High anxiety is found among average investors

September 29, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The crisis on Wall Street is having a direct impact on retirement plans and 401ks. The losses are particularly painful for those living on their savings now and those about to retire.

"I'm anxious. My wife is anxious," said Jim Acock, from Albany.

The cost of food, gas and rising unemployment were already adding pressure to daily life. Now, the worst one-day U.S. stock market plunge ever hit on Monday.

"I have money in the market and real estate business," said Reba Butler, an El Cerrito resident.

"My situation is dire. I've been out of work for three years and for the last year have lived off of my IRA," said James Lieberfarb, an El Cerrito resident.

"The only thing I can depend on, and it's probably not going to be there, is social security," says Susan Tamano, a Safeway employee.

Many Americans are teetering on the brink of financial disaster and they're not sure what to do. All these feelings of not knowing are manifesting in the form of anxiety and doctors are seeing it.

"Well I'm seeing more stress in people," said Dr. Andrew Ross M.D.

Dr. Ross says his patients are experiencing a lot of stress and insomnia.

"Definitely after 9/11, people were pretty agitated in a similar way," said Dr. Ross.

The panic has some thinking about investing in gold. Another popular idea is putting a stop to 401k contributions and funneling more cash to the pocket book.

"Cash is among the lowest of the returning investments among the major asset classes. Gold is probably worse than cash in terms of returns over the last 20 or 25 years," said Norman Boone, from the Mosaic Financial Partners.

Boone advises his clients to think long term.

"Now is the time to be buying at a low price," said Boone.

Still, Boone says middle class Americans can't benefit if they're draining their retirement funds. The bottom line, he says, 'Let it ride,' because while this may be the worst plunge ever, it's not the first black Monday this country has weathered and he says the markets will eventually bounce back.


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