I've been trying with all my might not to learn about auction-rate securities. It's one of those financial tools I read about in the Money and Investing section of the Wall Street Journal and think: does anyone with less than $5 million in the bank actually care about this? Well, it turns out a lot of ordinary people were invested in auction-rate securities, believing it to be as safe as cash. And some small companies parked their cash there as well, according to this article in VentureWire:

Several start-ups hold these obscure financial instruments, which many considered nearly as good as cash but are now illiquid after many bond auctions failed recently. [Ken] Lawler [of Battery Ventures] said his firm surveyed his group of 60 portfolio companies and has so far identified 12 that have some amount of cash in auction-rate securities. "I've been in business 22 years and I've never seen anything like it.

Are there any Inc. readers out there who can commiserate? Did you put any of your money in auction-rate securities? Or are there other ways you have been affected by the turmoil in the credit markets?