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Queens experts tell investors not to panic

Queens investment specialists said borough investors should focus on reviewing their portfolios rather than allowing fear to dictate their decisions despite recent ongoing turmoil on Wall Street.

Ray Mignone, a financial planner who owns Little Neck's Ray Mignone & Co. Inc., said investors should follow several pieces of advice as stocks gyrate and the government prepares to bail out as much as $700 billion in financial institutions' mortgage debt. But first and foremost, investors should take a deep breath, he said.

"This is not the time to panic," he said. "People should remain calm. If you panic, you're going to make mistakes that could affect your long-term plan. Don't sell out everything."

Mignone suggested that investors with risky bonds should move them to more conservative bond funds as well as making sure they have a good mix of stocks and bonds. And he said the average retiree should focus more on preserving capital than bargain hunting.

He said borough residents should not have more than $100,000 in any one bank account because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will not insure bank accounts exceeding that limit. He also said they should stay informed on current U.S. Treasury Department rules that dictate which money is insured.

Brian Early, senior broker at Little Neck's Mid-Atlantic Securities Inc., said the current Wall Street crisis could provide opportunities for investors.

"People should be looking to see what they could be missing," he said. "Believe it or not, this is a really good time for someone to put themselves in a better situation. Every market has its ups and downs. People who stay the course and do not go with the herd all the time often make a lot of money."

Early suggested that investors should understand governmental safeguards that protect their money before moving their accounts to a bank or financial institution. He said it might not hurt some investors to just "sit tight."

"No one has a crystal ball and knows how the markets will turn out," he said. "But we've lived through this before, so people should just make sure they are not overexposed to something that could hurt their future."

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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