Eric Kabler had a few more visitors than usual last week at his Richland Township office.

Kabler, partner at Kabler Thomas Financial Group, found himself time and time again reassuring and allaying the fears of his clients. Their concerns largely developed due to the very liberal use of the “R” word by the media when speaking about the state of the national economy.

“They’ve been stopping in all week with questions about the recession,” Kabler said.

“The obvious question has been, ‘Should we get out of the market?’

“We sort of have this preconceived idea that you get out of the stock market and get into something safer like a CD when there’s a downturn in the market. A lot of people are panicking.

“It’s the first thing you see when you turn on the TV in the evening or morning. It’s a tough time for the novice investor because they’re not sure exactly what’s happening.”

Financial advisers in the region are answering their clients concerns with the same words, “Be patient.” The worst mistake an investor can make is to panic, according to Bill Rice, managing partner of Laurel Highlands Financial Services, 109 W. Main St., Somerset.

Rice said the perception some investors have is that they have lost money because their shares are not as valuable now as they once were. He said that’s only true if an investor chooses to sell during a downturn in the market.

“We get a recession every four or five years,” Rice said. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary.

“I have been doing this job for almost 23 years and everybody that held through the recessionary periods came out on the other side and did well with their portfolio. If you sell now in a panic and your portfolio is down, you’re going to lose money 100 percent of the time.

“That’s the wrong thing to do.”

Not only are financial planners urging patience, they’re preaching that new opportunities exist.

Joe Carpenter of Carpenter Financial Services, 237 Johns St., downtown Johnstown, said that now isn’t the time to sell, it’s the time to buy.

Carpenter explained his stance by comparing the stock market to a department store. He said when the market is down it’s the same as a department store holding a sale – and the deals can be very attractive.

“Right now is what we call a stock market sale, and just like if Boscov’s or Sears had a sale, people should be running to the doors looking to get their best deals,” Carpenter said.

“In some markets, prices are down 15 to 20 percent. If you take a department store attitude and realize now is the time to buy, you’ll be better off in the long run.”

In an attempt to stem fears of a recession, the Federal Reserve Bank took decisive action last week with a cut of 75 basis points to a key interest rate. That generous cut has local experts believing even more opportunity will exist for consumers.

Jeff Philibin of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Geistown reported on Thursday that he closed a 30-year fixed mortgage with no points at 5.25 percent. He said mortgage rates that low have not been seen since the months following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Carpenter said falling interests rates will benefit consumers in other ways. He said people with adjustable-rate home equity loans and credit cards will be paying less interest and putting more money into people’s pockets.

“The Fed’s quick action, I think, eased a lot of the fears people had about a recession,” Carpenter said. “The lower interest rates will help borrowers, especially those with adjustable rate products, and that will free up a lot of cash instantly.

“The goal is to help consumer confidence. That’s what this is all about, getting those people spending money again buying appliances, new cars or even a home. That’s what really drives the economy in the end.”

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