10 Things to Do if You are Worried about the Stock Market

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Earlier this week U.S. stocks had some huge declines leaving many people worried about their 401ks, investments and the economy in general.  On Tuesday, I checked my retirement account and bank account online and found both websites to be down at the the same time.  I felt a moment of panic at that point but I forced myself to calm down.  It may have been a coincidence, but it did not help my worries.  A few hours later, the websites were back up and nothing seemed amiss.  Thankfully, the markets have bounced back and people have calmed down in the last day or so.

It seems the fears of another 2008 Great Recession are back, but this time they are more pronounced because the global outlook seems to be more dire:  economic uncertainty, pandemic fears, natural disasters, terrorism threats, election worries etc.   I am sure a lot of people feel more than a little spooked and helpless.

You are a lot of things you can do to feel empowered and ease your worries.

1.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.

2.  Get prepared now!  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.   Buy food and other necessities now while the prices are still manageable.  Even if nothing happens, you know prices are only going to increase so you really can’t lose by setting aside a good stockpile.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.

3.  If you have been worried about your retirement and investment accounts, review your risk tolerance and adjust them accordingly.  If you are heavily invested in stocks and fear you cannot weather any losses, move them to safer, less volatile investments.  Read Jim Cobb’s book,  The Prepper’s Financial Guide: Strategies to Invest, Stockpile and Build Security for Today and the Post-Collapse Marketplace for ideas.

4.  Start your emergency fund.   Get a side job or find ways to make extra money.  We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay the same.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.

5.  Get out of debt and cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read.  See Downsize Before You have to for specifics.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself.  If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps:  brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom and listening to dire predictions.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary pronouncements will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist and quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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  1. Yet another great article, and timely too. Keeping a level head, and an even keel are both very important. The bonus tip is especially important. Be brave, be wise, be calm – and survive.

    1. Hi Joseph, Glad you like the post, I hope it helps people who are feeling fearful right now. Thanks for the comment!

  2. While some City or State jobs may not pay much (and you might spend most of your working life working PM or midnight shifts, weekends & Holidays), but just that point of having a pension that pays 50% of your pay when you retire does make up for it.

  3. Excellent article! #5 in particular … one of the best things you can do for yourself is get out of debt. Not owing anything to anybody is such a sense of relief it is indescribable. I would recommend Dave Ramsey’s money makeover program. It’s basic, but it works.

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