Wall Street collapse hits Hawaii investors

Victor Geminiani
Victor Geminiani
Cris Borden
Cris Borden

By Leland Kim - bio | email

DOWNTOWN HONOLULU (KHNL) - Wall Street suffers a historic fall, furthering widespread concern about our economy.  The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted almost 780 points Monday, its biggest one day point drop ever.

This comes after the U.S. House of Representatives rejects a $700 billion plan to rescue the ailing banking industry.

So what does this mean for your investments and your financial future?

This is very significant obviously.  Monday's drop beat the previous record drop -- 685 points -- a day after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.  The concern is that with so many financial sectors in turmoil, more days like this could follow.

Shock and disappointment on Wall Street, after the Dow suffers a 778-point drop, its worst lost ever, and the biggest drop since 9/11.  A failed attempt to rescue troubled banks triggered the downward spiral.

"I was in my house this morning watching the news as the vote went down, and the political acrimony started between the parties," said Victor Geminiani, a Kailua resident who has investments.  "I was just flabbergasted that people did not ultimately understand the potential implications for where we are."

Geminiani grew up hearing stories about the Depression and the stock market crash from his parents. He never thought he'd live through it himself.  Just Monday, he lost 15 percent of his entire savings, and almost 30 percent in the past six months.

"My parents were depression children, so I grew up very much aware the potential ramifications of a financial crisis," said Geminiani. "I never thought in my 64 years of life that I'd ever see as bad as I see it right today."

"To take normal investors' money that has been carefully accumulated over years and put it in a crap shoot, I think is criminal," he added.

While Wall Street is the epicenter, the rest of the country can feel its aftershocks.

And Hawaii's not immune from all this. Whether you own stocks or have money in a 401k plan, this affects you. Financial advisors say the key to surviving this volatility is diversifying.

"They need to take a close look as to the diversification on the assets within the portfolio," said Cris Borden, a financial adviser with Kobo Wealth Conservancy and Family Office.  "I think it's clear that individuals that do not have a handle on how their portfolio is invested are at risk for some serious losses in the portfolio.  So we want people to be aware of the diversification."

And Borden warns against any knee-jerk reactions, like taking money out of the stock market.

"We want people to be calm and rational," he said. "We want people to stick to their portfolios if they are diversified.  If they're not diversified, they need to take the opportunity now to sit with investment professionals, and diversify their portfolio."

But some investors say, everywhere you look, there's fear and uncertainty.

"The question is can we control our fear and can our leaders make the right choices?" asked Geminiani.

Two key questions that will help determine the future of America's financial health.

Financial advisers also say it's a good idea to take a look at your 401K, make sure you have a balance of stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Monday's loss is about 7 percent of the entire Dow industrials.  During the Great Depression, and what's known as "Black Monday" in October of 1987, the losses totaled 20 percent.  So, there have been other losses that were greater, at least percentage wise.