Single-handedly, the financial markets have done something to America and the world that the attacks of 9/11 failed to do….bring the country and the world to its financial knees. After 9/11 when the markets opened, they sold off…yet over the course of a few months they stabilized and rebounded. Not that I don’t believe the same thing will happen again, but this time the depth of the drop teetered on creating another Great Depression.
Down the streets, within each coffee shop, around all the malls, if you listen closely you will hear that because of this current crisis, temporarily trust in the system has been severely damaged. Through the years from time to time I’ve talked to people who have lived through the Great Depression of the late 1920’s and 30’s…consistently they have told me that their view of money and assets was greatly changed by that huge downturn. Money, in many cases, was looked upon as something that one minute lay in your hands, and the next, was snatched from your view. We will get through this financial crisis, but some will never forget what they lost, and what happened.
Trust, you may ask? What trust is that? Well, trust in the markets, trust in the banks, heck, trust in the whole overall system. Crazy as it may seem, a few brilliant people came up with a strange notion that you could give people homes, never checking if they could make the monthly payments to stay there. I heard a story on television that at first I could not believe. A man went into a mortgage company seeking a mortgage for a house he was hoping to buy. The sales agent informed him that it would take a deposit of $1200.00 to secure a mortgage on the property. Then, without batting an eyelash, the agent said “Hey, would you like two homes? It can be arranged. Let’s put $600.00 on two properties, and over the next year the two properties will greatly increase in value.” Folks, this works well as long as properties continue to increase in value…unfortunately, what happened was that the bottom fell out of the housing market, because supply greatly exceeded demand. The man lost both homes, and now his credit rating is close to zero. The man, as they say, “didn’t read the fine print.” I guess he didn’t bring his microscope to the meeting.
While all of this is going on, there is a ton, and I mean a megaton of cash waiting on the side for what the experts call “The Bottom,” in place in the world markets. Granted, at the bottom, nobody rings a bell…but many experts believe if we are not there, we are really close. When it looks like the collective conscience of the market feels that the bottom is in place, no one is going to want to still be on the ground when the rocket ship takes off. Sadly, those who need the money the most consistently sell at the bottom, out of fear.
Trust will be restored…many will never forget what has happened…yet we will look back on this time as another chapter in the boom and bust nature of humanity. I keep hearing this Holiday Season will be the worst in decades….strangely, each time I visit my local mall, it is jam packed. If the dire prediction is to hold true, there are a lot of people just wandering around looking in stores and buying nothing…I don’t think so! Once the shock of the market crash starts to dissipate, we will stabilize and slowly head back up, with a few important lessons that I hope we never have to re-learn.
Onward and Upward,
© 2008 Jennifer Avalon