Problems on Wall Street are problems for Columbus residents, too

Columbus Ledger-EnquirerOctober 13, 2008 

The statistics are startling and sobering.

Retirement, pension and 401(k) plans have lost $2 trillion in value over the past 15 months.

One in five workers 45 and older have stopped putting money into their savings accounts to make ends meet.

And nearly six out of 10 Americans believe another economic depression is likely, according to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.

The financial punch to the gut taken by American investors in recent weeks -- cascading with a horrible performance by Wall Street over the last few days -- is hitting home.

And you don't have to be a savvy stock trader to feel the stinging pain. You just have to be shopping for groceries, trying to pay the bills and looking for a work in the Columbus area, where the unemployment rate is pushing 7 percent.

Pam Blanton, a mother of three living in Midland, Ga., cringes at the thought of her Individual Retirement Account eroding. Accumulated during a 10-year stint with BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia, the account has been sliced and diced from $35,000 in May to $23,000 today -- a $12,000 loss in five months.

"It's terrible," said Blanton, 39, wife of a tree service company owner who is now in Houston cleaning up after Hurricane Ike because business is slow locally.

"There's not much you can do about it at this point," she said of the toll on her retirement fund. "We're just hoping that it goes back up. But I'm sure it will be a while before it does that."

Read the complete story at ledger-enquirer.com

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