Financial Experts Say "Stay the Course" When It Comes to Investing in Your Retirement Plans

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Another rough day on Wall Street Monday meant another rough day on your 401k, as the DOW closed at less than 10,000 for the first time since 2004. While the times may be tough, local financial experts say it's important to stay the course if you want to see your retirment later on in life.

The more we see the numbers on Wall Street go down, the more financial experts, like Arbor Financial owner Tom McNamera, see the number of calls from clients go up.

"Investors worry about their future," said McNamera. "They worry about how it's going to impact their ability to retire."

It's that worrying that he and other financial advisors say can be one of the worst things during a time of economic hardship.

"All too often we make mistakes in our portfolio when we get emotionally caught up in it," said McNamera.

"Probably the first thing to look at doing when you're assessing thing is not to panic," said Kevin Price, a financial advisor at Insight Financial. "Typically when folks are hurt by the market it's because they buy and sell at the wrong time."

They say one of the best ways to make sure you don't panic is to have a financial advisor work through your retirement plan.

"Don't try to do it alone," said Price. "Contact your financial advisor, someone you can trust to help you make those decisions."

Experts recommend going through your 401k once every six months. They say a good indication of a portfolio that will yield good results is one that spreads the money out in multiple investments.

"Have at least four to five diversified mutual fund or sub-account investments in a portfolio," said McNamera.

They say it's important to keep in mind that 401k is meant to be a long term investment.

"Trying to predict the top or bottom of the market is relatively impossible as well," said Price. "So we really try to adhere to the advice of staying in the market."

And keep putting money into your plan.

"I think it's a shot in your own foot to stop contributing," said Price. "Those things are very detrimental to your health."

They say while the current crisis is causing many to think about selling, now is actually the time to think about buying.

"There's value out there to buying," said McNamera. "There is deep discount on some very good stock purchases right now."

"You're relatively in the grand scheme of things, going to be buying pretty low," said Price. "Given that opportunity, you have the most chance for future appreciation."

Above all, they say the most important thing to do is stay the course -- you'll be thanking yourself in about 12 to 18 months if you do.

"The good thing about recessions is that we've always come out of them," said McNamera.

Local experts say if you're not currently investing in a 401k plan, now is a great time to start.

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