To be sure, Friday's stock market sell off was serious – a 530 point plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, representing a 3% loss for the day and 10% off the market's high in May, all in the midst of  $3.3 trillion global equity wipe-out driven by fears about China's sputtering economy, is sure to get clients' attention.

All the more reason for financial advisors to stay calm and help clients focus on the big picture, say financial veterans.

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