Expert weighs in on your money during crisis

October 6, 2008 4:59:29 PM PDT
Another dramatic drop gives us a record day on Wall Street with your money in the middle. Related
- Adequate but sound currency
- Big sell-off on first day since bailout

The Dow at one point plummeted more than 800 points, and ended up closing down more than 350 points.

So what do the troubles on the market means for your money?

If you have a 401k or mutual fund, you've probably lost money over the past week. If you're not selling stocks these days your neighbors probably are.

Investors around the world are selling off mutual funds as they realize the financial markets in the United States isn't turning around just because of the bailout. Congress passed a $700 billion rescue package to help the troubled financial markets.

President Bush urged people to be patient, it will just take time for the rescue plan to take effect.

The question: How many people are listening to that advice, and why experts still say you should keep your investments?

For months experts have been telling us:
- Stay put.
- Don't worry.
- It's going to get better.

It hasn't and now there are signs investors are not following the advice from the president and financial experts nationwide.

Janet Farr has had enough.

Tired of watching the market go in only one direction she got out and she is glad she did. It means that when the market drops like it did today - her money is safe.

And she's not alone.

Data from market watcher TrimTabs.com show stunning stock sales this year. For the first nine months of 2008, investors took $118 billion net out of stock mutual funds. Last Thursday alone (the most recent day figures are available), investors cashed out $12 billion in one day.

There's no sign it's being re-invested in stocks anywhere. It tells Houston financial analyst John Olson investors have run out of patience.

"This is a good old fashioned panic," he explained. "We've not seen this in many, many years. It's feeding on itself and these panics usually exhaust themselves fairly quickly."

Even still his advice to grab your courage and stay in.

"Once people do come to their senses, and once this redemption issue and panic is over, people will come back steadily," Olson said. "Do I sleep at night? Most of the time."

With her money in a bank account Farr is not losing any more, but she's locked in losses. It is very difficult to predict when the upswing will start again.

Data shows about half the money that left stock funds is moving into bond funds. It's a safer investment, but not one that pays a lot. Best advice, if you're unsure, talk to a professional before you do anything.

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