Dow plunge: 5 ways to keep big drop from fraying your nerves, ruining your financial plan – USA TODAY

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Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s National Economic Council Director, is downplaying the volatility of global markets, which were skidding Tuesday morning, putting the market back into the red for the year. He said “corrections come and go.” (Nov. 20) AP

The New York Stock Exchange is shown, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) ORG XMIT: NYML108(Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP)

Plunging stock prices can even rattle the nerves of a veteran markets reporter who’s been covering Wall Street’s ups and downs for two decades.

But through the years — after watching many nail-biting down days for the Dow and listening to pundits regularly warn of a bear market or big crash — I’ve come up with ways to fend off the panic of rising paper losses in my 401(k) and taxable fund accounts. The Dow drop of nearly 785 points on Thursday, before clawing back its losses to just 79 points, was another one of those angst-inducing days. 

Given the wild ride, and the accompanying spike in fear, I figured now was a good time to share my personal survival guide. 

I got my first taste of market mayhem 10 days after joining USA TODAY in March 2000, when the dot-com stock bubble burst. My first 30 months on the job were spent covering a bear market, which erased nearly half of the market value of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. Next up was the harrowing financial crisis in 2008, an event that kept me up at night wondering if I’d be able to get money out of the bank in the morning, and which wiped out 57 percent of the market’s value.

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