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So my former company folded, and I rolled my 401(k) and all its really bad funds into a money-market IRA at my bank for temporary safekeeping. Now I'm ready to make my first "real" investment (where I can actually choose good investments for a change!) Since I'm still a young-ish Fool (26) and entering the investing world for the first time, I thought an S&P Index Fund (VFINX) for my IRA might be a good place to start (and hey, maybe end too!)

But Y2K has brought up a question for me. The question is not "Is the market going to crash and burn, and should I therefore stick with my money market account?" I'm firmly convinced that the stock market is the best place for me to be, especially given the long time I have till retirement.

No, the question is "What will other people be doing with their money to prepare for Y2K? Will the stock market decline because everyone else has pulled their money out of the market for safekeeping? And if so, how can I take advantage of that"

If the market declines over December-January, my guess is that it'll be from investor fears rather than from technological failures. And if stocks, especially tech stocks, drop temporarily, my guess is that they'll come back up as people realize that there is life (and working technology) after Y2K.

Yes, I know:
- market timing is generally a Bad Thing - being out of the market at the wrong time can have serious consequences for the growth of your portfolio.

- since I'm hopefully talking about an IRA that will be around for 40 years or more, the effects of what happens in the first few months will probably be minimal.

But I wonder isn't is possible that this might be the exception to the "no market-timing" rule? Given the fixed date of Y2K and all its inherent problems (real or imagined), can't we assume that at least some investors will be jittery and pulling out of the market? Might this be the one calendar date in a millenium where you can say with some degree of confidence "The market will very likely be down in late December, then higher in late January" ?

And if so, should I wait till January to roll my money market IRA into VFINX?

Opinions welcomed. Thanks!
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