The upcoming period of time is for those "opportunists" who will play upon the fears of so many. These predators bank on these fears - literally. They are bankers.
What they don't see is that in 2010 and 2011, they are not going to be able to sustain what has traditionally been "the ways of the banking industry" because they will be most in jeopardy of failure to recover from the big stock market crash that they do not see taking shape. Nikkei has been feeling the itch to trade lower, and now the other markets are starting to respond accordingly. And the banks --- well, they think everything is just groovy, man. They won't be able to react once the fall starts, which will be prior to autumn for point of reference.
What can the average American do to avoid the failures that are coming? I'll be frank: I don't really know an answer to completely avoiding the financial problems that the corporate world is going to suffer and what their roles will be on individuals wealth or lackthereof, but there are some things that we hear many times over that is common sense and should be considered.
First: make sure you don't have all your assets in the stock markets. That could cause your own failure.
Second: don't put all your money into one bank. Diversify WHERE you have your money saved or in checking accounts.
Credit unions are looking better and better all the time to me, and I need to take my own advice in making sure I place money in several accounts. It may be that credit unions are (more-or-less) regulated to stay smaller than conglomerate banks. That way they're less likely to have a big failure the way we saw just a couple of years ago with mid-sized and larger banks or 25 years ago with the Savings and Loan problems. Oddly, I think most people don't view credit unions as being safer than traditional banks if for no other reason than the banks all know how to play the fear game on the public and added an element of advertising to make banks SEEM LIKE (through the repeated advertising or editorials which make claims they cannot truly back up) "the safest place for your money" --- which we will soon see is not always the case.
But, what else? I've said it before --- not all of those people who were alive during the "Great Depression" were wrong in putting money away in cookie jars, bread boxes and in their mattresses. But I suppose for the sake of keeping the paper money protected, perhaps investing some money in a fireproof safe would be smart. Just make sure you know the combination.
Not that it's certain --- but I think we can bank on some bigger financial institutions begging both the U. S. Government and the Federal Reserve for some help in the next few weeks. But it's all but certain we can bank on those institutions which were deemed "too big to fail" having bigger problems than they did mere months ago. A few failures for those giants can trigger an avalanche of problems for some --- but NOT ALL --- Americans, as long as some of us prepare properly for the demise of the rich and wealthy folks who don't plan ahead for some of the biggest failures in the past 75 years.