When a bull market turns into a bear market, it can be hard to know what to do. Take comfort in the guidance of 10 financial professionals.

The stock market can be a scary place. Our unprecedented bull market run has finally run itself into the ground, and investors are now facing a new reality. Interest rates are rising, inflation is skyrocketing and stocks and bonds are down.

Some investors are reacting with panic, while others are seeing it as more of an opportunity.

How should you deal with today’s bear market? We asked a wide range of experienced financial professionals that very question, and here are their top bear market tips.

Nick Toman: How to react largely depends how close to retirement you are

The current state of the stock market is causing virtually all investors to pause and consider if their current strategies are built to weather this storm. Those who are at least 10-15 years away from needing distributions from their investments AND who are continuing to build wealth through systematic and regular contributions (i.e., 401(k), 403(b), IRA , etc.), most likely won’t need to make any significant changes at this point. However, since my clients are primarily those who are within five to seven years of retirement OR who have recently retired, the advice I give goes beyond “stay the course.”

As a STARTING POINT to a strong retirement blueprint, I encourage pre-retirees to understand two principles:

  1. Your strategies should be specific and customized to you and you alone. Go deeper than just following the lead of co-workers, family and friends when determining what moves to make. Since all families have their own set of unique circumstances when it comes to their wealth (longevity, health, tax status, career enjoyment, too many variables to name here), there really is no one-size-fits-all solution … PERIOD!
  2. Income is the “driver” of most retirement plans. Having a retirement budget and knowing exactly how to fund this budget each month is key. If the majority of your income will be coming from predictable sources, such as Social Security and pensions, then you should have more flexibility to avoid “locking in losses” by having to sell investments in this bear market. However, if you have a need for money now that is beyond what your Social Security and pensions will cover, then you should consider using financial tools designed to provide income and principal protection, such as CDs and various types of annuities, for a portion of your wealth.

Just few things to consider when evaluating your next steps.