Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that workplace retirement plans -- primarily 401(k)s -- have lost $2 trillion over the past 15 months.

And that doesn't include yesterday's 7% drop.

Anyone who has glanced at the headlines or turned on the TV in recent days has seen the stock market leading the news. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average are down 40% from their year-ago highs. This ain't just a bear market. It's a grizzly bear market.

Commence forehead-slapping
Before you go jumping into a refrigerator to wait out the nuclear market, remember that the truly great investors -- Buffett, Lynch, Templeton -- encountered periods of euphoria and despair, of profit and of panic. Although their investing strategies may differ, their temperaments are remarkably similar.

Indeed, here at The Motley Fool, we believe that behind every successful investor you'll find three traits:

  • Patience.
  • Discipline.
  • Perspective.

Don't get us wrong, though: We're not suggesting you bury your heads in the sand. Stay educated, keep tabs on the businesses you own (or want to own), and stay Foolish. To help you keep focused on those goals, and to give you the knowledge and courage to stay cool in a time of market chaos, we asked a panel of Motley Fool advisors and analysts about the recent market turmoil. Follow the links below for in-depth advice on the following topics:

Read about the Fool's disclosure policy.