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Do you know what's in your retirement account? Thumbnail

Do you know what's in your retirement account?

Almost anyone that's been employed, owns a company, or is self-employed has some type of retirement savings...whether it be a company sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), an IRA, or any other vehicle that provides investment options and is self-directed.  If you've taken the steps to save before you get paid and have built up a sizable balance - which for most is their largest asset - do you know what you're investing in? 

If you own funds inside of retirement accounts, you're responsible for picking the correct investments according to the level of risk you're willing to take and the potential long-term returns you'd like to earn.Often, we see investment selections within self-directed retirement accounts that don’t match up with the desired risk or the anticipated returns of the individual.

How often do you review your 401(k) investments?  If your answer is when you originally set up the account, you are likely past due for a review.  Our suggestion is once or twice a year.  The “set it and forget it” philosophy can take you from a comfortable risk level with your investments to unknowingly taking on more risk as the market shifts.  The stock market experienced an unusual level of fluctuation recently with the past 5 months of S&P 500 returns looking like this:

October -6.94%
November +1.79%
December -9.18
January +7.87%
February +2.97%

If you have exposure to small and mid-sized companies, the returns over the same period showed even greater variance.   While the volatility can cause angst in the moment, it also provides opportunity. One way to take advantage of the volatility is to rebalance your retirement account.

Put simply, when you rebalance, you are essentially buying low and selling high.  Rebalancing provides you with the opportunity to take gains from higher-performing investments and reinvest them in areas that have not experienced such notable growth. By rebalancing on a consistent schedule, you take the emotion out the process without trying to “time the market.”   As history shows, timing the market repeatedly is a difficult strategy to employ and allows emotions to enter the investment process which can lead to poor long-term performance.

If you have questions about your current investment situation, call or email us anytime.