An Evergreen List of Reassurances to Be Consulted Every Time Global Markets Dip

When stocks take a nosedive, media outlets rightly offer two calming words: Don’t panic.

Neil Hall / Reuters

To most investors, the central message—implied, but not written—of news stories about dramatic stock-market dives is “GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN.” If things are going downhill so quickly, shouldn’t everyone bail?

Well, no. While stock prices may jump around frantically over the course of days or even years, markets have a nice habit of moving steadily upward in the long term. No individual investor (except perhaps one in or very close to retirementand by then it’s probably better to be more balanced toward bonds rather than stocks anyway) should feel compelled to follow daily happenings of the stock market, no matter how bleak they may seem.

This calming message may not be legible in front-page stories with words like “turmoil” and “aftershocks,” but thankfully it is still repeated regularly elsewhere. Herewith, for consultation this week as well as during any future panics, the soothing words of financial-media headline writers:

  • Don’t Panic, Don’t Sell—Plan”—Marketwatch
  • Don’t Panic! Why Falling Stock Prices Are a Good Thing”—Time
  • Don’t Panic Over Dow’s 1,089 Plunge and Definitely Don’t Sell”—Fox Business
  • Don’t Panic About Stocks. It’s Not 2008 All Over Again, Economist Says”—NPR

Don’t panic. Really, don’t.

  • Don’t panic when stocks are falling”—Consumer Reports
  • Don’t Panic Over Black Monday Stock Market Volatility”—US News and World Report
  • Don’t Panic When the Stock Market Crashes”—Yahoo Finance

Really, truly, don’t panic.

Wait, what?