Exchange traded fund (ETF) and other investors won’t like this: the National Bureau of Economic Research confirmed today that the United States entered a recession one year ago.

Most Americans have already believed this about the economy, but it’s still unwelcome news. Declaring a recession can take awhile because the final readings on a variety of economic measures need to be taken, reports Chris Isidore for CNN Money.

What should investors do now? It’s never too late to implement an exit strategy, if you’re among those who have stayed in and are tired of seeing portfolio declines.

Here’s a suggested simple plan for coping that’s easy to follow, will help stop the bleeding and helps to remove emotions from the process. If you follow this, you’re not bailing entirely on your portfolio, you’re just taking steps to protect yourself in case the market continues south:

  • Sell one-third of your invested equity positions now.
  • If the remaining two-thirds decline 5%, sell another third.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank at times more than 500 points, as investors are simply not sold on solid holiday retail spending this year, reports Sara Lepro for Associated Press. Although retail sales came out better than expected by analysts’ measures, this isn’t enough to send any shot of confidence through the markets. Black Friday sales are not enough to make up for the entire month.