Friday, September 19, 2008

Wall Street Whiplash!

OK, not that I am complaining, but this last week on the stock market has given my portfolio a case of whiplash. After loosing a few thousand dollars in my 401K-rollover account a few days ago - in the blink of an eye – I am now back to where I started. In fact, I may be a little better off, since my smart husband decided that the bloodletting on Wall Street was a good time to double down on a few stocks that we’d lost some ground on over the last few weeks (like Bank of America, ticker BAC ).  The stock market these days is not for the faint hearted. In fact, the great oil man, industrialist, philanthropist, and monopolist John D. Rockefeller said “The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets.”  Wall Street has been flowing with it this past week, much of it Wall Street’s own doing. (It was a good time to buy stocks, though.)

This whole situation made me reflect a little about President Bush’s previous plan to privatize social security that died on the vine. I was actually initially in support of the plan, but admit that I felt that the average person probably wouldn’t be able to correctly manage this money long term  for a decent return. As hindsight is always 20/20, it looks like a good thing that nothing happened to turn management of social security over to the masses. We could have had millions of people who lost a lot of their money making rash decisions over the last few days. 

Still, I have concerns that when I reach the age where I can collect on my social security that there will be nothing for me to collect, so I would like to have some of that money allotted to me given to me now so I can have some control over it. The flip side is had that happened, imagine the panic would have ensued had people lost money in their social security investments this past week. And seeing the number of people who can’t afford to maintain the mortgages on their bloated homes and mortgages, it’s likely they could have somehow blown that money too.

It also makes me reflect on the whole Keating Five corruption scandal, which caused some Savings and Loans institutions to fail, and also had political repercussions. Senator John McCain had connections; he, along with Senator John Glenn,  were cleared of acting improperly, but they were criticized for having exercised "poor judgment".

With the complexity of money matters in the country and in the world, I want someone leading the country that has a better grasp of economics, and also who will likely obtain an experienced group of financial advisors who can look at how money is handled - big picture -  in this country,  once and for all. And John McCain, who has admitted that economics is a weak spot for him, and who was cited for “poor judgment” in the Keating scandal, just isn’t the person to heal our fragile economy. After all, while I don’t mind the occasional Wall Street whiplash every now and then, I’m not in the mood to lose my financial security for my retirement years.

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