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Talking It Over -- Could things get worse?

Our economy is in tough shape and I have the feeling we have not seen or heard the worst of it yet. So often over the years there have been dire reports as the markets fluctuate from high to low in a matter of minutes. I have taken these reports with a grain of salt, reminding myself that we have been told often to just wait it out and it will get better.

But this time, quite frankly, I am scared. It just doesn't sound good for the present or the future and I can't help but wonder how it will affect my life and the lives of my loved ones.

In one report, I heard the comment that the situation we are in today can only be compared to the start of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Perhaps that is what has me running so scared, watching and listening as things unfold. It may not hurt so much today but in a matter of months or years we will certainly be feeling it.

During the depression years, people lost faith in the banks and other institutions that held their life savings. Today, it is not the banks that worry me but rather the markets where our retirement plans, IRAs and, basically, our life savings, are invested. Will we lose everything that we have been putting away diligently with each paycheck? Will we have to start over when it comes to saving for those "rainy days" and retirement years?

I am not quite ready to retire, but when I do, I want to know that there are funds there for me to live on and to supplement the Social Security that will hopefully still be available to me. I hate living with this uncertainty and instability in our economy.

In some ways, we may have it a bit better out here in the rural areas of America. If need be, we can live off the land to some degree and continue to exist. Our expectations and needs in life are not as great as in other areas. Most of us know what it is like to deny ourselves things that we may want but just can't afford to obtain.

This entire government buy-out issue is confusing, if not frustrating. I have to be skeptical when I hear about these large sums of money and wonder how a company can allow itself to get so far in debt. If you or I get just a little bit in the red, especially in our checking accounts, we hear about and pay for it, big-time. We cover our own mistakes, cut back in other areas and bail ourselves out.

It just makes me wonder, if the rest of us have to foot the bill for these big companies, who is going to be there for us when we need a bailout?