Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The End of the Beginning

When in doubt, lift a quote snippet from Churchill.
On Sunday, September 14, 2008 I put up the post below. It was the night before Lehman Brothers filed their chapter 11, two days before AIG became a 79.9% subsidiary of the U.S. Treasury and a week-and-a-half before Washington Mutual was seized by the OTS and put into receivership:

One Way or Another We Will Get Through This

I've got to get some rack time but before I head out I'll get a little more personal than I usually do. I have been at the market my entire adult life and have seen the best and worst of human nature. To augment personal experience I have studied and read tens of thousands of pages, everything from popular histories to incomprehensible academic works.

The one lesson worth knowing is: "There will always be opportunity". It may not be easy and it may not be fast but the opportunity is there every morning. The place to start is to PAY ATTENTION. That alone will get you into the second quartile.
Take a look at the first decade of the last century in the chart below:

A forty percent drop from 1901 to1903. A 120% up move in the next two years. Followed by a 50% crash in the next 23 months. Wrapping up with a 60% 13 month run to the upside.
Two Panics, a Presidential assassination and an earthquake.
The conditions are different but we'll get through this.
Chart from Dow Jones Indexes.

If you are among the 93% who have a job, count your blessings and figure out how you can add value to whatever you do to earn your daily bread.

If you are out of work, re-read the "one lesson worth knowing".
Depend on yourself but remember that human beings are social critters.
In dollars and cents terms this means that every check you've ever cashed was signed by someone else.
A customer, an employer, mom, Uncle Sam etc. Get out there, retreat is not an option.