But rather than drift on the warmer, incoming tides of the rebuilding economy, financial advisors are urging Americans to dip their toes in the water and consider reentering the fray by renewing their financial investments, which includes revamping 401(k) portfolios.
A 401(k) is an investment plan in which an employer helps employees save for retirement. Employees defer a portion of each paycheck to a 401(k) account and the money rests in that account, building interest. Many employers match a percentage of the deferred funds, providing 401(k) participants essentially free money simply for participating in the program.
According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, more than 40 percent of the American workforce watched 401(k) investments decline by 30 percent in 2008. But rather than downplaying the value of stocks, mutual funds and bonds, advisors are encouraging people to continue investing in their 401(k) plans. However, since many Americans are beginning – or re-beginning – their retirement plans from scratch, they need to take a new look at their investment strategy.
David Roche, brand manager for Apex Securities and Assets Management in Brentwood, believes that since no two investors are alike, it’s important to make choices that are right for you. “At Apex Securities, we advise clients to continue looking forward,” said Roche. “Your investment choices shouldn’t be reactive to what happened last year. Just because gold did well last year doesn’t mean it will uphold that trend this year.”
Since clients set personal retirement goals, Roche and business partner Treva Black recommend meeting with a financial advisor to discuss the most responsible route to take to achieve those goals.
While there are hundreds of investment options for a 401(k), how the retirement funds will be spent is what truly matters. According to Steve Vernon, FSA and blogger for MoneyWatch.com, a 401(k) should be treated like a retirement paycheck generator. Each month you should take out a regular predetermined “paycheck” from your retirement fund to pay for expenses. “Most of us live paycheck to paycheck while we’re working, so let’s not change this financial discipline after we retire,” Vernon said.
Many recently-retired Americans assume their nest eggs will be all they need to live out the rest of their lives, but after you travel the world, refurbish your house and buy a motorcycle or two, you’ll have only so much left, so you need to plan your retirement investments wisely to meet your desired retirement lifestyle.
And one way to enhance your 401(k) is to work longer. It’s not what you want to hear, but if you work a few extra years than you originally planned, more money will accrue in your 401(k) account. The important thing now is to jump in and get your feet wet. Meet with a financial advisor to help you plan for the retirement you want.
Whether retirement is 10 or 50 years away, it’s never too early to start investing into your future, and a 401(k) plan is one of the best ways to keep you afloat.