly a recommended tab at the top. In the meantime, in the sidebar under Categories you’ll find one labeled “Stuff I Recommend”

      Does that work for you?

      If and when you make it out to NH, let me know. The coffee’s on me!

  17. Sam says

    Your website has given me so much clarity and confidence in my investing and my financial plan. When the market was down 9%, I didn’t even blink an eye and everyone else was in panic. I’m 23 and I just passed $0 net worth from the -$30k I had a year ago in student loans. More than even the financial benefits of investing in the total market and letting it ride, I feel so lucky to feel calm and confident about how I’m investing and my finances. Thanks for your wonderful website 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thank you Sam…

      It is very kind of you to let me know!

      Hopefully when the 20,30 and 40%+ drops come you’ll be equally unfazed.

      Congrats on blowing out those student loans! 🙂

  18. Stella says

    Jim. I just discovered your blog and book thanks to Taylor Larimore’s post. I will be 64 this year and with many years of bumbling about buying in and out of stocks and funds under my belt. Fortunately over the past decade I gradually moved to index investing as opposed to performance chasing. After reading and relating to your excellent series I am more convinced that a simple plan is best for me and my goal of retiring in good health and reasonable comfort.
    It is never too late to learn. Thanks 🙏🏽

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *