3 Investment Mistakes to Avoid as a New Retiree

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  • Don't keep too much of your portfolio in stocks.
  • Don't completely unload your stocks, either.
  • Don't assume that owning real estate will pay off.

If you've recently retired, you're likely enjoying your newfound freedom and are seizing the opportunity to do the things you've always wanted, whether it's traveling or picking up new hobbies. It takes money to fund a comfortable retirement lifestyle, so it's important to keep your savings invested as a retiree. That way, your nest egg can continue to grow even while you're withdrawing from it.

In short, it's important to kick off retirement with a solid investment strategy. And it's super helpful to avoid these mistakes in that regard.

1. Going all in on stocks

When you're saving for retirement, it's a great idea to load your IRA with stocks. The market's average annual return over the past 50 years has been 10%, and you need growth like that to turn your savings into a large sum over time.

But while it's smart to invest the bulk of your savings in stocks before you're retired, once you're retired, it's time to scale back. If you keep the bulk of your nest egg in stocks, you're putting your savings at risk.

What if the market crashes at some point, only you need to keep accessing your portfolio for income? Suddenly, you're looking at permanent losses. A better bet is to move away from stock investments to a large degree.

You may feel comfortable keeping around 50% of your portfolio in stocks during retirement, and that's certainly not a terrible idea. You may even go a little higher, depending on your appetite for risk. But you don't want 90% of your savings or more in the stock market at a time when you're actually using the money.

2. Ditching stocks completely

Just as you don't want to go all in on stocks as a retiree, you also don't want to move away from stocks entirely. You need your portfolio to keep growing during retirement, so it provides the maximum amount of income for you.

You can think about your own risk tolerance when deciding what percentage of your assets to keep in stocks. Or, you can use a rule of thumb that has you subtracting your age from 110 to land on the right percentage. If you're 65 years old, that would have you keeping 45% of your portfolio in stocks. But if that number sounds too high and will cause you stress, go a bit lower.

3. Taking on investments that require a lot of work -- and involve a lot of costs

It's generally a good idea to maintain a diverse portfolio of investments -- and that extends to retirement. But in the course of branching out, you don't want to take on too much work -- or too many expenses.

You may be thinking of buying a rental property in retirement. The monthly rent you collect can serve as income, and through the years, the property you buy has the potential to gain value. You may also be up for the challenge of being a landlord as a new retiree because you're thinking you finally have the time to take on that role.

But owning a rental property could be more work than you've bargained for. And if you're older, you may not be up for all of that work.

It's one thing to have the time to do home maintenance tasks like cleaning a home's gutters. It's another thing for your 67-year-old self to balance on a tall ladder without risking injury.

Also, rental properties cost money to maintain. In retirement, you may need all of the income you can get your hands on. So it may make more sense to favor investments that don't cost money to own (aside from the cost of buying those assets initially).

The right investment strategy could make your retirement stress free and enjoyable. So do your best to avoid these unfortunate mistakes from the start.

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