We all get advice about what to do in case a certain day arrives -- a rainy day, a day of woe, even a day of pure bad luck. Well, on many counts, the time has come!

With any luck, you've been told to keep any money you'll need within five to 10 years out of stocks. Why? Because a day may come when you find yourself looking at a stock market down 40%-plus. That time has come, and the wisdom of keeping short-term money in vehicles such as CDs or money market funds has never been clearer.

You've also been told that when the stock market takes a nosedive, it's a good time to shop for stocks. Well, the time has come! However scared you may be to click the "buy" button, the market's now offering you a bevy of compelling opportunities.Just look at these deep discounts on well-known shares:


1-Year Return

Avon Products (NYSE:AVP)


Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)






Western Union (NYSE:WU)


PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP)


Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO)


Data: Yahoo! Finance.

Sure, even great bargains like these may fall further after your initial purchase, but in the long run, they should still do very well for you. Cautious investors, consider buying in thirds -- a third of what you intend to buy now, a third in a few months, and so on.

Beyond the stock market, you've been told to build and maintain an emergency fund for a rainy day. Guess what? The time has come! Companies have been laying off thousands of workers, and even if you're lucky enough to still be employed, this is when having a fund to fall back on becomes critical.

And finally, you've been told to rebalance your portfolio from time to time, to make sure it stays within the proportions you originally wanted. So if you want to be 80% in stocks and 20% in bonds, but the crash has morphed your respective holdings into, say, 55% and 45%, you may want to move some money from bonds to stocks. And yes … the time has come.

There are plenty more things you've probably been putting off, including updating your insurance on your home. The time ... well, you know. Get your financial ducks in a row, and you'll sleep better. Honest.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.