SURVEY SAYS: Reactions to Stock Market Dive

In just a matter of days last week, some major stock indices fell to their worst level in four years.

I asked NewsDash readers, “How panicked did you feel during the dramatic slump, and did you communicate with participants to try to calm their fears?”

More than 2% of responding readers indicated they felt very panicked, while three in 10 (31.7%) felt somewhat panicked, and nearly two-thirds (65.8%) said they didn’t feel panicked at all.

The majority of respondents (82.9%) did not communicate with retirement plan participants to try to calm their fears, and 17.1% reported that they did.

In verbatim comments, several readers noted that it wasn’t panic they felt, but some other slightly less negative emotion. While some gave reasons they stayed calm, a couple noted that their close proximity to retirement gave them reason to be concerned. There were readers who gave their advice for handling steep market dives, but many said they did not hear from any panicked retirement plan participants. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “For those who can’t stand rollercoasters — don’t look at your account balance!”  That was my strategy.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey!


Some stocks are on sale now. Things will be fine. The market will rebound.

try to relay past stock performance and just tell them if long term investment for retirement to just hold tight and continue to monitor your investments but don't make drastic changes due to fear. Income risk is just as high. It is a tough time to be in the investment business :.

I felt depressed, not panicked--a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder response because I was reminded of the chaos of 2008-2009. Will I ever recover from that awful experience? No. But I did keep my money in the market back then, even though the market was dead to me.

I've still got 15 - 20 years until any possible retirement, so a short term correction does not yet concern me.

Within our HR team, we haven't received any panicked employee feedback. On the other hand, at home, my husband will retire in the next six months and he's lying awake at night.

I always am concerned when I see the market drop as it did recently. However difficult, I stay the course and do not change my investments. I did this in 2008 and 2009 and have recovered nicely. I always counsel any employees to do the same - unless you are retiring in the next 5 years, to not react. Buying low is a good thing, selling low is not!

With all the big swings, both up & down, I think many people are used to the erratic stock market. The only day the price matters is when you take your money out anyway.

Since I am counting down days to retirement, you would think I would have panic with this dive. However, I see my investments as long term so a drop here or there does not change the overall focus. I have not seen much panic by our employees so no need to calm them.

Our financial advisor sent out a message to plan participants. I did not send out anything as only one employee made a comment about the stock market drop. People were not concerned thinking that the market would come back like it did in 2009.

While disquieting to see the large declines, I realize that we were overdue for a correction.

My degree of panic increases with age and closeness of actual retirement! This would be no big deal to me 10 years ago.

Stock market corrections are a normal part of investing. The multi-year run without a 10% correction is likely due to interventionist policies. The unintended consequences of these policies are often worse than the abuses the policies try to correct.

One of the benefits of "having been around the block" (code for being older n' dirt), is not looking for the nearest tall building. But, yep, I've had to pluck some feathers from the usual chicken littles.


Verbatim (cont.) 

Still being several years away from retirement, I look at the drop as a chance to buy low. For those who can't stand rollercoasters -- don't look at your account balance!

Anyone not expecting a dramatic drop was not paying attention. The people not paying attention don't even know that it happened...

Was asked to put something together, but by time planned communications make it through all the levels of review needed...the markets were back up! It's not 2008 people!!!

Regarding participants, what does one say in such a time....I have yet to hear any inspiring comments from "experts" that actually make normal people feel better.

Just not that surprising anymore

Maybe we have become more accepting of these roller-coaster rides, as I didn't talk with one person who was freaking out.

Wasn't panicked until I saw how much I lost!

We did not communicate to plan sponsors either. Our communication approval process takes too long to have sent a timely, valuable communication.

Stay the course! Don't look at your 401(k) balance every day. It doesn't matter until the day you liquidate. Until then, you haven't lost anything!

Been in this game a long time....have seen it all before. If anybody was concerned I gave the advice I always give....stick to your plan--Keep Calm and Carry On. Oh, yeah, also...if you have the resources to do so, determine whether this presents a great buying opportunity for you.

Panicked is a bit strong, but I was concerned. I'm hoping to retire in a few years and seeing the balances in my accounts drop so much was disappointing.

It has happened before, it will happen again, hang on

Like an 18,000 Dow was realistic... you have to love the platitudes from all the so-called industry experts telling the rest of us to "stay the course" and put more money into the market....and their pockets.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.