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Financial Planner: Expert Money Advice

Confused by the economy? Who isn't? Our expert answers to four common money questions will help you take charge of your fiscal future.
My 401(k)
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Q. Should my husband and I stop contributing to a 401(k)?

A. No. You're watching the stock market go down, and suddenly it seems like a bad idea to be stuffing more of your family's retirement savings into it. Stop panicking, experts say. Contributions to a 401(k) are still tax-deferred, meaning that the more pretax dollars you squeeze into the account, the less you pay on April 15 next year. And for many people, retirement is still decades away, giving the market plenty of time to rebound. "There are always factors that negatively affect the stock market," says Constance Stone, a certified financial planner in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. "But research shows that people who stay invested during tough times come out far ahead of people who move their money." And don't be tempted to borrow from your 401(k). It may seem like a quick way to get cash, but if you lose your job, you'll need to pay that money back within 30 to 60 days -- or risk incurring taxes and penalties on it.