Were You Ready?

By Dave Fratello | October 14th, 2008
Times are tough. They're saying $2 trillion in personal wealth was wiped out in recent days. (We're still wondering where it went, exactly.)

The proximate cause of this financial damage is the collapse of the credit bubble tied to the housing bubble. The bigger problem recently has been the utter loss of confidence and, eventually, regular folks getting the hell out of the market. Some of this is reversible.

Experts have been warning for years that some kind of financial Armageddon was around the corner – the check to be paid for the unsustainable Boom Times.

So, were you ready for this?

We're asking readers to vote in our new poll. It's open through Thursday night, 8pm.

We're asking if you took steps in recent days, weeks or months to protect any of your investments – or not. As a result of moves made or not made, how do you feel about your position today?

Did you see this mess coming, and move investments into cash and cash equivalents quite a while ago? Did you adjust your investment strategies substantially – if not radically – after seeing 25% YOY gains in recent years that just didn't seem sustainable? If so, maybe you feel you "saw it coming" and made your moves very early.

Did you see this mess developing in recent weeks or months, and move things around then, before madness took hold? Looking at the last few weeks, a big dump of halfway-risky assets this past Spring or Summer may have been a smart surrender, depending on when you did it. Maybe you feel you "got out early."

Maybe you didn't believe we were going off the cliff, and held tight. Or maybe you just weren't in a mood or a position to change things at all. And now, you're thinking: If only I'd sold in September... In either case, you're feeling "stuck."

Or maybe you have no interest in the short term. Markets go up and down, you've got funds invested that neither you nor your kids will be tapping any time soon. You can see the buying opportunities now more clearly than folks who need their investment funds soon, and might even be buying now. No real concern about the current, short-term values of any investments. If so, you're "riding it out."

We're looking here for your state of mind. Sure, you may have a different sense about different investments you're holding. But given the breathtaking drops of the past weeks, and Monday's partial restoration of values, the big question is: Were you ready for this upheaval, mostly, kinda, or not at all?

Please vote in the poll and tell your stories in the comments.

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