Syria unrest ruffles stock market

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Bombs may not be falling on Syria just yet, but with the fear of conflict looming, the stock market is already taking a direct hit.

"It worries me...because being retired the amount of money you have to invest anymore is minimal," said Louise Cotton, a Sarasota retiree.

Retirees, especially those with fixed incomes, are watching closely as events play out both in Syria and on Wall Street.

"I want to know where I stand," said retiree Patricia Russell, "what's going to take place, what's going to happen."

But some say despite a jittery market, they're taking a wait and see approach.

"I think for older Americans, they have to be patient," said retiree David Rinderle, "Ii know they don't feel that way exactly, it's no use getting excited needlessly."

And that's exactly what financial experts say everyone, retired or not, should do.

"I think the first thing to do is not panic," said ABC7 business commentator Richard Stern, who says the markets now are behaving as you'd expect when things start to unravel in the Middle East: stocks are selling, oil prices are up, and investors are being cautious.

He says when it comes to your own investments or retirement strategy, the best approach now is to just hang tight.

"The real message is and its very important for people to understand if they own bonds that pay, they're going to continue to pay, if they own common stocks and pay dividends, they're going to continue to pay those dividends," said Stern, "the market can go up, the market value can go down, but the income that they have locked in will continue as advertised."