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MARKETS IN CRISIS | For the Rings of Laguna Woods,
No Big Vacation and Less for Charity

Taking It All in Stride

The sharp stock market decline of the last two years has Americans concerned about their retirement savings. But patient investors from Southern California and across the country are confident Wall Street will rebound from a Great Bear Market that will not seem to end.

July 21, 2002|Kelly Yamanouchi

Bob Ring, a 69-year-old retiree who lives in Laguna Woods with his 68-year-old wife, Bette, says the recent market declines have led him to put off plans for a vacation and cut back on his charitable donations.

"We would love to go to Australia, and Australia is what, $10,000 a person for a four-week trip," Ring said. "She said, 'You know what, we'd better not do that.' "

Ring, who retired in 1993 as president of a company in Monrovia that makes precision welding equipment, has about 60% of his net worth tied up in stock mutual funds, with the rest in bonds, cash and real estate.

"I don't like to look at the numbers at the end of the day," Ring said.

But Ring is better off than most. He says he has lost about $25,000 in stock market investments since the start of the year, only a small percentage of his total retirement savings. That's better than many people who have invested in the stock market, and thus he isn't planning to pull his money out of stocks.

"I have a financial advisor, and she doesn't panic," Ring said. He's confident his conservative portfolio will stand up to the bumpy economy.

Even so, "it certainly affects my outlook." Because he is retired, "all this money has to last," Ring said. He's hoping the stock market will recover with the election season, and he may invest more heavily in stocks then.

Ring has stuck with the same advisor since 1985, one who is paid a fee instead of a sales commissions.

"I get all pumped up and she says, 'Now Bob, let's settle down here. Do you really want to do that?' When we had the dot-coms, I said, 'Hey, I want to be in that.' She said, 'Do you really want to invest in companies that don't make money?' " Ring said. "We get that dose of reality."

Ring, who is a member of the Laguna Woods City Council and volunteers for the Laguna Canyon Foundation, a nonprofit organization to preserve the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, said he's looking at cutting his charitable donations because "my income's way down and I certainly don't need the write-offs."

Still, Ring, who has three grown children and two grandchildren, tries to keep his lifestyle the same otherwise.

"We still give birthday presents to the kids and we still go out to dinner," Ring said, but he only eats out a few times a month.

"Depression babies--we always save money."

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Kelly Yamanouchi

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