Posted on 18 August 2011
By Mark Miller
The market’s recent volatility has put new focus on a key question older investors have been asking themselves since the 2008 crash: what is the correct retirement portfolio equity exposure for investors close to retirement, or who already are retired?
Ask the experts, and you’ll get answers that are all over the map. The Putnam Institute recently surveyed target date funds and found that retirement data equity allocations ranged from 65 percent to just 35 percent. And Putnam’s own experts concluded that retirees should have no more than 25 percent of their money in stocks.
Meanwhile, T. Rowe Price advises retirees at age 65 to keep 55 percent of their money in equities, 35 percent in bonds and 10 percent in cash.
So, how much stock should older investors hold? The correct answer, in my view: as little as possible while maintaining high confidence that you can meet your retirement goals.
Start by crafting a serious retirement plan that includes a credible estimate of spending needs, balanced against income you can count on from Social Security, pensions and the like; then, back into a portfolio equity allocation that provides enough growth to fill in the gaps but exposes you to as little risk as possible.