Learn to Control Your Fear and Profit from Crisis

In times of panic, shrewd investors may find an opportunity to buy stocks on sale.

Editor's note: Anxiety over the debt ceiling has created skittish markets and squeamish investors. No question, we’re in financial crisis mode. At times like this, you’ll want to review how crises affect your investment thinking so you can keep a cool head and even take advantage of other people’s panic.

Nothing tests an investor’s mettle like a disaster, whether natural or man-made. The fear prompted by, say, the swine flu outbreak, Japan’s recent tsunami and nuclear disaster, or 9/11 can result in poor investing decisions. Understanding fear and the impact it has on markets -- and on ourselves -- can help us avoid panic selling. And mastering our fears may help us profit during troubled times.

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Bob Frick
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance