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The Business Life  

Riding out the stock market storm

When investing in stocks during a downturn, remember the golden rule.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN

Question 1:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- I've lost $9,000 in a week due to the declining stock market. Should I pull out my money and put it into CDs or should I ride out the storm? I am only 36 so I have time to make it back, right? - Seasick

A lot of us know just how you feel. $9,000 is no chump change. But your best bet is to ride out the storm.

Look, the annual long term gain on stocks is almost 11 percent, according to Hugh Johnson of Johnson Illington Advisors. Guessing when the market hits bottom is impossible.

Remember the golden rule: Buy low, sell high. If you sell now, you run the risk of missing gains and paying fees to re-invest in the market.

Just imagine this: If you sold your stocks at the market bottom in September of 1998 when the Dow was at 7539.07, you would have missed out on portfolio gains of 21.8 percent by the end of that year.

Question 2:

I would like to know if my credit score goes down if I view my credit report from one of the three credit bureaus once a year? - Kristina

Good question Kristina. Checking your credit report once a year to make sure it has no errors is a great idea.

Checking your score does not count as an inquiry and will not hurt your score. If you want to get your credit report, that web site is annualcreditreport.com.

The only kind of inquiry that could hurt your score is when you authorize a lender to get a copy of your credit report.

So, if a business is trying to sell you a product, or your employer looks at your credit record, that will not hurt your score either.

Question 3:

If you foreclose on a rental property in Texas, can your primary residence in California be affected? - Araba

In short, yes. If you foreclose on a rental property in Texas and the amount the house was auctioned off for doesn't satisfy the lender, by Texas law, the lender can file a separate lawsuit against you to collect that deficiency.

The creditor can then try to enforce that on your primary property in California according to William Markham, a foreclosure attorney in California.

If someone else out there is facing this situation, remember, laws do vary by state. So you'll want to consult an attorney to get all the details.

Question 4:

Can you tell me the best place for up-to-date info on flights being canceled due to weather? - Greg

The first thing you'll want to do is log onto the web site of the airline. You'll be able to check real-time flight status says Tom Parsons of Bestfares.com.

You can even sign up to get e-mail alerts on when your plane is late or canceled. In fact, if you're looking for a deal, these e-mail alerts can let you know about special sales.

If you want to get an overall view about the on-time status of your airline, check out flightstats.com.

Look for the airline scorecard says Terry Trippler of Cheapseats.com. This will tell you how many flights have been delayed or canceled recently on your airline. To top of page

Gerri's Mailbox: Got questions about your money? We want to hear them! Send e-mails to toptips@cnn.com or click here - each week, we'll answer questions on CNN, Headline News and CNNMoney.com.

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