folks go on and on about how the stock market has lost half its value. but what does that really mean? well, to most people it really doesn't mean anything. most people have a stock portfolio worth $0. let me do the math here. half of $0 is still $0. so they haven't lost anything. a very small percentage of the population has stock portfolios worth $100 million or more. now it's worth $50 million. OUCH! they say. but really. break out the tiny tiny violins. my heart's bleeding. then there's the substantial minority. these are the folks who calculated they need to build up assets of say $5 million in order to retire when they want to a life style of their choosing. suppose they've worked and worked and got to $4 million. which is now $2 million. OUCH! yeah, they'll live. but last year the dream seemed within reach. and now it's slipped away. depressing.