How to Build and Manage Your Retirement Portfolio

by / ⠀Finance Personal Finance / July 3, 2023
retirement portfolio goals

A well-devised portfolio is essential for attaining sufficient income to fund your retirement. Many people might feel intimidated about the notion of building one for themselves, but it doesn’t have to be frightening. Setting up the foundation for success takes just a little know-how and research. With that in mind, follow these broad steps to build a strong retirement portfolio and manage it for optimal outcomes.

Determine Your Financial Goals

retirement portfolio goals

To get where you’re going, you need to know what the destination is. Your financial goals represent the destination on the roadmap of your journey from here to retirement. Determining your goals requires figuring out what you want to do with your money in retirement, how long you have to prepare, and how long you think you’ll have to use your retirement money. From there, you can move backward to identify the actions you must take to realize the outcomes you want.

It also involves weighing your risk tolerance against your risk adversity. In other words, how willing are you to endure the volatility of an investment in exchange for potentially great rewards? Greater risk tolerance generally correlates with a speedier time frame in which to reach your goals. Risk adversity correlates with the opposite. Once you’ve worked out these details, you can begin to pursue the vehicles that can get you to your terminus.

Should you need help figuring out the answers to tough questions concerning your longevity or retirement capability, take advantage of free online resources for retirement planning to get primed and ready.

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Open Retirement Accounts

A retirement account is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle that allows you to grow your money in a steady, relatively secure way. There are many types of retirement accounts, but probably the best known of them are 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Both account types work in roughly the same way. You choose a number of investment options and fund your account, and the account grows based on how well the investments perform. The primary differences between them are:

  • IRAs typically aren’t employer-sponsored, whereas 401(k)s are.
  • Each has a different contribution limit. In 2023, it’s $22,500 per year for a 401(k) and $6,500 per year for an IRA.

Regarding IRAs, a notable diversification strategy involves investing in a gold IRA, which focuses on precious metals. This option can offer stability amidst economic fluctuations. It’s important to do your research among the best gold IRA companies to enhance this investment’s effectiveness, providing security and potential growth. Similarly, when considering your 401(k) options, exploring a variety of investment opportunities, including those offering diversified portfolios or specialized funds, is essential.

Though 401(k)s and IRAs are subsets of a larger category, they too represent a world of different options, each with a different set of stipulations and benefits. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the feasible options so that you make an informed choice.

Diversify

You’ll need other assets, aside from a retirement account, to add to your portfolio. As you’re choosing your assets, focus on diversification. Diversification is a strategy that entails mixing up your portfolio with a wide variety of assets and asset types. Ideally, you want to achieve a mix that spans the gamut from liquid to illiquid. So, aside from stable resources like cash and precious metals, you might add vehicles like real estate, stocks, bonds, and insurance products.

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The philosophy behind diversification is that your stable assets can make up for potential losses incurred by your volatile assets. For example, if the stock market performs poorly or the housing market dips, the gains from your stabler assets can help to balance out the losses.

Choose the Right Assets

The assets you choose, as well as the proportions of each asset type in your portfolio, should reflect your financial goals. Say that you have just 10 years before your intended retirement date. In that case, you may want to increase the proportion of higher-risk and higher-reward vehicles, such as stocks, to ensure you reach your minimum wealth threshold in time. Of course, with that approach, you expose more to losses.

Say that you have a legitimate concern about running out of money in retirement. You may want to set up a safety net that guarantees you receive income. Fixed annuities would do just that. They are retirement vehicles, sold by insurance companies, that offer a set rate of return. You fund the annuity with a lump sum or series of contributions, the insurance company invests the money to grow the account tax-deferred, and you can choose to convert the account to regular payments in retirement.

Adjust

As retirement draws closer, you may find your needs gradually changing. Your portfolio should change accordingly. At least once a year, review your financial goals, your portfolio, and how well the latter serves the former. If you find areas in need of adjustment — a shift in portfolio mix, a different stock, a new fixed annuity — make those adjustments. This sort of proactive approach helps to ensure that your actions align with your needs and your objectives.

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If you want to fine-tune your retirement portfolio, speaking with a financial adviser is the best tactic. Ask about strategies you can use to achieve the appropriate diversification mix and maximize your returns.

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