Unless you’ve been stuck on a dessert island, you’ve probably noticed that the financial industry is on one hell of a roller-coaster ride.   But according to the rule of the roller coaster, the only ones who get hurt are those who jump off in the middle.

This is not a time to panic.  This is a time to pay attention.

I believe scary times carry significant lessons. This financial mess has some urgent messages for us all. It’s as if the Universe is shaking us by the shoulders, desperately trying to get our attention, urging us to do things differently.

My advice: use these economic breakdowns as a catalyst for your own financial breakthroughs. If you can reap the wisdom in the chaos, there’s a wealth of knowledge to be gained. Here are a few Messages From the Market :

1. Never confuse ignorance with safety – This is not a time to ignore money and pretend everything will be ok. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place. Complacency without comprehension is particularly perilous.

The message from the markets: educate yourself financially…now!! (www.barbarastanny.com)

2. Never buy anything you can’t afford – Debt is bad. Debt is dangerous. When debt starts spiraling out of control, as it always does, it takes everything down with it.

The message from the markets: stop using credit, get rid of your cards, and create a plan for paying off outstanding balances. (www.nfcc.org)

3. Never invest in anything you don’t understand – Not even the experts understood the mortgage backed securities they were gobbling up. (www.betterinvesting.org)

The message from the markets: as your mother probably told you, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to too!!!

4.  Diversification is paramount – Plunging markets tend to sink all ships. Those who bounce back fastest, however, have money spread out among different sectors, company sizes, industries, and countries.

The message from the markets: call your advisor and re-balance your portfolio. No advisor? (www.cfp.net; www.nafpfa.org; www.financialpro.org)

5. Trust your gut – If something is too good to be true, rest assured…it is, despite what the supposed experts are saying!!!.

The message from the markets: take your power back.

6. It’s a sale! – The media knows…fear sells. Don’t buy in by selling out. Instead, start scouting for bargains.

The message from the markets:   “When a recovery comes, those who were smart or lucky enough to buy at the bottom will do very well.” Wall Street Journal  (10/6/08) (www.wsj.com)

The markets will eventually go back up. And when they do, you want to be well positioned to benefit…and geared up to weather the next inevitable downturn.