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Can the retail investor ever trust in the Stock Market again.


I don't know how important the retail investor is to the U.S. Stock Market, but I would venture a guess it's substantial.  Is there any way that an individual investor can trust in the U.S. stocks market- ever again.  Let's do a review.  We can't trust companies like Enron and WorldCom- you do remember them?  Well how many more are there out there just waiting to be "news worthy".  Probably a boatload.  The problem is, you don't know.  Who wants to invest their money into a 401k or IRA just to lose it all, or most of it- lose 90 percent in a month only to have to wait 10 or more years to make it back to your entry point.

Can't invest in bank stocks or mortgage companies.  Banks and financial centers are either being taken over or being dumped,  and those that haven't, aren't lending any money anyway.  So the questions are; how brave are you? Do you have what it takes to invest? Can we even trust the fund managers? How many more shoes must drop before this is over with? How long will you the investor put up with this.  We could ask the Authorities to do something, you know,  those organizations that are watching our "back", like the SEC and NASAA.




The Securities and Exchange Commission, who I thought were  to police investments and to catch wrongdoers like, supposedly, Madoff did with the estimated 50 billion dollar fund that he ran.  The North American Securities Administrators Association,  who you probably haven't heard of before, is supposed to Protect and Serve you and me, the investing community.

It's the right thing to prosecute the wrongdoers, but it would even be a better thing to catch this stuff before shareholders lose everything, well not everything, some get a court settlement of pennies on the dollar.  We all know that investing has risk, but I don't think dishonest deceiving money mongers is part of the risk we should be taking.

I don't know what the answer  is, but someone needs to come up with something that can begin the mending process for individual investors.  Let's face it, this time is different, investors have no clue where to put their money in the stock market.  If you can't trust individual company's stock, funds, money managers, banks, and the organizations that are supposed to keep you safe from the bad guys, what is an investor to do.

Maybe Generation X or Y will have trust in stocks in 10 or 20 years from now, but for the Baby-boomers this may have been the last straw.  Time will tell, I hope I'm wrong, but even more so, I hope that something gets put in place so it doesn't happen again.

  February, 2009

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Reader Comment:

They are probably cheap if you have 20-30 years.  Past 10 years stocks haven't really done much at all unless you are a trader.  Retail investor probably will never get back in, well, maybe a little here and there, but lots of folks are cashing out, paying debt down, at least you can make progress on the budget.  It seem every time you get into the stock market it goes down and if you get stung enough you just avoid it.  Besides PE's are one thing but how do you deal with all the surprise news and disaster.  The stock market just isn't reliable enough anymore.  And if you are brave enough to get in, how do you avoid the Enron's and WorldCom's of the world, or, be unlucky and invest with Madoff types.  Look at Cisco Systems.  You would think that is a stable company but it seem to be treading water.  I think the days of retail investors piling in are gone, at least for a good while. xstoc

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