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Worried about the market? Don't give up on your 401(k)

Posted by Cheryl Costa  September 19, 2008 10:24 AM

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I am 60 years old and only have a small amount in my 401k - approximately $90,000 (in a Fidelity Freedom 2015 account). I know I will never be able to retire on what I have but I don't want to lose the little bit I do have. I want to know, given how the market is going down, should I continue to contribute 15 percent of my salary to my 401k or contribute less and put some after tax money in a savings account?

I would urge you to consider continuing your 401(k) contributions. I know that it can be scary when the newspapers are splashed with headlines about one crisis after another, but you need to stick to your long term plan. If you continue to contribute to your 401(k), the shares you are buying on the days that the market is down 450 or 500 points are incredible bargains. Literally, everything you buy is on sale.

The only real way to "win" the investment game is develop a well diversified portfolio and make a promise to yourself that you will stick with the plan in good times and bad. You have to suffer through the bad in order to capture the good. You can't just have the benefit of equity market returns without also accepting the volatility that comes along with it.

The Fidelity Freedom 2015 is probably a good choice for you if you will be retiring in your mid to late 60s. It gradually becomes more and more conservative so you don't have to think or worry about changing your investment mix.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit www.morganstanleyfa.com/ringer
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