Concerns about Wall Street have many worried about their retirement funds

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NEW YORK – Many Americans are worrying about their retirement funds as stocks dropped to new lows for the year. 

Investors began the week selling shares, thanks to rising inflation and a fragile economy. 

So what does this mean, and how are New Yorkers reacting?

The sound of the bell on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange is all-too familiar, marking a new day of trading. On Monday, S&P stocks plummeted more than 20% from its highest point in January, reaching bear market status. 

“It’s significant. They don’t happen that often, but about a dozen times since World War II. It depends on how long bear markets last and to really determine that we got to wait for the future,” said CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger. 

That may be difficult for some. One man named Rich told CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook he isn’t feeling good about this. 

“I’m down big. It’s amazing where I was two years ago is improbable to where I was. I can’t believe that is where we are,” Rich said. 

He works on Wall Street, where it’s quickly finding there’s much to worry about, including Russia’s war on Ukraine, persistent high inflation, rising interest rates and poor corporate earnings. 

Westbrook asked Rich about his 401k and possible retirement. 

“Is this a bad time?” Westbrook asked. 

“Forget it. I was planning on getting out in a couple of years when the market would go up, and it’s just not going to happen. I’ve got to keep working now to keep my 401K up and going,” Rich said. 

For those invested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the crypto market crashed Monday, wiping out billions of dollars. 

It all comes ahead of a closely watched Federal Reserve meeting this week, where the central bank is expected to increase interest rates by as much as 75 basis points, the biggest hike in more than two decades. 

“As a family, we will be focused on our spending and our saving, hunkering down. Markets are cyclical. I’ve been through many market cycles and this will pass. It won’t be easy,” said Manhattan resident Katherine Feld. 

Economists say brace yourself and are warning of a possible recession on the horizon. They say it could hit as soon as early next year.