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Investors Wonder What Stock Plunge Means to Them

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RALEIGH — Has the bull market turned into a bear? That's what many investors are asking themselves after Tuesday's 300 point drop on the stock market. What does the Dow's shaky performance mean for investors who are almost ready to take out their earnings?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the most closely watched financial market index, seemed to recover somewhat Wednesday. It rose about 42 points from Thursday's close, and that's good news for everyone, but Tuesday's big free-fall at least serves as a reminder to some to regularly take stock of their investment situation.

No matter how much money one has, or how far away one may be from retirement, investors who can wait out all the Wall Street wobbling have a distinct advantage.

"It always will come around," says a Raleigh investor. "It's going to drop and it's going to rise, but if you hold onto it you'll always come out ahead."

If one's money is in the market and there's little or no time left until retirement, financial experts say 'don't throw out the baby with the bath water' by selling stocks or stock mutual funds when the market is declining.

They explain that people in or near retirement should at least take a look at their investment mix, and possibly reduce their position in stocks gradually.

That's exactly what Bill Griffin is doing.

"Corporate bonds, government bonds, treasury bonds kind of a diversified bond fund," advises Griffin.

Griffin adds that that mix makes him feel a little safer.

The big question is, what is a good stock-bond mix for people at or nearing retirement? Much depends on one's own risk preferences, and how much of that nest egg may be needed as income.

Bill Babb, a Cary Certified Financial Planner, says most of his retired clients have between 60 and 75 percent of their investments in stocks. The rest is usually kept in bonds or other more stable instruments.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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