I have seen the argument made that, in the context of some significant economic stress points around the globe, the United States is sort of like the good looking house in the bad neighborhood. We have our own financial issues right now, to be sure, but nothing as bad as what is going on in Europe – or so goes that line of thinking, anyway. The nice house/bad neighborhood analogy is an apt comparison, particularly because, as in real estate, the value of any one home is inextricably connected to the value of the larger neighborhood. The problem is, if they neighborhood goes downhill, the value of our house is going to be significantly reduced. Just because other countries look worse right now does not mean that we are safe. In an increasingly connected global marketplace, ripples can turn into tsunamis in very short order. As a result, it is not enough to be comparatively strong or economically sound relative to other struggling economies around the world; we need to be strong on our own terms. Unfortunately, the danger of a larger financial crisis is real enough that American investors need to be very conservative right now. I myself went to cash last week in several of my accounts. I am certainly not advising everyone to do the same, but I am suggesting that these are worrying times for our economic “neighborhood”, and it is important to stay informed and to understand the extent of the issues we face. Above all, do not put your head in the sand.