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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 12, 2002

Take Stock in America

My mother has recently moved into a new apartment complex. Most of the residents are around retirement age (like my mom) and it's a pretty quiet neighborhood in a decent area. They have a combination potluck/pool party every Sunday afternoon. She went this past Sunday and met some of her neighbors.

During the party, she also found out that there was a shooting in the complex recently. It was a domestic squabble. No, it wasn't the usual... The man was trying to shoot himself in the head and his wife was trying to wrestle the gun out of his hand. It went off in his stomach.

She doesn't know if he lived or not. The couple was in their 70s. He was trying to kill himself because he had recently lost quite a bit of money in the stock market.

I'm sure this is more common than we want to know.

It made me wonder how many other people were/are in similar circumstances... I can see a couple working hard all their lives and saving a bit aside for retirement. They know they can't count totally on Social Security, so they put much of their life savings in stocks. Invest now so you'll have money for your golden years. They were smart enough to invest in their future instead of expecting the government to take care of them. From yesterday's vantage point, it was the right thing to do. But, now things have changed drastically.

All that hard work. Poof. Gone forever - for them at least. A younger couple could leave their funds and wait things out. A younger couple could entertain the idea of part-time work. In time, things could change. When you're in your 70s, you don't have that time. You've already chosen your train. Its final destination was supposed to be the golden sunset - but the train has been derailed. Your destination is now unknown.

It's not just a "paper loss." These are dreams that have been washed away. Lives have been destroyed, not just careers and reputations.

And these people are somebody's grandma and grandpa.

Posted by BlueWolf on August 12, 2002 09:59 PM