There are certain principles, certain keys to investing if you are retired. Yes, there are many books on the subject and new magazine articles almost every month, but somehow they seem to either miss the key factors or their verbiage is so long the key points are glossed over.
It’s kind of like when I go for a hike in Glacier National Park. What I want to know is:
What are the key characteristics of the trial?
What are the viewing highlights along the trail and at its destination?
What’s the weather forecast?
What animals may I see?
Have there been bear sightings?
Because I’m not a scientist I don’t want to know the geology every ten feet along the way, nor the name of every flower, plant and tree (some yes, but not every darn posey).
It’s the same with managing your retirement funds. Concentrate on the key factors and then follow your trail map to success.
As a retiree your keys to successful money management are:
• Am I interested in managing my investments myself or should I use a professional advisor/planner? This is a key to your trail. And do I have time – 30 minutes or more a week? If you are going to self manage, what software program will you use?
• Do I prefer ETFs, or mutual funds or stocks? These are your viewing highlights and if you know how to classify or divide them into working groups, or have access to advice on this matter.
• Can you check your emotions at the door so you make unbiased decisions? Do market drops scare you like a lightning storm or can you shrug them off and keep on your trail because these are part of your ongoing weather forecast. Another aspect of your forecast is exactly that: what is your life expectancy? How long did your parents and grandparents enjoy life? Your investment diversification needs to be based on your life expectancy so you both earn and retain money for your trip down life’s trail; being too conservative with a long life expectancy ahead could result in a money shortage down the road while being too aggressive may risk your core too much.
• Are you easily distracted by news, comments or suggestions from friends that may sway you to buy or sell when your program or advisor gives different recommendations? These are the animal sightings that can distract you along the way, even as they are captivating at the same time.
• Do your strategies encompass signals for when to take safe cover, such as when there is a major market drop. Seeing grizzly bears in the wild is awesome, but preferably from a distance and if up close with bear spray in hand and knowledge of how to react to a bluffing or charging bear. You need the same safety plans when investing. A good advisor and some software programs take safety into account.