It's difficult to predict what the markets will be like in 2009, but given the realities of the global recession and a slowdown in the market, it would be safe to say it will be bearish and volatile.
Corporate India is definitely already showing signs of a slowdown. Cost cutting and conservatism has already become a priority. At the same time, most corporate honchos are anticipating that things will turn around from the second quarter onwards.
The mantra for the year, regardless of your risk profile has to be a contingency fund. Large enough to tide you over for at least three months. Something that will smooth the rough spots in case of a pay cut, increment loss or worse still, a job loss.
The other thing financial planners are advising is to ensure that you have adequate personal health coverage and aren't solely dependent on your company providing it for you.
Most financial planners will advise against major changes in asset allocation strategy since investment should be long term.
At the same time, with the market going down, financial planners say this is a good time to increase equity to bring the value back in line with your planned asset allocation. And pay off any pending loans you might have while the going is still good.