Entrepreneurs

Kevin O'Leary: Here's what to do when the stock market plunges

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Kevin O'Leary: Here's how to win when the stock market crashes

While market volatility may be scary for new investors, you can't let it get to you, financial expert and "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary tells CNBC Make It.

"Never cry when the market goes down, because it's not crying for you," he says. "You should never get emotional about the stock market."

Here are O'Leary's top tips to survive the market's ups and downs.

1. Don't panic

"The truth about markets is that they never go straight up," O'Leary tells CNBC Make It.

For the last few years, the market has been less volatile, he says, so young people "are not used to major corrections, and so now we're starting to get them," he says. "These are normal phenomena."

You have to think long term.

"You'll see the markets go up and down," says O'Leary, "but over a long period of time — and this has been consistent since the beginning of stocks in America — they grow over time because the companies and the economy grows over time." The S&P 500 index, for example, has earned an annual average return of 9.8 percent over the past 90 years.

"You want a piece of that for your future."

2. Buy for value

If you "buy companies that are profitable and that have good balance sheets that pay dividends," says O'Leary, "you can sustain yourself through these massive corrections."

You can still do this, he says, "even if you only have $50 to invest or $100."

O'Leary, who owns O'Shares ETFs, recommends exchange traded funds because they are inexpensive and tax efficient. These ETFs are buckets of securities that track an index.

Similarly, other experts, including O'Leary's fellow Shark Mark Cuban and investor Warren Buffett, recommend index funds, which you can think of as low-risk, low-cost baskets of stocks.

You may also consider using an app that allows you to buy fractional shares, says O'Leary. His app, Beanstox, and others like Stockpile do this.

3. Diversify

"You shouldn't have all of your money invested in stocks — that's too risky," says O'Leary. "You also need some fixed-income like bonds."

And "keep some cash around," he says. "You feel much better if you have cash, even though your portfolio may be [temporarily] down 20 percent."

"Diversification is the only free lunch," adds O'Leary.

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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