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MARKETS IN CRISIS | A Single Mother Keeps Her Belief
in Dow Rebound

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|David Lamb

Chris Weber, a single mother from the Washington area with a good job in the documentary film business, has moved her investments out of individual stocks and into mutual funds. She says she is trying not to panic and, in the belief a recovery is inevitable, still puts $3,000 every month off the top of her earnings into funds.

"But it's horrific getting the statements," she says. "This fund's down $10,000, that one $5,000. I e-mailed my accountant last week and said, 'Al, this is getting really depressing. Shouldn't we be thinking about getting out of some of these funds?' He said no, don't sell at the bottom. Basically, I'm comfortable with that."

Weber, 47, has held on to only four stocks--Pfizer Inc., Lucent Technologies, Novell Inc. and Avaya Inc., all so battered that selling would have been tantamount to giving them away, she says--and believes the diversification of mutual funds offers her protection in the long run.

She shuns any high-risk funds and has brought her spending habits in line with the new economic reality of her life.

"I haven't cut back on what I spend for David," she said of her 5-year-old son. "What I've done is cut back on my stuff. All the usual stuff: No more shopping for shoes. No more shopping for clothes. We go out to dinner less. When I bought my house, I'd planned to remodel a bathroom. Now that's absolutely out.

Weber has decided she won't put her life on hold waiting for the markets to recover. Saturday, she and her son left their home and headed north to Maine on a week's vacation she had budgeted long before her mutual funds went sour.

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David Lamb

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