Stock market turmoil: What you can do — right now — to protect your money

/ Source: TODAY

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting 588 pointson Monday, and then climbing sharply at the opening bell Tuesday, the average American investor has certainly been dealing with some jitters.

CNBC senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson shared five tips to follow if you're wondering what to do amidst the recent market turmoil.

1. Review your portfolio

"First thing you need to do is review what you have,'' Epperson told TODAY's Matt Lauer. "Make sure you look and see what you have (and) do your research."

Epperson advised investors to check their 401(k) or mutual fund accounts to see what stocks they are invested in and how diversified they are.

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"(Diversify) is a word we say in the markets that always helps people: Make sure you have a little bit of everything, and that will help you when stocks start to slide,'' Epperson said. "Make sure you review what you have. You may want to re-balance your portfolio."

2. Don't panic

"If you don't have a plan, that's a problem,'' Epperson explained. "If you do have a plan, then you need to stay the course. Figure out what your goals are, how much risk you really can stomach in this market, and then stay on that plan."

3. Look into a Roth conversion for your Individual Retirement Account

"(You could) pay less tax if your balance is little lower right now,'' Epperson said.

4. Save on your tax bill by using losses to offset gains

"Look at what you can do in terms of other tax-advantaged ways to save money,'' Epperson said. "If you're what they call 'harvesting' losses, which is using some of the losses you've seen to offset the gains that you've had. We've had such a great run-up, now is the time to look at some of those opportunities as well."

5. Speak with a financial professional

"(This is a) great time to talk to a financial advisor, a professional to help you, and calm you down, because it's not a time to panic,'' she said.

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