Asset allocation -- determining what percentage of your assets should go toward stocks, bonds, and other kinds of investments -- is crucial for any Foolish investor. But if you're not taking the bigger picture into account, you might risk shortchanging yourself. You may need more stocks than you think.
Investing legend John Bogle, known as the father of index funds, recently pointed out an important allocation consideration that many of us overlook: Social Security. Since most of us are counting on eventually receiving a certain sum from it each month, we should include that when looking at all our assets. As Bogle explained to Morningstar: "Your Social Security investment, when you're say 60 or 65, has a capitalized value of something like $300,000, and it's going to continue to pay … it's not going to go away."
Bogle notes that we should think of Social Security as we think of bonds, since those steady payments essentially represent fixed income:
And so, if you have $100,000 to invest, I don't see why you would not put it all in stocks at that stage of your life. That would be 25% then in equities and 75% in effect fixed income with an inflation hedge [via Social Security]. It's a good investment.
Therefore, you might want to have an even bigger chunk of your assets in stocks than you originally thought. If you're worried about the risk of more volatile stocks, compared to the reliable payments bonds provide, consider seeking stocks that will also provide a bit of extra income for you -- by paying you dividends.
Healthy, growing dividend payers make for outstanding investments, offering relatively reliable income that often increases over time. Procter & Gamble
Still, don't assume that dividend stocks are as safe as Social Security. On occasion, a company in trouble will reduce or eliminate its dividend, as a beleaguered Ford
Savvy investors aim to strike the right asset-allocation balance for their age and risk tolerance. Remember to factor Social Security into your deliberations, and consider adding a few dividend payers for the ideal combination of faster growth and steady income.
What role do you think Social Security will play in your retirement picture? Let us know -- leave a comment below!
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Procter & Gamble. Ford Motor is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. The Fool has created a covered strangle position on Intel, which is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try any of our investing newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.