Economy woes affect all ages

The steps being taken to rescue our economy affect everyone.

The economy makes everyone uncomfortable no matter what your age. But experts say whether you take action or not depends on when you need to draw on your investments. It seems if you need your cash soon for something like a new home purchase or retirement or college, it may be time to take action.

When Keith Carrizosa started Azure Horizons in 1998, the information technology business was booming.

Now he says businesses are cutting back on new technology. That, plus the downturn in the economy, he's wondering what it will do for his retirement plans.

"We're not able to put as much money away as we were last year so it concerns me when it gets to the point i'm ready to retire which is probably within 10 years," said Carrizosa. Dismas Fernandez had hoped to be retired already.

At 67, he thought he'd be doing the volunteer work that he loves full-time rather than his accounting job full-time.

"I'm working more than i wanted to. And that's out of necessity. It probably will be two years before I can retire," said Fernandez.

Financial advisors are helping those close to retirement and already retired alter plans if need be.

"I have a few of my clients who said I'll work an extra year just to make sure i have that piece of mind going into retirement," said Mark Berg.

Berg, a board member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, says half of his west suburban clients are middle income and those who can afford to wait ten years are in a good position.

"For those getting started and are in the accumulation mode, this is actually a good opportunity because they're effectively getting the opportunity of buying at a lower cost," said Berg.

Shannon Nebiolo just started contributing to her 401K at her first full-time job managing rental properties. She keeps hearing that she's doing the right thing, but she sees colleagues' anxiety about the economy.

"It's hard for me being young thinking should I freak out, too? But they all said to stick through," said Nebiolo.

Berg says most of his clients are able to stay the course because they factored in volatility. He says the best time to assess how much risk you're willing to take is during a downturn like now rather than looking at it when times are good. Berg finds the level of risk tolerance has more to do with the personalities rather than those in need of assets. He says he could find a 20-something is very conservative, very nervous who might want to take a more conservative approach as the opposite, a senior who might want to take the risk.

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