Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, primarily when investing your hard-earned savings. While there are countless formulas and strategies, taking a step back and considering the big picture is essential.
This blog will review practical tips and insights to help you make informed investment decisions that align with your retirement goals. From managing risk to diversifying your portfolio, we will cover everything you need to know to make your retirement investing more accessible and effective. So, let's dive in and start securing your financial future. Here's what you need to know.
Set Financial Goals
When investing for your financial future, you are essentially allocating your money to an asset that is created with the intention of allowing your money to grow over time. If you're thinking about investment goals, you've probably got a good idea of what you want to get out of your money. Knowing yourself, your needs and objectives, and your appetite for risk is a good start. But you’ll also need to consider factors such as your income, age, and future outlook, all of which will influence your motivations for investing.
Your goals should ultimately be divided into short-term, mid-term, and long-term ones.
Among your short-term goals might be to:
- Establish a budget, which can be made easier with one of the best budgeting apps currently available
- Create an emergency fund or increase your emergency fund savings
- Pay off credit cards
Your mid-term goals might include:
- Getting life insurance and disability income insurance
- Thinking about your dreams, such as buying a first home or vacation home, renovating, moving, or saving so that you’ll have money to have a family or to send children or grandchildren to college
Then review your long-term goals, including:
- Determining how much of a nest egg you’ll need to save for a comfortable retirement
- Figuring out how to increase your retirement savings
Setting objectives you hope to achieve can help you stay on track with your retirement planning. You’ll have something to look forward to, and be ready to enjoy new opportunities in retirement.
Manage Your Risk
As you approach retirement, your investment strategy should shift to prioritize capital preservation and generating income. This means you may need to adjust your portfolio to reduce your exposure to risky assets and focus on investments that can provide reliable income streams. For example, investing in high-quality bonds can provide steady income with lower risk than stocks.
However, it's important to remember that too much caution can harm your retirement savings. If you avoid all risks, your investments may not keep up with inflation, which can erode the value of your savings over time. To balance risk and reward, consider diversifying your portfolio across different asset classes. The following assets can help you capture growth while also managing risk:
- Real estate.
Remember that your risk tolerance may change over time, and you may need to adjust your investments accordingly. As you age, you may become more risk-averse, requiring you to shift your portfolio towards more conservative investments. On the other hand, if you have a long retirement horizon, you may need to maintain a higher level of risk to generate enough growth to support your retirement needs.
Focus on Income
In retirement, generating income is crucial for sustaining your lifestyle and meeting your expenses. Investing in assets that produce income, such as dividend-paying stocks, bonds, and annuities, can be a wise strategy to generate a reliable income.
Notably, during the transition to retirement, a significant proportion of individuals were familiar with annuities (57%, as per Figure 3). Approximately 48% were aware of using interest and dividends from an investment portfolio to generate income. By investing in these income-producing assets, retirees can secure a reliable cash flow to support their retirement needs.
Dividend-paying stocks are shares of companies that distribute a portion of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. These stocks can provide a reliable source of income as many companies have a history of paying dividends and increasing them over time. However, remember that dividend-paying stocks may be more volatile than other investments.
Bonds are another option for generating income during retirement. These debt securities issued by governments or companies can provide regular income through interest payments. They are generally less risky than stocks, but the value of bonds can fluctuate with changes in interest rates and inflation.
Annuities are a popular option for retirees seeking to generate income. They are contracts between you and an insurance company that provide regular payments in exchange for a lump sum or a series of payments. Annuities can provide a guaranteed source of income for life, which can help protect against the risk of outliving your savings. However, some annuities can be complex and expensive (like Variable Annuities), so it's essential to consider the terms and fees carefully before investing.
Staying on Top of Taxes
To ensure that taxes do not eat into your retirement income, it's crucial to understand the tax implications of your investment decisions. One way to reduce your tax liability is to invest in tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k)s, which offer tax benefits such as tax-deductible contributions or tax-free withdrawals in retirement. However, it's important to remember that if you are 72 or older, you must take your required minimum distributions; otherwise, you will face a hefty penalty.
Contributing to tax-advantaged accounts can not only reduce your taxable income but also defer taxes until you withdraw the money in retirement, potentially when you're in a lower tax bracket. To develop a tax-efficient investment strategy that aligns with your retirement goals, consider consulting with a financial advisor. They can provide valuable guidance on managing taxes and maximizing your retirement income.
Diversification is crucial for managing risk and achieving retirement goals. It spreads investments across multiple asset classes, reducing the impact of market fluctuations on retirement savings. A diversified portfolio includes a mix of asset classes with different risk and return characteristics, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities.
Regular review and rebalancing of a diversified portfolio are essential. Consult a financial advisor to develop a well-diversified portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance and retirement goals.
Investing With Agemy Financial Strategies
Investing should be easy – just buy low and sell high – but most of us have trouble following that simple goals. Understanding these principles and strategies can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that snare some investors.
In the past, market volatility has been an opportunity to pick up more income-producing assets at a good price. But now we are entering a period where market volatility is likely to be higher than normal and economic conditions could be rough. So some investors would like to put some of their assets into investments of greater security.
We are able to help you find a low-risk investment strategy that focuses on cash flow and security first. It's important to look at your finances and see if any of the above strategies could help you in the long run.
At Agemy Financial Strategies, we want you to know we’re here to help you navigate retirement and answer any questions that come up during your retirement process. As Fiduciary advisors, it's our duty to act on your behalf in finding the right solutions for your individual wants and needs.