Market chaos makes Sacramento retirees nervous

Sacramento BeeSeptember 24, 2008 

Sacramento-area retirees have seen their share of stock market twists and turns. Now, at a most critical stage in their lives, this feels perilous.

Bill Schaaf's portfolio has fallen 10 to 25 percent this year, most in the past couple of weeks.

A retired marketing manager in Elk Grove, Schaaf, 65, and his wife, Diane, are rethinking their spending habits after the losses, perhaps delaying their annual fall or Christmas trip to see grandchildren in Hawaii.

John Edlund's investments have dropped $60,000 to $80,000 in the same time.

But Edlund, a retired Caltrans employee living in Sun City Roseville, is holding firm. "I've ridden these things out before … and hopefully this one will come back," he said.

Yet in Sacramento, the effects of Wall Street's turmoil may be less pronounced than in other regions. Its dominant employer – government – provides guaranteed pension payments through the nation's two largest investment funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS. Neither requires risky personal asset allocation efforts by employees for the long run or by retirees for the shorter haul.

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