Financial planner gives advice as stocks continue to slide

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Friday, January 4, 2019
Financial planner gives advice as stocks continue to slide
The stock market did nothing to ease your fears today about your 401-K getting out of a slump anytime soon.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The stock market did nothing to ease fears about 401-Ks getting out of a slump anytime soon. In fact, it boils down to picking your poison.

Stock markets stayed sharply in the red, primarily because of Tim Cook's letter Wednesday, revising sales projections-- but the trouble didn't stop there. A key manufacturing index came in at its lowest level since 2016.

RELATED: Stock losses widen as Apple plunges after warning of iPhone sales slowdown in China

The Dow fell about 600 points, or more than two percent, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also took big losses. So is there anything you can do about this?

It doesn't matter if you're years from retirement or already retired. People get nervous and start wondering what to do, or what they should have done.

Patrick Crowley says he's still some 20 years from retirement, and he should have reacted sooner.

"I probably should have ducked out of the stocks before they took a hit 'cause I kind of saw it coming," he said.

Lupe Avelar says she has no tolerance for stock market volatility.

"I have the limits on mine, and so as soon as things start dropping below a certain limit, it sells automatically," she said.

So we turned to certified financial planner Eric Heckman, president and founder of his own investment and insurance firm in San Jose.

"Do you need the money in two or three years," asked Heckman. "Then yeah, you should be really worried; if you're about to put more money in the market, you might want to wait. If you've got five or 10 years, you're fine. If you look historically, a bear market, which we're finally in, comes about every three and a half or four years. This one took almost 10. So that's a lot longer than normal, but also statistically, it takes from nine to 12 months to recover."

The downturn isn't a reflection of the U.S. economy, but rather, a slowdown in China's. That's hurting sales of American companies exporting there.

"They're not buying luxury goods," said Prof. Anna Han, an expert on China trade at Santa Clara University School of Law. "They're not buying what some people consider essential goods, but they're not upgrading, for example, their telephones. Rather, they're just keeping what they have."

RELATED: US-China trade uncertainty fuels market plunge

It's not just Apple and other tech companies that are vulnerable. Tim Bajarin is a San Jose tech analyst.

"This doesn't bode well for the Guccis and the Pradas and any other premiere brands either," he said.

With a number of high tech companies already facing strong headwinds, one warning sign that Heckman says we should be looking for is whether any of these companies suddenly decide to pull back on some of their major campus expansion plans.