Don’t Gamble Your Safety Net

by Andy Hough on July 3, 2008

If you’re like me, you recently saw your retirement accounts take a pretty sizable hit. In fact, since October of last year, the markets have been down 20%. 20% puts it into bear market territory and something that probably makes you shudder to think about it (I know I do). You might be tempted to change directions, pull out of what you’ve invested in so far and going with something riskier to make up the losses. Please don’t.

Your retirement nest egg is your retirement safety net. You can gamble away your taxable investments, you can put your emergency fund into a hot new tech startup (I wouldn’t), and you can take your Latte Factor and blow it on the ponies – just don’t mess with your retirement accounts. Let them stay the course and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.

To put our current difficulties in perspective, consider that since the 1920s, the S&P 500 has returned a historic 11% year over year. That’s through numerous bear markets, including the recession in the 1980s and the tech bust the few years after 2001.

If you can’t stomach it and want to pull out, pull out. Just don’t gamble it on a potential shooting star.


My Retirement Blog was included in this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance at Greener Pastures.

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