It's possible that the markets are going to drop by another 10% to 15% in the next few months. You can smell the fear and frustration. But here's the one sure thing: if you are saving for a retirement that is more than five or ten years out, this is a great time to buy. Phase your purchases over the next 2 to 6 months, but get in now. When stock prices drop by 20%, everyone panics and flees the market. When shoes drop by 20%, they call it a sale and people flock to buy. ("Hey! They're having a sale on Wall Street!") If you buy tomorrow, you may well lose some money in the next month or two. But you will buy for less than if you wait until the market has recovered and again looks like a sure deal.
There are at least two good reasons to buy stock that aren't often mentioned. One, there are trillions of dollars seeking returns. Quite simply, where else will that go? Options like real estate and commodities and bonds are not really much better. Two, too often the prospects for the American economy and American companies are conflated. A growing percentage of sales come from abroad. Investing in multinationals represents an investment in the global economy, regardless of where the stock is listed. Both of these seem like strong arguments for long-term investment (which is what any of us building retirement accounts are up to).
Andrew Jackson may have been a populist who closed the central bank, but his advice could hold for investors: wait until you see the whites of their eyes. Investors are wide-eyed panicked. Now is not a bad time to buy.