Where all this really hit home for individual investors -- and where it went to a whole different level -- was when the Reserve Fund broke the buck.
I remember that day so vividly. It was mid-week and I had walked home from work ... It was a nice way to unwind with all of the stress going on.When I got home, there was a call from the [Wall Street] Journal saying, "The Reserve Fund has broken the buck. What do you think?" My first reaction was, this is very, very bad.
The next day, those quotes are on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and they are all over Europe. It was such a scary point because this is where you could get a real panic on Main Street.
People had bought into this "stocks for the long run" mentality without fully understanding what it's like to live through the bad parts of the long run.
The baby-boom generation essentially came of age during a bull market. And it was one of the most glorious and extended bull markets, and it had a huge impact on our thinking.
This financial crisis has permanently altered that. I think people will be more conservative for the rest of their careers. And there will probably be some healthy lessons for the next generation.
NEXT: John Mack: A lot of shoulda coulda woulda