A tale of two investors

Michael Hoffman (left) and Carlos Sosa (right) were both invested in the stock market in 2009, but they experienced very different outcomes.
CBS News

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES - Stronger job growth is boosting the stock market. On Monday, the Dow opens at an all time-high. It is up 120 percent since bottoming out four years ago, in March 2009.

That's good news for investors - who didn't bail out.

He doesn't plan to give up his teaching job at the University of Southern California, but Carlos Sosa could, thanks to the stock market's recent run-up.

"I'm not surprised, but I'm glad. We had some remodeling we wanted to do on the house and we put that off for 10 years," Sosa said. "We're gonna do it this year!"

In 2009, Sosa had $300,000 invested in the stock market. When the market tanked, his investments lost 20 percent of their value: $60,000.

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Sosa's wife Margaret wanted to pull the money out, but they hung in. Their stock investments have recovered and are now growing.

"I'd never tell my wife 'I told you so,'" Sosa joked."That's a deadly comment!"

Michael Hoffman was not as fortunate.

"I became victim to what happened to what, tens of thousands, millions of other Americans?" Hoffman said.

The 66-year-old therapist had a $1 million nest egg, 65 percent of it in the stock market. The recession wiped out $240 thousand in stocks and real estate funds.

"When you're looking toward retirement and you're not going to be a wage earner, that's a lot of money! It's like the difference between thinking about money or not having to think about it. And I was looking at never having to think about it," Hoffman said.

He pulled more than half his money out of the stock market and missed the market's recovery. He's now invested in precious metals, mainly gold.

"I have my little Midas treasury there," he said.

But his locked-in losses mean he may have to work a decade longer than he had planned.