Every period of economic expansion and contraction has a different story, but people react to them in similar fashion: mostly irrational with a touch of shortsightedness.
Whether it's a bull market or a bear market, it will eventually end.
"Trust the concept of a regression to the mean," says Robert Fragrasso, CFP, chairman and chief executive officer of Fragasso Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh. "An investor should maintain discipline -- total asset allocation discipline -- and continue to invest discretionary money into their portfolios."
In other words, keep funneling money into an individual retirement account, or IRA, or 401(k) or taxable investment account, and stick to your investment plan regardless of what the market is doing.
"Trust the fact that this time is not different; it just comes packaged differently. And take advantage of it. People say, 'Boy, I wish I had $1 million to invest back then when it was low.' Well, you had what you had; did you invest it?" Fragasso says.
-- Sheyna Steiner