Consumers need to get involved in finances

September 16, 2008 12:22:53 AM PDT
Consumers want to know how Monday's financial woes will affect them. A financial analyst told ABC7 his basic advice is for consumers to get involved in their financial affairs, now.

"I think it's pretty bad, pretty bad. I know I'm very concerned," says Calvenetta Rivers, an investor.

"I'm going to ride it out for now," says Craig Caligari, an investor.

"I'm a little concerned, I'm a little leery," says Juan Torres, an investor.

As Wall Street went into crisis mode Monday, people wondered what the downturn means to their bank accounts, 401(k)'s and investments.

"I'm not really panicking, but I'm not really happy about where things are going and I'll probably be more cautious and looking more closely into my 401(k)," says Margaret Gee, an investor.

Investment counselor Eric Aanes agrees no one should panic. He suggests people should have a more hands on approach to their financial security in these volatile times.

"You need to make a few hard decisions . Do you want to ride out the storm? Do you want to go to cash, or do you want to change your allocation?" says Aanes.

AIG Insurance is now on shaky ground. Aanes says the mutual fund side of AIG won't be affected as much as its insurance business.

"Where you might have some questions marks, is if you have some kind of death benefit or life insurance," says Aanes.

Aanes says you should be taking a close look at AIG's direction in the next few days before acting.

Aanes gives the following advice to worried consumers. Make sure the money in your bank accounts is all FDIC insured. Check the allotments in your 401(k). Try not to invest too heavily in just one stock. And be more pro-active to see where your money is working.

Some investors like Juan Torres are well aware of his 401(k) allotments.

"I'm kind of glad I don't have a lot of stand-alone investments. Most of what I have is mutual funds," says Torres.

Aanes says mutual funds will continue to ebb and flow with the markets, but are seen as more secure funds.

"I'm hoping that were getting close to the bottom and things will turn around. So I'm not pulling out at this point. No sense in selling at the bottom or close to it," says Caligari.

Aanes and other financial advisors suggest that you proceed with caution before making any major changes to your investments or your retirement plans. They caution that you shouldn't make any changes based on emotional decisions.


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