It was a gruelling week for investors as share markets around the globe plunged, sparking what was one of the most turbulent beginnings to a new year in history.

The rout, which was driven mostly by falling oil prices and concerns regarding China’s economic growth, left very few investors unaffected with The Australian Financial Review reporting the plunge led to a total decline in wealth of US$194 billion amongst the world’s 400 richest people. That equates to roughly $280 billion in Australian dollars.

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly hit the hardest, shedding US$5.9 billion during the week, while Microsoft founder and the world’s richest person Bill Gates shed US$4.5 billion.

Australia’s own S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) plunged in each of its five sessions last week, losing a total of 5.8%. Investors around the country were left patching up huge holes in their portfolios as a result, with widely-held companies like BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) hit for six.

Unfortunately, it seems that investors will need to batten down the hatches for another tough week, starting today with the SPI 200 futures contract pointing to an 80-point decline at the opening bell. That could take the ASX 200 to its lowest level in more than two years, plunging beneath the previous low which was set in December last year.

It’s natural to feel nervous when faced with such situations as investors. After all, nobody enjoys losing money or watching their share portfolios plunge in value.

But it’s important to remember that you only lose money when you actually sell your shares. While many investors will likely take this avenue out of panic, ‘Foolish’ investors should remember that market gyrations are a normal part of investing. As scary as they may be, history has shown that these tough periods will pass and that it is those who keep their emotions in check that will be rewarded in the long run.

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The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Amazon.com. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.