The ABCs of 401(k): What not to do with your nest egg

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It was one wild day on Wall Street.

After a deep dip in the Dow, the market closed with a shocking drop of nearly 1,200 points.

People began to panic after they were caught off guard with the sharp losses reported for the day.

How did this happen? And, more importantly, why?

For Silvia Martinez, the market is messy.

She admits all those numbers make her nervous.

“I invest in real estate and other areas because I feel like they’re easier for me to grasp than the stock market,” she told News Channel 8.

The single mom from Tampa runs her own business, a recruiting company. She tells us she likes to invest, but when the market makes massive moves like it did on Monday, it seems to be way too much to process.

“It’s difficult to understand,” Silvia explained. “It’s too much information to gather at the same time.”

How will this tumultuous day translate from Wall Street to Main Street?

We took our questions to wealth advisor Jon Wax, a man who knows the numbers. This longtime financial adviser, in the business for more than 22 years, points out one very important fact.

There were no down months in 2017.

This dip in the Dow, he claims, is not necessarily a bad thing.

“We’ve really had a nice run, so this is a healthy pull back that gives us an opportunity to regroup,” Wax told us.

Here’s how it all shakes out:

If you don’t have a 401(k), but have access to one, Wax maintains this is a perfect time to get started. He advises people not to wait. It’s like buying something on sale. Do not hesitate.

If you already have a 401(k), Wax points out there’s one rule you need to follow: Don’t panic.

Whatever you do, leave your current 401(k) alone. He advises absolutely do not mess with it.

For those who are retired with a 401(k), consider this, Wax says, a wake-up call of sorts – a time to reassess your risk.

“This is the wake up call to make sure you have your portfolio set the right way,” Wax said. “If you’re looking at your long term money, thinking you’ve got to be in and out and try to time things, you’re going to do some real damage to your portfolio. This is your wake-up call to make sure you have your portfolio set up the right way.”

He adds, “If you don’t have an adviser, I’d recommend getting one who can walk you through because this time period shows it’s not that easy.”

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