Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch Buyout – What Do They Mean to You?

September 15, 2008

Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch being bought by Bank of America all in one Monday?  Who knew when they woke up today the financial turmoil the day had in store?  Aren’t you getting tired of days like these, I know I am.

How Does it Effect Your Investments?

Amidst the craziness, US News and World Report takes a look at how the financial circumstances of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch could effect you.  They cover the impact to stock investors as struggling banks fight to raise capital and stay solvent.  The article also covers the potential impact of today’s events on how the Fed might handle interest rates. 

Days like today make me glad I’m diversified across industries and investment categories, I’d certainly hate to have a big chunk of money invested in LEH stock.  Looks from reports on Bloomberg like the pieces of the company are being broken off and sold as quickly as possibled before all the employees can jump ship.  I don’t imagine the career page at Lehman will get many visitors in the coming weeks.

What Will it Mean for Your 401k?

My first thought when I heard the news about the Chapter 11 bankruptcy and buyout was that I didn’t even want to know what my 401k looked like today. Emily Brandon of US News talked to three financial planners about how the financial mess could impact 401k investors and Merril Lynch customers.

Their advice for 401k investors basically says if you’re invested for the long term then just ride it out.  I’d also add, watch out for scammers!  When the markets are jumpy and investors are running scared, people are more likely to do illogical things.  Look out for people trying to make a quick buck at your expense off of the uncertainty.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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5 Responses to Lehman Brothers Bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch Buyout – What Do They Mean to You?

  • Rob Viglione

    I read an interesting article today talking about how a money market fund is writing off 3% of its assets as being worthless due to Lehman’s collapse. The fund also initiated a 7 day redemption period for cash withdrawals over $10K. This is just one scary example of how investment bank failures can impact ordinary folks.

    This sounds kind of perverse to say right now, but this is a potentially tremendous buying opportunity! I certainly don’t recommend pushing all your chips onto the table, but maintain your discipline of periodic asset acquisition, i.e. keep pumping regular contributions into your retirement accounts and keep with your initial plans of asset allocation weightings.

    In particular, this is a great opportunity to buy quality US and EU companies for deep discounts. Also consider maintaining emerging market exposure, picking up Chinese, Brazilian, BRIC, and other foreign index shares with every down tick. Don’t go nuts, but maintain discipline and keep buying through the storm. When it clears you will be happy to have done so.

  • Le Pecq

    Finance world is very crazy… i can’t believe a big company as Lehman is dead !… poor capitalism…


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