Laying low and playing down wealth is probably a best practice even when times are good. During tough times like this, it's a must, as the public opinion on Goldman is beginning to resemble that of a lynch mob.
Not fun watching guys get million dollar bonuses when you're working your butt off for much less. Even less cool to see the same when you're unemployed and your tax dollars are going to bail them out.
According to the NY Post article:
"This is a sensitive time for us, and [Blankfein] wants to make sure that we're not being seen living high on the hog," said one Goldman exec."
What I find most interesting about this story is that even though the DOW and S&P have rallied about 50% off their lows, the social mood of this country appears to be permanently altered. Wealth and flash are out for now...and I don't see them coming back into style anytime soon.
To get a good feel for the shifting societal mood, take a look at the summary I wrote about The Fourth Turning. The book is a fantastic read...and I hope my cliff notes will provide some food for thought about market and mood cycles.
Bottom line is that times are changing, and the playbook from the 80's and 90's that "greed is good" and "stocks always go up in the long run" just will not work today. We need to adjust our thinking and get ahead of the new curve that's been thrust upon us.
Further reading on cycles and turnings:
- The Fourth Turning...Into the Greater Depression? (my cliff notes)
- Latest thoughts from Fourth Turning author Neil Howe - very insightful, would highly recommend this one.
Closing thoughts on this while I'm excited - The Fourth Turning always does that to me - Howe says that you must invest the opposite way from how you'd invest in a Third Turning.
And I read that he's put his money where his mouth is - he's been in cash for the last two years, which we all know, has been the safest place to be. Ah if only I had read his book two years ago!