First Person: I’m Part of the 83% Fearing a Financial Crisis

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A recent Nationwide Financial poll, cited by Examiner.com, showed the majority of investors fear a new financial crisis on the horizon. When I look at the investments, I get a queasy feeling. According to the Nationwide poll of people over the age of 18 with $100,000 or more of investable assets, 83 percent fear a new financial crisis. Although I barely have that much in retirement, I don't want to watch my IRA shrink again as it did during the Great Recession. I also share many of the other worries of the survey participants.

Losing my job

Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed feared losing his or her job. After learning about the layoffs of friends who work for another company and colleagues within my same company today, I feel dragged down by the stress of the unknown. My only option is to work as hard as I can to improve my results and be an asset to the company.

Dealing with a fate worse than death

Evidently, only 58 percent of those feared death compared to 62 percent who feared the stock market. I can understand. I own some individual stocks in my Roth IRA that are down between 50 and 75 percent since the Great Recession. Although I was able to get back to even and make money on most investments, the buy-and-hold strategy didn't work out for me.

Cashing in my 401(k) for college

Although I didn't cash in my entire 401(k) to pay for my children's college, I did take out a 401(k) loan and tap my Roth IRA. I was fortunate to have options to take a qualified distribution from my Roth, although did I essential paid double taxes on my 401(k) loan. Evidently 71 percent of those polled feared being unable to pay for the child's college.

Preparing for the next crash

I'm not surprised by the fact that 83 percent of those polled fear a new financial crisis. Experts say the poll showed the long-lasting scars of everything from the dot.com bubble to the mortgage crisis. I'm making moves now to prepare for the next stock market crash. I am investing only in stocks and funds that pay a reliable dividend as well as keeping money on the sidelines with conservative options within my 401(k).

When I look at the economy and my personal finances, I feel somewhat helpless. I can control how much I spend on little things such as gourmet coffees and treats. However, it's not the little things that truly affect my finances. It's the big things. Having a full-time job means I can afford to pay for my mortgage, cars, college tuition and other big-ticket items. Another stock market crash will make it nearly impossible for me to retire "on time." At this point, retiring on time for most Generation X'ers means retiring in time to enjoy one or two years of "vacation" before death. Maybe there is a reason so few of us fear death. The cost of burial is one expense I won't to worry about.

More from this contributor:

Getting Back to Even After 401(k) Wipeout

Best Money Moves After College

Six Figures and still living paycheck-to-paycheck

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