The Notebook: How Bad Will It Get?

It seems we've been getting one piece of bad news after another since the subprime crisis first hit last year, but the failure of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch really hit Wall Street hard. These are companies that weathered the great depression, but couldn't survive the mortgage meltdown – and a lot of investors are wondering how much worse it could get. Other large firms such as AIG and Washington Mutual are also in trouble.

Financial advisors say the worst thing you can do now is panic and raid your 401K. If you're diversified, your stocks will go back up eventually. If you're trying to get a loan, it might now be harder as banks become more afraid to lend money – something the Fed will consider when it meets tomorrow to discuss interest rates.

These latest troubles are ripples of the bigger mortgage mess. They won't end until that bottoms out – and no one can say when that will be.