Enter the characters you see below Sorry, how Do I Invest My Money Wisely just need to make sure you’re not a robot. Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Fidelity Vice President John Sweeney says people are often too conservative with their investments for retirement.
Financial advisers often encourage people to save aggressively for retirement and invest in stocks for the long term, but many people struggle with retirement saving and investing. USA TODAY asked Fidelity Investments executive vice president John Sweeney for his insights on this topic. Q: What is the biggest retirement investment mistake people make? A: Being too conservative with their portfolio. People think, “I’ve accumulated this much,” and their inclination is to put it in stable investments — cash or bonds, but they run the risk of eroding their purchasing power. Q: What if you have been reluctant to invest in the stock market since the Great Recession? A: Some people are concerned about the volatility of the equity market. They have seen the ugly performance of ’08 and ’09, but since May of ’09, we have had five very positive years. You have to look at the equity market over the long term.
You should be less focused on the one-year numbers and the quarterly numbers. People may have been burned in ’07, ’08 and ’09, and they don’t know what to do now. Others may have put cash on the sidelines and are wondering if it is time to get back in now or should they wait for some pullback. If you are five to 10 years from retirement, that’s a long period of time over which your portfolio can grow so you should be thinking about an equity portfolio that will outpace inflation. Your other choices are cash, money markets, bonds. In today’s environment, bonds are not allowing your portfolio to grow at a rate that exceeds inflation. Equities are higher risk but have higher expected returns and a growth that exceeds inflation.
If you have a sum of money and are worried about investing it all today, take portions of it and invest it over a period of time so you are getting an average rate, buying more shares when they are less expensive and fewer shares when prices rise. You could invest it each month for the next six months or invest one quarter of it every month for four months. Q: What investment advice do you have for retirees? A: Retirement investment doesn’t end at age 65. You should be planning for a retirement that could last into your early 90s. About half of your portfolio should be designed to grow and outpace inflation. The remainder is in fixed income and some short-term instruments like conservative-income funds and money-market funds.
Q: What percentage of Americans are going to be able retire comfortably? Americans are in fair or poor condition when it comes to being able to completely cover essential living expenses in retirement, including housing, health care and food. Many current retirees have figured out how to survive in retirement. They are more likely to have a pension than the younger investors. Q: How much will most people need to live comfortably in retirement? Everybody’s situation is going to be a little different. People often underestimate how long they are going to live. A quarter of us will live into our early 90s, so we are really planning for a retirement that could last 30 years. Fidelity offers this rule of thumb: Save at least eight times your final salary to help increase the odds that you won’t outlive your savings during 30 years in retirement.
This amount assumes that you’ll get some money from Social Security and that your expenses after you retire will be lower than when you were working. Higher net-worth folks usually need to save more than eight times their final salary. Q: How much should people be saving for retirement? While that may seem like a daunting amount, if you set it up early, you can learn to live on the amount that’s left. You are saving money because you are paying taxes on the lower income level.
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