I was the first in my immediate family to do it. Yet it was natural for me since I was an economics reporter at the largest state newspaper in Oklahoma.
I had already been to GM's gold-plated headquarters in Detroit to cover a potential strike by the UAW and enough chamber of commerce luncheons locally where low taxes and high profits were championed. I've made my share of money yet have maintained a healthy skepticism. I follow my own thinking after research than what a supposed financial expert recommends.
Yet today on CNBC, I saw and heard for the first time enough Wall Street fatcats and analysts admit that the stock market -- as a viable and profitable investment vehicle for average Americans -- is gone and dead.
The kind of secure system for which regular people can access, seek higher-than-average returns and simply trust is not yet known.
What finally broke the dam on truthfulness? Today's 500-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average showed that Main Street investors don't have enough trust to put any new money into the market. And all the bailouts have not addressed the one factor keeping the financial system from recovery: distrust.
Today, however, was a good first step toward eventual repair and recovery. The numerous liars from Wall Street to Washington have finally been called out for their deception of the past 25 years.
CNBC anchor Dillon Radigan said that consumers/investors have not recovered their losses since 1998. Now with the market declining to 8,000 or even lower, those losses will never be recovered unless you have another 30 to 40 years of life. That's a long time to just get back even.
Japanese investors with their retirement savings already have had their holdings wiped out. The economy there has been in recession for 15 years.
So what are you to do?
I wish I knew. If you are still in the market and have absorbed all its losses the past year, you're trapped. Selling into a downturn is not recommended at this point.
If this is money you cannot afford to lose and may need it next year, then you are in a difficult position.
We will face a Great Depression of its own unique characteristics over the next five to seven years. Layoffs of 8,000 workers from Yahoo to Merck were announced today. Many more announcements will come.
You can go see a supposed expert. But they still are delusional on the markets' future. The only savior is yourself, more educated and less willing to simply accept the kind of advice that killed the market todaay after 25 years of greed and recklessness.