How the Lehman Collapse Made Me Thankful

Jeane Roberts writes a frustrated account of the fall of AIG and points out the amount of public money going the rescue of various financial institutions (except Lehman Brothers).

Personally, and for my net worth, I’m disappointed that Lehman (LEH, LEHPQ – $0.30) didn’t get rescued. As an ex-employee and shareholder I would have liked some of the public money Ms. Roberts mentions being thrown around for Lehman. It was the last place I worked and its collapse hit me hard.

How the Lehman Collapse Made Me Thankful
Photo: SeƱor Lebowski, Creative Commons, Flickr

But that’s selfish. My life has changed because of this event, though not as much as those of others. This is a bit reminiscent of the Enron scandal, if you ask me. I have many friends at Lehman who lost their savings and their jobs this week.

It is the finance industry in New York that drives real estate. Even the implosion of Silicon Alley and the dotcom industry in New York didn’t change New York City real estate prices significantly or for much time. The New York City real estate market, which until now has escaped the price declines other regions have seen, is doomed like it was in the early nineties. The other factor that will crush the real estate market in New York is the rise in the US Dollar because foreigners have been the marginal buyer of late – and they will go away soon.

To put things in perspective: right after I got done counting my losses and realizing that my lifestyle would have to change, I saw a man on a bike get run over and killed by a truck. I ride through that intersection everyday on my way to the office. After watching a man lose his life and all the horrors that brought on for me, I realized how lucky I am. Instead of being sad about my loss I was overcome with appreciation for all the people in my life that I love and who love me. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Disclosure: I am an ex Managing Director at Lehman and Morgan Stanlely. I own Lehman common shares, Lehman preferred shares, and am vested in what is now a worthless executive compensation plan. I own Morgan Stanley (MS – $28.62), am vested in its executive compensation plan, pension plan and deferred compensation plan. I do not own AIG (AIG – $3.25). I own real estate in New York City.