At kitchen tables all over America today, husband and wife Baby Boomers are drinking coffee and talking soberly about their retirement plans. They’re doing so because those plans may have just changed in the blink of an eye, as the stock market has shed a big chunk of its value in the last few trading days and they have seen their nest eggs take a big hit.
The stock market analysts are talking about a market “correction.” It doesn’t seem like the right word, does it? A correction typically fixes an error. It’s hard to think of a major drop in the stock market that causes hard-working Americans to lose a chunk of their carefully accumulated savings as fixing anything.
Why the sudden plunge and sell-off? Is it China, or general skittishness, or a concern about American and global debt, or a belated realization that the economy still is weak, or just the backroom decision of some Wall Street titans to create some turmoil that might add to their profits? The little guys will never know what spooked the markets, and whether we’re in for more of the wild ride this coming week. We’ll just hold on tight and try not to panic and make things worse for ourselves.
In the meantime, we’ll all be drinking coffee, scratching figures on notepads, and talking about what this means for us. We’ll tighten our belts and shake our heads and work a little longer and think about how this might change our little corner of the world.
What else can we do?