RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - After a tumultuous 2008 on Wall Street, the Dow Jones ended its first session of 2009 on a high note up almost 300 points.
Many investors are hoping that this is a sign of things to come in the new year.
Experts say there's no way to predict the financial future for certain.
With so many factors impacting the economic picture, there's no crystal ball to give you all the answers.
"If anybody tells you they know whats going to happen then theyre a really bad liar," said financial analyst Randy Cost.
Cost says your opinion is the only one that counts, because at the end of the day it's your money.
"What do you think is going to happen? If you think you should be playing defense then go ahead and play defense and get out of the risk market. If you don't think you should if you think that things are cheap then good, commit some capital," he said.
Cost says his most crucial piece of advice is don't panic.
"Try to move your instincts from the middle of your chest to above your shoulders. Try to think through what it is you believe and then try to act on what it is that you believe," he said.
Lenwood Snead is following his instincts this year.
He says he has no plans of investing.
"They would really have to show some true promise on return and everything because so much stuff going on on the stock market behind closed doors no one knows what really going on," he said.
Even though Eliot Winks' stocks took a beating in 2008, he's willing to continue trading cautiously.
"You have to be careful about your money but you also have to realize there are going to be opportunities so you have to be watching, reading, analyzing all the time," he said.
Cost says when it comes to the three major issues that will impact the market: the political landscape, company viability and the geopolitical picture.
There is no guaranteed advice from the experts.
"You've got just as good a shot as the best and brightest who got us into all these problems to begin with I would argue a better shot so go with what you believe is right for you," he said.
Cost also says for many people the most important first step is trying to get rid of any debt you may have accrued.
Once you are able to take this step, you'll be in a better position for your financial future.