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Don’t panic

Don’t panic

Ominous headlines about layoffs. Soaring prices at the pump. “For sale” signs and plummeting stock markets. Everywhere you turn lately, you see a test of your financial faith. Never fear. Here are common-sense tips to survive the current money crunch:


Tracking your 401(k) or IRA is a daily roller-coaster ride that leaves you queasy more often than not. You’re not alone. First, quit obsessing. Take the stock market ticker off of your computer’s desktop and find a new hobby. Second, remember you’re in it for the long haul. While periodically reviewing your investment mix is smart, yanking your money out of the market during troubled times usually isn’t. One plus to plunging prices: You’re snapping up shares at bargain prices, which pays off when fortunes turn, Zale said. “You can’t time the market for both the tops and the bottoms,” he said. “You must set a plan down on paper, do an asset allocation so you are diversified and build your wealth based on it. Getting in and out of the market is not normally profitable. Having a long-term plan increases your chance of success significantly.”