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Beginner Investing/Washington and Stocks

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Question
Hi, with the looming crisis happening in Washington, I am getting worried that the stock market is going to tank (especially if the country defaults). My Roth IRAs and 401k are mainly in mutual funds and some bonds.  Although I am only 35 and have around 30+ years till I need it, there is a part of me that wants to move all of it into money market accounts until the children in Washington get their heads out of their you know what.  What really scares me is the risk of default in a few weeks.  What is your opinion?  Thanks.

Answer
Hi RL,

Thanks for the question.

It is tough to market time for any investor.

Had you dumped stocks at time of last shut down in 90s, you would have missed out on strong growth.

The default is a bigger issue than the shut down for sure though.

However, given your 30-35 year window, I don't think you need to be concerned about short-term market fluctuations.

Obviously though, if you are convinced a market crash is imminent, then moving to safety makes sense, but what exactly does that mean?  

Money market is not "safe."

Safest investment is T-Bills, but if US defaults?

See the problem?

There may be no place to go.

You could always consider taking some profits, hedging to down side with some sort of short ETF --if available in your IRA--etc.

Then, if crash occurs, buy on low prices and ride them back up.

But, this is a tough call for the individual investor.

Again, with a 35 year window, law of averages says you will be fine no matter what fiasco DC comes up with in the short term.

Best,
Steve  

Beginner Investing

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Steve Hach

Expertise

I can field general questions about the stock market and investing. The best ways to analyze stocks for investing, general financial questions about the markets, and questions about companies.

Experience

I am a research analyst for a quantitative stock market research firm. I also have extensive research, writing, and teaching experience in the field of US history with an emphasis on US foreign policy and international relations.

Publications
Various newspaper Op-Eds "Cold War in South Florida Historic Research Study" US Park Service, 2004

Education/Credentials
BA in US History and French MA in US History PhD ABD in US History

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