Do's, don'ts for today's financial realities

  • Do have a financial plan no matter how young you are.
  • Don't alter your plan because of a drop in the stock market.
  • Do keep enough cash on hand for contingencies.
  • Don't stop paying your bills, especially student loans, car loans and credit card debt.
  • Do start planning for retirement. Put as much as you can into your 401(k) plan or IRA.

  • Do take advantage of the tumbling market and invest in cheap blue-chip stocks if you have retirement income you can count on.
  • Don't speculate on companies, sell your stocks or throw your portfolio out of balance.
  • Do choose an age-weighted investment strategy to protect your children's college funds.
  • Do cut expenses by paying down credit cards or looking into refinancing your mortgage.

Do keep some of your portfolio in the stock market.

Don't sell during a downturn if you can help it.

Do have enough emergency funds on hand so you can weather stock market fluctuations.

Don't worry about short-term drops in stock values.

Do meet with a financial adviser.

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