Financial Planning

The Bizarro World of recession investing

Opposite The bank where you keep your money is on fire. It's looking, in fact, like it might collapse. People are pouring out any exit they can find, running for their lives.

And you? Why, you walk straight throught the front door and give a bunch of cash to the nearest teller.

Sounds crazy, right? You bet ... unless the fire is a recession and that bank is your 401(k).

Retirement accounts are being devoured by the economic downturn. The last time I found the cojones to check my 401(k), the balance was down by at least 30 percent. It's painful to watch, and many investors are doing anything they can to stop the bleeding. Some have stopped contributing. Others are moving that money to less risky investments.

Bad moves, says Katy Marquardt. In fact, in this U.S. News and World Report article, she says the best thing you can do these days is put even more money into your 401(k).

"Although your account balance is shrinking, now is actually a good time to be boosting your 401(k) contributions, since you'll be scooping up stocks on sale," Marquardt writes. "Try raising your automatic 401(k) paycheck deduction by just a percent or two, and make up for it by cutting down on discretionary expenses. No, you won't get much instant gratification, but consider it a future gift for yourself."

That's just one of four tips Marquardt offers for investing extra cash during a recession, and it's a good one. Check out the rest of her advice, then tell us: Are you putting more or less money into your 401(k) these days?


Bill Sheridan