A Year’s Worth of Top Retirement Advice
Reprinted courtesy of MarketWatch.com.
To read the original article click here
It’s been one year since my first article among the RetireMentors, and we have covered a lot of territory in that time. These weekly articles have been opened more than 1.4 million times, so I know a lot of eyes have seen them.
My main objective is always to motivate people to make changes that can improve their lives. If some readers have made changes that give them higher returns, less risk and more peace of mind, then I’ve succeeded.
With the encouragement of my editor at MarketWatch.com, I have identified the 10 articles that I hope came closest to achieving those objectives. Here’s what I found:
One: My very first RetireMentors article got an amazing response from readers, perhaps because of its title: Double your retirement income in five years. That title was not a tease. This article describes legitimate steps that people can take to substantially increase what they can take out of their investments in retirement. When I was an adviser, I helped many clients take those steps.
Two: The article that attracted by far the most readers happens to be the one I think is the most important: The ultimate buy and hold strategy. After the commitment to save money, easily the most important decision we make as investors is what kinds of investments we will hold. This article makes the case for 10 distinct equity asset classes every investor should own.
Three: In Fine-tuning retirement portfolio allocations, I tackled the second most important decision investors make. That is the precise mix of stocks (which are risky but have lots of growth potential) and bonds (which usually have lower risk and somewhat stodgy returns) they will own. The article contains a link to a table showing historical return and risk information for 11 combinations of stocks and bonds, going back to 1970. I’ve been using this table for many years to help investors find the right mix for their own circumstances.
Four: In 13 reasons index mutual funds and ETFs rule, I lay out the case for investing in stocks and bonds by the hundreds and thousands instead of one at a time. This article links to my specific recommendations for conservative, moderate and aggressive investors at Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Vanguard and Charles Schwab.
Five: When people are working and saving, they typically don’t give much thought to the financial details of retirement until they reach their 50s or 60s. But at some point (the sooner, the better, in my view), anybody who’s serious about retirement planning should get some numbers on paper (or, since this is the 21st century, in a spreadsheet). In10 numbers that can change your life I told readers exactly how to do that.
Six: Your long-term financial planning isn’t complete unless you have a plan for converting your investments into retirement income, including how much you will take and from what accounts. I believe most MarketWatch readers will benefit from How $40k can add $1 million to retirement. This article and accompanying tables discuss and compare several distribution strategies for conservative, moderate and aggressive investors. For more on this topic, I suggest you check outThe ultimate retirement withdrawal strategy.
Seven: There are lots of moving parts in the discussions above, and sometimes what’s needed is a simple home run. Based on decades of guidance from the academic community, I think I provided that home run in The one fund every investor should own.
Eight: Sticking with the theme of simplicity for a moment, I have written many times over the years about common mistakes that investors make. The column 8 common mistakes retirees make is an excellent place to begin. You probably don’t make any of these mistakes yourself, but I’m pretty sure you know somebody who does! As Warren Buffett said, “You only have to do a very few things right in your life as long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”
Nine: Most people saving for retirement build the bulk of their savings inside one or more 401(k) or similar plans. For that reason, I think (and hope) there’s great leverage in 10 ways to turbocharge your 401(k). Anybody who follows the suggestions in that piece is likely to wind up with a larger nest egg when it comes time to retire.
Ten: If you’ve made it this far in this list, I know you are probably thirsty for knowledge. You will probably like 4 best books for retirement investors. For even more good reading, hop on over to paulmerriman.com, where you can download free copies of three good e-books: “First-Time Investor,” “Get Smart or Get Screwed,” and “101 Investment Decisions.” Happy reading!
These weekly MarketWatch articles are a highlight of my retirement, and I hope they are helpful to readers trying to make sensible decisions about their hard-earned money. There’s a lot more good stuff to come. (Special thanks are in order to everyone who took the time to leave comments, even those who have questioned my sanity!)