Maintaining Balance in Retirement Accounts


“We’re sort of hard-core, unreconstructed academics,” he said, and they both teach at Fordham University now. He took his retirement in a lump sum and invested much of it in stocks. The move, while risky, was smart in retrospect; the market rose. “We actually have more money now than we did six years ago when we retired,” he said. “I’d rather be lucky than smart.”He had also taken out home equity loans on a couple of properties he owns, he said, and used the money to live on so that they could keep their savings in the market, which also “turned out to be just one of those lucky things — a dumb gamble that worked out,” he said.Shouldn’t he be backing off stocks and rebalancing his portfolio at the age of 70? He acknowledges that it is sensible advice, he said. But “I’m inclined to ignore it,” especially since they are still working. His wife, however, “calls my attention back to reality on a regular basis.” And, as the second year of the Trump administration nears a close, however, he confessed to being wary of equities, because Mr. Marry said he had little faith in the person in the White House, and he knew that no bull market lasts forever.And so, he said, “I’m fixing to move more, much more into bonds,” and to pay down the loans on those properties before the interest rates adjust upward. He added that his, “long love affair with tech stocks is kind of coming to a close.”Another financial planner, Sheryl Garrett, lives in Arkansas and often recommends that her clients take a close look at “target date funds” that automatically adjust over time to balance risk and reward, becoming more conservative as the client nears the date of retirement. She said that she preferred low-cost funds like the Vanguard Life Strategy funds because of the low costs and low tax impact, but said she had seen similar offerings from many other companies, including Betterment and Charles Schwab.The most important thing about target funds, she said, is the set-it-and-forget it peace of mind that they can bring. “I am a fan of rebalancing or thinking about rebalancing, on an annual basis,” she said. But she also knows that her customers are busy and harried. And target funds relieve them of some of that burden.In her own life, Ms. Garrett said, investing has become much more conservative lately. Self-employed, she knows that business can slip, and that life is uncertain; her spouse, who runs a cabin rental business in northwest Arkansas, recently received a cancer diagnosis. Looking at all of that, she said, “I felt I wanted a little more stability in my world.”