When volatility hit the markets in August following Standard & Poor's downgrade of U.S. debt, it left investors and their financial advisors scrambling. Now, several years after the financial crisis, it also begged the question: how ready are firms and advisors to apply the lessons learned in those dark days?

While the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a roller coaster ride in the second week of August, taking steep dives down one day and up the next, it finished that week up 1.1%, closing at 11,269.02.

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