Friday, October 29, 2010

"Black Tuesday" - October 29, 1929

Sometimes when certain dates roll around that I remember learning when I was in grade school, I wonder if kids in school today learn them, too.
I remember learning about "the great stock market crash of 1929" which led to "The Great Depression". Of course that was all recent history for me compared to what it would be for today's school kids - ancient history.
Not only did I learn about the depression years in school, I heard it first hand from my parents. Dad told of husking corn for Ira Bosisto in the 1930's for 50 cents a day - and being glad for the work. This picture of Dad and Ron was taken in 1940. The corn he had picked was half his. (The landlord got the other half.)
It was impressed upon me that investing in the stock market was a very scary, very risky thing to do. Hearing about men jumping out of the high rise windows on Wall Street because they were ruined financially was an image that stayed in my mind.
While studying economics in high school, we "played the stock market" for a few weeks - selecting our stocks; reading the newspapers to see how they did each day; buying, selling, trading our stocks until at the end of the experiment we figured out who had made money and who had lost money.
During the 1970's, the owner of the advertising and public relations agency I worked for, talked about the stock market a lot. He was always watching his stocks to see how they were doing. At that time in my life, I never imagined that I would someday be concerned about the Dow Jones Average, NASDAQ or the S&P. But thanks to the retirement benefits of a couple companies I worked for in the 80's and 90's, I have reason to care about the stock market.
It is interesting that the stock market crashes of '29, '87 and 2008 all began in October. The '08 one was not as bad for me as it was for many investors. My little investments are slowly recovering. It was funny talking with a friend and former classmate about five years ago discussing how our retirement funds were doing. "Who would ever have believed that we would someday be talking about stock market investments?" I laughingly asked her.
Indeed. I never imagined it.

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