No, I’m not talking about your bed. Your sleep number is the risk you’re willing to take in your investment portfolio to reach your goals and still sleep at night.
Retirement marks a huge milestone in one’s life. Lots of things get easier, but managing your investments is not one of them. Top clients polled suggest running out of money is a top concern for retirees.
The reality is few of us have company pensions, inflation doesn’t stop, Medicare costs go up every year, CD interest is at an all- time low and we’re living longer than ever before. This means more and more people need their money to grow to bridge the income gap.
Assuming sticking money under the mattress is not the solution- what’s your plan to manage risk in the market effectively so you can sleep at night?
Here are some tips:
1)How much risk do you need? - Your advisor should be running a cash flow analysis. This report brings together income, expenses, tax rates and assumed rates of return to illustrate how much alpha (risk) you need to add to your portfolio to meet your income needs for life. If you can accomplish your needs with an annual return of 4% why invest for 8%.
2)Don’t put all your eggs in one basket- This sounds like common sense, but a mistake made by many. Don’t get too tied to a single company stock- poor diversification increases risk to your portfolio.
3)Diversify management styles- Consider blending buy and hold with more actively managed portfolios that can be more nimble in volatile markets.
4)Don’t attempt to time the market- Trading in and out of the market increases your risk of not meeting your goals. A study by JP Morgan has proven if you stayed invested in the S&P 500 index from 1997-2017 annualized return would’ve been 7.2%. Simply by missing the best 10 trading days of the same time period cut an investor’s annual returns to 3.52%. It’s easy to get out, not so easy to get back in.
5)Invest for longevity - We are living longer than ever before. Studies show if you are healthy at age 65 men can expect to live until 84.3 and women 86.6 on average. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.
6)Transfer the risk. If you haven’t already, hire a professional. Find an advisor who specializes in planning and investment management. They are worth the investment and it will certainly help you sleep at night knowing you’re not alone.
7)(Editor’s Note: Nelisha Firestone is an LPL Financial Advisor at Prosperion Financial Advisors in Denver.)