When Lehmann Bros. collapsed in September 2008, investors panicked. As the market tumbled, many sold their equity holdings -- and then stayed on the sidelines in cash for the next few years.

Big mistake, of course. "It wasn't very long after, maybe a year, before a diversified [60% stocks/40% bonds] portfolio was up over those who'd stayed in cash," points out Rod Greenshields, consulting director of Russell Investments' Private Client Services, and the author of Russell's most recent Financial Professional Outlook survey.

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