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Citizen Voices

I don't know about you, but this past week has worn me out.   For the first time, I understand why people jumped out of windows after the stock market crash of  '29 .  When I was a kid, and heard those stories from my grandparents, I would think, "How silly, they could have just started over."  Easier said than done, unless you are looking from the vantage point of a child, or a young adult just starting out, or a politician with a generous salary, guaranteed health insurance, and a lifelong pension.

Many of us have watched our own pensions, investments, and retirement funds dwindle away in a matter of hours. Personally, I'm just grateful that my three girls are out of college.  We were able to help them in a way we probably could not today.

During past recessions, raising three children, I was so broke I had nothing to lose. (I know...I should of said, "Sorry dinner tonight. Mom and Dad have decided to save for retirement.") But around the age of 45, terrified by a barrage of articles from economists telling me I should have started saving in my 20's, I decided I had better get serious about saving for old age.  I developed a plan, and stuck to it as best I could. When I started investing in the stock market, I reinvested profits rather than take them, even though there were capital gains taxes to be paid.  "Building for the future", I thought.  Boy, that was stupid, because now those profits are gone...evaporated, so that means I paid taxes on money I will never see. 

Many sleepless nights crept by this past week, as I tried to decide what to do. Should I liquidate the remaining stock I held, or "ride it out" as they say.  I watched the news, compulsively scanned the Internet, called brokers, listened to the worried talk of friends, eavesdropped on strangers, channeled Jim Kramer , and Suze Orman .

Progressing into the self-abuse phase...."I should have seen this coming", I yelled at myself. I could have pointed my fear and frustration toward my husband, who knows a lot more about investing than I do, or my banker daughter ("Why did I spend all that money sending you to business school if you can't give me any advice?"), but that felt really, really scary. Finally, by Sunday, my head was spinning and I had made myself sick with worry.

Waiting for the Congress to act on the bailout , trying to understand what a bailout would mean, wondering who would actually be helped by the bailout, listening to the partisan fighting, watching the panic on Monday, I finally cracked.  

michael valentine from spring Valley
October 02, 2008 at 08:45 PM
It could be worse then it is. In '29 they didn't have SSI (thanks to FDR) ... and in 04 Bush couldn't convince people that the funds should be invested in the stock markets. But you have the right of it, it's the family and values that will get us through this rough patch.

Duane Sprague from Salt Lake City
October 03, 2008 at 06:34 AM
It's not over till it's over, and I firmly believe America, and more so American's will prevail. We are tough, and now we all need to just stay awake and do what we should have been doing all along, which is staying on top of the politicians and government. It's our job to police and monitor what our elected representatives are doing to us or for us. We have all been asleep at the wheel. We are supposed to be directing the government with our letters, emails and votes, not the other way around. So if we don't like them, vote them out! And that's why I love this country.

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