|Five Keys to Investing For Retirement
Making decisions about your retirement account can seem overwhelming, especially if you feel unsure about your knowledge of investments. However, the following basic rules can help you make smarter choices regardless of whether you have some investing experience
or are just getting started.
Don't lose ground to inflation it’s easy to see how inflation affects gas prices, electric bills, and the cost of food; over time, your money buys less and less. But what inflation does to your investments isn't always as obvious. Let's say your money is earning
4% and inflation is running between 3% and 4% (its historical average). That means your investments are earning only 1% at best. And that's not counting any other costs; even in a tax-deferred retirement account such as a 401(k), you'll eventually owe taxes
on that money. Unless your retirement portfolio at least keeps pace with inflation, you could actually be losing money without even realizing it.
What does that mean for your retirement strategy?
First, you'll probably need to contribute more to your retirement plan than you think. What seems like a healthy sum now will seem smaller and smaller over time; at a 3% annual inflation rate, something that costs $100 today would cost $181 in 20 years. That
means you'll probably need a bigger retirement nest egg than you anticipated. And don't forget that people are living much longer now than they used to. You might need your retirement savings to last a lot longer than you expect, and inflation is likely to
continue increasing prices over that time. Consider increasing your 401(k) contribution each year by at least enough to overcome the effects of inflation, at least until you hit your plan's contribution limits.
Second, you need to consider investing at least a portion of your retirement plan in investments that can help keep inflation from silently eating away at the purchasing power of your savings. Cash alternatives such as money market accounts may be relatively
safe, but they are the most likely to lose purchasing power to inflation over time. Even if you consider yourself a conservative investor, remember that stocks historically have provided higher long-term total returns than cash alternatives or bonds, even
though they also involve greater risk of volatility and potential loss.
Note: Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Note: Money market funds are neither insured nor guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment
at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Invest based on your time horizon your time horizon is investment-speak for the amount of time you have left until you plan to use the money you're investing. Why is your time horizon
important? Because it can affect how well your portfolio can handle the ups and downs of the financial markets.
Someone who was planning to retire in 2008 and was heavily invested in the stock market faced different challenges from the financial crisis than someone who was investing for a retirement that was many years away, because the person nearing retirement had
fewer years left to let their portfolio recover from the downturn.
If you have a long time horizon, you may be able to invest a greater percentage of your money in something that could experience more dramatic price changes but that might also have greater potential for long-term growth. Though past performance doesn't guarantee
future results, the long-term direction of the stock market has historically been up despite its frequent and sometimes massive fluctuations.
Think long-term for goals that are many years away and invest accordingly. The longer you stay with a diversified portfolio of investments, the more likely you are to be able to ride out market downturns and improve your opportunities for gain.
Helping you to: Grow and protect your financial wealth,
Prepare to retire on your own terms, and
Succeed in achieving financial security is our mission and passion at
GPS Financial Strategies
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. And diversification alone can't guarantee a profit or eliminate the possibility