Ask Stacy: The Most-Asked Money Questions of 2016

Here are some of the most popular categories of reader questions from 2016, along with answers. Odds are you've probably wondered about some of these things yourself.

Questions about investing

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This is another very popular topic, and for good reason. When you’re earning next to nothing in interest at the bank, you’re naturally drawn to anything that might pay more, which the stock market can.

The problem with stocks? What goes up can come down.

Every year there are periods when the stock market looks scary. One of those times was last January, when stocks fell a bunch over the course of a few weeks. Another was the day after the Brexit vote. When times get tough, I get questions like this:

I’m worried about a stock market crash. Should I move all of my funds into cash? I’m 52 and invested in a 401(k) at about 70 percent stocks and 30 percent bonds. — Steve

Answer: Steve, I’m not smart enough to time the market, so I’m never completely on the sidelines. I’m 61, have slightly smaller exposure to stocks and thus far haven’t sold much. (You can see my online portfolio here.)

Nobody, including the smartest minds on the planet, knows what will happen to stocks, or anything else, with any certainty. Recent evidence: Nobody, and I mean nobody, saw a 12 percent market rise in the wake of the Trump presidential victory.

My advice has always been to read as many informed opinions as possible but, no matter how negative the outlook, always have some money in stocks. And no matter how positive the outlook, never have so much invested that you stare at the ceiling at night.

Got more money questions? Browse lots more Ask Stacy answers here.

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