Friday, October 19, 2007

The 1987 Stock Market Crash

It has become one of those “where were you?” moments. The stock market crash of 1987. I remember September 11, 2001 (in my home office as I turned on the TV), John Lennon’s death (driving to the Silver Shooter Ice Cream Parlor to meet some fellow college students), and JFK’s death. Okay, I’m lying about JFK. My mom said I was struggling to walk having had recently learned how to achieve this unique achievement of personal development. I always reminded her that would have made me around two years old at the time, but she always stuck to that story and I was too young to prove other wise. Any way, where was I when the Stock Market crashed? I was driving to a county court house some where in Virginia to check to see if there were any liens on a house that a client was buying. I was between jobs for a short period of time and working at a title company (I was about to move to Amarillo, Texas to manage a Congressional race, another long story).

My routine during this time was to spend around half of my day – every day – in my car going from point to point. Usually I would listen to music, but throughout the news day the DJs kept discussing the market activity. I kept spinning the radio dial and a local PBS station had decided to devote the rest of the day to discuss the crash. My initial feeling was relief because I was too broke to have any stock at the time. That was followed by the thought that I was very pathetic to have such a thought. This, in turn, was followed by the fear that the implications of this event could possibly go far beyond Wall Street and could pound Main Street.

In retrospect, businesses beyond Manhattan were some what affected, but we didn’t see any of the devastation compared to the crash of 60 years before. Furthermore, the Market developed mechanisms to make it a safer institution and more able to help reduce the likelihood of such a shock in the future. So, do you remember where you were the day the market tumbled?

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