With ongoing chaos in the banking-sector, slowed economic growth and the rise of inflation, many Americans are watching their savings and retirement accounts lose value.
According to a recent survey by EY, a global consulting firm, almost three-quarters of those surveyed reported changing their investment strategies due to declining values in their portfolios.
Altering your investment strategy when necessary is an important part of maintaining a healthy portfolio that can meet and maintain your goals, but making decisions that will have long-term impacts on your retirement based on short-term stressors in the market can cause more harm than good.
Below are four tips for navigating the current market conditions.
Taxable, tax-deferred and tax-exempt investment products should each be utilized across your portfolio.
The percentage of your portfolio that is placed into each “tax bucket” will be based on your personal circumstances as a retiree, but standing firm in each bucket will go a long way toward securing and strengthening your retirement.
Investors often have tax-deferred holdings such as 401(k)s and taxable holdings like brokerage or checking accounts, but one piece of the puzzle that can often go missing is considering tax-exempt investment products. Through Roth IRAs, municipal bonds, Roth 401(k)s and more, you maintain every dollar that is put into these accounts without having to share with federal and state governments.
These accounts often have strict requirements for contribution amounts and how/when funds can be withdrawn, but they should certainly not be overlooked as something unimportant to your retirement.
Stocks with Dividends
As the S&P 500 rises and falls, holding stocks that pay out regular dividends can offset the losses in portfolio value as markets remain volatile.
Dividends are not guaranteed. Companies can go through bankruptcy or stop payouts for internal reasons. Dividends are also not expected to keep up with inflation at all times. Dividend-paying stocks are, however, relatively stable. Kiplinger reports several dozen members of the S&P 500 that have consistently increased their payouts over a 25-year period here.
Planning for Post-Retirement
After spending decades of your life planning and saving for retirement, be sure to not allow post-retirement planning to fall to the wayside.
Having a long-term plan that accounts for life expectancy and a reasonable rate of return can ease fears from short-term market stressors and assist with putting immediate gains and losses into perspective.
In retirement, you will have sudden emergency costs. Perhaps your roof caved in or a car broke down. You will have fixed monthly expenses such as a mortgage, groceries, and real estate taxes. And with your newfound time for leisure, hobbies, and enjoyment, you will find expenses that vary throughout the year for things like travel, dining out, and experiences.
These expense categories should have corresponding methods for how you will go about covering these costs in retirement. Ensuring you have enough cash or investments that can be quickly converted into cash is important for covering incidentals and emergencies. Social Security or pension benefits should be used for your monthly expenses that will remain generally unchanging. Dividend-paying stocks, bonds and annuities are also income-generating options for monthly expenses.
The remainder of your nest egg can be used, within reason, for expenses that come up as needed for travel, leisure, and anything else that may come your way during the retirement years.
Sequence of Returns
The order of withdrawals from your portfolio is your sequence of returns and this can have lasting impacts on the longevity of your savings.
If the markets are declining in the beginning of your retirement and large withdrawals are made, this can reduce the longevity of your retirement with negative compounding effects.
Considering tax-deferred investment accounts that can provide lifetime income and aren’t tied to the ups and downs of the market is a good way to ride out volatility. Some indexed options allow for growth with the market but simultaneously protect from substantial loss if markets go down as well.
The Long Game
Ultimately, investing is a long-term process that should have long-term goals in mind. Making adjustments to your investment strategies in times of uncertainty can be necessary, but if a plan is in place and wise decisions are made, an uneasy market can become merely a blip on the radar of your entire retirement journey.
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