Focus on the Micro, Not the Macro: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: This week I listened to JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon testify before the Congressional Committee in Washington, D.C. on CNBC .

The whole thing scared me and made me nervous.

I am already concerned about this bad economy and whether my job is secure -- do I now have to worry if the money I have earned throughout my life is in safe keeping at my bank?

A: First of all, Congress created an independent agency in the early 1930s called the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which guarantees consumer bank and brokerage account deposits.

In July, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act into law, which permanently raised the current standard maximum deposit insurance amount to $250,000 as of Jan. 1, 2012.

The FDIC insurance coverage limit applies per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category.

If you want to learn more about the FDIC guarantees, here is their toll free phone line: 1-877-275-3342

Second, nearly all of us have real financial insecurities. They vary from person to person. We are constantly questioning ourselves and our future:
  • How are we going to pay our daily/monthly bills?
  • Will we ever save enough to retire?
  • How on earth will we ever be able to afford our child's college tuition?
  • In this new economy, in this new age, do we have what it takes to not only keep our job but excel at it?

These questions and concerns can be so scary and overwhelming that it can be easier to focus on the possible failures of big institutions and dramatic testimonies from a high-profile CEO.

Get Micro, Not Macro!

  • Your hard earned deposits are safe
  • Focus on your own personal finances
  • Consider ways to improve your job performance
  • Be aware of your changing field
  • Take skill-based training classes

Do not get caught up in the sensationalism of the latest headline. The big-picture economy is different from your personal economy. Focus on your own financial goals.

Considering the 2008 economic apocalypse, it is natural to worry about systemic failures in the banking industry. However, it is even more important to understand that there are safeguards to protect us.

It is wise to be informed about what is happening in the larger economic sense, but fixating on it is counterproductive.

I don't know how much money you have in the bank, but as I stated previously, you are covered up to $250,000.

However, if we are talking about a sum greater then this, it would probably be prudent to talk with a financial adviser about diversifying the locations and size of your savings.

Do not spend time focusing on such a big picture. You said you're insecure about holding on to your job. What are you doing to be more proactive?

You should be networking with colleagues and with others in your job arena.

You should be learning about new advancements in your field.

If needed and relevant, you should be taking classes to improve your job proficiency and to keep up with the latest trends.

In summary, stop watching congressional testimony. Being preoccupied with that circus is just not productive.

Learn to get micro, not macro!

On a personal note, I would like to send a shout out to my brother Ethan. The whole family was at Northwestern University yesterday to watch him graduate with an MFA. I could not be prouder of the man he has become.

Please send all questions and comments to "ASK NOAH" at

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


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