Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stock market preparing to plunge this morning; only person who can protect your money is you

The stock market is preparing for another jump off the cliff this morning, as futures point to a more a 200-point, immediate decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

What gives?

The truth finally settling in. There is no cheating 25 years of partying on Wall Street and even in too many American households. The bill is due. And it is a whopper.

It does not matter than you did not even get one Magarita or pass at the keg. We all have to pay for it. But only you can protect yourself from the fallout to come.

Watching CNBC this morning and the growing testiness and bravery of the network anchors, the Wall Street fatcats who have been preaching the Gospel of Greed for the past quarter century are being challenged for the liars they are.

This market is not going to come back at all this year. In fact, one fatcat was cornered enough by an anchor to admit that the Dow may well fall below 8000. That's a shocker to me. I was challenged by my financial planner when I predicted last summer that the Dow would fall below 10,000.

Here is one promise I make to you as a reader. I am always going to call out the hypocrites and the liars as my knowledge of what's going on behind the scenes grows. Politics and financial markets are the same. Both are games of illusion.

I will make mistakes. But I will acknowledge repeatedly in blog posts so you know that I've been wrong and what I am going to do to correct my failings.

And that's why I must express this new revelation from being involved with a certified financial planner for the past four months. They have been bitten by the same greed bug that has infected Wall Street and its brokerage houses.

You'll find their greed in:

* inadequate staff numbers to immediately respond to your needs in a fast-changing financial market system

* principals always seem to be on the road seeking new clients even though they can't find the time to return calls to the old ones

* lack of staffing to immediately trade your holdings out of bad positions and even to be able to read your account numbers back to you

* lack of knowledge. They really are throwing darts at a stock market board when it comes to what will happen and where to best position your money. I've outguessed my financial planner whose holdings are down almost 20% before today. Mine have been positive all year. I don't want to hire someone who has less financial brains than me and a tolerance for big losses.

I hate to write the following truth, but the best person to protect your money is you. I fired my financial planner today. I am investing my money without any middle person for the first time in my life. And I feel more secure for it. Any mistakes I make are my own based on my knowledge.

Knowledge has always been power. And if we don't know where to put our money now, it is our own fault for trusting someone else(particularly the news media) and spending more time watching football on TV than scanning the Internet for information on who is making money, securing assets and how.

I spend 16 hours a day in contact with C-Span. It seems like with every moment on the computer, I am switching back to to read about more developments in the financial markets and how I should respond. And from the timing of my blog posts, you can tell that I'm on my computer a lot during the day and night.

But don't trust me and my opinion. You must trust yourself. And that means you must educate yourself.

From my continuing experiences, I will pass on what I am learning. But for the kind of financial future you want and how many kids you have and the stability of your employer and your personal health and that of your spouse, you must make the decision on your finances -- not someone else.

Let's learn from each other in the tough months to come and share our experiences, fear and hopes.

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