How to Protect your Retirement Account
A retirement account is probably the most important savings account that most people will have in their lives. A good retirement account will allow you to stop working when you want and live comfortably, without depending on social security or the government to provide for your well being. A great retirement account lets you buy your dream home, travel, or pursue the things you have always wanted during your life. Retirement accounts are also an important source of emergency funds for younger people who often have very little in other forms of savings.
The problem is that even though retirement accounts are extremely important, most people have no idea how to allocate them, or even how to protect them.
Here are some important strategies that everyone should take to help secure their retirement account.
Invest at Least 80% in Five Mutual Funds or More
Most people are not stock pickers. Most financial advisors are not stock pickers. To successfully choose individual stocks you need a real gift, or teams of analysts and years of financial and economic analysis experience. Let the experts do the work and choose low cost mutual funds like offerings from Vanguard, or even choose index funds with low fees. By using primarily mutual funds within your retirement account you spread your risk across lots of different assets and bring your risk of a total disaster happening down almost to zero.
To reduce risk even further, don’t just trust one money manager. Each individual mutual fund operates by certain rules and objectives, but managers can take irrational risks in order to make a name for themselves in the industry or to hit bonus targets. If you spread your money between at least five funds, your chances of one manager messing up your retirement account is basically nil. This also spreads your money out among more stocks and bonds which helps minimize your exposure to individual security risk such as bankruptcy, fraud, or mismanagement at one particular company stock.
Invest A Portion in Gold, Silver, and Commodities
Hard assets are great because their value is not really correlated with the stock market. They tend to go up in value over time. Even better though, if stocks are going down, gold and silver will usually either hold their value or go up. This can help to reduce those wild swings in your portfolio and give you some serious protection.
Metals and commodities have also held their value for hundreds, or in some cases thousands of years. Most stocks and companies have only been around for a couple decades, or even only a couple of years! For an account as important as your retirement account, you want to make sure that you are investing it in assets that you have faith in holding their value.
Gold and silver also tend to provide exceptionally great returns over time. Between 2005 and 2011, gold more than tripled in value! Even better, holding physical metal does not have management fees attached to it like mutual funds do so there are a number of ways that these really boost your account, and especially boost how protected your account is.
Keep Investing Over Time
This may sound simple, but it can really make a huge difference in your account value at the end of the day. People have a natural tendency to feel very comfortable investing when the market is up, but they become very skittish about putting more money in the market when it is going down. This is exactly the opposite strategy you should employ if you want to make money.
Think about this for a second. If you put money in when the market is up, you are buying high. If you stop putting money in when the market is down, you are giving up a chance to buy low. Buying high, and giving up a chance to buy low, means you will always have low or even negative returns on your money!
To make matters even worse, a lot of people will want to sell their accounts and move them to cash when the market is down. If you do this you are literally buying high and selling low, a recipe for disaster!
If you want to protect your account, and get a great return over time, you need to increase your buying when the market is low! Ok, most people aren’t capable of doing that, but a good policy is to never change the amount or timing of how you are investing. Buy more in your account consistently whether the market is up or down, and you will get an average price that is way lower than what you will ultimately sell your account for during retirement.
Only Use Fee Based Financial Advising
Financial advisors have two ways they can make money. One way is to meet with you, develop a plan for your finances and investment accounts, and to charge you a fair fee for this service. The more common way (and most lucrative for the advisor), is to annually get paid a percentage of your account value.
These fees are usually more than 1% of your account value per year, regardless of how well your account does. It may not sound like a lot of money, but over time it is enormous and it really hinders the ability of your account to make you money. Every year it not only takes away money, but it takes away the ability of that money to compound! It’s not necessarily intuitive to understand but over 30 or 40 years financial advising fees could cut your account value in half.
If you don’t think its necessary, you don’t even need a financial advisor. Learn how to build a basic portfolio, stick to your investing and allocation plan, and you will be doing almost everything a financial advisor does for you without the fees. If you learn to manage your money, you will live way better in retirement.
These are very basic strategies, but employing them will decrease your risk from a high number, to much closer to zero with a long investment horizon. Follow our basic tips and give yourself a real chance to live well in retirement. If you are interested in purchasing gold or silver (in a retirement account or not) feel free to contact us and see what great prices we can offer you. We can ship guaranteed safely right to your door.