Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crisis extra worrisome to those in retirement

The market's stomach-churning fluctuations in recent days are causing Americans – from billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who said he has lost $300 million because of the turmoil, to workers with modest 401(k) accounts – to feel increasingly queasy.

But it is those near retirement or already retired, who are feeling the crisis most acutely.

Financial planners and brokerages are reporting an uptick in calls and visits from nervous clients, but so far there hasn't been a rush to liquidate holdings or dramatically change investment portfolios.

As tempting as it may be to pull money out of the volatile market, it doesn't make sense at any age, said Larry McCulla, a partner at CBiz Financial Solutions in San Diego.

Worried consumers need look no further than the crash of 1987, when the Dow plummeted more than 22 percent in one day, he said. Despite that decline, investors who held onto their stocks were back in positive territory in less than two years, McCulla said.

“It's a question of why should you take unrealized losses and make them real losses,” he said

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