Financial planner: Time to buy stocks, invest more

- This is a great time for retirement money. It may sound crazy to say this is a great time for anyone's money with the markets so shaky in 2016, but Cary Carbonaro, a certified financial planner and author of The Money Queen's Guide, says this is the time to strike.

Carbonaro says she has had people stop their 401(k) contributions when the market goes down, but she believes this is actually the time to increase those contributions. Depending on your age, you won't need to touch that money for 10, 20, 30, 40, even 50 years.

Carbonaro says think of buying stocks like shopping for a sale. When a store has a sale, you want to buy. That is how you should view the stock market. When the market is on sale you should want to get in and buy great companies at a discount.

Carbonaro's example: if Apple was good at $108, it's even better at $92. Or, consider buying an oil exchange traded fund, to take advantage of the collapse in oil prices. Carbonaro says an ETF is a safer way to invest in something shaky like oil because it is a basket of stocks. A fund manager with expertise picks those stocks for you, so you don't have to choose them yourself.

If buying into a downturn feels too much like trying to catch a falling knife, whatever you do, don't sell. Carbonaro says this is the worst time to sell.

If you're in the right investments, if you believe in the companies you've put your money in, if you believe in the United States economy, there is no reason to sell. Eventually markets recover. They always do.

Nobody likes to lose money, but you only lose money if you sell when the markets go down.

So what should you do when the markets are down? Follow the advice Carbonaro gives her clients: stop checking your portfolio! She says you shouldn't be looking at your stocks every single day. Instead, look at them monthly, annually, or semi-annually.

If you make a long-term investment in the markets today, she says, don't look at it for 10 years, because right now it is going to be all over the place. But after a decade it's going to be higher than it was when you invested, and Carbonaro says that is all that matters.

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