It's Friday, and another week is ending; the 39th week of the 13th year of the new millennium to be precise. As we enter the fourth quarter of the year we might ask; are we 39 weeks closer to our goals, or have we simply repeated a weekly cycle 39 times only to find we are still in the same place?

One of the most challenging issues we face as investors is the temptation to change, or worse, abandon our carefully reasoned investment plans for perceived threats or opportunities. In these instances we wonder whether we should apply the brakes or step on the accelerator. It seems only as a last resort do we consider sticking with our carefully laid-out investment plan, ignoring the temptations of the day.

In one week less a day sequestration is set to go into effect and neither President Obama nor Congress seem willing or able to avert it. Left unchanged the policy mandates $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board government spending cuts to begin March 1st.

Twenty five years ago, this 19th day of October, the stock market experienced the worst one-day decline in its history. The Dow Jones Average fell an excruciating 23% on what would become known as Black Monday. As a broker and branch manager with only five years' experience, I remember that day as if it were yesterday. Stalwarts of my clients' portfolios like Procter & Gamble, Eastman Kodak, and AT&T had lost half of their value in a day or two. Even the bluest of blue chips like Coca Cola, Philip Morris, Merck and McDonalds were down between 20 and 30%. Brokers and clients alike were asking me for answers I didn't have. The best we could offer was to not panic, to stay the course - surely the world was not coming to an end. I was scared to death for my clients and I was scared to death for my family.