While watching the Today Show this morning I was very surprised by Jim Cramer's words. He said it is time to get out of the stock market (note: huge caveat follows). Economists almost always say to stay the course and not to panic. Plus we know that when the market is down, you can buy more shares and actually do better than when times were good.
To get back to Cramer for a second, he actually said to get out of stocks if you plan to use the money sometime over the next five years. That's actually fairly standard advice anyway. Then again, I've always thumbed my nose at that expecting that diversification can save me. (Here's yet another good time to reflect on why I'm an idiot... okay, done? Let's move on.)
Cramer went on to say that he's been thinking about it all weekend and said that he really didn't want to tell people to sell their stocks on television. It's one thing if he says it on CNBC, but he's saying it in front of a national audience. The way he said it made it sound like one should panic.
What does this mean for my mother who will be retiring in the next five years? It doesn't really change too much. She should continue to have some funds in conservative investments - things that aren't stocks. This is what almost all financial planners recommend, so it shouldn't surprise you. The one thing that's worth noting is that even at retirement age, she should realize that she's likely (I hope at least) to live for many more years. Thus she should still continue to own stocks for the money that she'll need then.
Perhaps Cramer's "dramatic statement" (Ann Curry's words), really don't mean a whole lot.
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