If one thing is certain about the financial markets, it's that change is constant. We are likely to see many changes and new developments over the next few weeks, especially in light of S&P's downgrade of the United States' credit rating from AAA, the safest possible rating, to AA+, one notch below.
While we can't know of any of the changes that are likely to take place, it helps to have some perspective and take solace in the fact that in 2008, when things were much worse, we were able to recover from many major firms failing, or coming dangerously close to it including: Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and many more. While much of the current crisis is centered on the shortcomings of policymakers in Washington, much of the blame can also be passed along to the Eurozone, whose financially secure members are forced to bear the burden - including potential bailouts - of those nations facing insolvency.
Going forward, it helps to look back on the 2008 financial crisis and realize that things are much better today than they were then. Ultimately, the United States rebounded strongly and was able to prosper in the wake of such difficulties; hopefully we are able to do much the same now.