Tuesday, October 07, 2008
It's not clear if or how the world's equity investors are going to recover from the current downward spiral that is the global stock market, but we're about to find out. Millions and millions of quarterly statements are hitting mailboxes as this is written and the important question is, "How many of the recipients will take action as a result of the numbers that appear in those statements?"
Remember it's not really a loss unless you sell.
This report puts a neat price tag on the damage that has been done recently to the investment accounts and retirement dreams of many. The last time that stocks plunged like this, home prices were going up so fast that, unless you had stock options in an internet start-up, you probably didn't take too big of a hit to your overall bottom line.
This time it's quite a different sensation.
Retirement accounts have lost $2 trillionThey say that 20 percent of workers age 45 and older have stopped putting money into their retirement accounts - you have to wonder if the 401k system is going to survive the next few years.
WASHINGTON - Americans' retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion in the past 15 months, Congress' top budget analyst estimated Tuesday. The upheaval that has engulfed the financial industry and sent the stock market plummeting is devastating workers' savings, forcing people to hold off on major purchases and consider delaying their retirement, said Peter Orszag, the head of the Congressional Budget Office.
As Congress investigates the causes and effects of the financial meltdown, the House Education and Labor Committee was hearing from retirement savings and budget analysts on how the housing, credit and other financial troubles have battered pensions and other retirement funds, which are among the most common forms of savings in the United States.
"Unlike Wall Street executives, America's families don't have a golden parachute to fall back on," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the panel chairman. "It's clear that their retirement security may be one of the greatest casualties of this financial crisis."
Maybe if they added the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSEArca:GLD) as an investment option, they might be able to get some of those contributions back.