If you're investing for your retirement and you have a decade or more to prepare, then you shouldn't sweat the meltdown. If you have good credit and an adjustable rate mortgage coming due soon, then you shouldn't sweat the meltdown. If you've been taking steps to get your financial house in order, then you shouldn't sweat the meltdown.
If you read some of the reports about the recent swings in the Dow, you would think this had never happened before, when in fact it happens all the time. The stock market goes up and it goes down. The smart strategy for most individual investors is to begin an investment plan of dollar cost averaging and stick with it regardless of what the market does.
If you're already doing some smart retirement planning by investing on a regular basis, then you're taking advantage of the power of dollar cost averaging. This is a powerful tool to smooth out the hairpin turns of the investing road. MSN Money has a great little article to illustrate the power of dollar cost averaging to sock away a million bucks for your retirement. The author walks through this example and all the powerful ingredients that allow it to happen:
Here's how it works: Say you start with nothing, invest $500 (of your income) a month (a healthy discipline), and let your money ride (over time) in diversified investments. Long term, the stock market returns at least 10% annually. Assuming a 10% return, you'd have $102,000 after 10 years, $380,000 after 20 years, and $1.1 million in 30 years.
Take a look at these 5 steps to preparing for an early retirement. If you're already on the right track, that's great, keep it up and rest assured that regularly scheduled investing is going to payoff in this turbulent market that's brewing.
If you haven't gotten your retirement savings started yet, then start now! You'll have a couple of powerful advantages by starting now. The biggest advantage is: those who make a commitment to start saving become wealthy (Doesn't matter what your circumstances are), that's powerful! The other big advantage is dollar cost averaging and the buying power you'll have as the market makes corrections.
If you're having some difficulties with credit, you might find yourselves in the subprime arena, and affected by this situation. A great source of information on credit issues, mortgages, and money management is creditboards.com. Just be prepared to spend the weekend reading through the credit forum discussion boards and you'll be on your way to cleaning up and boosting your credit picture.