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Friday, April 8, 2016
How to figure out how much risk to take with your retirement money
By Art Koff Published on MarketWatch March 29, 2016
Are your investments too risky? For those who are retired or near retirement, this is a particularly important question because they have a shorter investment horizon. If you suffer a large loss now, you don't have a great deal of time for your investments to recover. This is exactly what happened in 2008 to many people.
On the other hand, we are living longer, so you are likely to still need to get some growth out of your investments in order to make sure you don't outlive your savings. It is certainly difficult to grow your investments without taking at least some risk.
There is currently plenty of anxiety in the markets, either real or imagined: China's growth or contraction, Britain departing from the European Union, oil crash ripples, recession fears, political uncertainty in the U.S. in an election year, market volatility, interest rates, and global terrorism.
The question is how should you adjust investments to maximize safety while still enjoying a combination of return and growth potential? The answer is your "risk tolerance" or the amount of risk you should be taking in your portfolio. Everyone should know their risk tolerance and everyone's risk tolerance is different. Your adviser should help determine this, or you can use one of the many online tools to help.
This is more important than ever. A recent study by ERBI has shown that only 21% of Americans are "very confident" they have enough money for retirement. As a result, a number of pre-retirees feel they must invest in vehicles which are expected to provide adequate income, but some carry undue risk. "We occasionally see instances of near-retirees trying to throw a 'Hail Mary' pass in order to hit their retirement goals," says risk tolerance expert Kendrick Wakeman, CEO of FinMason, Inc, "but it's better to increase savings and/or adjust retirement expectations than to potentially lose retirement completely."
The question is how should you adjust to maximize safety while still enjoying a combination of return and growth potential? Nearly 80% of workers underestimate how much they will need to save for their retirement.
How much investment is needed for your retirement years depends on a number of factors. Your current age, what age you plan to stop working, how much income you project you will need, what your current financial situation (net worth) is, are you likely to inherit substantial funds prior to or during retirement, and how long you will need your retirement money to last.
Each investor must make her or his retirement investment decisions based on their particular needs. Recommendations that are designed for everyone are just not appropriate.
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