This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS' MoneyWatch.com.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average came within 70 points of breaching 10,000 yesterday. Whether it's today, tomorrow, next week or next month, it's worth noting what got us to this place and more importantly, what you should do now that we're here. I spoke about Dow 10,000 with Maggie Rodriguez on The Early Show this morning.
While 10,000 is just a number, it's an important psychological marker too. The last time we were at 10,000 was a little over a year ago, in October, 2008 - the first time was in March, 1999! The return to this level provides some solace that the worst of the financial crisis is behind us. Specifically, stocks have recovered over 50% from the March lows because:
• The economy averted disaster
• Companies cut costs by laying off employees and putting off all unnecessary spending
• The government threw trillions of dollars into the economy
Now that you don't need anti-anxiety drugs to open your retirement statement, the market's move up may provide you with some opportunities. But be careful not to jump in just because stocks are up-after all, the Dow could could return to 9,000 in a hurry!
Still, this is an ideal time to take a moment to consider your situation and create a financial game plan to help you get where you want to go.
Start with a . Over the past year, your personal life may have changed - perhaps your job situation and/or income might necessitate a new approach to your investing. Of course with the massive stock market moves, you should have a better understanding of your risk tolerance.
Once you have that done, you may not want to jump in or out all at once. Here are three general categories of investors who might want to take action as the Dow nears 10,000:
• FRAIDY CATS WHO HAVE LOTS OF CASH: Maybe you sold the top (you're a genius!)...or maybe you cashed out at the bottom (you were panic-stricken). Either way, if you're really ready to assume risk again, then stop driving yourself crazy and dollar cost average until you reach your desired allocation.
• OVER CONFIDENT WHO STAYED IN RISKY STUFF THE WHOLE WAY: The stock market recovery of nearly 60% gives you a great opportunity to trim the massive risk that you have.
• BALANCED INVESTORS: You stuck to a disciplined approach, which is great, but now it's gut check time-was the move a lesson in keeping a little more money in the safe stuff? Could you have taken a bit more risk and been OK?
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