• Action 9: Stock Market Drops Cause Retirement Concerns

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    CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - After last week's roller coaster ride on Wall Street, many people are worried about their 401(k) retirement savings.

    The tumultuous week kept financial planner Judson Gee on the phone, reassuring nervous clients.

    "Just be willing to stay with it for now and stick it out," Gee said.

    But for clients who still can't sleep at night, he recommends a move into bonds like treasury bonds, which are stable.

    They're a guarantee that you won't lose money, but then too with treasury bonds, you won't make a lot, either.

    "If you buy it for, say, $5,000 today, the interest rate may be only 1 percent, but if you hold that for five years, you're going to get your money back," Gee said.

    Financial planners like Gee said if you must look at bonds, consider high-quality corporate bonds. That's because corporate balance sheets are in good shape and you could get up to 7 percent interest, compared to 0.25 percent on treasuries.

    But financial experts said if you do buy corporate bonds, avoid those being issued by banks, because many are still weak.

    Another safe option for nervous investors is going completely to cash in the form of money market mutual funds. But the average fund yields a return of 0.01 percent.

    "It's not an option to make money, but it is an option to hold your money steady," Gee said.

    Gee cautioned that it's bad to make decisions based on short-term market changes.

    He said people saving for retirement need to focus on staying practical and unemotional and not panic.

    "It's going to be OK. It's going to work out," he said. "The sky's not falling."

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