Monday, March 16, 2020

Black Monday

In 1986, at 29 and single, I had moved from being a bond broker on Wall Street to being a stock broker in La Jolla. By the Fall of 1987, I had successfully graduated from the Shearson Lehman training center during a debauched three weeks in Los Angeles. 

By early October, back in La Jolla, I had just begun to start building my client portfolio when the stock market crashed on Black Monday. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world. Two days later, I got a call that my youthful 62-year-old father, Robert Joseph Kaseberg, had an aneurism and was not expected to pull through. 

Now instead of watching the computer monitoring the falling market, I was in Champagne, Illinois watching my father’s heart rate monitor. They told me his heart would stop soon. It never did. He was declared brain dead and they wheeled his body off down the hall because he was an organ donor. 

After the funeral at the Winnetka Congregational Church, back at our house, we watched on TV as the market continued to fall. WGN had decided to stick a microphone on a formica desk in an empty studio and have some monotoned executive read-off the numbers of the falling market. It was so stark, echoey and apocalyptic. It truly scared me. 

Meanwhile, my well-meaning - but ham-fisted - Uncle was haranguing me that I needed to sell my mother’s house immediately and put everything in gold before the riots started.

Now it really seemed the world was coming to an end.

If you had invested on the Friday before Black Monday, in one year you would have recouped all of your losses. That was not the end of the world. 

This is not the end of the world.