Bear Up

Wall Street's on a Roller-Coaster Ride. Jittery?

image CHRISTIAN HARTING
Age 35
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Journalist

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?Not really. There's a downturn all over the world, particularly in the technology sector. The same thing is happening in Germany, where I'm from. After living here for two years, I've come to the conclusion that Americans aren't very happy. Prices are high, incomes are low, most people carry about $7000 worth of personal debt. How can the average person be happy?

Can any good come from a downturn?No, and few people think the president's tax plan will truly stimulate the economy.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?I could easily last a year. I know I'm an exception. No one can save money living in New York.


image PAUL HOFFMAN
Age 31
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Bike messenger

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?No, because I don't invest in it. The one time I did I lost a lot of money.

Can any good come from a downturn?I don't really understand what that means, but wouldn't it put a lot of people out of work? Lowering interest rates is something they're supposed to do anyway, and I don't think that would offset a crash. Maybe a downturn would lower rents.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?On what I make, I can't save a penny, plus I've got three kids to support. The only thing that helps is that I'm a veteran. I get a monthly payment for having been in Desert Storm.


image CARLOS VALDEZ
Age 47
Resides Saugerties, New York
Occupation Composer

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?No. As long as there are jobs and people can pay their bills, there's some security.

Can any good come from a downturn?Somehow it sounds like good could come from a downturn, but in reality a lot of people are going to lose their jobs.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?About two months. Twenty years ago you could live very cheaply in New York. I lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, until I realized that I could buy a house for the same amount I was paying annually to rent an apartment. I moved upstate and bought a house on five acres for 122K.


image LAKETTA CALDWELL
Age 24
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Student

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?No, I'm not following it and I've never really thought about either a recession or a depression. I have some stock from when I worked at Kroger grocery store, but I don't keep track of how well it's doing.

Can any good come from a downturn?I really don't know.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?I live paycheck to paycheck and would have to move back to Kentucky if I lost my source of income.


image GUS LAWRENCE
Age 31
Resides Manhattan
Occupation Musician

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?No. I know that the market's floundering, but I'm not invested, so beyond reading the headlines, I don't know what's happening.

Can any good come from a downturn?Fewer people will make money from doing nothing. Stocks will reflect their true value.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?No time at all. I may have been able to save money when I lived with my parents, but I can't now.


image KENIA CRUZ
Age 20
Resides Queens
Occupation Stay-at-home mother

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?No. I think they're making too much of a fuss. It reminds me of the blizzard that was supposed to happen recently and the panic over Y2K.

Can any good come from a downturn?Rent might go down. I'm looking for an apartment right now. You have to have $6000 to get a two-bedroom apartment, and for something that size you're going to end up paying $1500 a month, easy.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?I could do some shopping, but I couldn't live for any length of time. I have two children, so my first priority has to be Pampers and milk.


image FREDDY PEÑA
Age 36
Resides Bronx
Occupation Porter

Are you worried about the stock market crashing?Yes. It's the first time I've seen it like that. Up and down means something's not right, but we have to give Bush some time to sort it out.

Can any good come from a downturn?No. It will be no good for working people, and that tax plan is only for the rich.

How long could you last financially if you lost your job?A week or two. Maybe not even that long.

 
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