I came across this video narrated entirely by Warren Buffet:
The title is misleading - not once did he mention another crash, let alone it being worse than 1929.
But I find it helpful to look back in history when preparing for the future. After all, the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9:
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."
I noted a few quotes and highlights by Buffet from the clip.
"The Great Depression lasted a very long time, but it lasted a lot longer in people's minds."
It's easy to trust when times are good. You don't have to worry as much about making small mistakes, spending a little extra money on something you don't need, or investing in the wrong stock because, when times are good, things tend to work out anyway.
For instance, investing in even poorly-run companies tended to produce returns on investments during the past 20 or so years.
But when times are bad, it's difficult to forget and learn to trust again. From Buffet: "People were so scarred." That's probably why my grandparents continued to reuse napkins and hand out hand-made gifts at Christmas even decades later.
An economic depression changes people - often forever.
"The people in the 1930s" didn't know how everything was going to work out, but they endured, persevered and prospered."
The stock market stayed near its lows for nearly a year during 1932. It looked bad.
If you've ever watched the movie Cinderella Man, here's a clip from the movie of Jimmy humbling himself and asking for money to heat their home in the winter.
That was just a movie, but the reality is that people had done all they could and then some, and many had no where else to turn.
But, they endured.
Betting on America, the country, paid off and has paid off for decades since then. Buffet:
When people were still scared: "They didn't see the potential of what America could do. Nothing can stop America when you get right down to it."
The creation of the FDIC.
One positive thing that did come out of the Great Depression was the creation of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). The FDIC exists to "maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system. The FDIC insures deposits; examines and supervises financial institutions for safety, soundness, and consumer protection; makes large and complex financial institutions resolvable; and manages receiverships."
During the Great Depression, people who were savers, who thought they had prepared would walk up to the steps of their bank and see a closed sign on the door.
They would then come to the realization that all of their money was gone. It didn't matter how much they had saved previously.
The creation of the FDIC prevented and is preventing that from ever happening again.
Do you have any lessons from the Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s that you've heard and would be helpful to share? Please share them in the comments or create a new post of your own!