Your 401(k) may nosedive after Greece's 'No' vote - but don't panic

Greece's outsized market impact
Greece's outsized market impact

The stock market could very well freak out now that Greeks voted "No" to a bailout deal that could determine its fate in the eurozone.

But wait a few days to check your 401(k), and it's likely it will make the losses back.

U.S. stocks slid last week once it became clear that Greece would miss a big debt payment to the IMF. It was its worst drop of the year, and it could happen again.

Related: Investing in a 401(k)

But here's why the pain may be limited.

First, Greece is small. The country makes up 0.3% of the global economy, and most investors began avoiding the country after it first threatened to default on its debt about five years ago.

Second, Greece owes its money to big institutions, not private banks. Private-sector exposure to Greek debt is much smaller than it was the last time Greece neared default, and analysts say that healthier European banks should help stabilize markets -- regardless of Greece's fate in the eurozone.

Related: Which countries are most exposed to Greece?

There are a few private investors that have lost millions by betting big on Greece and stand to lose even more, but they're mostly hedge funds.

Finally, the risk is spread widely. At the end of 2014, foreign investments in Greek banks totaled $46 billion -- compared to a $300 billion stake in 2010 -- and no one creditor owns a significant portion of that debt. That should help markets avoid the so-called "Lehman moment," when the collapse of the investment bank in 2008 triggered a major panic.

The U.S. government also has little skin in the game. The majority of Greek government bonds are held by European countries.

The crisis has even spurred sales of American bonds as investors search for safer bets. 10-year bond yields fell as low as 2.32% as U.S. bond prices have climbed.

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