I'm fond of saying that retirement investing is a fairly simple thing, once you cut through all of the noise. And it is -- compared with the challenges we all face at work, with our kids, or just getting Grandma's souffle recipe to work for once, getting retirement investments in shape is a cakewalk.
But cutting through the noise is the key. Successful retirement investing doesn't require hours and hours of work, or highly specialized training, but it does require a clear head, a willingness to set preconceptions aside, and the will to seek out the best common-sense thinking. Whatever your level of investment experience, it's always a good idea to take a fresh look at the best advice out there, and see what really works. Even if you're already an expert.
So what really works?
Drawing the map
In this month's issue of the Fool's Rule Your Retirement newsletter, available online at 4 p.m. ET today, lead advisor Robert Brokamp unveils the results of his own fresh look at what really works for retirement investing.
I'll direct you to the new issue for the nuts-and-bolts details -- yes, it's a paid service, but you can get a free 30-day pass with no obligation, so click with confidence -- but let me be clear that what Robert and his team came up with is nothing less than a road map to retirement success.
What is it? In part, it's a well-thought-out reimplementation of some time-tested investing ideas:
Allocate your assets. If you're more than 10 years from retirement, you should probably have all of your retirement investments in stocks -- but that doesn't mean you don't need to worry about asset allocation. And if you are closing in on retirement -- or already retired -- you'll need to allocate between stocks and bonds.
You also need to look at different kinds of stocks. Blue chips such as Johnson & Johnson
(NYSE:JNJ). Smaller-cap value plays such as Carpenter Technology (NYSE:CRS). International heavyweights such as Mexican cement king Cemex (NYSE:CX)and India's Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM), which just bought the Jaguar and Land Rover brands. Real estate investment trusts such as Plum Creek Timber (NYSE:PCL). They all have a place in your portfolio -- but getting the balance right is tricky. That's the art of asset allocation.
Robert and his team have put a great deal of thought into where the balance should be, and they have created a series of model allocations that reflect the absolute best of current expert thinking. It's all laid out in detail in the new issue.
Diversify. Having all of your eggs in one basket, even if it seems like a great basket, is never a good plan, especially if that basket is your employer's stock, and even if your employer is Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG)or Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). If you're not up to picking several stocks in each asset class on your own, mutual funds are an easy way to buy professionally managed diversification -- and, if you choose index funds, it's a cheap way, too.
- Keep on top of it. If you hold individual stocks, track the companies. There's no need to be obsessive, but once every six months or so, take a couple of hours and read up on your holdings. If you've chosen investments with a long time horizon in mind -- that's the Great Secret of wealth-building, one that is too often overlooked -- you probably won't need to take any action, but it's worth knowing that for sure.
Every now and then -- but not too often, maybe every year or two -- you'll need to rebalance your portfolio to bring your asset allocation back on target. And of course, you'll need to keep investing all of that new money you're putting into your 401(k) and IRAs, as well as the free money your employer gives you.
That all sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? Well, the special sauce is in the target asset allocations, completely reworked and explained in the new issue of Rule Your Retirement. That's a huge piece of work done for you -- a road map for structuring your portfolio, put together by experts, and drawing on the best thinking out there.
You could pay an investment advisor several hundred dollars to come up with something similar -- or you could check this one out and put it to work for you at no cost, with a 30-day trial subscription to Rule Your Retirement. There's absolutely no obligation to subscribe.
Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Apple. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. Cemex and Tata Motors are Global Gains picks. Cemex and Apple are Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Cemex. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy is a road map to disclosure nirvana.