On August 1, Fitch, a credit ratings agency, downgraded the U.S. debt from AAA (the highest rating) to AA+. Fitch had warned of a possible downgrade during the debt ceiling crisis earlier this year and has sounded alarms since 2011, when a similar crisis occurred. While few investors, economists, and business leaders view the downgrade itself as meaningful, primarily because AA+ still represents an extremely low default risk, that does not mean it has not impacted financial markets. After all, investors have benefited from markets mostly moving upward this year, leaving some investors unprepared for even small stock market swings. What drove the downgrade of the U.S. debt, and how can long-term investors maintain a balanced perspective?