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Beware The Bear Market? Here's Why Not To

With the Dow Jones industrial average and other market indexes , the very definition of a "bear market," there's understandably a fair amount of concern among investors and everyone else who watches the economic indicators.

Update at 4:31 p.m. ET: Stocks rallied late Tuesday, sending the S&P 500 Index up 4.1 percent in the last 50 minutes of trading. Earlier, the index had fallen below the 20 percent threshold that denotes a bear market. Our original post continues:

Our colleague Jacob Goldstein over at The Planet Money blog, though, points out that that there are reasons why " the bear market may be good for your 401(k)."

As he says, "if you're a decade or more from retirement, you may ultimately benefit from the recent decline in prices. The bear market means that something you buy every month — stocks — just got a lot cheaper. And every dollar you sock away in your retirement fund today gets you a bigger share of all those future profits."

So, a little bit of optimism about otherwise dreary news.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.