Nobody likes rising gas prices, but are they really so bad? Is a hike of 50 cents a gallon really the budget buster many feel it is? For many, the answer is no. But there are psychological as well as mathematical factors at play. Because gas prices are volatile, can change quickly and fuel is a weekly purchase, we are even more aware of those changes than other costs we face. When consumer confidence dips, many may hold off upping their 401(k) deferral or pumping extra bucks into an IRA. And if you don't keep an eye on the various holdings of your mutual funds and ETFs you may take a hit from the impact of fuel costs on food companies, airlines, retailers, auto makers and transportation interests. Higher gas prices also traditionally lead young workers to cluster closer to where they work, forgoing the longer commutes that come with living in the suburbs. Once again, bad news if selling your home is part of your getting-ready-to-retire planning.