NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The pros say a stock market correction signals a healthy market, but seeing red arrows across your 401(k) and IRA statements is never easy.
Should stocks correct, defined as a 10% drop in a major index, it's time to get defensive.
"Defensive sectors, like consumer staples and health care, tend to do well during corrections," said Bill Peattie, founder of Stamford, Conn.-based Peattie Capital Management.
Companies within consumer staples tend to sell products that are necessities.
The sector advanced about 2% so far this year in the S&P 500.
He also likes the Kraft Heinz Company KHC, two household consumer names, which merged earlier this year, thanks to some help from billionaire investor Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Get Report.
"I suspect it's under-owned by retail investors," he added.
As for health care names, Peattie is fond of Express Scripts Holding Company (ESRX) , which facilitates and manages health care programs of big companies.
"An improving labor market means more demand for their services and it has a pretty reasonable multiple of 15 times earnings." Shares rose 8.6% year-to-date.
Shares climbed 9.7% since the start of the year. While the company eclipsed Wall Street's earnings estimates in its second quarter report last week, it lowered third quarter revenue guidance. Customer complaints pushed the company to offer additional aligners for free, a factor which likely caused guidance to take a hit.
Health care stocks in the S&P 500 rose 9% since the start of the year.
There's a good chance investors will put this advice to use.
Experts agree a correction is looming. The last correction occurred in October 2011. Over the past 40 years, corrections have occurred about once every three and one-third years, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.
But that shouldn't scare investors away from the stock market.
"Most Americans, certainly Baby Boomers, are under invested in stocks; they're sitting on too much cash," said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Report Investment Institute, based in St. Louis. "They should not be overly conservative with their 401(k)s."
And if you're younger, aged between 25 and 45, Wren suggests having the bulk of your 401(k) invested in stocks. "Over the next 20 to 30 years, that is where most of the growth is going to be," he said.
After all, a correction gives investors the chance to buy stocks at a discount.