The stock markets have recovered somewhat since the plunge late last month, but they remain off about 6 percent since mid-August. More volatility may be ahead. Five tips to help cope with Wall Street's wild ride:
Nix the market charts.
If you have CNBC or Bloomberg News playing in the background on your computer screen, your emotions will get the better of you. Investors should never make business decisions when they are having an emotional reaction. Financial advisers say history shows you're better off sticking with a long-range plan.
Know your risk tolerance.
A sound long-term approach requires knowing how much money you're willing to place in equities. Can't withstand a pullback within the next five years? You should not be in the market, says Dennis Carpenter, president of International Wealth Ministries in Grapevine, Texas.
Planning to retire in three years? Diversify your portfolio. Keep bonds as part of your portfolio.
Even though yields have been low as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates low, bonds should be still part of an investment portfolio. "When things go like they are right now, the bonds are the only offset you have to the equity part of your portfolio," advises money manager Byron Green in Fort Worth. "It gives good balance."
Look for good buys in the market.
When the stock market drops, investors with some extra cash will find some great deals. Aspen Wealth Management President Helen Stephens said the lower stock prices give investors an opportunity to rebalance their portfolio if their equity portion is too small.
Don't sell in a down market.
"It is not smart investing if you think about throwing in the towel and selling when the market is near the bottom," said Allison Geiger, managing director of Heritage Financial Planning in Dallas. Selling early on Aug. 24, when the Dow was off 1,000 points, meant larger losses than waiting until midday.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram