Coronavirus impacting 401(k) and retirement investments

LANSING, MI (WILX) - A global financial slowdown and a hit to the stock market, have a lot of people worried about their financial future.

Your 401(k) and retirement investments are not immune to the impact of the coronavirus as Dow Jones closed out its worst week since 2008, dropping 3,500 points in just five days.

"Michigan has already been affected because anybody who has a retirement account, their stock market pro-folio has lost more than 10% of its value," said Charles Ballard, MSU Economic Professor at MSU.

Ballard said investors are afraid that coronavirus is slowing economic growth throughout the nation, hitting hard in Michigan.

"In 2019, Michigan's economy barely grew so if doesn't have a lot of momentum right now, it wouldn't take much of a negative push to put us in negative growth territory."

All of this adding more stress on Michigan manufacturing companies.

"We have heard a lot about our imports from China, but American companies also export to China and as China's economy is contracting, there's going to be less demand from stuff from anywhere including Michigan," said Ballard.

Because of this, businesses are not making as much money, which directly impacts the stocks.

"A lot of people do have money in the stock market, their 401(k) or 403(b) and if so you're less wealthy than you were."

But Ballard and other officials are warning the public not to panic, but to be proactive.

"It's something we have to keep an eye on," Tim Daman, the CEO of Lansing Regional Chamber.

"I urge people not to look at their account," said Ballard. "This is not the time to call your broker, remember that stocks will rebound. Holding on to stocks and investing for the long term is better than panic buying and selling."

As the number of coronavirus cases increases around the world, AAA said crude prices are dropping significantly and may impact the price at the pump.

"We haven't seen an impact yet on gas prices, but that will change as crude prices continue to fall but until then expect pump prices to increase as they do in the spring," said Adrienne Woodland, an AAA spokesperson.

As far as tourism, China is Michigan's number one overseas market.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation said they are closely watching the disease's impact on Asian visitors coming to Michigan this year.

They say it's too early to speculate on what the exact impact has been, or will be moving forward.

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