by Catherine McBreen
We have all spent the weekend reflecting on 9-11 and re-living the stories of the many heroes that lost their lives that day, as well as the many innocent victims killed in the airplanes, the Pentagon, and of course, in the Twin Towers. For most of us who witnessed that day, it had a profound impact on our lives. It was a day that changed our country and it also altered the courses of many lives.
While I was not at Ground Zero on that horrible day, like many others, I knew others that were in the vicinity. I am fortunate not to have directly lost someone I knew. I admire and respect the families that suffered a loss on that day.
But here we are ten years later, and it would be incorrect for any of us to say that 9/11 did not impact our country. Clearly the national debt our government struggles with has direct links to 9-11...we certainly wouldn't be spending billions in Afghanistan and it is unlikely we would have taken on Iraq. Would our economy have tumbled anyway? Sure the CMOs and Lehman Brothers collapse may still have occurred. But, perhaps our leaders wouldn't be quite as divided as they are now. Perhaps our debt rating wouldn't have been lowered. And perhaps we wouldn't be entering into a double dip recession.
I know September 11 altered my life. Due to the financial challenges faced by the country at that time, I was able to join in and purchase the company that today fuels Millionaire Corner, Spectrem Group. At Spectrem, one of our first independent studies was a survey of investors in September 2001 regarding their attitudes about the economy, investments, etc. There is a feature story running today about that study. It's fascinating to compare the results to the attitudes U.S. investors have today.
In September 2001, we had not suffered the crash that occurred in 2008. Emotionally, investors were angry. They weren't worried and concerned about the ability of our country to economically survive the impact of September 11. While there was fear, it was about the safety of our country, it wasn't fear of economic collapse. September 11th investors had confidence that the U.S. economy would recover. They believed that the American dream had been challenged but it was still alive and vital. In fact, the feeling was that America was going to shove the American Dream it somebody's face.
But investors today do not feel similarly. Almost 70% don't believe they will have enough money for retirement. A similar percentage are beginning to believe that we are entering a double dip recession. Instead of confidence that our government will take care of us, almost 90% of investors blame the government for causing the current economic challenge. The belief is that their inability to compromise and lead us out of this economic trough no longer exists. There is a greater crisis of confidence on 9-11-11 than there was on 9-11-01.
While America feels as if we are safer from a terrorist threat on 9-11-11, it is beginning to feel like maybe the terrorists actually won. Were they really able to kill our belief in the American Dream?