Worried, frustrated, or just waiting again for the economic storm to pass, people throughout Snohomish County seemed to reflect the national unease over Monday’s stock market plunge.
Nancy Fischer and Linda Wright fretted about this latest drop in the stock market while talking at the Carl Gi
pson Senior Center of Everett. They both have money invested in the stocks.
“I am concerned about it because the last time this happened I took about a 40 percent drop and have not recovered from that. And now we’re looking at another big drop,” said Fischer, 67, of Everett.
Wright, 70, sold individual stocks last year to finish her house payments. Her stock portfolio is diversified but it never fully recovered from the market crash in 2008, the Lake Stevens resident said. She’s been drawing on her investments since she retired in 1998.
“We’re young seniors, and we have a lot of years left to live on our money,” Wright said. “If the money lasts as long as we last that’s good. I don’t think my daughter expects anything left when I’m gone.”
Monday’s decline in the Dow Jones industrials of 635 points, to 10,810, followed a 512-point loss on Thursday. Since April, the Dow has declined 16 percent. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also are both down about 18 percent since the end of April.
Everett resident Virgil Morgan, 68, was playing table tennis at the Carl Gipson Senior Center. He said he protects his stock with a stop order, an order to buy or sell a stock once the price of the stock reaches a specified price.
He said he was still disappointed by Monday’s sharp drop and the country’s downgraded credit score by Standard & Poor’s.
“I’m real discouraged in the whole United States and the predicament that we got ourselves into,” he said. “I’m discouraged with the leadership we have.”
He added that he now plans to approach future investment opportunities “more cautiously than ever.”
Jason Moen of Arlington was visiting Everett’s Marine Park on Monday afternoon. Not being invested in the market now doesn’t mean he’s not paying attention to what it does, he said.
He likens it to the canary in the coal mine: “It senses all the danger and it’s a precursor to everything that’s going to happen,” he said.
Moen, 29, said he invests in silver.
“I put a lot of money in silver when it was $15 an ounce and I made a killing off of that,” he said. “Silver is something that’s probably going to go up to $150 or $170 an ounce so a lot of people who bought early are going to do pretty well. Gold’s been inflated way too much.”
At RBC Wealth Management’s office in Edmonds, Kris Olsen has fielded calls from concerned investors. Olsen, a senior vice president and branch director for RBC, said that many people fear a decline like the market experienced in 2008 and 2009.
The stock market is sending a message that investors aren’t confident that the U.S. economy has recovered fully, he said.
Olsen named two factors that have led to evaporating confidence among investors: the escalating financial crisis in Europe and the U.S. debt ceiling debate. The second exposed a lack of leadership needed to get the economy back on track, he said.
“It’s been a real reality check,” Olsen said.
Olsen advises his clients to stick with their long-term plans. The market’s rebound from the 2008 decline demonstrates that the market eventually will recover, even from this latest drop. However, Olsen noted that it’s a good time to review your investments. RBC advises clients to own stock in quality companies — ones that pay regular dividends.
Inside the YMCA in Everett on Monday afternoon, Richard Smith, 63, said he’s still invested in the stock market, although it’s a small part of his investments.
“I mostly got out a couple years ago,” the Everett man said. “I’ll keep it there.”
Asked if he thought the stock market was overreacting to last week’s announcement of the downgrade in U.S. credit, he said, “Yes, I think it is.”
Brian Rich, of Everett, said he saw the news of the tumbling stock market during a lunchtime workout at the YMCA.
Rich, 51, said he has some money invested in mutual funds. “It’s a very long-term investment,” he said.
He called Monday’s steep stock market decline “disheartening, but not surprising.”
Rich said he was disappointed by partisanship in Congress and drawn out inaction over raising the debt ceiling.
“They’re playing their game and don’t care about our game,” he said.
“I vote for fiscal responsibility,” Rich said. “We don’t want them to play party games. I want them to be more responsible with the money.”
Earrol Wilkins, 69, of Monroe, ate lunch outside Pavé bakery in Everett on Monday. He called the stock market “erratic and irrational.”
It doesn’t really reflect what’s going on the economy because of speculation, he said. “It’s almost completely removed from reality.”
Wilkins noted that the housing market has begun to stabilize in Snohomish County, with sales increasing as prices decline.
“Employment is picking up; it’s not necessarily related to the stock market,” he said.
“I’ve got money invested (in the stock market,) but I don’t have to live on it,” Wilkins said.
“Oh wow; down to 11,000,” Mary Anne Karber said when hearing of the Dow Jones industrial’s midday decline, which eventually ended up dropping nearly another 200 points.
She and her husband, David Karber, of Everett, a retirement-age couple, said they still have investments in the stock market.
“I feel if the whole country goes bankrupt, we’re all in trouble,” David Karber said.
Mary Ellen Hardy, 56, of Everett, said she heard the news of the stock market drop Monday afternoon on the radio as she drove into town.
“Yeah, I’m a little worried,” she said. “I have faith in the U.S. economy.”
Hardy said she has some money invested in the stock market: “I know I won’t get to retire any time soon, although I would like to.”
Herald writer Michelle Dunlop also contributed to this report.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org