What does finance roller-coaster mean for your money?

By Nathan Ryder - email

In a late closed-door session, top leaders from both political parties met with the Treasury Secretary and the Fed Chairman in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Secretary Paulson says the government is crafting a plan to rescue banks from bad debts.

That's what's at the heart of Wall Street's worst financial crisis in decades, and has Tri-State residents wondering what it all means to their bank accounts or 401 ks.

This last week has been a wild one when it comes to money. We've watched banks go belly-up and the stock market lose almost 1,000 points before regaining 400 of those Thursday alone.

Financial planner Tricia Hollander says not to freak out. "There is always a situation in the market that's concerning," she says.

Hollander says the latest financial roller coaster reminds her of the week after 9/11 when financial markets lost 14-percent of their value. "It's reminiscent of those days I think," she said. "People were very concerned, unsure of what was going to happen and I think that's some of the same sentiment of what we're seeing today."

Hollander says the first thing people across the Tri-State need to do is make sure they stay within their budget. "On the home front, make sure you're not spending more than what you're bringing in," said Hollander. "Really try to clamp down on some of your debt and monitor your spending."

Also, don't take on anymore credit card debt. "Those rates are likely to go up over time. Really try to focus on paying some of that down if you can."

And when it comes to investments like a 401-k or retirement plan, Hollander says make sure your accounts are correctly allocated. "Diversification is incredibly important. Always know what kind of a market environment we're in and that you're comfortable with the level of risk that you're taking."

When it comes to those investments Hollander says simply ride it out don't cash them out. Historically over the last 100 years the markets have averaged a 10-percent return.

And make sure any assets you may have are insured under the FDIC or SPIC.