SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A rocky week for the stock market has many people checking their 401-K retirement plans and wishing they hadn’t.

On Wednesday, the Dow plunged 1,100 points and suffered the worse losses since 2020.

Two major retailers, Walmart and Target reported surprisingly high quarterly losses, blaming inflations for consumers buying less and the plan from the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

“Everything that you do has something to do with the stock market because your money is based on how the Fed says your money goes which is tied to the stock market,” says Paul Stephens who is an Associate Financial Manager at Alpha Financial Management.

“Remember that gas is a commodity and that’s tied to the stock market,” he said.

Stephens says the market is in a downturn that has been happening for some time.

“So, you could consider from the 2021 downturn that we’re still down, so year to date we’re about 18% or so on most of the indexes,” said Stephens.

He says dips typically last up to 40 months.

Stephens said days like Wednesday can cause fear for many investors but say he thinks “what we should tell people is they should manage their expectations on what the market actually is. It’s a place where you should invest extra money that you want to grow and not money that you want to lose.”

He says investors, maybe especially those with smaller sums to invest, need to understand the volatility of the market. He encourages people not to be discouraged and says a downturn in the market can be an opportunity to buy stocks at a lower price.

Stephens also encourages younger investors to definitely hang in there.

“People in their 20s and 30s should be as aggressive as possible because we’re definitely going to make it past this slump which again typically lasts about 40 months,” he says.

For those who are older and perhaps near retirement, he says they may consider more investment in bonds which can be safer.

“Those who are older may want to consider bonds just to lock in what they do have,” he says.

Stephens says for those with personal financial advisors it may be a good time to make a call to that advisor just to make sure your investments are right for you. He says for those with retirement plans through their employers, they may want to check with someone from that company-sponsored plan about their investments.

“As long as you manage that expectation, it’s easier to manage the emotional side,” said Stephens.