The Crash: I Feel a Lot Poorer Today

One way or another, everyone is in the market, and anyone can lose

Bernice Garelick, 60, had felt sure that her husband Elias, a dentist, could retire in a few years and spend more time with her. But the crash shook her confidence. The Lindenhurst, N.Y., couple watched helplessly last week as their $300,000 portfolio of stocks sank in value by 20%. Said Bernice: "We have been investing in the market for 22 years. Now this happens, and it threatens what you have worked for over a lifetime."

She spoke for many Americans who felt their life's work and life's savings threatened last week. Since August, the plunging stock market has erased nearly $1...