On "The Early Show" this morning, Jill Schlesinger, editor-at-large for CBSMoneywatch.com, said, "It's going to get worse in the near-term and probably going to be fine in the long term. So everyone chill out, really. That's the most important thing."
Schlesinger said the culprit in Wall Street's downturn is Europe, specifically Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. "Those countries, now known as the PIIGS, have borrowed a ton of money. And like a family that gets into debt, they're having a hard time making their payments. That has really blown a cold wind across the ocean. People are really freaked out.
"Okay, so we're freaked out, big deal. Like none of these countries is going to really blow up. You think, the European Union will come in. Why do we care? Because it could cause a Lehman-like domino. [I] don't think it's going to happen, but that's what could happen."
"In the meantime, we're sitting here looking at our own 401(k)s and wondering, 'Should we change something? Should we change our strategy?'" asked "Early Show" anchor Harry Smith.
"First of all, you always ask yourself 'Should I really be selling?'" Schlesinger said. "Same question, 'Why be buying when we go above 10,000?' You should have a plan. And has your risk changed?
"The reality is, stop whining about all of this. Every single time we go down, people freak out. This is what I want. If you contribute to a retirement plan, you want the market to go down — I want to buy shares at lower prices."
"Keep shoveling the money in there?"
"Exactly. The other thing is that I think that the last year-and-a-half has taught us we've got to be self-reliant; you have to take control of your financial life. You can't wait for someone to do it. So you've got to stay your course [and] you have to educate yourself. You have to make the move. If you say 'I want to buy emerging markets because that's the best place to be in the future,' go do it. Don't veer off course."