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Don't panic about your stock market investment ! Yet.

As you witnessed a succession of recent market meltdowns, you must have cursed that financial adviser who persuaded you to pile your cash into a stock market investment fund. Now is not the time to panic and cut your losses though. Rewards come to those who are prepared to wait.

You would expect the analysts to be full of doom and gloom, but in fact the coverage in the financial press and on specialist market analysis websites has been more ambivalent.

You can keep up to date with economic thinking and stock market reactions at sites like www.moneyextra.com and, for US analysis, www.thestreet.com where tumbling share prices have been greeted with some gloom but not quite predictions of financial apocalypse.

Some experts are already suggesting that the stock market crashes on both sides of the Atlantic have left equities seriously undervalued, and brokers just have to regain a little courage and confidence for the markets to rise again.

If you have your money tied up in a stocks and shares portfolio, don't automatically assume that a 10% slide on Wall Street or the FTSE has wiped that amount off your holding. Many small investment plans have various hedges built in to soften the big swoops of the rollercoaster ride.

For peace of mind, there is little alternative than to take the long view, and trust the market precedent that for every dive, there is usually a steady climb back up the mountain. If you have really had enough then maybe set yourself a recovery figure, say when the FTSE gets back to the 6,000 level (you may have to wait a while) and hop off at that station.

If you believe that the stock market investment has no future, then you have pretty much lost all faith in the Western economies. That might seem a reasonable response to the present financial  climate, but if it's true you will probably have more to worry about than your dwindling savings. Maybe the only solution is to hang on in there. And hope.

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