What's in Your Retirement Portfolio?

It may depend on whether you're a lion, a turtle or an ostrich


By John F. Wasik August 8, 2011

This article appears at the following website: aarp.org

What every investor needs to know

At the very least, before you do anything, you have to ask yourself, "How much can I afford to lose?" Answering that one question will guide you into the right portfolio.

To focus your thinking, draft a written answer declaring how you want your money invested. The result can be a flexible, risk-adjusted portfolio, with diversification that will save you from being tempted to constantly react to market conditions.

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Should you not want to go it alone, get help. Contact a fee-only certified financial planner, registered investment adviser or any fiduciary — someone who's legally required to put your interests first. That means avoiding brokers, insurance agents and others who sell on commission and aren't really in the advice business.

A fiduciary adviser can also help you craft an investment policy statement, re-balance your portfolio when needed and generally keep you out of trouble.

Online resources

Putting together a portfolio is complicated. Here's a list of websites that can help you track down specific investments or create a portfolio with a professional.

Yahoo Finance is fairly easy to use. Check out its "Investing Ideas" section for specific stocks and funds.

Inflation-protected securities. The government sells them directly in the form of TIPS and iBonds.

Folio Investing. This site does most of the work for you by selecting from more than 100 "ready to go" portfolios that can best match what you want to do.

MyPlanIQ. Similar to Folio Investing, this site allows you to tailor your portfolio even more to your risk profile.

The 7Twelve Portfolio. Employing 12 asset classes, this is a diversified, moderate-risk portfolio designed by Craig Israelsen.

BankRate.com. A highly useful site for finding the highest-yielding insured savings products.

Imoneynet.com. A source for money market fund rates.

Find a Credit Union. This site will help you locate a credit union near you.

Annuity Quotes (immediateannuities.com).

Financial Planner Referrals. Try the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors or the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, which can also tell you whether a financial adviser is a certified planner.

The Motley Fool. A good site for stock pickers.

Morningstar.com. Offers a wealth of information on stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.

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