Five Ways to Manage Risk in Your Retirement Savings Plan


Your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan is a convenient way to help you accumulate money for retirement. Using payroll deductions, you invest for the future automatically, following that oft-noted advice to “pay yourself first.” But choosing to participate is just one important step. Another key to making it work for you is managing risk in your portfolio. Following are five ways to tackle this important task.

1. Know your personal risk tolerance

Gauging your personal risk tolerance–or your ability to endure losses in your account due to swings in the market–is an important first step. All investments come with some level of risk, so it’s important to be aware of how much volatility you can comfortably withstand before choosing investments.
One way to do this is to reflect on a series of questions, such as:

  • How well would you sleep at night knowing your retirement portfolio dropped 5%? 10%? 20%?
  • How much time do you have until you will need the money? Typically, the longer your time horizon, the more you may be able to hold steady during short-term downturns in pursuit of longer-term goals.
  • Do you have savings and investments outside of your plan, including an emergency savings account?

Your plan’s educational materials may offer worksheets and other tools to help you gauge your own risk tolerance. Such materials typically ask a series of questions similar to those above, and then generate a score based on your answers that may help you choose appropriate investments.
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Are Your Beneficiaries Correct?

This year one of our goals is to double check all of your beneficiaries for you. 

During tax season your tax preparer may inquire about any retirement, life insurance or other accounts that might require a beneficiary.  We recently learned of someone who’s mother passed away in 2010, and the only beneficiary on the account was her father who had passed away in 1995.  Unfortunately this means any money in the account will go to probate and or the estate, and be taxed much higher than an IRA should be taxed.  

The review may have to be done after tax season, but we feel it is a vital part of both tax and financial planning.

Health Insurance

If you are without health insurance because you have been laid off, your employer no longer offers this benefit or you have lost your job please call our office so that we can help you look into some affordable  options for you.  The quickest way to bankrupt your family and your extended family is to not have health insurance.  Please give us a call at 269-795-3387.


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