I am sure so many like those in this article entitled “Ruined financiers committing desperate acts” had never considered the possibility of financial ruin.
Most non-wealthy people understood that the Stock Market was a dangerous place. Just because it hadn’t crashed lately didn’t make it a safe place to put your money. We didn’t have much money to ‘waste’ and our mentors always said, if you go to the casinos, or put money in the stock market, never ‘play’ or ‘invest’ more money than you are willing to lose.
But those with more financial experience were making a killing on the stock market for a number of years. They couldn’t all be wrong, could they?
So many lost so much… so many Boomers who were counting on these investments for their livelihood in retirement.
The article has a long list of those who were not only bit by it, but many were ultimately responsible for clients’ money that was lost as well.
In the abyss of financial ruin, faced with sure disgrace and possibly prison, some of the newly scandalized rich have taken desperate measures in these despairing times.
The black hole of hopelessness can be overwhelming. A man who lost $1.4 billion to Bernie Madoff sits down in his Manhattan office and carefully writes a series of suicide letters to family and friends, then swallows a fatal dose of pills and conscientiously places a wastebasket under his bleeding arm, after slicing it with a box cutter.
The article goes on to tell of different situations and what happened, and then talks about the Great Depression when the suicide rate went from 14 to 17 per thousand (the highest in history).
Disgraced or desperate fatcats have a long history in this country. Public lore has stockbrokers falling like rain after the 1929 stock market crash — though the prevalence of such suicides has long been argued.
But Winston Churchill, visiting New York City at the time, wrote of awakening the day after Black Tuesday to a noisy crowd outside the Savoy-Plaza Hotel. “Under my very window a gentleman cast himself down fifteen storeys and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade.”
In 1933, as the Great Depression peaked, and 25 percent of the work force had no jobs, the suicide rate of Americans rose from 14 to 17 per 100,000 — the highest in history.
Wall Street trader Jesse Livermore was nicknamed “Boy Wonder” for his outrageous market antics. In 1907, he made $3 million by short-selling the market as it crashed. In 1929, he made $100 million doing the same thing. He owned a series of mansions around the world, each with a full, permanent staff, and possessed a steel-hulled ship for overseas trips.
Livermore told anyone who’d listen to follow his Wall Street strategy: increase your position as the market moves in your direction, and quickly cut your losses. But he often failed to heed his own advice. He lost two fortunes, accumulated a third, and lost that, too. In 1940, in the bar of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York City, he shot himself to death, leaving $365,000 in debts and a rambling, 8-page suicide note to his second wife. “I am a failure. I am a failure. I am a failure,” it said.
But it’s not just reckless speculators who may be left feeling emotionally bankrupted.
No, not at all. There are real people at the ends of those investments with their hopes and dreams and trust …..
Don’t lose hope …
Former President, John F. Kennedy once said:
We need men who can dream of things that never were.
Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
While there is still breath, there is hope.
If you despair over what has happened, if it has hit too close to home, one of the best things to do is to stretch out beyond yourself … look to helping those outside yourself … try to follow Albert Einstein’s words:
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
Or if you prefer…
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”