Merril Lynch bought by Bank of America to avert financial collapse. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection and will now be systematically liquidated by a court appointed trustee. AIG insurance company borrowed 30 billion from its subsidiary companies and is still $10 billion short of its needs. And the federal government announced they will not bail out these failing investment banks and insurance companies. Washington Mutual Bank's rating on www.bankratemonitor.com dropped to 1-star. What does this mean to you? Me? With the $500 drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today, my stock portfolio lost value by probably 30% this year. My banks (Wells Fargo, El Dorado Savings and Valley Credit Union) are all rated 4-stars out of five, so they are okay for the time being. Am I worried? No. This downturn is a wonderful buying opportunity. The markets have dropped severely twice in my lifetime and they always came back to hit new "highs" a few years later. Fear is the greatest threat we face. People who sell now in a panic are assuring their losses. Who is at fault for the economic problems during the past 12 months? We the people are! Greed drove real estate speculation. Greed drove people to buy more house than they could afford. Greed provided the incentive to take the risk of variable rate mortgages. Could government have stopped this crisis by tightening up credit last year? Yes, but at what cost? Tightening credit would have "hurt" lower income people as they would be denied access to the great American dream of home ownership. Instead, we let them enjoy the home until the ARM rates went up, which, by the way, was entirely the decision of the Federal Reserve Board...in essence, the government caused the collapse by raising interest rates. The Federal Reserve Board triggered the collapse of the financial house of cards that was built by our own greed. This economic shake out is HEALTHY! After the immediate "crisis" is over, the economy will be stable and growth will be slow but steady unless government spending continues to grow massive deficits. Recession or depression. Neither. It's just an overheated, greed-driven economy that is finding balance. Hunker down, have faith and take advantage of the wonderful profit potential as this economy restores.