Open Forum (10/20-10/26)

By Dave Fratello | October 20th, 2008
Most MBC readers are taking the long view as they watch the value of their non-RE investments drop amid the financial markets' turmoil.

That's according to our poll last week, which deigned to attach numbers to a phenomenon most people are discussing at some level. Every water cooler chat or dinner party has someone who claims they got out of the markets in plenty of time, and others who say, simply, what will be will be.

By the "long view," in this case, we note that 48% of poll respondents said they are just "riding it out." They're disappointed, perhaps, but not in any rush to use the money they have invested in college funds, retirement or other sorts of investments. There's time for the market to come back before they need the money.

Another 6% are taking the long view, but not really by choice. They're "feeling stuck," maybe wishing they had cashed out of investments when the downturn started to get scary in August and September. Maybe they need some of that money in the shorter term, but can't move it now, not without taking heavy losses.

So how many market sages, market timers, cautious investors, cold realists and/or lucky people read MBC? By this poll, it's almost a third – 31% say they "saw it coming," meaning they mostly converted investments to cash or other less volatile instruments well before the recent downturn began. Buy low, sell high – where have we heard that?

Another 15% might count themselves nearly as lucky if this downturn persists. They said they "got out early," after the writing was on the wall but before the biggest drops. Sometimes you book your losses and live to fight another day.

We honestly don't know how these stats compare with other regions or social stata, but we're thinking that the proportion of folks who claim foreknowledge of the calamity that's now hitting it pretty high. Testament, perhaps, to MB's white-collar workforce having so many ties to finance, law and such.

If you see any comparable surveys of other populations, please share here on the "Open Forum" thread.

As always, please use the "Open Forum" thread for news clips, off-topic questions & discussions of (virtually) any nature. (If you feel you must, this forum can include politics, but if you can hold back a week, that'll be next week's Open Forum kickoff.) Keep it clean.

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